Author Topic: Old Seiju elm - What to do with it?  (Read 4025 times)

plantmanky

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Old Seiju elm - What to do with it?
« on: June 07, 2011, 04:59 PM »
Hi gang,

I have had this old seiju elm as my stock tree for cuttings that has been in a container for somewhere close to 40 years now. Since I'm no longer propagating plant material I think it's time to do something with it. I did do some air layering of it higher on the tree this morning just to get the final batch of trees off of it. Once those are rooted I'll want to cut it down and start making something out of it. I'm not sure of a design or final size for it and thought I'd put a pic or two of it up to get some outside input. The tree is 3.5" diameter at the base so something in the range of 18-20" I guess would be about right.

any thought's ?
Randy

 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Old Seiju elm - What to do with it?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2011, 01:32 PM »
Hmm, I would probably shorten it by about half and try to develop all new branches from new sprouts in the future.  The three main branches/trunks are fairly thick and uninteresting, wouldn't you agree?
« Last Edit: June 08, 2011, 01:35 PM by MatsuBonsai »
 

plantmanky

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Re: Old Seiju elm - What to do with it?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2011, 02:37 PM »
Hmm, I would probably shorten it by about half and try to develop all new branches from new sprouts in the future.  The three main branches/trunks are fairly thick and uninteresting, wouldn't you agree?

Well, in most circumstances I would agree with you.  That is for the typical "Japanese" design styles.  I did some hunting around on the internet this morning and ran across some posts from the South African bonsai community and with a little tweeking this tree could be a dead ringer for the African Savanna style, or what the South Africans call the "Pierneef style" which is based upon the African Acacia that is seen in so many images.  I've always liked that style from a visual perspective and it could be a fun diversion from the typical bonsai styles that we seem to be so consumed with.  I'm always up for a challenge and some experimentation.  It would be good training for a future project that I have in the works for that style with an American Honey locust. Here's a poor virtual of what I'm think'n.

Randy
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Old Seiju elm - What to do with it?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2011, 06:50 PM »
I think it would be really cool if you shortened the larger two branches a few inches more and wired the furthest left small branch down a little.  Then "whack the crap out of it" as you like to say and develop an almost solid mass of canopy that is maybe 6 to 12inches wider for an expansive feel.  Maybe an ultra thin pot.  Think giraffe pruned : ).  Cool tree.   
 

Larry Gockley

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Re: Old Seiju elm - What to do with it?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2011, 07:29 PM »
I really like the savanna style tree from South Africa, as seen in Craig Coussins "Bonsai Master Class" book.  But then I like trees that are wider than they are tall, and this seems to be a prime candidate. I can see it in a shallow, but wide pot also. Would you reduce the root mass in stages, or all at once, since it's an elm? Looking forward to seeing it's future. Larry
 

plantmanky

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Re: Old Seiju elm - What to do with it?
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2011, 10:17 PM »
Owen,

You've hit the nail on the head!  I would however develop secondary branches and then another set of branches (naked of foliage) then develop the canopy.  It might take 2 or 3 years to complete but the image would be good. 

Larry,
I haven't seen Craig's book but am curious if you know the plant materail used in the example?.  I will do root work next spring but it will be more to flatten the root system out and do some minor pruning where necessary to encourage vigorous top growth next year and probably the following  year.  Once the canopy is developed I would normally start doing the root reduction for planting in a bonsai container.  I agree with both you and Owen that a low wide container, probably a very shallow oval,  would be nice for this tree.

The process has started now so we'll see how things develop over time.  Things are halted until the air layers root and can be removed.  Then it's all out!!!!!

Randy
 

Larry Gockley

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Re: Old Seiju elm - What to do with it?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2011, 10:33 PM »
There are a few species named, acacia galpinii, acacia burkei, olea europaea, and buddleja saligna, to name a few. The acacia and olive would lend themselves to the design very nicely. Larry
 

Gary S

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Re: Old Seiju elm - What to do with it?
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2011, 11:47 AM »
I'd cut here for starters and prune from that basic framework.
 

plantmanky

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Re: Old Seiju elm - What to do with it?
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2013, 05:15 PM »
Well, It's been 2 years since I've posted anything on this African Savanna experiment so I thought I'd update you on how it's doing today.  The first year (2011) was pretty much wasted air layering the upper branches that I wanted to keep.  Just about a year ago this month I did the first cut at working out the design of the tree branch structure and doing the initial cut at wiring .  All summer of 2012 was spent on developing the pads.  This year (2013) I have done some fine tuning and will continue to let it fill out for the rest of the summer .  In addition, I have taken up pot making at my local community college and made a pot for this tree and of course it's not a conventional pot either!.

ta ta for now,
R