Cercidiphyllum japonica, Katsura bonsai

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Cercidiphyllum japonica, Katsura bonsai

Post  Seth Ellwood on Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:00 pm

First of all Hello to all of my old friends, and to new friends as well.I just purchased a katsura Cercidiphyllum japonica as pre bonsai material and was wandering what the best way to go about caring for this species.I have not been able to find much info on it and would appreciate some help.The tree is approx 15 ft tall at the moment and has a 12 to 13 in trunk and 16 in nebari.I want to know when to do the trunk chop and growing conditions for this tree. It is spectacular I will post pics of it when I bring it home from the nursey .It is currently going in to dormancy and when all the leaves fall I will be bringing it home. Does this tree handle drastic pruning? does it heal over with proper care? Thank you in advance for the information.

Seth Ellwood
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Re: Cercidiphyllum japonica, Katsura bonsai

Post  John Quinn on Sat Sep 19, 2009 1:13 am

Hi Seth, welcome to the IBC!
I am not familiar with this species. Hopefully, you will get some useful info!
It looks like Vance Hanna has had some experience on the basis of this link:
http://www.thebonsaiguide.com/BPG/BS_A0104.HTM

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John Quinn
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Re: Cercidiphyllum japonica, Katsura bonsai

Post  Seth Ellwood on Sat Sep 19, 2009 2:25 am

Thanks john! That has been the only representation I have been able to find. I still have not been able to source any info on growing or styling other than it is able to live in our climate and it grows fairly quick.

Seth Ellwood
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Re: Cercidiphyllum japonica, Katsura bonsai

Post  Jeremy on Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:45 am

Hi Seth,
I think Wolfgag Putz has a fine katsura in his collection.
I seem to remember he posted pics of it in the past.
Good luck with your tree.

Jeremy
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Re: Cercidiphyllum japonica, Katsura bonsai

Post  mr treevolution on Sat Sep 19, 2009 10:54 am

Nice species. The dead leaves when crushed smell like candy floss / cotton candy!
Have seen a few whoppers but never small ones as bonsai. Wyndcote bonsai in Lancashire used to have a few in from time to time. My own experience has been nursery stock production of small 3L plants. Easy to grow but didnt like peat based soil. Grown under large glass.

mr treevolution
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Re: Cercidiphyllum japonica, Katsura bonsai

Post  Seth Ellwood on Sat Sep 19, 2009 4:07 pm

Thankyou everyone for their reply .I wonder how they react to hard pruning and do they back bud to old wood? Mabye mr putz will grace my thread with some insightful information on styling and growing of this species. Cool

Seth Ellwood
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Re: Cercidiphyllum japonica, Katsura bonsai

Post  Randy_Davis on Sat Sep 19, 2009 8:14 pm

Hi Seth,

I have grown a dozen or more Cercidiphyllum japonicum to evaluate them for bonsai for somewhat longer than 10 years now and have some comments that might be helpful. From a stylistic standpoint Katusra is really best for the "natural" style of which Vanc Hanna's tree is a perfect example. In answer to your chopping question, they bud back from old wood very readily. Large trunk chops should be done in the late winter just before the onset of spring. When grown in a container the healing over of the chop with take many, many years but can be hastened by over potting the tree into a large container and letting it grow freely for a number of years until you have the semblence of a canopy to work with. Because this tree has rather large leaves and will only reduce in size moderately and a larger bonsai (36" tree minimum) would be recommened. The leaves will reduce insize better when the tree is root bound. Another difficulty with this tree is that the branch internodes are extraordinarily long even with constant pinching. I have found that it is best to prune branches back to nubs at the secondary branches each winter and force new growth every year which they readily put out in the spring. The root system is very agressive and can be pruned back quite severly (within reason) without much harm to the tree. I have found that they just love water during the growing season and I often have to water them 2 times a day or more in the heat of the summer months. As they get pot bound they will drink constantly and I have found that they can be put into a water tray where they get constant water during the height of the summer here in Kentucky. I don't know where you live and what your environmental conditions are but you should be able to figure out a watering regimen rather quickly. From my experience, Katusra will not be the best bonsai in the traditional upright or semi-upright stylebut it will be quite nice in the natural style if you like that type of style. They are at their best in the very early spring with the blue green leaves or in the fall with the excellent fall coloration and smell of the oil in the leaves which some say smell like cotton candy but I think it smells like Apricot jam.

Randy_Davis
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Re: Cercidiphyllum japonica, Katsura bonsai

Post  mr treevolution on Sat Sep 19, 2009 10:02 pm

Hope you took a couple of good deep breaths after that one Randy!. Some great information there.
We used to prune the small ones over just before the end of winter to reshape before budding out. They would always throw out lots of shoots where cut harder, even put out shoots near pot level too. Very thirsty yes, used to grow them near myrtus and temu, all on the same wet lovers regime.
Love apricot jam!

mr treevolution
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Re: Cercidiphyllum japonica, Katsura bonsai

Post  Seth Ellwood on Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:24 am

Thank you very much Randy! This tree will be around 36 in finished the trunk diameter is 12-15 inches. I will chop it from a 15 foot tall tree to around 27 inches and build the canopy from there. It is currently in a 25 gallon nursery container and along with the trunk chop I will reduce the total root mass by 50% and transfer it in to a large cement mixing tub to grow freely . Do you think that is a good start to secure the trees health ? The tree must be pot bound due to the average leaf size on the tree at the moment is only the size of a 50 cent piece.I live in SC and will only drill a few holes in the tub to help with water retention but still have enough drainage to keep the roots from staying wet. I will be picking up the tree near the end of winter as to perform the chop b4 bringing it home Arrangements have been made with the nursery to assure the trees health in the meantime. I have a few phone pics to upload later this eve to show the base affraid

Seth Ellwood
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Re: Cercidiphyllum japonica, Katsura bonsai

Post  Randy_Davis on Sun Sep 20, 2009 1:33 am

Hi seth,

your timing plan seems to be just right waiting until late winter (Mid-January to Mid-February) to do the initial chop and root pruning. With that size of trunk and knowing the growth habit of that tree you should be open with regard to the final size of the tree. Keep in mind that the Vance Hana tree is 47 inches or close to it in hight. I certainly hope your a young man and have time to see the scar heal over because in my estimation it's going to be the size of Kansas and take untill the 22nd Century to heal over completely. Remember that a diagonal cut will heal faster than a vertical cut but each of those types of cuts will produce diferent stylistic results so be sure of your intended design before you set saw to tree. Good luck bud!

Randy_Davis
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Re: Cercidiphyllum japonica, Katsura bonsai

Post  Seth Ellwood on Sun Sep 20, 2009 1:56 am

As promised here are the pics of the trunk .Randy I am 31 so hopefully I can hide the cut in the rear and slowly keep it closing.
Pic 1

toward the top of the pic is where the chop will take place it is also where their are two branches converging one of them will become the new apex. These pics are horrible but the tree is great!

Seth Ellwood
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Re: Cercidiphyllum japonica, Katsura bonsai

Post  Randy_Davis on Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:09 pm

HI seth,

How's your Cercidiphyllum comming along? Mine just budded out and it made me think of your project tree. Here's a pic of mine. It's 28" from the soil line to the top of the tree. Someday I'll get a nice container for it.

Randy_Davis
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Re: Cercidiphyllum japonica, Katsura bonsai

Post  Seth Ellwood on Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:08 pm

Randy that is an impressive start you have there.My trees are just starting to come out of slumber and I haven't seen much action from mine as of yet .As soon as I see budding I will post a pic of it's progress.My chinese elms ,Japanese maples and prunus mume are pushing leaves and my huge hornbeam is dropping flowers and leaves but the others are slow to wake up.

Seth Ellwood
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Re: Cercidiphyllum japonica, Katsura bonsai

Post  iggynawcio on Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:18 pm

how did you project turned out? it has been a long time, would love to see some pictures. As I am planning on doing something similiar.

Thanks!

iggynawcio
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Re: Cercidiphyllum japonica, Katsura bonsai

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