Author Topic: Blue Atlas Cedar  (Read 13552 times)

Steven

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Blue Atlas Cedar
« on: June 30, 2009, 11:10 PM »
Ok, upon mom's(irene-b) request I am showing, for now, one of my trees. It is a Blue Atlas Cedar that I had purchased through Ebay(waits to hear the "boo's" and "hisses") about 2 yrs ago. At that time it was not as filled out as it is now. After getting the tree I happened to be talking to MJ(weeble) and she was getting back into her pottery making skills. So I asked her to commission(believe's that is the word) a scoop pot for the tree since the style is Shakan. I have done some pruning and wiring up until October last year. Wayne suggested that I enter it in our study groups show entrance into The 13th annual Carolina Bonsai Expo held in Asheville, NC 2008. I do feel proud of this tree. I am proud because of who it impressed. Now on the last day of the show our special Bonsai artist Mr. Peter Adams critiqued all of the trees that were on display from all the clubs/groups who participated. As we are moving from tree to tree I listened to Mr. Adams discuss things he would change, alter, remove, add to the tree, how it was presented, the pot used and all the things he liked about the tree, how it was displayed, the pot used. As we got further along and getting closer to our display I began to have serious doubts about my tree. I didn't think my tree THE worst one there but how could my little tree stand up to all those big, expensive, highly prized, years of hard work trees that were there. Now up until my tree I can say Mr. Adams at least gave 1 thing wrong with any of the trees before mine. When he got to mine I was sweating bullets thinking "here we go. He's gonna really rip into how awful mine looks, how it's displayed". I was shocked when he said that he loves Blue Atlas Cedars and he liked how mine was displayed. Showing a nice blue canopy. He liked the style of pot I chose to display the tree in Shakan. Never did he mention 1 thing wrong with mine. Talk about being on cloud 9 :) I didn't get a big head but I was tickled. Anyhoo, that's the history and story of this tree. If I am posting this in the wrong area please let me know. Enjoy ;D

 

Steven

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2009, 09:15 PM »
Hmm it is apparent mine is not worthy of a conversation, comment or other. Oh well.  :(
 

weeijk

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2009, 05:14 AM »
Steven, this is what I see when I look at it. It's a very healthy tree, it's very straight, it cry's for chokan (formal upright) but is put in a moonshell as a shakan (slanted) for some reason. It has hardly any movement or taper. Does it have roots on only 1 side?? That would make it more logical.
When not, I would change it into a chokan and place it in a very low and wide rectangular pot. Build the branches up from there.

These are just my thoughts.

Wessel
 

Steven

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2009, 06:22 AM »
Yes I know it is straight. When I am confident I can wire this tiny tree with my huge hands and not ruin it I plan to put movement in the trunk. It came to me already in the Shakan style. There are roots all around but to make it a Chokan I would have to remove roots on side as they would be stickin way out of the soil. And from my past experience on removing roots on a conifer has not had a good outcome. The first picture shows the front I have been displayin it. As far as progression pics mom, what ya see is what ya get sorry. All I have done is wired a few branches and potted in scoop pot. I did resoil it for the Bonsai show in Asheville but that is it. Any suggestions on manipulatin the roots to change its style? Besides cutting and wiring. Thank ya's!
 

Rick Moquin

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2009, 07:36 AM »
Steven,

Bonsai is about conveying a message convincingly. The image you portrait whether it be a formal upright (majestuous) or slanting (why is it slanting) must tell a story.

This tree is young and IMHO the only way that a convincing image could be conveyed is to first get it out of that pot. It dwarfs the pot and the image it portraits is that it was placed there.

It also demonstrates once again IMHO that because it was slanted on "evil bay" that is what it is.

A more convincing image would be to plant this one out against the side or in a crevace of a large rock sitting in a suiban. Now it has a reason for the lean.

The other option is to plant that one out in a grow box (or the ground) as a formal upright. Either case will allow you to bury the uneven roots while developing more over time without radical root pruning.

 

Steven

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2009, 09:51 PM »
I understand the conveying a message with the tree. My message was simple: A lone Atlas Cedar reaches out for sunlight amongst a cliffs ledge(pots low side is the cliff while the tall back represented the mountain wall). I agree it is becomin too large for the pot. Y'all just crack me up with auction site name callin. I can get bigger and better Atlas stock BUT for the price and the poor condition they are in(no lower branchin due to no sunlight from overcrowding) they are not worth it to me. All they would be is formal upright lollipops. So I do get lesser stock for a lesser price to develop. Just gonna take longer. I do have oversized collanders in round and square and normal sized round collanders that would allow this tree to develop. I thank ya Rick. I'm all ears to anymore of ya "IMHO's" :) And I'm not bein a smartie either.
 Been at it over 2 yrs and still ain't learned...need more knowledge ;)
 

Rick Moquin

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2009, 07:36 AM »
Hmm it is apparent mine is not worthy of a conversation, comment or other. Oh well.  :(
... sometimes silence means everything.

Not discussing your case in particular, one of the things people loathed as mentioned on other sites is a negative review of their trees posted. Now this is understandable because at times the negative review did not offer the participant any alternatives or contain constructive criticism.

Not every tree will move everyone, this one just didn't float my boat as the late "Prowler" would say. However, I did offer options that might improve this tree.

Walter has a famous RMJ that I do not like, I have mentioned it in the past publicly and to him as well. Does that take away any of his talent or the remainder of his creations? No.

The attached picture is of an Ezo spruce from Walter, that floats my boat. Although it won an award there were some harsh reviews from the judges. For example the grass is out of proportion with the composition, which at first I didn't see but after it being pointed out, I must agree. Does this negative comment take away from the overall composition? No. When displayed again I am sure Walter will mow his lawn first  ;)

With reference to e-bay, good material can be acquired from there, but the good sellers are few and far between and the stock is generally overpriced. Allot of folks over the years got burnt and that is why it is referred to as "evil bay".

I was informed that BSG was to further the advancement of it's participants through serious exchanges. I believe I have met the requirements of this forum in my review. I offered alternatives to improve your composition. I further believe that Peter Adams did you a great dis-service with his review.

On the positive side of things, you have done a good job maintaining the health of this tree, most loose their first trees in short fashion. As my signature states "Bonsai is a journey, not the destination" This tree will see many transformations over the years from its humble beginings.
 

weeijk

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2009, 10:15 AM »
I agree it is becomin too large for the pot.

Why do you think so?? It's too small for that pot, not too large.....

I can understand the story you want to tell, but in that case, coming out of a cliff and reaching for light, it would have had a slight bend upwards, cause firstly it may grow slanting, but then it will grow upwards, towards the sun. I have here a example of 1 of my Larches, with onesided roots (I know the moonshell isn't too good, just training), just to show you how a tree would grow from a cliff.
 
You just have too decide how you want to commence........ keep us posted,

with kind regards, Wessel
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2009, 10:42 AM »
Steven,

I'm going to have to agree with Rick on this one, too.  The "story" isn't quite right.  It looks like a formal upright tree that has recently fallen over.  That's not the story of strength and survival that we typically want to convey.  With some wiring it may be possible to create a convincing display as you have it, or it may be better to change it all together.

Borrowing more photos from Al's Choosing a Shoku post:


A Green Atlas Cedar


A Blue Atlas Cedar

What do these 2 trees say to you?  Note the branch structure on each as well as the foliage pads.

Also, take a moment to visit this link for an interesting post/exercise on branch structure and design.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2009, 10:45 AM by MatsuBonsai »
 

Steven

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2009, 12:07 PM »
Here are 4 pics showing this tree as a formal upright. All I did was lean the pot back as it sits this way as well. I'm open to any ideas on this view. Thanks!
 

clrosner

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2009, 08:55 PM »
My second try to post this picture.  I played around with Photo shop.  The idea was to chop the main trunk and wire up a thinner branch to put taper to the trun and make the tree a lot smaller and more compact. I, also deleted the branches growing downward.

Warmest regards,

Carl
 

clrosner

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2009, 09:00 PM »
See if this picture is better?

Carl
 

Steven

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2009, 11:04 AM »
Thank you Carl for the virts. I am however going a different direction. These trees don't take too well to being trunk chopped. You don't know how far they will dieback. Got a much larger Green Atlas that I got cheap cause the former owner(not who I bought it from) trunk chopped it too close to good branches and the tree died back considerably. Losing a good 2.5 inches of height. They also don't like too much root pruning. Anyway, here is a pic showing how the rootball is when the tree is presented as a formal upright.
 

Steven

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2009, 11:14 AM »
These next pics shows where I repotted it to go with the formal upright style. The pot is not permanent. Just needed something to accomodate the rootball. Thought of going with a collander but I would have had to raise the tree high to allow that lowest branch to be unobstructed. I wired down the rootball on the inside of the slant and outside to hold it in place. I then used a tongue depresser with a notch to lean up the tree. This should hold in place to allow the roots to change direction. This tree naturally grew in a slant position. It was never manipulated to grow that way by means of wiring. If this does not take in this upright position I guess I will just have another crappy worthless tree to water and feed. Any suggestions are welcomed. Thanks.
 

AlexV

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Re: Blue Atlas Cedar
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2009, 08:00 PM »
Hi Steven,

I have a small Atlas Cedar that was in a similar condition to yours about 3 years ago.  It was in a small pot and it was straight, and while I was happy with it at first, I stopped being happy with it quickly.  What I ended up doing may work for you.

First I re-potted it, chopped off 1/3 of the roots including all roots pointing downwards, keeping only roots going out to the sides.  I then placed it on a small board in a large 5g can and left it to grow.  As a note, I have had no issues root pruning my Cedars, and I have watched Jim Gremmel (the owner of the 2 very nice cedars earlier in this thread) do massive root work.  The rule seems to be that if the tree is healthy, it can handle having its roots pruned.  However, the tree will not develop the nebari you want if all of its roots are pointed down.

I then wired it, putting some curves on the trunk.  I left the wire on for a season, until it almost started to bite and then removed it.  Unlike maples, wire scars on cedars will not grow out, they will be there forever so watch the wire.  This season I have wired all the branches and the tree as a whole is progressing.  It probably needs another 5 years in a training pot and another 5 years working on ramification after that, but that is the progression to get a really ancient looking cedar.

As far as pruning goes, I haven't gotten to it with this little tree, but eventually when the trunk is the size I want it I will need to prune it back and train a new leader.  This is a pretty good way to get taper in your tree.  My understanding with cedars is that you leave a stump of about 3 inches, then when it dies off carve the stump away so the tree heals over.

This is a long process, but it has been shown to turn out some really nice trees, including both of Jim's Cedars (which I drool over every time I am at his nursery).

I am attaching a couple pics, the first is from 2006, the second is from 10 min ago.  Hope some of this helps!

Cheers,
Alex