Building a Rotted Amur Maple (Updated)

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Building a Rotted Amur Maple (Updated)

Post  Michael T on Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:40 pm

I collected this amur maple approximately 6 to 7 years ago. It was 15 foot or so when collected.  It's original root mass was enormous.  Took a fork lift to load it.  I have two others of similar size as well.

Over the years I've worked the root mass into a smaller training box.  It's now time to move it into a larger bonsai pot.  

I've also let the primary trunk rot.  After removing the very soft punky wood and preserving the entire trunk with PC Petrifier, I'm sort of stumped about where to go from here.

The left side of the rotted trunk is elevated approximately 2 inches above the soil line.  And the right side of the trunk extends down into the soil line.  The single live vein remaining runs along the back side of the right side.  And the center has a solid mass of wood with some interesting pieces extending upward.

I'm considering a few approaches.

1.  Build a shallow craggy fake rock with wire mesh and cement to run under the left side and through the center and then in front of the right side.  I would keep it below the top of the left side preserved root.  Then lift the tree and cut off all the lower dead wood below the soil line, so the left and right side can be set down flat against the craggy rock and soil surface.  

Sitting it on the concrete rock should prevent any additional rot from taking place along the base; or

2. Build a much larger craggy rock that fills in the entire hollow while also running underneath the left side.  I'd probably extend it upward behind the left side root as well so the left side root snaked in front of it.  The advantage of filling in the hollow is stability. The whole mass is somewhat brittle at points

Either way, I'm having a hard time visualizing one over the other.  And building the rock requires a bit of planning ahead so to speak.  So, I'm looking for suggestions.  P.S.  the shine from the preservative brushes off with a little sandpaper.





Last edited by Michael T on Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:14 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Building a Rotted Amur Maple (Updated)

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:07 pm

wow... i feel like i am in the reptile house at the zoo Shocked

while i cannot help with your dilemma, i am curious about the pc-petrifier you mentioned...

have you been using it for long ?

if so, i would like to hear more about it, such as how it ages, and if the shine fades over time, or only when sanded, etc
i have been using minwax wood hardener and i wonder how different the pc product is...

(sorry if this is too much of a divergence from your topic)

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Re: Building a Rotted Amur Maple (Updated)

Post  JimLewis on Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:10 pm

What a bilious green! Couldn't see the tree for the tint.

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Re: Building a Rotted Amur Maple (Updated)

Post  Michael T on Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:35 pm

Ha! I edited the pics pretty heavy. Did it to bring out the details of my problem. Not so much for color correction. They are crappy jpegs from an iphone under very warm light from the HPS system behind it.

First time I've ever used any wood preservative. I did an obnoxious amount of research on it and others though. The only other one I'd consider is the paralloid B52 used in museums, but the PC was available locally so I picked up a couple of bottles.

The rotted wood was very fragile before application. Now, it's pretty stout. And the sheen does rub off. I have to say my initial impressions are favorable. I can't imagine it won't hold up over time. Others report that it does well.


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Re: Building a Rotted Amur Maple (Updated)

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:51 am

thanks !
yeah i saw home cheapo carries it, so i might try some too

you say you took the pictures with i telephone ???

that explains it !!!

taking pictures with telephones...
SCIENCE FICTION, I SAY !!!





Wink

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Re: Building a Rotted Amur Maple (Updated)

Post  appalachianOwl on Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:54 pm

Have you considered removing most of that dead wood? What dose the other side look like, would there be enough trunk left to do so effectively? It really is a GREAT tree.

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Re: Building a Rotted Amur Maple (Updated)

Post  Michael T on Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:06 pm

The buds started to swell while I had it in my sunroom preserving the deadwood.  I planned on transplanting it in the spring.  So, I put it in a bonsai pot a little earlier.  The pot is full of fine feeder roots.

I'll keep it in the sunroom til Spring.  Its approximately 40 inches tall now, but once the apex and primary branches fully develop, I will reduce it to 36 inches.  I let the branches grow out long each season to help with thickening them.  It has a ways to go.  

The attached picture highlights my problem.  I like the root on the left.  Hard to see in the picture but it has a lot of character.  But, it's way too high off the soil.  I'm considering building a faux cement rock underneath it as described above.  Or I could cut off the lower portion of rotted trunk on the right and drop the whole thing to the soil line.  

Incidentally, there is no rotted wood below the soil line.  I removed all of it.


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Re: Building a Rotted Amur Maple (Updated)

Post  JimLewis on Mon Feb 09, 2015 1:47 pm

I don't have the root positioned quite right, but is something like this at all possible? It's probably quit a bit under 36inchs tall, too, but . . .


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Re: Building a Rotted Amur Maple (Updated)

Post  Michael T on Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:15 pm

Looks like a good idea in your picture but I look at in person, it seems like it would lean too much to the left. I could lean it a lot more to the left than I realized and that would reduce the spacing a lot. If I build the rock, I think that would make it look a lot more natural.

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Re: Building a Rotted Amur Maple (Updated)

Post  Leo Schordje on Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:27 pm

Interesting trunk - it has great character. But what to do with it? I'm at a loss just looking at photos. There is an active bonsai community in the Louisville area. Attend a meeting or two of the Louisville club, other's eyes might see the solution, or they might propose an idea that you can take further.

The little experience I have with concrete leads me to say I would not expect very believable results with making concrete stones. You are in an area where there is a wide variety of native rock, surely it would be possible to find a nice suitable rock somewhere within an our drive of you. Along creeks, rivers, and along trails in your local state forests you should be able to ind good candidates. But if you like playing with concrete, it is an interesting project.

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Re: Building a Rotted Amur Maple (Updated)

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