Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

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Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  SMJ76 on Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:16 pm

So I recently picked up this bald cypress pre-bonsai material.  The base of the trunk at the roots measure 12", the lower part of the trunk measures approx. 4.5-5" and then goes up to the area beyond where the shoots come out and into a 2.5-3" length.  There are two shoots that come out of an area that had previously died back at some point in its life.  I was thinking of cutting one off, (the upper and smaller of the two) and keeping the lower one, then training the tree to go into a split twin style as it matured.
I wanted to post some photos to get some other styling ideas for it.  I was thinking of heading in a similar direction that a fellow at Orlando Bonsai went and did a formal upright with a split top.  I was planning on cutting off approx. the last 2 foot of tree and keeping it much smaller than it currently is.  

Here's the tree, the photos and some photos of other trees that had inspired me a little.  Thanks in advance for weighing in.

**The tree as it stands now.  I opted to try an off-center placement int he pot, but I think when it's re-potted next year I'll place it dead center instead.  Not sure I love the offset placement.


**The tree from the side (yes it has a slant to it, the roots were funky and wasn't the easiest thing to wire down into the pot.)  I'll be straightening it out when its re-potted next year.


**A closer look from the side.


**This is what I had in mind so far.  Trimming it back to this, then wiring up the small branches and see what kind of flow and movement I can put into those branches.  Let the lower shoot/branch grow but keep it a little shorter than the other, larger main part of the tree I'd be cutting that approx. 2' foot off of.


**Second idea, which I'm really not sure about, I'd really have to look and look at the tree and see if its appropriate, would be to cut a wedge in the tree then wire or tie it down to have it heal up and grow out on a slight slant, giving the tree and old wound look as if it had another tree fall on it eons ago.


**The third idea was to keep it at about the height it is now, just a little shorter and toss around the idea of doing a flat top, splitting it at the top.  Not crazy about the idea though.

Well, that's about it thus far. Any and all ideas will be greatly appreciated!

Here is the one from Orlando Bonsai that got me thinking a little....
(Read more at this page)

http://www.orlandobonsai.com/?tag=bald-cypress



Last edited by SMJ76 on Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:33 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  Marty Weiser on Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:03 am

It looks like you have a branch in the front about half way up that could become a new leader if you cut off just above it and beveled to the back. It would take a couple of year to bulk up and blend in, but in the mean time you will get lots of shoots below that. I have done that with a slightly smaller bald cypress in a much less hospitable climate and it is starting to come around - I have let the top grow wild for a couple of years and then cut back twice.

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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  SMJ76 on Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:21 am

Marty Weiser wrote:It looks like you have a branch in the front about half way up that could become a new leader if you cut off just above it and beveled to the back. It would take a couple of year to bulk up and blend in, but in the mean time you will get lots of shoots below that. I have done that with a slightly smaller bald cypress in a much less hospitable climate and it is starting to come around - I have let the top grow wild for a couple of years and then cut back twice.

Yes that's the smaller of the two shoots that came out after it had died back way back when. Ok, that's another idea I didn't consider yet, thank you.

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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  SMJ76 on Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:27 am

Here's a photo of the lower shoot tied back to get it in a more vertical position. This is the positioning that I am considering for that specific shoot if indeed I go the route of my first idea. Of course this would still be cut back quite a lot.

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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  JimLewis on Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:25 pm

You might try this:



You could make the fatter top into a large jin with some carving later on, or (my preference) you could allow it to sprout. Whatever the fate of the main trunk top, I'd suggest wiring some movement into the smaller branch.

There's nothing wrong with off center planting, but with this tree, I think it needs to be off center in the other direction.

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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  Todd Ellis on Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:20 pm

Nice tree! My first thought was that the lowest right branch in the first photo was growing out of a natural hollow; perhaps cut off this branch and carve out the hollow? Then create a new top. From my perspective (first photo), the tree could be rotated clockwise 10 to 20 degrees which would still provide/keep the wide base, and have a better option for the "lean" for the newly cut top... or not. These cypresses bud out profusely and will give you numerous options for leaders and side branches. A high flat-top with a hollow area could be a very natural effect. Have fun with it! Very Happy 

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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  Zach Smith on Tue Aug 06, 2013 2:27 pm

If you go with your second idea, don't cut a slant at this point in time. You'll need unrestricted growth of your new leader, and if you slant the cut now you'll end up with a nasty reverse taper in a couple of years. Cut it straight, let the new leader grow for a season or two, then slant the original cut point and also cut back your new leader at the appropriate spot to create the proper tapering transition in the apex of your tree.

Good luck!

Zach

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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  SMJ76 on Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:38 pm

Todd Ellis wrote:Nice tree! My first thought was that the lowest right branch in the first photo was growing out of a natural hollow; perhaps cut off this branch and carve out the hollow? Then create a new top. From my perspective (first photo), the tree could be rotated clockwise 10 to 20 degrees which would still provide/keep the wide base, and have a better option for the "lean" for the newly cut top... or not. These cypresses bud out profusely and will give you numerous options for leaders and side branches. A high flat-top with a hollow area could be a very natural effect. Have fun with it! Very Happy 

Interestingly enough, what looks like a hollow can be hollowed quite easily. Reason being, there were actually three shoots at one point, but the center one died completely, I had noticed it was very weak and simply broke it off with very little force. When I did that, I saw similarly as you have noted, it almost looks as if there is or could be a hollow there. (I should have avtuai mentioned that before to aide the questions.)
So, yes, I was thinking, when it goes dormant, of breaking out the dremel and digging out the dead wood still in there. For now I just covered it up with cut paste, just figured I'd cover it.

Now what do you think about hollowing the area up, taking off the branch above it, and still keeping the lower one, as if it was growing out of a newly made hollow?
Reason I thought along these lines is that on this forum, I had seen and read of a fellow who took a rather large bald cypress and cut the heck out of it and later after hollowing the center he ended up with am amazing twin trunk tree.

Just a thought.

Rotating it was something I figured I should have thought on, I'm not surprised another saw that as well. I'm definitely considering that when I repot it.

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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  SMJ76 on Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:41 pm

JimLewis wrote:You might try this:



You could make the fatter top into a large jin with some carving later on, or (my preference) you could allow it to sprout.  Whatever the fate of the main trunk top, I'd suggest wiring some movement into the smaller branch.  

There's nothing wrong with off center planting, but with this tree, I think it needs to be off center in the other direction.


Hmmm, that's a nice idea as well.  I'll have to look around for other examples of such trees, same styling with a large jin at the top such as this would look.  

Jim, were you thinking of the dead wood jin at the top to look something like the one on the tree in this photo to the far left??  (photo of some trees out in California, I found the photo on the net, used only for reference for this topic)
That's what I am envisioning when I read your idea.



Let the brain storming continue!!


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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  SMJ76 on Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:59 am

Any other ideas anyone have to incorporate a dead wood jin? Very Happy 

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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  JimLewis on Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:53 pm

Actually, I wasn't thinking of a jin at all. Once you make that chop you will have branches and leaves sprouting out everywhere.

DON'T BE IN A HURRY! The tree isn't going anywhere. Let it get some foliage and then study it, and study a few other BC (in person, if possible) and make some choices then.

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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  SMJ76 on Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:11 pm

JimLewis wrote:You might try this:



You could make the fatter top into a large jin with some carving later on,...
Jim, that's where I got the question to you regardung what type of "jin". Wink

I thought to let ut go but I'm eager to see what I can do wuth it...not so much to hurry it but get ut more unti a shape I'm more happy with. I think its the artist looking at the messy canvas seeing the possibities and just looking to choose one.

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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  Jkd2572 on Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 pm

You soon will find that they grow like weeds and will back bud all over the trunk. You will soon have new branches where ever you want them. i would wait to do anything until then. You can then cut off that straight branch that's sticking out.

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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  SMJ76 on Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:59 am

Jkd2572 wrote:You soon will find that they grow like weeds and will back bud all over the trunk. You will soon have new branches where ever you want them. i would wait to do anything until then. You can then cut off that straight branch that's sticking out.
Thanks for weighing in, much appreciated!

I may just wait then, the lowest branch I had in mind for to try a twin tree look, seeing as it had some good size now and will just get bigger with time, I thought that may be a good start. The other branches I was going to do away with especially the one that's, well, pretty much sticking way out from the front of the tree! haha,...
You think I'd probably be better off just taking of both of those larger shoots though instead, don't try for the twin idea then perhaps?



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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  JimLewis on Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:22 pm

That low branch never can make a trunk. Trunks start at or very near the soil line. That is, and will remain, a branch. Whether you keep it or let it be is up to you. If you keep it, you'll need to wire in some kind of movement; it looks like a pencil jammed into the main trunk now.

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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  SMJ76 on Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:49 pm

JimLewis wrote:If you keep it, you'll need to wire in some kind of movement; it looks like a pencil jammed into the main trunk now.
Hahaha.... yes, yes it does! Laughing 

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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  Jkd2572 on Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:38 pm

I'm with Jim. I see that branch always looking out of place. The trunk is great and deserves better branches.

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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  Todd Ellis on Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:57 pm

The trunk of your cypress reminds me of the formal upright Bald Cypress that Guy Guidry donated to the National Arboretum... If you scroll down the link I included, this may give you some ideas...

http://bonsaitonight.com/2010/11/19/national-bonsai-and-penjing-museum/

Todd

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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  SMJ76 on Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:45 pm

Jkd2572 wrote:I'm with Jim. I see that branch always looking out of place. The trunk is great and deserves better branches.
Thanks for weighing in,... I see the branch going somewhere, BUT I think the reality is since I'm new to the world of bonsai, in as much that others can reply on their former experience in seeing how these kinds of branches and trees have progressed and I cannot, my imagination as to what the possibilities for that branch seem made of more hope than that of much else.

Again, thanks,... thanks to everyone thus far!

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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  SMJ76 on Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:46 pm

Todd Ellis wrote:The trunk of your cypress reminds me of the formal upright Bald Cypress that Guy Guidry donated to the National Arboretum... If you scroll down the link I included, this may give you some ideas...

http://bonsaitonight.com/2010/11/19/national-bonsai-and-penjing-museum/

Todd
Ahhh!,.. the bonsaitonight site!  I love the things I've seen on there,...find myself drooling way to much when I hit that site!!  haha... Very Happy

Ah ha,.. I see the Guidry tree,.. nice,... hmm,... very interesting,... thank you.

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Re: Bald Cypress Styling Ideas/Questions

Post  SMJ76 on Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:22 am

Just something else I came up with, a sort of candle flame appearance. I think this might be the look I need to follow through on,.. but I'll be waiting and keeping this in the forefront of my mind as this little fellow grows out.


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