small Elm clump

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small Elm clump

Post  Richard S on Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:34 pm

Hi folks

I'm fairly new to bonsai (couple of years) and very new to this forum so I thought that by way of and introduction I'd post a picture of my latest tree.

I realise that in this company a simple tree like this isn't going to set any pulses racing but I like it and I think it has some potential. Shouldn't prove too challenging for a relative novice like myself to develop either which is a bonus!



For the record it's a Siberian Elm (Ulmus Pumila) that was field grown by a local bonsai nursery. In fact when I first spotted it about ten days ago it was still sitting in what appeared to be a plastc bucket with the rest of the pre bonsai/raw material. However, when I went back to buy it this weekend the owner had potted it up with intention of putting it out for sale in the spring (at approx twice the price).

To his credit, when I expressed my disapointment he offered me "the tree" at the original price although he did explain that I would also now have to buy the pot as well of course!

This was a shame as I've got a much nicer pot at home which I was going to use but I'm not complaining, it was still a very good deal.

As for future styling well that's pretty much been determined by the existing trunk chops/leaders and branch options but I'm happy with that. The tree does have a bit of nebari as well (obscured by the new soil in the photo) and really the only thing that I'm not entirely happy with is the straightness of the smallest and forward most trunks.

I think the smaller one could almost certainly be wired but wonder whether the bigger one could perhaps be induced to bend slightly with some sort of clamp?

Anyhow, cheers for now.

Richard

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  JimLewis on Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:23 pm

Don't worry about the pot. You"ll find a use for it, and this grouping is too young to be in a "final" bonsai pot, anyway. Yes, the straight trunks are and will be a problem. I don't see much likelihood of putting anything but the most gentle and slight bend in any of them. The lack of any sign of taper will be another -- which leads me to the suggestion that you chop them all quite short, and start regrowing the whole thing. If there already is a nice base on the tree, that's the hardest thing to develop anyway and elm tops are easy to grow and regrow.

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  marcus watts on Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:40 pm

hi,
i totally agree with Jim that the taper issue will always raise its head when the leaves are off. I would not shorten all trunks straight away though- start with the worst two. If you just fancy bending them they will all curve easily with a straight metal bar, a piece of wood in the center and two copper guy wires top and bottom - just tighten the wires slowly (over weeks not minutes) - protect the bark well and the trunks will curve just fine. it will take a year to complete at least so no need to rush

good luck - spend the time now getting the trunks perfect, the branches are really easy to grow

cheers Marcus

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  Richard S on Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:14 pm

Thanks Jim

Your quite right that the lack of taper makes the trunks look young which doubtless they are but I'm not too concerned about that. I don't really see this group succeeding in looking old and gnarled whatever I do to them. Although allowing the lower branches to thicken up would presumably help.

Still, there could be some merit in reducing the height as well. Something to think about.

As for the bend, I don't think I would want more than a slight curve anyway. Just enough to stop that small one looking like a pencil!

Cheers

Richard

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  Richard S on Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:20 pm

Thanks Marcus

Your suggestion for bending the trunks is something I've seen depicted in books but not something I've tried before. Sounds straight forward though so I may well give that a go.

Cheers

Richard

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  Auballagh on Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:37 pm

I would put this tree into a grow-out pot to build good root mass and promote strong, healthy growth. It looks like the trunks are big enough in diameter to work with now. This tree just needs a lot of development to be taken to the next level.
You have some really nice low branches you can cut down to in building shape and taper for this bonsai. I would cut them down as low as possible, and get your trunk future movement for this bonsai started by working with the new branch/apexes.

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  Richard S on Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:26 am

This was (I think) my first post on IBC!

It's over 18 months ago now so I thought I'd update it with a few photos to show how my elm clump has developed.

This is the tree as originally posted in spring 2013.



This is winter 2013 after just one season of growing/pruning. I've also attempted to bend the trunks as suggested previously.

 

The tree grew well again this year and I let the lower branches go a bit wild in the hope that it would thicken them up a bit.



And this what the tree looks like now (back view).



Of course you'll notice that I ignored everybody's sage advice to chop the trunks back and build more taper so doubtless this will still be an issue Cool  but I'm looking forward to the leaves dropping so I can get a proper look at its progress anyway.

May do some selective pruning and wiring this autumn and then definitely a re pot in the spring as the rather organic soil mix is becoming very compacted.

Cheers

Richard

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  JimLewis on Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:38 pm

Looks nice, and your "back" view would make a good front.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  Oliver Muscio on Fri Oct 31, 2014 4:29 pm

I'm with Jim on this: I like the "back" as the front better too. It puts the largest trunk in front, which I prefer here.
Oliver

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  Richard S on Fri Oct 31, 2014 5:43 pm

Thanks guys, I like the "back" as well. In fact I think it works ok either way which is no bad thing of course.

Regards

Richard

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  BrendanR on Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:50 pm

I think you have done well, both in selecting this material and in what you have done with it.

The trunks have a collective weight that I think is convincing, and I would try and build a wider canopy.

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  Richard S on Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:28 pm

Thanks Brendan

The canopy should get wider as the group develops. It seems to have grow very strongly so far so that shouldn't present a problem for the future.

Cheers

Richard

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  Richard S on Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:22 am

A quick "two years" update on this tree with new pot/soil.



I think it might need some thinning out and a re-wire next autumn when it drops it's leaves but until then I'll just sit back and hope it grows well again this year.



Cheers

Richard

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  BobbyLane on Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:00 pm

Thats setting up to become a very nice tree mate, its ramifying very well and i also like that there's some variation in the trunk sizes, nice work Cool

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  JimLewis on Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:21 pm

It is coming along nicely, though I still wish it had been possible to develop it a bit more slowly with a series of trunk chops.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  Richard S on Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:36 pm

Thanks Bobby.

Yes Jim, I know what you mean and your probably right. I'll admit to a bit of beginners impatience with this (and probably other trees). There's no real short cut to creating taper and I did realise this but still couldn't bring myself to cut it back as hard as it perhaps needed.

Regards

Richard


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Re: small Elm clump

Post  Richard S on Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:57 pm

Just sorting some photos for another post and thought I'd update this with a current winter image.



Regards

Richard

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  LanceMac10 on Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:05 pm

I like it. Very Happy

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  Van on Thu Mar 03, 2016 3:12 am

Nice progression Richard.  Glad that you stick with your own intuition and it came along with your vision set out in the beginning.  The white straight trunks remind me a lot of quaking aspen groves I've seen in the Rocky Mountain area in US.





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Re: small Elm clump

Post  Richard S on Thu Mar 03, 2016 6:19 pm

Thanks guys.

The trees been tidied up a bit since the last photo and is looking even better (it gets very dense and there were a few dead twigs to remove). I've also removed the last of the wire so this year it can just grow and be cut back. Hopefully get a bit more ramification on the lowest branches too!

Regards

Richard

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  coh on Thu Mar 03, 2016 7:04 pm

This has really developed nicely. I'm glad you didn't take the suggestions to chop those trunks. While it's true that as individuals they don't have much taper, I think that is offset to some degree by the variations in trunk sizes.

These look a lot like clumps of trees I see in the landscape...very realistic in my opinion. Would love to have something like this in my young/developing collection.

Chris

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Re: small Elm clump

Post  Richard S on Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:21 pm

Thanks Chris

I am pleased with it considering I've only had it three seasons and it really was very cheap material. I think in the future the biggest problem will be getting the lowest branches to thicken and ramify. Like my other elm (also probably Siberian Elm) the top seems very vigorous but somewhat at the expense of the bottom.

Regards

Richard

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Re: small Elm clump

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