Alaska Yellow-Cedar

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Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  gregb on Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:21 pm

I thought I'd share a before shot with you of an Alaskan yellow-cedar I styled recently for a friend. Click on the link to my blog: http://brendenstudio.wordpress.com to see the rest of the story affraid


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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  gman on Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:48 pm

Is that 500 on the pot the price ???

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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  MrFancyPlants on Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:56 pm

Nice work and pretty bark! Although you could post the result on this forum too. It took my a moment to figure out that there was an after picture there somewhere. I sure would be itching to get it out of that pot though; do you have a time frame for that?

Thanks,
David D.

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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  gregb on Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:15 pm

Gman--500 was indeed the price. David--I purposely left quite a bit of the foliage with this initial styling so we could pot it this spring; March or so. We may be going with a custom made pot for this, depending on my friend's budget scratch

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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  gman on Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:21 pm

[quote="gregb"]Gman--"500 was indeed the price".
WOW then I'd better get out there collecting........ as we have an abundance of these (Alaskan cedar) up here lol.
They are becoming a lot more common as bonsai candidates here and in the PNW.
I look forward to watching the transformation on this one.
Cheers

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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  marcus watts on Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:40 pm

hi,

intersting, but dont you find trees with droopy foliage just droop again as soon as the wire comes off ? it usually droops because the fine branches remain very flexible and dont properly set, (probably to protect them from snapping off in bad weather) so there is a chance the tree will never hold the design chosen without wire, and new shoots will always need wire too I guess.

i know with some of the juniper species they do this so only work long term with weeping designs if the goal is to produce a wire free tree.
Are there mature bonsai examples of this species around that hold shape unwired?

cheers Marcus

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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  gregb on Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:54 pm

marcus watts wrote:hi,

intersting, but dont you find trees with droopy foliage just droop again as soon as the wire comes off ? it usually droops because the fine branches remain very flexible and dont properly set, (probably to protect them from snapping off in bad weather) so there is a chance the tree will never hold the design chosen without wire, and new shoots will always need wire too I guess.

i know with some of the juniper species they do this so only work long term with weeping designs if the goal is to produce a wire free tree.
Are there mature bonsai examples of this species around that hold shape unwired?

cheers Marcus

Marcus--there are some very fine examples of a related species that grows in the eastern U.S., Eastern white cedar. Nick Lenz and Suthin Sukolsovisit are two artists that spring to mind who have used this material. Again, that's what wire is for Idea Sure, the foliage is droopy initially; that's why we wire it the way we want it. Once the new growth lignifies, the area that was wired stays set in the position you wired it in. The new growth is always going to be droopy but not if you don't let it extend very far and that is what I will do in later stages of refinement of this tree. And like most conifers, it may be a while before the tree can go without wire altogether. The general reaction of bonsaiists new to this material is that they don't like the foliage and therefore they don't use it--too bad Razz It's their loss and that leaves more for me to work with Cool

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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  BigDave on Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:18 am

gregb wrote: It's their loss and that leaves more for me to work with Cool

Good for you Greg.

Just spent and hour on your blog ,very enjoyable. Love the Gremel and CJ

YOu are doing very well

--big D

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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  drgonzo on Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:25 am

gregb wrote:
Marcus--there are some very fine examples of a related species that grows in the eastern U.S., Eastern white cedar. Nick Lenz and Suthin Sukolsovisit are two artists that spring to mind who have used this material.

Though T. Occidentalis shares a Familial taxa with your Chamaecyparis nootkatensis, the difference between Genus' under the same Family can be profound. Think of Beech trees and Chestnuts or Oaks for example, all in the same family, yet the approach for Oaks and Beech in bonsai culture is quite different..... Hopefully you will find the species as workable as Suthin and Nick have found Thuja to be.

I also see there is a 'weeping' pendula form of this tree. If thats what you have here then Marcus makes a good point in that you may always be fighting its natural habit to weep. However I think If you do get fed up in several years that a re-style into a weeping form would also look really good with this tree!

good on you for trying out a new and different species.
best
-Jay

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Beautiful work

Post  Al Polito on Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:51 am

Excellent work, Greg! I'll weigh in as another who thinks the foliage is just fine as is. In my view (and this is one of the reasons I really love working with native trees) a good bonsai captures the essence/the energy/the mood or feeling of the tree species worked with. The foliage is part of what makes an Alaska Yellow a unique species, or a Red-cedar for that matter. I also am disinclined to style an azalea or maple as I would a pine tree, as azaleas and maples and any other trees are sufficient to themselves. Brian Eno is known for saying that an object's imperfection or fault is what makes it cool, and I would say the same applies to bonsai trees, bonsai pots and many other forms of art. (The wabi-sabi principle comes to mind here too.)

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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  gregb on Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:55 am

BigDave wrote:
gregb wrote: It's their loss and that leaves more for me to work with Cool

Good for you Greg.

Just spent and hour on your blog ,very enjoyable. Love the Gremel and CJ

YOu are doing very well

--big D

I'm glad you enjoyed the other content alien Stay tuned for more... Wink

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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  gregb on Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:03 am

Al Polito wrote:Excellent work, Greg! I'll weigh in as another who thinks the foliage is just fine as is. In my view (and this is one of the reasons I really love working with native trees) a good bonsai captures the essence/the energy/the mood or feeling of the tree species worked with. The foliage is part of what makes an Alaska Yellow a unique species, or a Red-cedar for that matter. I also am disinclined to style an azalea or maple as I would a pine tree, as azaleas and maples and any other trees are sufficient to themselves. Brian Eno is known for saying that an object's imperfection or fault is what makes it cool, and I would say the same applies to bonsai trees, bonsai pots and many other forms of art. (The wabi-sabi principle comes to mind here too.)

Thanks Al! I wouldn't expect you would have much against these as I know you are pretty open-minded. It always amazes me though how difficult it is for some to accept something 'new' even though it isn't clown Dan and many others in Canada have been working with this species for years now. Given time, I think we'll be seeing more of this species as credible bonsai...might you be joining the club?

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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  coh on Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:16 am

First, let me say that I really like what you've done with the tree. The bark is beautiful, and your first styling is quite impressive. It will be interesting to see how it evolves, especially with the drooping foliage. I've got an eastern cedar (thuja occidentalis) that has similar foliage that I'm trying to figure out how to handle. I think next spring will be it's first styling so I'll probably be referring back to this.

I found your blog interesting, you've got some nice photos there.


Last edited by coh on Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:34 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : removed unnecessary/somewhat obnoxious comment)

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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  gregb on Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:22 am

Chris--thanks for the feedback. I'll keep that in mind the next time I post here Suspect

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The Club

Post  Al Polito on Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:55 am

Oh, yes, I will be joining the club. I hope to purchase a Nootka from Dan (there's one he brought that I can't stop thinking about), plus there are a few Red-cedars in the Cascades that I have my eye on. One of them is a very interesting, incredible tree. Hope I can transplant it successfully when the time is right.

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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  gman on Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:54 pm

Greg/Al,
As you stated …….we've joined the A.C. club…for many of the more experienced folks here have been learning to grow and style them for at least a decade.
I think that the choice of branch development (drooping vs. compact) is a choice based on the characteristics of the tree and the style one chooses.
Not trying to steal your thread …just trying to exchange ideas and information……so I’ve attached a couple of photos of very old ancient Alaskan Cedar (what we call yellow cedar) which show different branch distinctiveness.
Cheers Graham


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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  gregb on Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:24 pm

Graham--thanks so much for posting these cheers Very valuable for the skeptics to see they have their own distinctive characteristics as they age and become ancient trees. Please feel free to share anything else you have about this species Idea

I especially like the one in the second pic w/the dead top. Similar to what our hemlocks and doug fir do when the reach that tall. Does the wood make good timber? Looks like they grow pretty straight and the wood has plenty of resin--would make good fence boards anyway ThumbsUp

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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  marcus watts on Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:56 pm

Hi Greg,
thanks for the details - as you pointed out other guys have used a similar species but not this one to make nice bonsai so i guess that does mean it is potentially unknown to you and everyone else if this variety will ever set in the design you hope to achieve, or whether all the branches will just flop when the wire comes off. I dont know if it is different over there but i see wire as a tempory addition to a tree, not the only way to maintain the chosen design indefinitely. It is essential people pioneer in our hobby and try unknown varieties though, so all credit to you on this one, and equal credit to the person who paid $500 for the tree to fund the experiment too

Nothing (but a bit of time) will be lost trying, but it is worth looking at a convincing weeping style tree too, even though it is a much harder style to do (like proper windswept) they are far more unusual and eye catching when done well. Several years ago Dan Barton commented on a juniper sp. i styled in a competition and the advice made so much sense i have never forgotten it.......... it was to always understand what the tree wants to be, and to work with the material not against it.

nice blog thread and great pics

cheers Marcus


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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  marcus watts on Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:02 pm

love the full sized pics - even though they are huge trees lots of foliage appears to hang straight down, so i think there are clues there Idea

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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  gregb on Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:57 pm

marcus watts wrote:love the full sized pics - even though they are huge trees lots of foliage appears to hang straight down, so i think there are clues there Idea

Marcus--maybe I went overboard in my zeal to talk about how this tree should appear as a bonsai. My intent is not to rigidly force it into some form it would not naturally take. If you look closely at the result of the initial styling, I took complete advantage of the growing habit of the foliage. I did wish to point out that I'm continually surprised at how reluctant people in bonsai--even here in Portland--are to accepting a different species of tree and how they fail to get beyond a trait like droopy or coarse foliage. I have no doubt at all the branches will stay set once the wire is removed. I have been working with Western red cedar and it is hardly distinguishable from yellow cedar. Droopy foliage and all. I think it would be cool to try one in a weeping style too jocolor I'll bet there's one out there now...

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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  gman on Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:36 pm

gregb wrote:Graham--thanks so much for posting these cheers Very valuable for the skeptics to see they have their own distinctive characteristics as they age and become ancient trees. Please feel free to share anything else you have about this species Idea
I'll talk to the pioneers of this species up here Anton Nihuis and Peter Wilson to see what they do with thiers - Peter was working on one recently that mirrors the images in the photos I posted, I'll try and get some pictures.

I especially like the one in the second pic w/the dead top. Similar to what our hemlocks and doug fir do when the reach that tall. Does the wood make good timber? Looks like they grow pretty straight and the wood has plenty of resin--would make good fence boards anyway ThumbsUp
I'll quote from the company PR "It is renowned for its strength and natural resistance to weather, rot and termites. Yellow-Cedar provides a "green" alternative to chemically treated wood for outdoor decking, fencing, marine pilings, docks and other structures in fresh water. It is well suited to coastal environments and termite-infested regions".

The timber brings a pretty penny - one of the most valuable on the coast, very slow growing, tight grain, finishes off really well - the Japanese are a big buyer of this species and the operation I work for has recently sent over some temple logs that were huge - the temple will take some 5 years to complete.
Not really a bonsai post but might be interesting to some Very Happy
Cheers Graham


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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  gregb on Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:45 am

I think it's relevant if you're looking for something durable to build bonsai benches out of and don't want/like pressure treated lumber which doesn't last forever either. Slow growing and tight grain are both a plus for bonsai and explains why the tree I styled still had some wood intact after being buried for possibly centuries in peat moss.

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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  kora on Sat Dec 15, 2012 3:28 am

so whats wrong with a little drooping-make lemonade out of a lemon, I love this drooping foliage with the right trunk, just tamed a bit,kora

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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

Post  gregb on Sat Dec 15, 2012 3:56 am

kora wrote:so whats wrong with a little drooping-make lemonade out of a lemon, I love this drooping foliage with the right trunk, just tamed a bit,kora

Thanks Kora--that's the spirit Dance

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enough

Post  reddog on Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:23 am

Give it up greg. the cheerleading outfit you are wearing for team yellow cedar is getting old. We get the point...move on. Rolling Eyes

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Re: Alaska Yellow-Cedar

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