• Thursday, December 30th, 2010
There are a lot of issues that I have had with the bald cypress that kind of bothered me. Probably the most prominent was the “hips” that the tree had. It just looked very unnatural to me. However I had planned to hide those imperfections with some nicely placed branched.
I had grown the top out to help the scar heal, which it made great progress on during the year. Though I didn’t have the “A-HA” moment until Suthin had visited me back in August of this year. He liked the tree, but as he walked by he said, look at it from this angle… Of course he was right. From a view turning the tree wbout 30 degrees clockwise all my issues went away. Now why didn’t I think of that.
Also Mike Rogers had commented about the height of this tree to me on that same day, and I now agree with him. So since the weather was cold and this tree is now dormant, it was time for major changes!
The easiest of the problems was the height. You can see how much growth I had last year and how much new cambium had rolled over the huge scar. Although it needed to be reduced.
That’s a big cut for sure. I may actually clean the piece up and count the rings. I’d love to have some idea how old this tree really is.
A straight cut angled downward towards the back. By doing the cut in this manor you hide the scar and create a drmatic taper to the tree.
Well there turns out to be a method to my madness. I reduced the height down to the first useable branch. The placement, thickness and size of this branch makes it a perfect candidate for the new top of this tree.
Okay so here we have the new top wired in place and I used my giant Root Cutters to round off the straight edges of the big cut. This allows for the cambium to easily roll over the scar and in time will totally heal over. I added a coat of cut paste over this large wound to help the health of the tree while it healed.
So here is the finished Bald Cypress after all the changes. Look how much better the line of the tree looks now that it has been turned. Also the height is much better. Since this photo I have tilted teh tree a bit more to the left. It looks a little off balance in the photo. I’m still looking at the second trunk and am considering lowering that as well. I still hav eplenty of time this year to decide.
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• Sunday, August 15th, 2010
This weekend I hosted the NoName’ Bonsai Study group at my house, and the visiting artist was Suthin. I, like many, consider him to be the best artist in all of the U.S. and he is absolutely amazing. I had a number of tress that I wanted him to work on while he was here, but one tree that I have had for along time was my first choice. As you have seen on my site since 2002 is a Bujin styled Pond Cypress. It has been displayed at Epcot and at two state BSF conventions.
This tree had been in my collection for so long and had been styled the same way year after year. It really needed a make over. I asked Suthin if he saw any changes that could be made and he didn’t disappoint.
We had 10 people show up for the event and he worked his magic on all of their trees, one right after the other. Nearly impossible to get him to take a 5 minute break.
To remind you what the tree used to look like, here is the last photo I took prior to the workshop. What a difference!
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• Tuesday, May 18th, 2010
The last time I did any work on this tree was January 21, 2007!
So here we are 3 1/2 years later , and boy has this tree changed.
What happened? Well I found out that Too Littles not neccesarily like to be bonsai. Their leaves are small and the trees pop out new growth everywhere. However their branches have a tendency to continually move upright after the styling wires have been removed. Which meant that it was a high maintenance job keeping the tree styled as I had it. So I took it to a nursery for the past 3 years to let it grow and to thicken up even more.
Another problem with the tree was a very odd one sided surface root, that had always bothered me.
After a bit of thinking and a lot of heavy pruning I began to find a new tree under a mass of branches and leaves. Best of all a maintainable style. I plan to keep the branches short and dense, so I won’t have any problems with branches bending back. Just look how massive the trunk looks compared to the styling from years ago
My new tree front was the old back, and the long surface root has been reduced and now shows on the right side of the trunk. I am so happy with this tree now, it is quickly becoming one of my favorites!!
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I’ve had this clump forest for a long time, and have studied it for a while now. However I have never been thrilled by the trunk placement, or variation in trunk sizes. I have considered other fronts for the trees, but each time I found some flaws. I knew I had to get a second opinion.
Mike Rogers has been my teacher from the beginning and his eye for good bonsai is second to none. I knew he would know just what to do with this tree. After 12 years of doing bonsai I still consider myself a student and will be for life.
The first thing we addressed was to add an additional trunk to fill in an empty spot of the composition. That’s not exaclty easy since the entire base of the tree is one root. We had to remove a pie shape piece in order to insert one more tree.
The new tree’s roots were pruned to match the space that was carved out. It would be a perfect fit.
To make sure that the tree held it’s position and was able to fuse with the other trunks, a 2 inch screw was driven through the tree into the root mass of the main tree. The tree was very secure after this and the screw will be left in the tree which will cover over in time.
Lastly the tree was repotted into a smaller pot and a new angle. The newly added trunk is the second from the left. Notice how much more of a focal point the main tree is. This will be an outstanding planting in a very short time.
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