Thuja Design Feedback

I’ve been staring at this little Thuja occidentalis for a while now and I’d like to hear any thoughts, criticism, or advice as it moves forward; the end of august basically amounts to mid-fall here so the period of work is well over, but I could certainly tweak branch placement a bit if it comes to that.

It started life as bargain bin nursery stock , ramrod straight, with a decent root base to the left so I exaggerated the few bends it did have into a shape that reminds me of a picture (that I have since lost) of a tree perched on a cliff-side, reaching up into open space; sort of an airy, ethereal feel to it. However, I was at a loss as to how to use the second trunk (if at all), and eventually settled on leaving it be for the time being to really feed those roots on the left, and I was a bit gun shy given the amount of foliage I had reduced by that point.

Please feel free to point out any holes in my logic or design, I just ran with my gut feelings on this one and it’s never a bad thing to check those on some facts once in a while.

Insert the standard disclaimer of ‘forgive the wiring, I am an imperfect student’.






I’d make it a bit taller since it’s such a slender trunk. Define the line base to tip first. Decide if you want an alpine or coastal feel and then keep the foliage tight to the trunk.

Let us not forget that perhaps 75% of North America and the natural range of Eastern white cedar is neither alpine nor coastal. Those two options/ideotypes only exist on the west coast.


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Thanks Bentley, I appreciate the feedback. Definitely left more length on the foliage than would suit it, so once I see how well it bounces back after this winter hopefully I’ll have enough growth to tighten it up more to suit the profile.

That was definitely a factor in my plans to play with it, up here we’re a long way from any natural examples, and as a young and boring nursery tree the only character it’s ever going to have is the character I give it. I usually default to snow-loaded alpine so it was fun to do something a bit more ‘swoopy’.

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