Hinoki Cypress Styling

I would love to hear your ideas for styling this hinoki cypress.

Perhaps bring the branches down and in to the trunk, then take the tips up?
It’s hard to get Hinoki to back bud, so don’t hack too much off

To bring them up, or bring them down, that is the question. Whether tis nobler to represent in form the character born of natural environment or to seize the hand of nature and bonsai some sh*t.

Here’s a picture of the other side. 90% sure this will be the front.
I am considering jining the trunk on the right and reducing the height of the trunk on the left.

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Hinoki are tough. They’re beautiful trees but not the easiest to convince to back bud. It’s possible, anything is possible…but it’s tough. There are times when heavy manipulation is the way to go. I would say don’t over think this one. Do a twin trunk. Reduce the one on the right that’s already somewhat smaller and emphasize that as the ‘child’ trunk. This is giving you a beautiful design naturally…take it. In my humble opinion, of course…

Thanks @MrJesseStrong,
I’ve got the rough structure hammered out. I decided to kill off the right trunk and create some deadwood. I intend to strip the bark lower than it currently is, however I am using some of those long leggy branches on the right trunk to graft onto the left trunk. Once those take I’ll extend the deadwood lower. Let me know what you think.


@ryan.marin, can you tell me what technique you’re using for the grafts? I’m considering the same on a hinoki of mine,
Because I want to reduce height but only have one strong branch below my intended cut point. I assume you didn’t do the same technique Ryan showed on the juniper with scions, because you said you’re using the branches already on the tree. When did you start, or are you starting, the grafts? Any further info would be great. I hope it works well for you.

So I am definitely not an authority on grafting, but here’s what I did.
I started these grafts at the end of June. I had noticed a long section of the trunk with no branches and thought, why not just wip some of these crazy long thin branches around to where I want some branches and graft them on to the trunk just like Ryan did in the root grafting video. I used a lateral secondary branch so that foliage was coming off the primary at an angle. This allows for a more natural angle of origin from the trunk.
This was before I styled the tree. Now that I have styled it I kind of regret it. There was more than enough branching there to make a great tree. The place I grafted them is right where I want negative space. For now I’ll let them finish the process and reassess sometime next year.

@ryan.marin, OK I see. So, you followed the same technique Ryan used in the root grafting stream, where he cut the V shape notch in the trunk and then shaped the scion to fit? Except, in this case your scion is actually a living branch already being a part of the tree itself. It’s hard to see detail in the photos you posted, but that’s what it seems. I wonder if it’s too late in the summer to be doing this on mine now. Thoughts? I assume since we are still talking about this, and you said you’re going to let the grafts finish, that they took and everything is still alive?

That is exactly what I did and everything is thriving!
Where are you located? I think whether or not you can start this now depends on what your winters are like.
In the hinoki aesthetics video Ryan talks about grafting branches where you want them and he makes what I think is a really good point. Something along the lines of; work with what the material gives you, not what you think it should be (summarized). The idea being that in doing this you are trying to make the tree conform to your preconceived notions of what a tree should look like rather than exploring the possibilities offered by limitation and constraint. Operating in this space can lead to some great innovation that moves your work outside the box. I didn’t catch that bit of wisdom in my first viewing and wish I had.
Maybe a hinoki built from one branch could be super interesting.
Upload a pic of the tree you are talking about. I love seeing what others are working on.

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Here’s a pic of how I pruned the branches used in this technique.

@ryan.marin, thanks for reminding me of that mindset. Sometimes less is more. I’ve been looking at the tree more in the last few days, and I think I can make something interesting out of it. I’ll post a photo of it once I’ve worked it in the next week or so.

Here’s my two cents, I suggest giving the branching a downward movement, this will show maturity, especially with the deadwood. I feel with upward movement in the branching is clashing with the deadwood, which shows old age/maturity.
Good luck with graft :+1:t2: :metal:t2: :evergreen_tree:

Hinoki make good cuttings (for me anyway) if you want to try approach grafting (which has 0% success for me… so far!)

@AndyK, do you have any ideas as to why your approach grafts have failed? Do the scions die, or are the scions and the tree just not growing together?

Hi @ryan.marin,
I think most of my failures in approach grafting have occurred due to :- 1 not getting enough cambium contact, 2 not binding firmly enough, 3 grafting at the wrong time, and 4 after care. I have had success with thread grafting, and plan on continuing to play with approach and veneer grafting, and maybe one day, one of them will take. :crossed_fingers:

I think removing the lower branches could de-clutter the image and make it look more like a large old tree

I can’t agree more with @MtBakerBonsai

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@ryan.marin, I also agree. 100% with @MtBakerBonsai . I apologize for not commenting on the tree, and instead just going right to my question. If you angle the branches down it will drastically improve the look. Agreed.

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Not all old trees have downward sloping branches. If you’re trying to emulate an alpine tree that has been subjected to heavy snow loads, that is a good way to go. But for trees in other environments, there are other ways to convey age even if the branches rise up, as they do here. You can remove branches lower on the trunk and create sparse foliage pads to make the tree look old. Sometimes you have to work with what the tree presents. In this case, I don’t know how easy it would be to move some of those heavier branches down. You might run into a situation where the branches leave the trunk at an upward angle and then bend down, which might look forced and unnatural.

@Chris, yes agreed. Downward doesn’t always show age. It’s not a rule, obviously. Personally, I think this particular tree could look better if the branches were angled down, but it does depend on the look you want for sure. So, I also agree with you here. If you look at the hinoki Ryan styles in the hinoki stream you will see the large branches first go up and then down. Not immediately down. And it looks natural to me. But it depends on what you’re emulating, for sure. Perhaps this tree in this case should remain angled up, since the deadwood at the top is such. Hmm