Author Topic: Question from Inexperience  (Read 2514 times)

Larrytx

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Question from Inexperience
« on: May 27, 2016, 04:54 PM »
In March of this year, I trunk chopped this Lacebark Elm that has a trunk diameter of 1-1/8 inch trunk and  is about 4-1/2 inches tall.  The new growth is getting long and I don't know whether to cut them back now, or wait until the tree goes dormant this winter.  Thank you for any help you may give.
 

ceolaf

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Re: Question from Inexperience
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2016, 09:38 PM »
Why do you think you might cut them back now? What would you goal be?

Do you mean selectively remove some of them? Or do you mean to shorten them?
 

Larrytx

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Re: Question from Inexperience
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2016, 01:42 PM »
The problem I see is that some limbs may get too large and out of portion for the trunk size.  But, you ask questions I would not of thought up.  Is there a need to thin out the branches.  I've read that I should determine which limb will be the continuation of the trunk.  I hope this makes sense and thank you.
Larry
 

ceolaf

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Re: Question from Inexperience
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2016, 06:24 PM »
Keeping all of them helps to heal the big cut you made, but you don't want to keep all of those, because as the thicken up you'll have more cuts to heal.

Yes, you want to pick your new leader. However, at MY level of (in)experience, I'm mot sure when you take all the others off. I doubt that would be a problem in waiting for a year to cut the others back.
 

Larrytx

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Re: Question from Inexperience
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2016, 06:45 PM »
Thank you for taking the time to help.
 

Leo in NE Illinois

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Re: Question from Inexperience
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2016, 12:47 PM »
Go to the articles archive at Evergreen Garden Works, and read the articles on growing trunks for bonsai. Elms grow fast enough that you could in a matter of 5 to 10 years get a nice elm bonsai going.
http://www.evergreengardenworks.com/articles.htm

Before you cut anything, ask yourself what do you want the tree to look like? A single sinuous trunk? An informal upright? An informal broom that is typical of many deciduous trees (My recommendation), a gnarly tree, a graceful slender tree, Basically, think about what you would like. Draw a picture, so you will be able to remind yourself of where you want to go down the road.

Think about size. and write down the number. This is important, because trees at different heights need trunks of different diameters, and you will need to "grow your trunk".

A bonsai under 8 inches tall needs a trunk between 1 and 3 inches in diameter or more if you go "sumo", a 12 inch tree, 2 to 5 inches, a 24 inch tree needs at least a 4 inch to 8 inch diameter trunk. These size ranges come from measurements of trees at exhibits that have had awards, and people took the trouble to measure them. Not my research, read it out there "somewhere on the internets". Guidelines can and should be broken with reason, but in absence of a "plan", they are quite useful.

I'm in favor of going for an informal broom style. Trunk will branch to 2, then those branches will branch, to give you 4 and so on, following the 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 ..... series. You can create a nice vase shape, like the old American Elms, or the shape can be more informal, more gnarly. What ever you like, but first you got to grow the first segment of trunk. The articles I linked will head you in the right direction.

This summer, about now is not a bad time to reduce the number of branches, or you could wait until next year. I probably would wait. Then select the branch that would become your next segment of trunk, and get rid of all but one or two of the rest. Let the new leader grow to 6 feet tall or more, before the next "chop". Then in 2 or 3 years chop the second section back to within two inches of the first. Essentially the sequence will repeat. Grow out, chop back, etc.

Most people don't realize that even the 8 inch tall shohin bonsai in an exhibit spent 75% to 90% of its life with trunks or branches taller than 5 feet tall. We cut trees down to make bonsai, not "grow them up". If we start with seedlings, we have to grow them up so we can cut them down.

Hope this helps.
 
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