cedar elm work

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cedar elm work

Post  Russell Coker on Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:05 pm

I bought this cedar elm as a newly collected tree 20 years ago in Austin TX. I have never worked on anything so slow and maddening before in my life! No matter what I do I can only get one flush of new growth in the spring - and that's it! It ain't much, and there's no more growth for the rest of the summer. I've never defoliated it, quite frankly I'm afraid to. Root growth is strong and fast, so I repot at least every other year, if not annually. I'm going to repot it today back into this old Yamaaki. I've tried it in other pots but always go back to this one.

If you have a cedar elm, please post some pictures and tell your story. I'd love to know what others have learned about them, especially the old, collected ones.

Here's the "autumn" color, in the middle of December...



Wired and ready for repotting...



Thanks!

R


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Re: cedar elm work

Post  Guest on Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:50 pm

I love it... it is so natural.

If you allow me, I have some opinions about the design.
1. The left second branch has a vertical growth that really throws off the overall branch design a bit. I would remove that thick branch, and fill in that negative space with branches growing in the back. The branches growing in the back should mostly be wired to grow to cover the left space where the branch would be removed.
2. The right secondary branch that is growing backwards creates a triangle space between the trunk and the right branch.
3. A light colored, glazed longer pot, would enhance the beauty of the trunk and branch movement.

Again, these are my opinions only... as is, I truly love the tree.



Thanks,
Suburbia




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Re: cedar elm work

Post  Pavel Slovák on Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:28 pm

Hi Russell

Very nice and especially interesting tree.
I think the change as proposed would be good of Suburbia. Maybe. Wink
But we have only one view. I think that other solutions may offer an insight as a red arrow. Can you please show a new picture? Thanks.

Gretings Pavel


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Re: cedar elm work

Post  Zach Smith on Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:41 pm

Russell Coker wrote:I bought this cedar elm as a newly collected tree 20 years ago in Austin TX. I have never worked on anything so slow and maddening before in my life! No matter what I do I can only get one flush of new growth in the spring - and that's it! It ain't much, and there's no more growth for the rest of the summer. I've never defoliated it, quite frankly I'm afraid to. Root growth is strong and fast, so I repot at least every other year, if not annually. I'm going to repot it today back into this old Yamaaki. I've tried it in other pots but always go back to this one.

If you have a cedar elm, please post some pictures and tell your story. I'd love to know what others have learned about them, especially the old, collected ones.

Thanks!

R

Russell, have you spoken with others who grow cedar elm? My experience is limited, though I did work on some old collected trees in a private collection in Texas back in the 90s. I'm not sure they put out all that much growth on the top. I kept a forest planting for years, and my recollection is the trees didn't grow all that much during the season (and it was awfully frustrating). Certainly they were nothing like my winged and water elms, which grow like weeds.

All I know to do is give plenty of sun, water and food. Cedar elms are indestructible, so you might even do a leaf pruning if you can work up the nerve.

But no matter what, it's a great tree!

Zach

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Re: cedar elm work

Post  Rob Kempinski on Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:54 am

Hey Russel, I have alarge one I was told you collected. It's at the zoo so I can't get a photo for you but it doesn't really like Florida. The lower brnaches are gradually dying off. Crying or Very sad

Here is a shohin Cedar Elm I've had for several years from Texas, the Dallas area. I call it Creepy Hollow. Pot by Horst Heinzreitler.


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Re: cedar elm work

Post  Russell Coker on Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:41 am

Thanks Guys.

If there is one thing I've learned it's this: If you think your tree looks good, take a picture. Every flaw is magnified.

Suburbia, thanks for the input, but that eliminates all but one back branch. The straight branch on the left is not as offensive in person, and is better than it used to be. I'll be working to move the one on the right so it isn't hidden. This wood is so hard that it does not bend. Back when I first got it I broke an expensive pair of Masakuni concave cutters trying to remove a branch. I have to make cuts through the branches with a saw and use tension to close them to make changes. I've been doing this for years now, and will continue. When I did this latest work, I made cuts to move branches forward and turned the tree slightly counter-clockwise. I tried it in two other pots today but I always go back to this lotus shape. It just works with the tree, and it just looks ordinary in a pot like you suggest, trust me I've tried. I accidentally erased pictures from my camera before I was able to post them so you could see.

Pavel, I'll get some more pictures tomorrow.

Zach, when I bought this tree I picked it out of a huge greenhouse of collected elms. I've only spoken with one person who confirmed everything I already knew - they are a slow, pain in the ass. Thank God they are tough and forgiving. Hopefully, there's someone else on the IBC fighting one of these.

Rob, I bought the one you have from the guy who collected this one. Sorry to hear you're having a hard time with it. Your little guy is nice, does it grow continually through the season for you? I think the younger ones are a lot easier than the old guys.

Here are a couple of more bad pictures....







R

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cedar elm work

Post  Guest on Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:58 am

Hello Russell. I know what you mean about slow growth with some Elms. Even so, I love this tree. You have made some really good decisions regarding the branch movement and this refects throughout the tree. I happen to really like the branch that Suburbia recomends removing. The second right branch is a problem branch for me though. I don't think removing it is a good solution though. Perhaps some better movement, and if they're anything like English Elm, they are quite flexible forgiving.


Last edited by will baddeley on Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:15 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: cedar elm work

Post  Guest on Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:37 am

suburbia wrote:
2. The right secondary branch that is growing backwards creates a triangle space between the trunk and the right branch.

Let me clarify since most might misunderstand me. I think the right secondary branch might be better off 'bent' a little away from the trunk. Removing can be another option but a less favorable one. Keep in mind that I can base my ideas from the angle I can see the tree from.

- Suburbia

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Re: cedar elm work

Post  Russell Coker on Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:47 am

Trust me, I understand exactly what you are saying. I don't want you to ever feel like comments like that offend ME, at least. I do plan on changing that branch, and I should have done that already. It's really an interesting branch and adds so much to the overall design of this tree. Again, that's lost in pictures - remember that when you look at Pavel's beautiful work. If it looks that good in a picture, just imagine what his work looks like in person! Anyway, I remember someone telling me when I bought it "cut off all the branches and start over." Excuse me? The branches are big part of why I bought the tree in the first place!!

As for the pot... Of course I am restricted by the pots I own, but these lotus pots are really interesting. I will also tell you that my dear friend and mentor, Jean Smith, had a Fukien tea that Mr. Wu helped her purchase back in the '70's in this same pot, only smaller, until it died in the late '80's. The movement of this elm always reminded me of her tea, so I was thrilled to buy this pot in 1993. I've tried it in other pots, but I always go back to this one.

I appreciate the interest!

R

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Re: cedar elm work

Post  jonathan e on Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:15 am

Very nice! I'll have to beg to differ with Suburbia's suggestions, they make the tree look far too bonsai-like for my tastes. Now it looks very tree-like, and i think further work should emphasize the tree-ness of the tree. I guess...

-jonathan

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Re: cedar elm work

Post  jonathan e on Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:28 am

I think that the vertical branch is one of the more interesting features that makes this tree very characterful and treelike. Future branching might emphasize the verticality. You could also grow out a sacrifice branch from above the left vertical branch that would thicken that branch and the base, and give the tree better taper.



-jonathan

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Re: cedar elm work

Post  Jesse on Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:55 pm

Russell, I love the tree. Most of your frustration is how slow it has been to grow and evolve into the improved tree you are trying to create or is there more than that you find frustrating? I love the way these look and have been considering trying to acquire one to train out here in Utah. Good or bad idea? If good, any suggestions as to where to pick one up?

I too love the branch (with verticality) in question and feel it adds to the feeling of looking at a very natural tree. My impression is that you want more experience with these trees and their growth, etc. to be shared over design suggestions correct?

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Re: cedar elm work

Post  jupp on Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:58 pm

A very nice tree of inviting you to rest in the shade

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Re: cedar elm work

Post  Russell Coker on Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:26 pm

Jesse wrote:My impression is that you want more experience with these trees and their growth, etc. to be shared over design suggestions correct?

Yes, although the suggestions are going to happen - and I certainly don't mind them. Jonathan, I like what you did! With time that vertical branch can be changed, I'm working on it!

I was in hopes that there were others out there working with these collected elms that would chime in. Jesse, they are wonderful as collected material, and extremely forgiving as has been mentioned before. Just prepare yourself for how un-elm-like they are. I'm not kidding when I said I get one flush of growth in the spring. Maybe it's the age. I do have a friend with young cedar elms and they do respond more like what you'd expect of an elm. Memory also tells me that where they overlap with winged elms you end up with a genetic mix, and that may be what he has. Life is hard in the Texas hill country and it's reflected in the character of these elms, which is why I picked this tree - trunk and branches. With the way the roots fill the pot, you'd expect a lot more top growth, but it just never happens.

Thanks JUPP!

R

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Re: cedar elm work

Post  DreadyKGB on Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:08 am

Russell,
I can't help you out with any information as I don't have any experience with them (damn newbies). But I did find a photo of one from last summer at the Chicago Botanical Garden. May be it will be helpful. I think yours looks very nice by the way I would be proud to have that in my collection, If you ever get sick of it I'm here for you.



Good Luck,
Todd

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Re: cedar elm work

Post  Russell Coker on Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:17 pm

Thanks Todd, I appreciate that! Nice looking tree, sure deserves a better pot. I'd be willing to bet that this one and mine were collected about the same time, and maybe by the same person.

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cedar elm work

Post  Mitch Thomas on Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:58 pm

Hi to all I am a long time viewer of this forum and I decided to sign up so here goes.

Hi Russell
This is my cedar elm. After reading your previous post I belive it is a cedar/winged hybrid. What do you think?



It seems that the image is a little distorted verticaly, damm I phone cameras


Last edited by Mitch Thomas on Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:12 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : recentered)

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Re: cedar elm work

Post  Russell Coker on Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:22 am

Hey Mitch.

I wish more of the coasties that just lurk around would speak up - you know who you are! People must think I'm alone down here.

Can you post a pictures of the twigs? Where was yours collected?

Mine is popping like mad, I'll be posting new pictures soon.

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cedar elm work

Post  Mitch Thomas on Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:30 am

Russell
I don't know the leniage of this tree. It was given to me by Donna B. just before BCI in New Orleans.
I am sure its a collected tree. I recieved it as a prebonsai, and have been working it for about two yrs. It grows faster than anything I have ever grown. I have grown most all of the limbs and apex. Also have air layered 3 larger limbs into a penjing. Defoliating this tree 3 times a year is no problem.
I will get a better shot of the wings this week end.
Mitch

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