@PutItInTheGround after you plant the trees in the ground, do you remove the forming bar that’s keeping the nursery stock straight up? To give the trees more character as they grow?
That’s up to you and what you want to accomplish. My bald cypress I have tied to a stake to keep them straight. One more so than the other. The hinoki already has a wire in it giving it movement.
The ONE thing I neglected was to check the trees frequently. 20+ years…
Trim annually, and lift and trim roots once in a while… Water, especially the wet loving trees…
Long story (includes hot summers, rabbits, and annual 12 " of snow)… Now I have a mixed 15’ landscape forest… roots go to China. May or not be able to LIFT em…
@KurtP man that sounds like that’s gonna be loads of fun digging those bad boys out! Have you dug any out recently?
Bonsai_Bentley said he was planning to cut back above the eventual height. I would cut back well below the eventual height of the tree and grow the new leader to develop some taper. My experience is that bald cypress will heal large wounds quite well.
Very belatedly: how are you keeping your trees in place within the bags? Rebar? Taping the nebari down?
I’ve got two of them and one of them is underneath my stairs…don’t ask lol. I can cut that one back to below my desired height and see how that goes. I was going to rely on the fact that BC can handle a trunk chop and cut back to my desired height, but if you’re saying I should do the reverse I’ll give it a shot.
Mike - if you just want thickness of any tree just let it grow. You will get a little taper as since there will be fewer branches up high. However, if you want to develop taper in a short tree there are two options I am aware of:
- Let it grow and trunk chop well below the desired height, repeat with ever higher chops. This works very well for trees that sprout from the trunk after chopping, particularly if they heal large wounds well. Bald cypress, maples, and elms are ones I can think of right now for this method - there are many others.
- Grow out several low sacrifice branches while keeping the higher design branches in check. This is used if the tree does not respond well to chops - pines are an example.
I planted saplings so they don’t blow around much in the root control bags. not any more than they would in regular soil. I do not use rebar to support them. I often plant at odd angles to get some interest in the lower portion of the trunk then chop early to get another big piece of movement early. then see what nature gives me.
Agree with @MartyWeiser, cut below what you want and start developing that taper early. I cut every 2-3 years. The first cut from a 7-9’ tall tree was hard to do emotionally. All that growth, gone! I cut down to less than a foot. 2-3 years later 16-18 inches, by year 10 about 24’ trees with the topics being refined. Some I wish I had kept even smaller. I used a backhoe to dig those out before I had root control bags, you’ll see them in the post I made with all the burlap.
I should add, for some beast mode trees like Telperion I’m sure they grow more than 2-3 years before cutting. It’s all up to you now, so many choices - right? Though maybe the PacNW just grows them that big. From asking around, I think 1 year in PacNW is like 2-3 years on the east coast where I am. I’ve seen it too. 3 year old pines from them look like 8-9 year old pines that I have.
Probably due to the volcanic activity there? I wonder if the same would hold true for a place like Hawaii…aside from the fact that it’s basically year round growing season.
Awesome information. Guess I’ll give this a go in the spring. I want to give the trees time to recover a bit from the planting. So far they look good. I eventually want them to be between 3’ to 4’. I just like bigger bonsai. Given that’s the goal do I chop all they way down to a foot???
@PutItInGround … Ooooh…new Bonsai tool… backhoe!
A little mini, Stainless and concave!
That would have come in usefull when I dug my (from seed) Utah scrub oaks, cut the roots at 4 foot level (10 years ago). Only half of the 8 survived. Three are still going strong at 20 years.
Loving this whole bonsai rabbit hole thing…
Bonsai_Bentley I would allow them to grow until they are about 3/4 of the desired diameter, then cut back to about 1/3 the final desired height. Allow the new leader to grow until it has a reasonable taper into the previous trunk and then cut it back so its length is about 1/3 of the remaining height to be achieved (5/9 of the total if you are going strictly by the math). Repeat one more time and that should give you fairly good taper. it may take two or threes years between each cut back depending upon your growing conditions. Just remember to keep the root in check about every 2-3 years. Wait until the new leader is well established before cutting the stump back in a moderately long taper. Cutting it back too soon will often result in the new leader dying in my experience.
I’ve heard this ‘cut down to 1/3 of desired end height’ before and agree.
@MartyWeiser I see what you’re saying. Does this process work if your goal is to create a mostly upright tree? The way I’m envisioning what you’re talking about the result would be a tree at least 2 turns of movement?