Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

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Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  Bonsai4life on Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:33 pm

Hi! i have been working on a yamadori crape myrtle (about 30 years old tree) for two years, and i think is time to start shaping the tree. I have been looking at the tree for a year and still can't decide what the best style to go with. I would like some advice from the "sensei" Very Happy to help me (Please) Smile .

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Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:48 pm

Looks to me like this tree could do with cutting back harder but I dont know what theyre like at budding back. I would also raise the soil level around the roots.

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Re: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  Bonsai4life on Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:24 pm

Thanks! All of the small branches that you see are from May until now (about 5 months). I'm thinking about cutting the large branch (the one on the left) down to about one inches taller than the left side branch to make a two apex tree. Do you think is a good idea? (pictures would help alot).

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Re: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  JimLewis on Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:48 pm

If this were mine, I'd get rid of that arrow straight trunk (or cut it down to a stub and see what sprouts). You will never be able to get movement in a CM trunk that large. That also would avoid the slingshot look.

I'd also plant it in a larger pot, and a bit deeper so the roots don't look so much like wheel spokes. It has a nice base, but as is it is a bit overdone.

Some nice potential here. Will is right, though, it could stand some cutting back (and for Will's information, they backbud readily).

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Re: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  Bonsai4life on Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:25 am

I was think about this style. is it possible?

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Re: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  Todd Ellis on Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:02 am

You could achieve that style and results would be faster buy growing it in the ground. Choose one of the two trunks for your main trunk and let it grow unchecked for a while to establish girth and height. Crepe Myrtles do bud back readily and branch selection can be done in the ground. Wire branches while still young before they lignify as they can be very brittle; to get some movement in the main branches. If you do wire after lignification and the branch cracks, support it with wire and don't manipulate the cracked "joint" until the next growing season. If you want "that" design, decide if you want the style the tree to incorporate the flower stalk/clusters, or not. Your tree indicates that it will flower with ease. I have a white non dwarf shohin tree that has not bloomed for me because I don't let the new grow enough to let it develope flowers. I have another dwarf tree which has been blooming for over three months now. It keeps going and going and going.... I could name it the Energizer! I feed it lots! cheers IFyou decide on a single trunk, the first photo, trunk on the left looks like the best choice to go with...to me. It has a nicer line IMHO.
Salut, Todd

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Re: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  Guest on Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:41 am

if this were my tree, i would cut it hard...just a couple of inches above the "armpit" of the slingshot. capitalized on the nebari, and go for a possible broom style. IMHO that is.
based on your virtual it would be hard to achieve because your current trunk looks too stiff without that gentle movement on your virtual.

regards,
jun
pirat

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Re: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  Bonsai4life on Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:13 am

Thank you very much for such informative advises. I am living in a mobile home, so I dont have much ground to put the tree down. Can i put it in a larger pot instead (I have a 12" by 24" bonsai pot)? The pot that the tree is in right now is 8" by 10". and about the virtual, it's hard to find a good example of a twin trunk style bonsai on the net, i just want to inform you guys with what i have in mind. But i kinda like the broom style too.

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Re: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  JimLewis on Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:07 pm

Bonsai4life wrote:I was think about this style. is it possible?


I doubt that you can get the secondary branch to bend -- at least not without severely damaging the bark, which is one of the best features of crape myrtle, or breaking the trunk, which, while it would heal, would make the bend too abrupt. And, the lower trunk on your tree is much taller than is shown in your drawing. What you have, I think, are branches, rather than trunks. Even planting it deeper wouldn't fix that.

You might be able to develop something similar by chopping the smaller trunk almost to the trunk line, then selecting an appropriate sprout to become the secondary trunk after it buds back.

It still is a nice tree and worth working on, but I'd continue to recommend that you cut it back severely and develop something from that.

You'd get numerous sprouts from the chop sites and probably elsewhere on the smaller branches (and from the roots; these prefer being clumps rather than single trunks!). You can keep those you want and rub other off. You may not get sprouts from the main trunk.


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Re: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  Bonsai4life on Wed Sep 29, 2010 1:12 am

Thank you very much for the pic. that is exactly what i have in mind. But i ask my bonsai teacher, he said to cut both trunk down to what you have in the pic (about an inch or two). When should i cut it? Is it now the good time to do it? or should i wait until spring to repot it and then cut it?
Really appreciate the helps. Thanks. Very Happy

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Re: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  Pola on Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:47 am

I'm going with what Jim suggests...here's a similar idea...






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Re: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  Bonsai4life on Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:06 am

Wow, i really like that style, thank you.

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Re: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  JimLewis on Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:28 am

I'd wait until EARLY spring. I know it doesn't get real cold in Fresno, but chopping it will cause backbudding and wintertime is not the best for that.

I like Pola's suggestion, too.

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Re: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  Bonsai4life on Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:32 am

The lowest that we had here is 48F. so will it be a problem for new buds?

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Re: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  JimLewis on Wed Sep 29, 2010 1:08 pm

It won't kill them, but they won't grow much/any, either.

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Re: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  Bonsai4life on Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:45 pm

So i guess i should wait until Spring come to do any work on the tree. Do you guys have any suggestion on the size of the pot that i should repot it in? Should i go for the shallow pot like the in the drawing, or Should i repot it into a larger pot to help faster growing?

Really thank you for helping me.

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Re: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  JimLewis on Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:39 pm

I'd keep it in a largish pot until it gets close to being a finished tree -- some time yet. Ample roots will help the top grow.

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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: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  Bonsai4life on Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:50 pm

Will a 24L-18W-6H (in inches) rectangle pot be good for the tree? Is it too big? Question

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Re: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  JimLewis on Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:55 pm

You haven't said how large this tree is at its base, but after looking at it I suspect the pot you're talking about may be a bit large.

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Re: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

Post  Bonsai4life on Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:17 am

I'm sorry for lack of info. the tree stands 25in tall. the base is approx. 4 inches (w/o the nebari).

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Re: Styling a Crape Myrtle Bonsai

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