Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

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Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Todd Ellis on Sat Aug 14, 2010 4:28 pm

I collected this beech this past late Winter. Approximately half of the exposed roots were already exposed above ground when I found the tree. I cut off approx ten feet of the trunk when I collected it. I want to create a Penjing style of tree. It is very unusual to find exposed roots like this in our woods. I suspect that this tree was uprooted at one time when another nearby tree fell during a storm. The loosened soil eventually eroded away, leaving the roots exposed. The bark on the roots matches the bark on the tree. Unique to say the least.
I am wondering how to make a nice tree with its unique featured roots. I have thought about topping it this Winter down to the lowest branch. Then keep doing that until I have a good leader to work a new top.
I also thought about grafting younger saplings in strategic places, but that would leave scarring. Then I thought about thread grafting which would leave smaller scars. The tree currently stands approx 3.5 feet from soil level.
Do you have any thoughts or suggestions on where to go with this?
I would also welcome your honest thoughts on this tree as Penjing. Thanks! Salut, Todd Question






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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Kalogero on Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:28 pm

Hi Todd,
indeed, it's a very unique tree. It makes me think about beeches I can see in the Alps, growing on rocks with exposed roots. IMHO, maybe you could put the tree on a big rock and make a kind of penjing.
Regards
Kalogero

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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Todd Ellis on Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:54 pm

I was thinking of Penjing, too.

If I could find the right rock, or selection of rocks; it could become a believable planting. The tree is very heavy right now. It would become a two-person-carry tree. I would love to see how Walter Pall might approach this tree at a workshop. Very Happy Salut, Todd

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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Smithy on Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:22 pm

Todd , just an off the wall suggestion. could you chop the trunk right down just above the exposed roots and make something from there. its never going to be a classic tree so make something a bit odd.

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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Todd Ellis on Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:25 pm

Hi Smithy, I see potential for something animal-like with this. I am waiting to see if anything will pop out further down the base before cutting down to the base. "The giant spider climbing over the knoll to attack the sleeping village..." , "Medusa doing a hand stand" lol!
Todd

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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  JimLewis on Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:50 pm

I'm amazed that it is alive in that pot! Those roots are too stiff and too heavy to force over a rock.

I'm sorry and may be suffering from a total lack of imagination, but I don't see anything remotely "bonsai" in that plant. At best it will be a conversation piece. At worst it will be a grotesque.

Sorry.

Maybe it is because the American beech is one of my favorite trees (maybe my absolute favorite) and I know how they should (and do) look out in the forest. Plant it (deep) in the yard somewhere and let it be a beech.

_________________
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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Kalogero on Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:04 pm

Be carefull if you chop the trunk above the roots 'cause beech is a very difficult tree with airlaying.

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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Todd Ellis on Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:14 pm

I think it has potential as Penjing. I am attracted to the grotesque and unusual trees. It will never be "classic bonsai" as most beeches grow, but it sure is unique. I appreciate your comments, Jim.

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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Smithy on Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:02 pm

JimLewis wrote:I'm amazed that it is alive in that pot! Those roots are too stiff and too heavy to force over a rock.

I'm sorry and may be suffering from a total lack of imagination, but I don't see anything remotely "bonsai" in that plant. At best it will be a conversation piece. At worst it will be a grotesque.

Sorry.

Maybe it is because the American beech is one of my favorite trees (maybe my absolute favorite) and I know how they should (and do) look out in the forest. Plant it (deep) in the yard somewhere and let it be a beech.

. Think out of the box , make some art .



Last edited by Smithy on Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:10 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Todd Ellis on Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:51 am

Merci mon amis. I have experienced this on a beech before.

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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  AlainK on Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:01 am

Kalogero wrote:Be carefull if you chop the trunk above the roots 'cause beech is a very difficult tree with airlaying.

Sorry, but I have to disagree: I've air-layered several Fagus sylvatica, and each time, it worked very well.

I used the technique described in an article translated from a Japanese magazine : in February, I remove a ring of bark, and put a tightly attached ring of rather big wire just under the upper part of the removed bark. It took two years before there were enough root for the upper part to be safely severed, but it makes very nice nebari.

I think that's what I would do with this tree, for I agree with Jim's comments... Embarassed

One last thing : although almost cut back to soil level, one that I had left in the ground produced new shoots late in the season, but they died for lack of watering while i was away on holiday. Don't know about the American beech, but when you cut back hard a European beech, it produces many new buds at the end of the winter. Judging by your photos, they're very similar trees, and I'm pretty sure it would work with your tree too.


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inspiration?

Post  pootsie on Sat Aug 21, 2010 4:34 am

Your tree reminds me of these river-dwellers in the inspiration folder of my bonsai photos







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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Todd Ellis on Sat Aug 21, 2010 4:42 am

WOW!!!! Awesome trees! Where did you take the pictures, Pootsie? Those roots are incredible!

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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Todd Ellis on Sat Aug 21, 2010 4:46 am

. Think out of the box , make some art .

ThumbsUp

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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Smithy on Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:26 am

Wonders will never cease, real trees looking like yours Todd. Trees end up in all forms and don't always grow into trees how they are supposed to. There are no rules to what we do in our back yards. Non of our bonsai are growing like they are supposed to. They are all supposed to grow into big trees .
Just have fun with them.

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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  JimLewis on Sat Aug 21, 2010 5:45 pm

Some time ago, I told Jackie (wife) that if I EVER heard the business-speak "think out of the box" again, I'd hold my breath until I turned blue. Well, I didn't exactly hear it here, but I saw it, so . . .

First, "penjing" doesn't mean awkward. This tree cannot be anything but awkward. The roots are too thick for the trunk, too straight, and have NO "flow" or feeling -- unlike the wonderful tree pictures Pootsie showed -- especially that first one.

Second, this is an AMERICAN beech, not a European or Japanese beech. It backbuds with GREAT difficulty, and almost never where you want it to. Buds tend to form almost parallel to the trunk or the branch. It grows one set of buds on the ends of its branches and twigs each year. Pruning seldom results in anything but a dead branch. Its name is Fagus grandifolia, which should tell you something about the size of its leaves: grandi=large, folia=foliage. They reduce poorly, if at all.

I've been doing bonsai longer than, I suspect, some of the folks who have posted in this thread have been alive. I've been promoting the use of native trees for most of that time. I really, really like penjing. I also am a fan of the exposed root style. This tree will not fit either -- ever -- or at least not well.

The trunk does have a nice flare at its base, however, which leads me to believe that if most of that tangle of roots were cut away and it was planted upright in a large shallow pot and babied for a few years, there might be a possibility of a nice (if, within the box) bonsai. It would, however, have to be large because of the leaf size. And it would regure a superabundance of patience on the part of the grower.

All this said, the owner of this tree may, of course, do with it what he wishes.

As I said at the beginning, I'm amazed that it still lives.

"Whoosh!"
Ran out of breath.

_________________
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: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  pootsie on Sat Aug 21, 2010 6:21 pm

Todd Ellis wrote:WOW!!!! Awesome trees! Where did you take the pictures, Pootsie? Those roots are incredible!

The top one is alongside the Scioto creek in central Ohio, and the bottom two are another creek in northern Ohio not far from Cleveland. Obviously the floods have had a part in the story of these trees.

Glad u like

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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Smithy on Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:48 pm

JimLewis wrote:Some time ago, I told Jackie (wife) that if I EVER heard the business-speak "think out of the box" again, I'd hold my breath until I turned blue. Well, I didn't exactly hear it here, but I saw it, so . . .

First, "penjing" doesn't mean awkward. This tree cannot be anything but awkward. The roots are too thick for the trunk, too straight, and have NO "flow" or feeling -- unlike the wonderful tree pictures Pootsie showed -- especially that first one.

Second, this is an AMERICAN beech, not a European or Japanese beech. It backbuds with GREAT difficulty, and almost never where you want it to. Buds tend to form almost parallel to the trunk or the branch. It grows one set of buds on the ends of its branches and twigs each year. Pruning seldom results in anything but a dead branch. Its name is Fagus grandifolia, which should tell you something about the size of its leaves: grandi=large, folia=foliage. They reduce poorly, if at all.

I've been doing bonsai longer than, I suspect, some of the folks who have posted in this thread have been alive. I've been promoting the use of native trees for most of that time. I really, really like penjing. I also am a fan of the exposed root style. This tree will not fit either -- ever -- or at least not well.

The trunk does have a nice flare at its base, however, which leads me to believe that if most of that tangle of roots were cut away and it was planted upright in a large shallow pot and babied for a few years, there might be a possibility of a nice (if, within the box) bonsai. It would, however, have to be large because of the leaf size. And it would regure a superabundance of patience on the part of the grower.

All this said, the owner of this tree may, of course, do with it what he wishes.

As I said at the beginning, I'm amazed that it still lives.

"Whoosh!"
Ran out of breath.


Oooooooooooo ,holding his handbag up in the air. Laughing

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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  AlainK on Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:15 pm

I won't type my reply in bold characters, I wouldn't anyone to think that I'm shouting at people. At this time of the day, I usually start to mumble... cyclops

I really enjoyed watching the pictures "Pootsie" posted: I think that most of us don't spend their time in front of a screen, and that they've encountered sur beutiful trees when they go out, take some fresh air, and look around.

I wanted to post my feelings on the comparison with Todd's tree, but i refrained for fear of getting myself into a row, or a tempest in a tea-cup if you prefer.

This is what I wanted to say :

The first phot, and to some extent, the second one, shows roots that look very natural, they're evenly spread according to their natural environment. The beech posted by Todd don't have these qualities : it suggests a young tree that was removed from where he began to grow, with some roots at sharp angles, and others that make regular curves. That looks very artificial to me, all the more than the trunk looks like the trunk of a tree that grew in a plain. No logic for the eye.

And, sorry Smithy, but the kind of statements like "Think out of the box , make some art" leaves me very perplexeified, If I can say so.

What? Doing anything would be "art"? I don't think so, it has to have at least a concept behind.

Yarnbombing those rugly roots would be the only alternative for me to make "art" out of this tree as it is (I think I never posted anything about "yarnbombin", but not only did it make me smile, but to me, this is really art, full of humour and sensitiveness and a good pinch of self-derision. In a word, very British, I love it. That's how I see it anyway...)

Coming back to the tree : Todd, this conversation goes well beyond what you expected as an answer, I hope you take it with the distance necessary to civilised people entering ANY forum. Your tree has a future: it's up to you to find it.

(And no, I wasn't raised by jesuits! Laughing )

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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Smithy on Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:54 pm

Does art have to have a concept ,i have no idea. As long as Todd makes something he likes isn't that his art. I'll send him a little crochet hat for it then it will be art. Very Happy What do i know ,i haven't been alive very long .


Still smiling and not taking things very seriously.
jocolor

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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Smithy on Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:19 pm

Jim , if you can hold your breath as long as you can type that ,then your lungs aren't too bad Smile

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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Todd Ellis on Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:27 am

Thanks everyone for your input. Grandiflora leaves do reduce considerably in containers; at least that has been my experience. My attraction to this tree was the fact that its roots were exposed. Over half of the roots above the soil in the pot were exposed by nature and by the looks of the bark, for quite some time. At this stage, the tree can only improve. It can't get any worse. Grotesque is grotesque! So, the truth is out... I like grotesque flutter eyelashes (sung to the tune "I'm coming out!" Bagpiper ) Please also note, I love the classic styles as well... and all points in between. The tree will tell me where it wants to go. I see approach grafts in its future...
Thanks again y'all! Salut!

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Here's my beech after 2+ years of growing

Post  Todd Ellis on Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:43 am

I have been working on this beech for the past two years and wanted to share its progress. It is back budding and the leaves have reduced well. I am pleased with its progress. I appreciate your comments and suggestions.




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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Smithy on Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:02 am

I think you have done a great job with this Todd. I'm glad to see you have done something a bit different with it . I would love to have it on my bench.

Gald to see that you were thinking OUT OF THE BOX and created something original rather than just going down the road that was safe.

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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Rick36 on Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:17 am

Sorry, Todd (and Smithy) - I just can't see it! I have to go with Jim's earlier comments; maybe it's an age thing. However, I am glad you did it and posted it, because I am inspired to revisit some of my earlier discards which are now just "lying around". Whatever else, your tree is certainly a conversation piece; KuKu - no -chi-no - kami might also approve! Good Luck.

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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

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