Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

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Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  jgeanangel on Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:37 pm

Here is a tree that I collected in June of 2010. I selected this tree for the nice shape in the lower trunk and will try to continue with that theme in the first styling. The video also contains a couple of basic training tips.

Thanks for watching!!
John


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Re: Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  LordEOfBeckley on Sun Jun 26, 2011 11:50 pm

awesome, thanks for the vid... Hopefully I'll have some collecting opportunities down here in the January time frame.

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Re: Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  fiona on Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:02 am

Like the wiring tip - simple, effective and must save using a helluva lot of wire on a trunk that size.


And wired corriefisted too. All the best people do that. Wink

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Re: Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  Todd Ellis on Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:37 am

John,
Congratulations on your 100th video! You contribute SO MUCH to this forum!!! Thank you!!!!!!
P.S. ...love the cypress! thumbs up
Best,
Todd

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Curvy bald cypress

Post  Mitch Thomas on Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:20 am

Hi John
Congrats on your 100th bonsai video. I love your short videos, I have been a long time follower and admirer of your work. The wiring tip is very good also.

In my most humble opinion I find your slingshot method of making taper very distracting. Now I mean this in the most humble way. In short it just kills the taper of the tree. But that's only my opinion.

Mitch

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Re: Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  hirow08 on Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:18 am

Cool wiring technique! Thanks for sharing! ThumbsUp

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Re: Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  jgeanangel on Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:02 am

Mitch Thomas wrote:
In my most humble opinion I find your slingshot method of making taper very distracting. Now I mean this in the most humble way. In short it just kills the taper of the tree. But that's only my opinion.

Thanks Mitch. I appreciate your honest feedback!!


I also appreciate the feedback from others as well!! Thank you lady and gents:)
John

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Re: Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  Gideon on Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:23 pm

Thanks for the wiring tips!

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Re: Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  Russell Coker on Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:07 pm

Mitch Thomas wrote:I find your slingshot method of making taper very distracting. In short it just kills the taper of the tree. But that's only my opinion.

Hi Mitch and John.

Mitch, I kinda understand what you're saying, but I don't know about killing the taper. Let's face it, these bald cypress usually don't have much taper past that flared base to begin with. John's taken a young, newly collected tree that's basically a fence post and worked with the first growth to sprout back after collecting. You gotta make a new head somewhere out of something, and I think he's done a good job of utilizing what's there. Besides, lots of big old cypress have broken tops with branches making the new head.

John, do you have any older trees that you've done this with that you can show? I'd like to see a more finished product if you have one.

R

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BC

Post  Mitch Thomas on Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:07 pm

Hi Russlle
First of all let me say i think Johns trees are awsome. I love to watch what others are doing to thier BC's. Maybe it's not exactly the taper that draws my attention. I understand that you are going for a flat top design, but most of the branches starting from such a small area, almost barring, is what bothers my eye. Having two equal height and equal thickness of apex branches is what I am getting at. As it was explaned to me by Vaughn Banting in a brief conversation the basic structure should mimic ones fore arm pointing upward, your looking at your thumb, your fore finger arched in a gentle curve to the side and the upward fingers making the canopy. Now I know this is just a suggested way of designing a flat top. Nature has done a gazzelion ways but I find it the most pleasing to my eye IMHO.

Thanks Mitch


Last edited by Mitch Thomas on Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:18 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Wording)

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Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  ironman on Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:53 pm

Thanks for the cool tip, John and for all the videos!
I, too have a river influenced, curvy BC and glad to see your approach for a top.
Question; do you ever keep a few downward hanging branches like BC in the swamps...

Mitch-thanks for including Vaughn's 'hand/canopy' description.
It sure makes for a simple thought.




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Re: Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  Russell Coker on Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:25 pm

Hey Mitch.

I guess I still missing something because I don't see much difference between what Vaughn told you and what John did. Is it a "central leader" issue?????

What I'm seeing John do is carve down a flat cut to give it some taper as it heals and give a gentle transition into those new shoots that will become the crown. Are there too many branches and bar branches? No doubt. But at this stage of the game wouldn't you want to have plenty of choices? I feel sure that John will weigh his options as this tree grows and changes, and refine that top in the process. There's no worse feeling than "Damn, I wish I hadn't cut that off! I sure need it now!"

Mitch, do you have any pictures showing what you describe? John, I'm still hoping you have older trees that you've done this with that you can show. I think both of you guys are on the right path to coming up with a "flat top" bald cypress that looks appropriate and natural, and I appreciate the discussion.


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Re: Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  jgeanangel on Tue Jun 28, 2011 5:17 pm

Hey Guys!! Just back from a visit to the swamp:) More work to do before I can take much time here.

Russell, I do have a couple of trees that are a little further along in the development using a similar approach. The one furthest along is ready for some work so I will try to do that in the next couple of days and upload some pics or video. I also must say that I'm happy that you recognize the logic in my approach. In the future there will certainly be further choices made to these tops. And as Mitch pointed out, at that time I will also do my best to consider variation and asymmetry in the branch structure.

In my study of Flat-tops, I have certainly recognized that there are two basic forms...a natural form which develops purely from the growth habit and habitat of the tree (like the famous trees Vaughan created) and the other is a form in which some damage has occurred to an already old and large tree.. (as Russell described). For me, the nature of the material I am working on lends itself very well to the "damaged" form.

ironman...thank you and yes, I often leave downward hanging branches on my cypress trees.

John

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Curvy Cypress

Post  Mitch Thomas on Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:03 pm

Hey John
That's exactly what I was seeing that I couldn't describe. The transition from flat cut to the V carving is to semetrical to my eye. A variation in the height of each would cure it an make a more natural transition. In nature there are multitude of flat top designs. Some from the central leader leaning over. Some from damage to main trunk.

I fully understand that this is just the first styling and the process is still developing. I am impressed with how fast you can develop your trees. We don't even think about collecting in the summer here. We were always told not to. Gotta love the Internet for opening our eyes to new techniques.

On another note...... When we in Louisville weekend beforelast. Some locals told us about a "Witches Broom Bald Cypress" I have never seen one so we tracked it down. It was a site to see such a unusual growth pattern. My friend bought one they have grafted with a Sion from it. The leaf size is about 1/2" long with out any leaf reduction. And a very tight zig zag ramification pattern. It's crazy looking.

Thanks Mitch

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Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  ironman on Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:54 pm

Mitch-any chance of a photo of the "Witches Broom Bald Cypress" Question
I'd love to see what that means.

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Curvy Cypress

Post  Mitch Thomas on Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:59 pm

Ironman
No I don't as we speak I am waiting on my friend to send some I will post when I do.

Mitch

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Re: Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  Randy_Davis on Wed Jun 29, 2011 7:08 pm

ironman wrote:Mitch-any chance of a photo of the "Witches Broom Bald Cypress" Question
I'd love to see what that means.

It's not a bald cypress but here's a decription and picture of a witches broom.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch's_broom

Randy

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Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  ironman on Fri Jul 01, 2011 3:32 pm

Thanks, Mitch. Looking forward to it and good luck.

Thanks, Randy but this is what I got;
Bad title
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The requested page title is invalid. It may be empty, contain unsupported characters, or include a non-local or incorrectly linked interwiki prefix. You may be able to locate the desired page by searching for its name (with interwiki prefix, if any) in the search box.

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Re: Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  Byron Myrick on Fri Jul 01, 2011 4:19 pm

If you will type in "witch's broom" in the search box it will come up.

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Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  ironman on Fri Jul 01, 2011 4:28 pm

Thanks...

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Re: Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  Russell Coker on Fri Jul 01, 2011 4:41 pm

Mitch, I can't wait to see that so I hope your friend comes through with the pictures. Was it found on a wild tree? I'd love to know any background info you can get. Sure wish I could be lucky enough to find something like that.

R

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Curvy Bald cypress

Post  Mitch Thomas on Sat Jul 02, 2011 2:06 am

Hi Russell
Yea it's on a really old tree in a grave yard. If I had to guess the tree must be approaching 150' tall. It's base must be a good 5' diameter. The tree is basically a formal upright with a typical redwood style growth pattern. Almost 75' up there is a growth pattern that resimbles a squat broom shaped super ramified Witches Broom right in the center of the tree trunk. I found some shed leafs on the ground from a thunderstorm the night before. They were fully developed cypress leafs but only 3/4" in length. It was almost worth the trip to see it.

I am patiently waiting on photos from my buddy. Hint, Hint

Randy Have you seen it? We were guided to it from a member of the Louisville club, I cannot remember his name off hand he is also the person who collected the Sions that were grafted. He is a landscape manager there. He had to use a man lift to get high enough to collect them.

Mitch


Last edited by Mitch Thomas on Sat Jul 02, 2011 2:13 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added)

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Re: Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  Randy_Davis on Sat Jul 02, 2011 2:28 am

Mitch Thomas wrote:Randy Have you seen it? We were guided to it from a member of the Louisville club, I cannot remember his name off hand he is also the person who collected the Sions that were grafted. He is a landscape manager there. He had to use a man lift to get high enough to collect them.

Mitch

Mitch,

No, it sure wasn't me although I'd love to see the little bugger!! I'll query around with other members of the Louisville club and see if I can sniff something out on it. Witch's Brooms are rather rare occurances in general with the exception of some species like Cryptomeria. I once found one on a California native pine and tried to get a few scion's of it grafted but was unsucessfull in getting the grafts to take using JPB as the understock. I'd try again if I was still in California but alas I'm not. Maybe on some trip back to CA to see my brother I'll try again if I can get the right understock. Sure hope you have luck with the bald cypress.

Randy

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Re: Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  jgeanangel on Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:37 am

Russell Coker wrote:
Mitch Thomas wrote:I find your slingshot method of making taper very distracting. In short it just kills the taper of the tree. But that's only my opinion.


John, do you have any older trees that you've done this with that you can show? I'd like to see a more finished product if you have one.

R

Hey guys...it has taken longer than I expected but here are a few shots of the tree that I have been working on the longest using this technique. Please keep in mind that it has only been 24 months since I did the first carving but here are a few pics.

before

during the first carving

first carving complete July 2009




This week I worked on this tree again(there is another video to continue the progression of this tree but it may be a few days before I can get it uploaded). You may notice that I have reduced the number of apex branches to 3...its obvious that more than that leads to clutter and confusion...in time it may be possible to reduce to further. We will just have to see down the road. One mistake I made with this tree was not to rewound it one year after the original work...I think I could have had even more "healing" had I done that. I do think it is important to leave as much growth as possible in the beginning to encourage vigor, healing and choices for further refinement...all essential for development.



and a little perspective...


I have carved several trees this way and in my view some work and some don't.

I guess one question I have is what are the other alternatives...I have certainly seen the long diagonal cuts used by our BC forefathers:) and in some cases they look great (Gary Marchal's trees are fantastic) but in many they never heal completely or cause further dieback. In my experience they also take significantly longer to heal appropriately. Perhaps this is why the ones you see for sale that are healed or nearly healed are so expensive. I think the method I am using will result in faster healing (less than 5 years) and may be even better for creating flat-top styles but not as good for creating immature style trees (cone shaped). The one thing for sure is that I will continue to work to improve the technique and my trees:)

It is more than tough to critique your own work so, I would be interested in hearing your input guys and gals!!
John

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Re: Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

Post  Russell Coker on Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:09 pm

jgeanangel wrote: I guess one question I have is what are the other alternatives...I have certainly seen the long diagonal cuts used by our BC forefathers:) and in some cases they look great (Gary Marchal's trees are fantastic) but in many they never heal completely or cause further dieback. In my experience they also take significantly longer to heal appropriately. Perhaps this is why the ones you see for sale that are healed or nearly healed are so expensive. I think the method I am using will result in faster healing (less than 5 years) and may be even better for creating flat-top styles but not as good for creating immature style trees (cone shaped). The one thing for sure is that I will continue to work to improve the technique and my trees:)

I think you're thinking is right on track. The top you've built looks great, and very natural. As it ages I'm sure it will look completely natural. With this tree my only concern is the downward sweeping branches below the crown. Maybe they're too long, but the disconnect is jarring for me. What I like about this cypress style of bonsai is the inverted triangle they create with their long, exaggerated taper. Sort of the bald cypress version of the "V" broom shape.

The branches you use to create the new crown, how old are they from the initial cut you made when you collected it?

R


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Re: Curvy Bald Cypress - First Training and Tips

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