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

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

Post  Todd Ellis on Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:11 pm

Some of us on IBC have talked about our fondness for Ents, and this tree reminds me of an Ent. I love the concept of the Ents and Mr. Tolkien named one "Beechbone". This tree looks like a "bony beech" to me Very Happy

Fantasy aside, I have seen many exposed root bonsai. As bonsai go, it can only get "better". I would like to refer to Man Lung Artistic Pot Plants , by Wu Yee-sun, which has a photo of an old exposed root Acer palmatum, plate 156, p. 193. Mr. Wu's book inspired me when I first started to grow bonsai, and does to this day. If you have never seen this book I urge you to get your hands on a copy.

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

Post  Russell Coker on Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:21 pm



Wow, you're off to a great start.

Exposed root style isn't easily pulled off well, there are more bad ones than good ones. It's telling a story, and most people miss that. What is your tree's story?

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

Post  Todd Ellis on Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:51 pm

That's a good question Russ. When I discovered the tree its roots were already exposed (below the thickest part of the root flare). It was growing out of a natural mound. I suspect the tree had been uprooted, somehow during a storm sometime. I counted over 50 rings when I chopped the top. Its original home was on a woody hillside in a typical Oak forest with many large "draws". I suspect that the roots had been exposed for decades due to the consistent bark texture on the tree. The tree was literally standing on its roots in the loose mound of soil, with many roots still grasping the soil deeply. I can imagine this tree growing on a high, shale, river bank that has washed away from years of storms, high water, earthquakes, etc... to be left still standing despite nature's fury.

My vision is to make it a nice, unique, exposed root tree.

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

Post  drgonzo on Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:56 pm

Hi Todd

I remember this tree, nice to see it doing well. I think If it were mine to play with I would definately go with the idea of "tree in motion" by styling the bulk of the foliage trailing to the left semi cascading a bit. I would go with the idea of the tree having uprooted itself and is now walking off (toward the right) and its foliage naturally trailing behind it. Possibly on a march towards Isengard!

I think whimsical trees work best when you realy let them get whimsical and work less towards traditional boundaries. It's like they give you an 'excuse' to get a little more creative.

BTW watch your salt burns on those Beech Leaves. 4 years now with American Beech and I've finally touched on the fertilizer they like best and which does not give me scorched leaves (at least in my conditions) and it wound up being paddies of duck muck cleaned out from my duck pen placed right on the soils surface....ie organic.

Best
-Jay

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

Post  JudyB on Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:05 pm

Interesting beech, I'm always a sucker for beech... I think a different pot may be a partial answer to the problems posed with this tree. Wider.... Wilder too.

I may have to get some ducks!

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

Post  Russell Coker on Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:14 pm

Todd Ellis wrote: I can imagine this tree growing on a high, shale, river bank that has washed away from years of storms, high water, earthquakes, etc... to be left still standing despite nature's fury.
There ya go! I can't tell you how many satsuki I saw in Japan with an amazing exposed root structure topped by a perfect little tree. They just didn't relate to each other at all. It's all about believability - they have to work together. I think you have a very unique piece of material there!

Speaking of... How's my red pine doing?

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

Post  Twisted Trees on Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:04 pm

Todd Ellis wrote: . Think out of the box , make some art .

 ThumbsUp
I wouldn't pot it in a box. Ceramic seems to work better.

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

Post  Todd Ellis on Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:40 pm

Rick, who is KuKu - no -chi-no - kami?

Russ, the cascade Red Pine is doing very well. I think it looks better than ever. I will post a photo this Fall.

Jay, I recall a photo of a Ficus in one of the Penjing books with the foliage as you describe. It is a whimsical tree, standing tall and in motion, and has another "feature" between its legs, which causes one to chuckle, an perhaps blush Very Happy I have fed this beech twice monthly with inorganics and the leaves have been beautiful up until the past two weeks. I may have used too much in the solution this past feeding and will look for some manure.

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

Post  drgonzo on Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:53 am

Todd Ellis wrote:I have fed this beech twice monthly with inorganics and the leaves have been beautiful up until the past two weeks. I may have used too much in the solution this past feeding and will look for some manure.
In my experience with F. Grandifolia they are extremely sensitive to salts (inorganic fertilizers) I have also found that towards the end of summer into fall they want very little in the way of fertilizer and its best to feed them right after leaf break and then slack off from there.

The other issue they have is it seems they take many years to re-establish sufficient root mass to help avoid drying and necrotization of tissue at the leaf margins in hot windy conditions. Mine has taken a good 4 growing seasons to really regain its footing and is now staying green all season long and having less visible issues with K deficiency. The organic fert is also a big help with this species.

-Jay

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

Post  Todd Ellis on Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:17 am

Thank you Jay. And thank you Judy, I will look for another pot when I finally decide how large the canopy and branches will be. Right now the foliage hides the ugly top with little taper. This will change through the years with good pruning and more carving.

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

Post  Rick36 on Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:16 am

Hi Todd. Kuku-no-chi-no-kami is (in Western terms) the Shinto "God of the Trees". In Shinto it is regarded as the "essence" or even "spirit" of trees, because a God does not strictly translate. Although Shinto practitioners (and I am not one, but I do like the approach of living with nature) pray to their selected "Kami", they do not worship them as such - more they live with them since the parts of nature they represent are all around.
My karesansui garden, and its surrounds, are dedicated to Kuku-no-chi-no-kami (see the avatar), not because I am religious in any way, but to give credence to the notion that i am living with the spirit of trees - and therefore giving the best I can to them so that they will give their best to me. It is best called "harmony".
Lots of info on line under the heading "Shinto".
Re- your beech. As a tree I would love it exactly as all my other "tree children", but as a bonsai.....?
Cheers.

Rick36
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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  Rick36 on Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:28 am

And as an afterthought - could you find a big suitable rock, plant the tree over the rock and use it as a landscape feature in your garden? Best of both worlds? Just my opinion.

Rick36
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Re: Collected Exposed Root Beech. Cut back? Approach Graft? Thread Graft?

Post  steveb on Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:29 pm

While on the subject of the American Beech, I have one that I collected 3.5 years ago, chopped, and over-potted. It has been growing strong ever since (lots of branches, deep green leaves). It has a 3 inch trunk at the base and is about 2.5 feet tall. I now need to start pruning it back (the top and side branches). I've read this species can be challenging to prune. Does anybody have advice about when and how to prune? I'm thinking that Spring, before the buds open is the best time. Also, I've read to leave at least one bud per branch. Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks.
Steve

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

Post  JudyB on Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:14 pm

Steve, I don't have american beech, but on my EU beech, I use the techniques from Harry Harringtons site. Here is a link. There are several beech progressions on that site as well.
I'm sure that Jay can help you better than I can...
http://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Beechadvancedpruning.htm

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

Post  rrubberbandman on Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:23 am

ahhhhh the beeches and hornbeams look so alike in our area......i have dug up what i feel is a hornbeam aka ironwood and will post pics later....it some minor roots exposed also.
Breyan

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

Post  steveb on Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:41 am

Thanks for the link Judy. I'll follow Harry's expert advice and see what happens. Thanks again!

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

Post  Leo Schordje on Mon Sep 23, 2013 5:46 pm

Todd, I like how it is progressing. I think I saw this tree in person, though it was still in its under the bench winter storage position. I like Jay's suggestion of pruning the top to add motion in one direction. Not make it one directional like a strict windswept, but give it the feeling of movement. Ent tree may or may not be do-able, but a little directionality in the foliage would be great.

Another couple degrees of ramification in the branching and it will look like the old tree it is.

Finding the best pot to show this tree will likely make the difference between people calling it bonsai and people calling it a houseplant topiary.

Art? Bonsai? Topiary? Grotesque? No matter, I like it.

Leo Schordje
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