Post-Stream Discussion - Atlas Cedar Design

Hey Mirai Family!

What did we all learn, like, dislike, want to know more about, etc?

In this stream we featured an amazing nursery stock grafted Atlas Cedar from the Pacific Bonsai Museum. We began the stream with branch removal and deadwood work then moved on to structural and secondary wiring. We rounded things out with selective pruning and fine wiring.

I am including a before and after image of this composition for everyone to critique, comment on, or appreciate.


That was a fun stream. I still think he should have made more deadwood out of more branches. It does look great,though.

Looking forward to a picture of the final work before it heads back to the museum. Nice work @ryan!

The negative space on the right of the apex works for me but I think the left maybe reduced too much.
I have to remind myself that it is not a juniper and will take alot of energy to recover and thrive again. Would like to see it again after two growth seasons.

I think the new look is great. I’m really looking forward to seeing it after the wiring is done.

Is this tree going to hang out at Mirai a little while and recover? I hope to see it when I come back out in June.

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Here are a couple of links to photos of atlas cedars in Morocco.

TREE ONE (The photo is about half-way down the page)
This is a pretty decent photo of a cedar about to enter advanced age. It still has all of its major limbs. The pads have plenty of space for the birds to fly.
Ryan’s tree has a similar columnar shape and he’s open up the pads nicely. The proportions are a bit different. Ryan’s tree appears to be short for its width. That’s okay, here’s why. The tree in Morocco is taken from close up and thus has a different perspective than Ryan’s tree. As we saw last night, Ryan’s tree is a very large tree. The top has good taper and if the top is leaning forward, someone close to the tree would get the feel of a taller tree tapering off as it ascends.

This tree has seen a bad day or two. The pads are not as spaced out as tree one, above. That is, where pads exist. The base has a wonderful display of damage. It looks as though that this has caused the death of many limbs above it. Near the top, it appears the tree has managed to get vascular support around to the damaged side and new branches are growing.
Ryan’s tree has similar damaged limbs. From the chat, I asked him why he wasn’t keeping the finer detail of the branches for the deadwood. He replied that ancient cedars will have lost all the finer detail. With great age, the lost limbs have been worn down to their cores. Looking at Tree Two, I can see he’s exactly right.

TREE THREE (Select the first photo on the second row)
Flat-top cedar. The deadwood on this tree is fantastic.
I participated in a couple of workshops with Ed Trout. By the time I was working on one of the last trees, he’s looking at my work and said “What is it with you people from New Orleans and your flat-tops?”
Ryan announced intent was to create an ancient tree that was outside of the traditional Japanese forms. Imagine the tree’s reception if he had styled this like Tree Three with a flat-top. Heads would explode.

I believe this is the tree I linked in last night’s chat. Now THIS is an ancient tree. The branches have been worn away to their cores. If I’m seeing the photo correctly, all the branches in the lower two-thirds of the tree are actually the branches of the tree behind it. That leaves the upper-third of the tree as the only place where live branches appear.
Ryan’s tree has plenty of branches. I think he needs to remove more. I want ancient ancient.


The tree has a much lighter feel, indicative of older trees slowing down a bit. As a consequence the tree also looks taller. I don’t think that those who loved this tree before the stream will be disappointed. The tree looks better and more refined. Ryan didn’t make any major changes to the tree. Is this a good or bad thing?

One issue I find worth discussing is the trunk movement of the tree to the right while the apex moves to the left. What direction would the prevailing winds come from? If it is from the left in line with the trunk movement, why is the apex moving to the right. Is this natural?

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Coming from the island of Cyprus, i have great affinity for cedars. Up in the Troodos Mountain, there is an area called the Cedar Valley. This is the only place on the island where the Cedrus Brevifolia thrives. It is considered a subspecies of the Cedar of Lebanon.
There are only 4 types of Cedar trees, (Deodar, Atlas, Libani, Brevifolia) and the grow naturally in specific areas - the old World - the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, Cyprus, Lebanon/Syria/SOuth Turkey and the Himalayas.
The Cedrus Brevifolia has the smallest needles of all.
Just “google” pictures of the Cedar Valley, Cyprus.
I do miss that place :slight_smile:


This tree will most likely go back to PBM before then! But you can always go see it at the museum.

A Cedrus Brevifolia at the Cedar Valley in Cyprus…a picture I took in 2005 when Peter Chan of Herons Bonsai UK visited me(when I was living there)… Almost ready to be placed in a pot :slight_smile: Enjoy!


Atlas cedar natural forms in their mountain homeland remind me of the eastern white pine shapes in starker places in MN and WI, except maybe a bit wider and scruffier and less layered but otherwise much the same to me. The aesthetic problem I have with most BAC bonsai is their greatest gift, their foliage, becomes blankets of in inarticulate broccoli. The PBM Cedar is surly an amazing stud and the reduction and green breaking really has brought it into a new and ancient realm it has been waiting for and welcomes.

Is the bottom picture the final result?

Loved this tree! There is just one thing I think needs addressing, that long Jin on the main trunk makes the tree look younger. If the wood is brittle I don’t think it would stay that long if it was huge tree in the wild, and… it kind of looks like a nose :grin:

Great stream - love the final result especially the movement in the trunk line just under the apex.

Is ot possible to put the historical pictures of the tree that were on the stream. Nice to look at the trees development over the years.



Amazing to see how it has developed, and then changed. Cheers Kendall.

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What’s the story on the red cart? I need one bad.

The tree looks phenomenal. Opening up the top and thinning the lower branches really opened it up.