Author Topic: Keep existing shape or more natural look?  (Read 3754 times)

KimchiMonger

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Keep existing shape or more natural look?
« on: April 26, 2010, 08:30 PM »
Some of you know this little tree from another post on how to feed it.  I got some excellent advice and it's been re potted and put on a seemingly effective water/feed diet that I adjust depending on weather effects on the soil.  

As for it's future appearance, this tree came as you see it pictured but I wonder if it has potential for that natural look I see in so many other Elms.  I suppose I have specific questions in pursuit of that natural looking Bonsai Elm I've seen:

1.  Does the current leaf pad style have a style name and is it common and desired for trees like this?
2.  Do any of you see promise if I let it back bud and form more of a natural canopy and shape?
3.  Someone suggested I cut off the left bottom branch as it apparently didn't contribute to the natural look I seek.   You
     can see that left bottom branch in question in the new photos I took.

Any of you taking a stab at this are greatly appreciated.



 

bwaynef

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Re: Keep existing shape or more natural look?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2010, 08:27 AM »
Am I right in assuming that what you refer to as a natural look generally consists of a significantly straighter trunk than the pictures of your tree would indicate?  If that's the case, you'll have to work to correct the unnatural movement in the trunk of your tree.

As for the style where foliage is at the extremity of the branches, its often referred to as the Poodle style.

I think you need to consider correcting the trunk before you worry about any branches.
 

rockm

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Re: Keep existing shape or more natural look?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2010, 09:46 AM »
1.  Does the current leaf pad style have a style name and is it common and desired for trees like this?

This is commonly known as "mallsai" style  ;D...Don't mean to be a jerk, but this is typical of bonsai that are mass produced for sale to the public. It's  exotic and unnatural in composition-but to the uninitiated, that's what makes it appealing. it was created by a grower by chopping a sapling near where the first low bend is in the trunk and regrowing the resulting shoot by forcing it around a pole or stake in the ground.  IT was done not so much with an artistic eye, but a commercial one...

The style here could be loosely called "informal upright" which means the trunk is not straight and has a bit of movement. Although this trunk is exaggerated and lacks a cohesive line that would make it look like a natural tree.

To measure it's "naturalness" one has to ask if it brings to mind what a tree looks like in nature. Bonsai is NOT about the grotesque and stunted. It is about natural and believable. Bottom line, does this tree remind you of a tree you've seen or imagined, or does it only appeal to your sense of the exotic...?


2.  Do any of you see promise if I let it back bud and form more of a natural canopy and shape? Bottom line, no.  To proceed, think carefully about what you want from this tree before doing much of anything to it...do you want a more convincing natural looking tree? or something exotic looking?

The path to a more natural looking tree is not an easy one. The trunk needs to be chopped at the first branch and regrown to get a classic bonsai shape.That can be accomplished relatively easily with fast growing Chinese elm.

That said, the existing trunk could be worked into something more effective by removing all the branches and regrowing the branch structure from scratch.
 

cbobgo

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Re: Keep existing shape or more natural look?
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2010, 02:10 AM »
unfortunately, this tree has more promise as topiary than bonsai.  That can be fixed, but it's going to take alot of work.

 

Jay

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Re: Keep existing shape or more natural look?
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2010, 08:36 AM »
OK... here we enter the world of "What you like vs what is good/potential good Bonsai'.

This tree must fist please YOU. You obtained it hopefully because you liked it, not because it was a good buy or cheap.
If you liked it and it pleases you that is VERY important. As to it being a good Bonsai or becoming a good Bonsai.... well that is a different story.

Enjoy your tree, learn to keep it alive, read what you can and join a club. Your taste will change over time, all of ours do.
As for that first 'branch'.... take it off.

my 2 cents
Jay

*- NOTE- I am not a big fan of the big S curve Elms that are out there. VERY few of them interest me!
« Last Edit: April 28, 2010, 09:08 AM by Jay »
 

KimchiMonger

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Re: Keep existing shape or more natural look?
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2010, 01:33 AM »
Thank you all for your input as I do appreciate your time and expertise regarding Bonsai.  I've learned a great deal from posts and photos in other topics within this site.  Very nice of you all indeed!

I didn't expect suggestions that this could become a museum quality piece. Of course not with a $59 piece in a plastic pot.  I've received expert advice from some of you on how to go about modifying the existing tree and with as much reading as I've done on this subject, actually understood the realistic and creative suggestions.  I also appreciate the general history of this tree style and how purists may cringe when forced to view one.  I didn't purchase it for that S shaped trunk style as much as the overall bark and leaf appearance.  

I actually like the little tree very much just as it is.  I had to ask about further development of "natural" qualities in case it were to be had without major modification and making for a happier tree.

I've decided to leave the tree as it is and continue to take great care of it.  This one will still receive the same care I would of showered a thousand dollar specimen.  I'll be leaving it to develop further with less pruning for now and let it fatten up a bit as well.

The tree, as it is today, is a product of it's man-made forced environment (unfortunate or not)

I was drawn to it as a whole but oddly entertained by it's leaves which it seems to have many of.  The leaves and trunks of these Chinese Elm are now my sorta thing when it comes to Bonsai.  I love them all but that Elm is really appealing to me no matter what shape they come in.  I'll be acquiring more of the ulmus parvofilia variety IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES in the near future.  Yep, I love those Elm.

I understand this tree and it, seemingly understands me.  If it can't help break rules of bonsai etiquette because of the way it was forced to grow and develop against it's natural will, has exposed roots and curved angles disapproved by some, is labeled sloppy, and generally lacks show piece qualities, then, Me and this great tree have a lot in common.  :)  

Not having the lineage of show quality trees will never be the tree's fault but will sure be treated here as one that does.  I must say that I still love this species in all shapes and sizes.  

[Choir Sings]  We're glad it worked for him and them.......

Again, thank you all for the insight as it allows me to move on with my obsession with this and similar Elms just as they are and come into my custodial possession.  



« Last Edit: April 29, 2010, 01:50 AM by KimchiMonger »
 

Jay

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Re: Keep existing shape or more natural look?
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2010, 11:40 AM »
Well.... you should be aware of a few things.
1-There are many many Elms with this 'S' type shape.
2-Generally speaking, if they did not sell they would not be offered for long.
3-This does not make them what to strive for.

4-  PLEASE.... seek out a local club, in most cases they love new members and love to share thoughts.
They very often have members who have trees for sale or even gifts for newbies.

Most important.....Welcome to Bonsai

J
 

bwaynef

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Re: Keep existing shape or more natural look?
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2010, 01:19 PM »
 

Ross

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Re: Keep existing shape or more natural look?
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2010, 06:07 PM »
I'd go here.

http://www.fwbonsai.com/Convention2010/framessetup.html

I appreciate your enthusiasm KimchiMonger, and I really enjoy elm trees also!
 

theBalance

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Re: Keep existing shape or more natural look?
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2010, 04:52 PM »
hi there,

I would like to propose another option...
you can do an air layering just above the buttom strong twist, or simply add more soil so that the unnatural curve will become root
 

Jay

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Re: Keep existing shape or more natural look?
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2010, 09:03 PM »
Yes, an airlayer at that point would remove one of the un-natural curves but there is still the next curve followed by a fairly long straight portion.....

my 2 cents
J