I picked up this piece of material a couple days ago and I’m looking for some input to maximize the health of the tree going forward and set myself up for success.
My goal is to grow the primary trunk a little thicker and cultivate some more options for branching from this trunk and the branches that are already present. The collection box is falling apart so my plan was to get it into a slightly larger one in early spring and back fill with 100% pumice. The previous owner has undertaken some styling however I feel I need more options and more branching, particularly since I want to thicken the trunk. I was therefore going to let the whole tree put on as much growth as possible throughout the growing season post repot. I am a little concerned about longer internodes on the existing branches as buds are set mostly at the tips from what I can see. Any insight into operations I should be doing in addition to just letting it grow would be great! I’ve watched all of the redwood streams and think I understand reasonably well the pruning techniques along with timing but am curious as to how some of them may apply in this situation so as to not end up with a leggy, overgrown mess!
I have a costal redwood that I am developing from cutting, so limited experience.
If you want it to get bigger, I wouldn’t worry too much about internodes unless you have a cluster of shoots. They like a drink, so I would look more to akadama than pummis. You could even use an organic compost for fast growth.
I have a large coast redwood that I have been developing and now refining and the best way to thicken is to allow the leaves and branches to grow without pinching or pruning. Once the thickness is achieved you must begin pinching and pruning (at the appropriate times of year) otherwise the tree can get out of control. Lay out the branches with wire so you can start structure the way you want the branches to be placed. All of this will happen fast if the tree is healthy. These trees are monsters!!
Hi @Donguri. It depends how thick you want the trunk to be. I planted one in the ground and left it for two years and the trunk grew to 2 inch diameter from 3/4 inch diameter. The down side was it grew to about seven feet high. I also made the mistake of not loosening the roots when planting it so the roots mostly carried on circling. It’s in a larger plant pot now recovering.
They tend not to fatten up too quickly in a pot, even if you over pot them and feed like crazy and to get a wide base you have to keep cutting it back.
You lucky dog!! What a great looking tree. One if these has been on my want list for awhile. Good luck!
Thank you for all the advice, I definitely think I will just let it grow for now and then restyle in a couple years. I will get it into some decent soil come spring and keep y’all updated on any progress.
I’m hearing that your goals are:
Thickening and primary branch development.
As someone mentioned trying to grow redwood in a pot, or box, does not lead to much thickening. Re-potting and messing with the roots will, however, slow the tree down and basically put the tree at a standstill for one growing season. However, I think you can leverage the existing root structure simply by drilling some 3/4” escape holes in the bottom, 3 at most, and setting the existing box on the soil for 1-2 years without moving it at all. The roots will grow into the ground this year and next year the tree will explode with new growth. Leave it in this condition until you are happy with the primary trunk.
What does that mean? Well, when you look at the trunk you say “that’s badass”. This is the time to sever the connection with the ground and put the tree in a pot.
Don’t worry much about branches until you are happy with the trunk.
If you follow this path the tree will look like a bush by the end of 2022 and you’ll be amazed with the growth.
This will give you all the branching options you need.
Think about the undeveloped trees that Ryan works on in the live streams. They have so much foliage!
Thanks I think this tree has grown slowly for many years and has not been given the space to really get going.
So to recap:
Set on ground
Water, feed, observe.
No touching! It’s one of the most valuable skills in bonsai.
Wow, thanks for the detailed reply, I totally hear you, I watched a stream recently where Ryan mentions waiting for your primaries to properly lignify before going any further so this past season I have let it go and it’s put on a large amount of new growth, will upload a pic when O get home. It’s mid-late fall here in NZ and unfortunately the grow box has fallen to pieces so need to make some repairs or face an emergency repot/slip pot.