initial larch work

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initial larch work

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:30 pm

i acquired this larch this past summer and as it presented a serious challenge, i was hesitant to begin on it... but after alot of looking i decided to dive in this past weekend.

the challange being that all of the branching was on one side of the tree, except for the upper part and the upper part being too "upper" to keep.

as the base was dictating the best viewing angle, my choices were very limited, so my initial plan was just to bring the existing branches down, and move them in a way that would add some foliage down low on the left, bring the second branch partially around to the back for depth and the remaining branches placed for "fill"... i realize the upper right branch seems a bit thick and long, but i plan on cutting that back further and keeping it in check while letting the lower ones run a bit to thicken up.



come spring, i plan to repot it and airlayer off the top (as shown by the napkin mask - which will make a great shohin tree in its own right)
and then work at bringing the remaining crown down and hopefully get some smaller branches going up in there...

comments/suggestions welcome...

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Larch Style

Post  Bolero on Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:43 pm

Kevin, very nice, no critical commentary... however I would have opted for saving a few more branches and wiring them straight out as opposed to downwards...
Looking forward to updates showing foliage...
You've done well for a difficult Larch...
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Re: initial larch work

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Jan 03, 2017 3:29 pm

the few i removed would have only added more "weight" to the left side...

and i do expect some spring back from the wired branches which were over wired downwards to compensate for that...
so they should look more natural when the wire is removed.

thanks for the input !

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Re: initial larch work

Post  GrantK on Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:27 pm

Hi Kevin,
You've done a nice job on a tree which initially did not show much potential. It looks good to me now and hopefully, will progress well.  I love European Larch and can't wait for those mini shaving brushes to appear. I see you are in Wisconsin,  when would you expect the buds to break where you are? Here's a photo of one of my smaller Larches taken just before Christmas.  The branches were wired quite severely in a downward motion but since the wire has been taken off the branches they have leveled out quite a bit. We've had a really hard frost here over the past week or so and the last of the needles have just dropped.  Grant
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Re: initial larch work

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:18 pm

grant - i reckon they will start to push late march, into april... depending on how dependable our spring is Wink

spring in wisconsin really is a crap-shoot. Rolling Eyes

and yeah re: the new shoots, i think larch are my favorite to watch as they begin to pop !

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Re: initial larch work

Post  Lost2301 on Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:23 pm

Kevin,

I like it very much, good job. It should make a great tree. My only advice would be to put a bigger more sever bend right at the trunk. The branches should come out just a little and then a severe bend angling the branch downwards. The thought is that is what happens during the winter with a load of snow the branches.

Great job. I like larches. I have a huge European Larch that fell over in the pot and it is now a slanting tree. No work has been done it, I had a hard time dragging it into the garage for the winter.
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Re: initial larch work

Post  AlainK on Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:33 pm

What larch species is it? Native? (Tamarack?)

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Re: initial larch work

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:04 pm

alain - not sure... tag just said "larch" Laughing

lost - while i agree that many bonsai are designed with the branch coming out at a severe angle from the trunk, i do not really see this in nature as it is such a gradual thing to occur... a thin branch can not hold enough weight to cause much bending (that is without breaking)... it is only as the branch gets fuller with more foliage that it can begin to have the surface area to bear the weight that causes drooping branches... but by then the branch itself has developed its own strength... of course that may depend on climate, length and duration of the snowy season, type of snow (heavy and wet or light and powdery) etc, etc... here in my neck of the woods, i have never seen an old conifer with the branches coming out at a severe angle...

matter of fact i wonder how often that happens anywhere scratch

i would love to see examples of branches doing that in nature...

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Re: initial larch work

Post  LanceMac10 on Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:28 pm

Looks like it will work, nice job. Agree with a bit more "crank-down" on the lowest couple of branches. Smile

Not sure how well these will air-layer? They don't seem to back-bud very well so I'm just curious if they would actually throw roots. I've no hard evidence, so feel free to correct me if I'm inaccurate on my view. study


The apex will be a bit tricky to sort out, they usually are. scratch But it's a fairly upright design so it shouldn't prove to be too perplexing. ThumbsUp

Should produce a nice image with a bit more maturity in bark and twiggy-ness. lol!
I laugh because only the passing of time allows for this type of "maturity"......


Looks like a graceful lass......







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Re: initial larch work

Post  AlainK on Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:48 pm


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Re: initial larch work

Post  Lost2301 on Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:19 pm

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Re: initial larch work

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:31 pm

mike - are you referring to the dead tree on the left ?
the one branch on the left ?

alain - yes what you drew is close to what i am looking to achieve

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Re: initial larch work

Post  Lost2301 on Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:39 am

Kevin,

Its easier to see the sharp bends in the dead trees. If you look you will see most of the lower branches have sharp down turns in them due to snow in the mtns. The upper branches generally don't droop as much until they bigger. I styled a larch and my branches did not have a steep down turn to them either. I was advised by our more advanced club members that there should be a sharp drop off on the branches. I have heard several of the younger Japanese masters say the same thing.

You might not see this effect in your neck of the woods. Might not be enough snow on the trees to produce the effect. You can 3-6 feet of snow in one night up in our mountains. I have an Austrian pine planted next to my neighbors drive that keeps lowering its branches. I have been cutting them off every couple of years. There is only 1 large lower branch left on it and it is cracked right in the middle of the branch. It probably won't survive another winter here. Just the branch. The snow was so bad last year I had to cut off about 3 major branches. One was pretty high up in the tree. It took my hours to saw the darn thing off. Its a big pine now. It has great nebari, mature bark and a nice curvy trunk. Now if I could just get it into a pot. Very Happy

I have a Fresia Black Locust in my front yard. It does the same thing. The branches keep getting lower and I have to keep cutting them off. Nothing like hitting your head on one of its thorns to remind you to cut the branch off! Idea
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Re: initial larch work

Post  Lost2301 on Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:53 am

I like to watch youtube videos of people riding bikes or atv's on mountain trails its a great to spot where to go tree collecting.

Check out this video and watch the trees not the biker!! I think you will see what I am talking about. The higher where the tree lives the most pronounced the tree branches will be.



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Re: initial larch work

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:51 pm

thanks mike... yes i can see that effect in the trees of the mountains where snow shapes the trees and landscape far more than here...

like i said i was basing my observations on my surroundings...

but i actually like the look of the sharp bend better, and so i am a bit torn between what i see around me and what i may like...
(as has been discussed [ad nauseum at one point bounce ] the naturalistic style is extremely difficult to pull off)

and so as my justifications crumble, i am again reminded how much there is to learn...  Wink

(and as you mentioned black locust, i have 2 i found in a nearby field that i have trunk chopped... any experience with those ?)

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Re: initial larch work

Post  Lost2301 on Wed Jan 04, 2017 5:23 pm

Just the ones I have in my landscape. The "Fresia? Locust has yellow/chartreuse leaves depending where you live. They are prone to Locust borers. Locust borers here in Colo. look like a yellow jacket wasp. I had a bonsai shrub that was blooming one day and I  was watching the black/yellow wasps dining on the flowers. They were very entertaining to watch. Some of them did not like each other and they were dog fighting each other above the flowers. Great to watch! Well I noticed this one wasp did not fly like the others, just kind of flied like it was drunk. A closer look revealed it was a beetle masquerading as a wasp. I had never seen a beetle like this before. I checked DR. Google and finally found it, a Locust borer. They come out in the fall, mate and lay eggs under the bark. There favorite food is Goldenrod flowers as an adult. I just happened to have some Goldenrod. I checked the clumps and found some more. A neighbor behind me has some kind of locust and I have a Purple Robe Locust in my backyard to. Plenty of food to lay eggs on. I did find a couple of holes near the ground with saw dust coming out of them. Not sure if it was a borer or some kind of woodpecker or flicker. I would keep an eye on your trees for borer holes or just treat them with a systemic. My large one in the front did get aphids or scale, not sure which one, but it was dripping honey dew all over my car. I treated the tree with Bayer systemic. 20 gallons of it and left on a trip for 9 days. Came back and not honey dew any more. I would wait until after it flowers to use a systemic.

As for the tree it self. I did try a couple of the Black Locust "Twisty" trees. They chop back pretty good and grow fast even in a pot. Leaves did not seem to reduce though, all though I was not trying to get them to reduce. I think they should look good under the right conditions. They have a nice white flower that smells heavenly. "Twisty" ones do not flower. I missed watering them during my mothers illness and they expired. My fault, not the trees. I like the "Twisty" ones since the trunk is not straight up and down. I bought a seedling for Bonsai and wintered it into the ground and then forgot about it. It has now become a landscape tree! I keep cutting it off and it keeps coming right back up! So another good word for chopping them! I may have to go see what the trunk looks like on the thing. Might have to dig it up for a Bonsai tree!!! Hope this helps.
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Re: initial larch work

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:59 pm

it does - thanks !

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Re: initial larch work

Post  Mal B on Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:06 pm

LanceMac10 wrote:Looks like it will work, nice job. Agree with a bit more "crank-down" on the lowest couple of branches. Smile

Not sure how well these will air-layer? They don't seem to back-bud very well so I'm just curious if they would actually throw roots. I've no hard evidence, so feel free to correct me if I'm inaccurate on my view. study


The apex will be a bit tricky to sort out, they usually are. scratch But it's a fairly upright design so it shouldn't prove to be too perplexing. ThumbsUp

Should produce a nice image with a bit more maturity in bark and twiggy-ness. lol!
I laugh because only the passing of time allows for this type of "maturity"......


Looks like a graceful lass......

Just to answer your question Lance................larch airlayer fairly easily. A 4" trunk with 5 months worth of airlayered root.





               


         Regards Mal.





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Re: initial larch work

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:17 pm

on behalf of mac - thanks !

he was making me wonder as i have never airlayered a larch before...
others yes, but never a larch

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Re: initial larch work

Post  Mal B on Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:26 pm

Sharp knife, clean cuts, freshest sphagnum moss and don't keep it to wet are the secrets Wink

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Re: initial larch work

Post  LanceMac10 on Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:56 pm

Nicely done! I'll consider myself corrected! Very Happy
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