Elm needs advice on styling

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Elm needs advice on styling

Post  sixhunter on Sat May 30, 2009 1:11 pm


Hi guys, need help/advice on styling this "mallsai" i got.

I would like a shohin, sumo style probably. Any good info on elm and advice on shaping it ? are they able to take drastic chops ? its my 1st elm on hand, so i haven got much experience wit it and its growing habits. trunk diameter is est* 1.5-1.7inch.

how can i do a drastic chop and develop a nice taper ? do i need to let it shoot and grow wild for several years to slowly gain back thickness and then do another chop on the main leader ?

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Re: Elm needs advice on styling

Post  Jim Doiron on Sat May 30, 2009 2:41 pm

Hey sixhunter, elms are fairly easy since they bud back easily and take a fair amount of abuse. I have killed a few, however, through over watering and poor general conditions. You can give them hard chops and I think this might be an idea for yours. Here is the first website I found with a google search, it gives the "v-notch" technique for starting a broom style tree. If you did that option you would want to chop back that next pretty hard to let the new growth catch up.
You could also chop your tree down the right side to those branches you have and develop a new leader. (second photo)

http://cnybonsai.googlepages.com/broom

I would wait until pre-spring for such a chop especially if you take off all of the current growth.


how can i do a drastic chop and develop a nice taper ? do i need to let it shoot and grow wild for several years to slowly gain back thickness and then do another chop on the main leader ?

Depending on where you are, if you can put it in the ground the faster growth there would help develop some taper and heal whatever scar may result.
Generally I think I would clean up the trunk of all the stubby branches and go with the second option for a few years after selecting one of the left branches as a new leader.


Here are a few visuals:




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Re: Elm needs advice on styling

Post  sixhunter on Sat May 30, 2009 3:07 pm

cool, option1 looks alot better, shucks im gonna get a good tool to saw it off, my old small little handy saw is darn lousy. Btw, for big wounds like this, isit good to use some vaseline over it ? another, wats the purpose of wrapping the raffia arnd the cut area as mentioned in http://cnybonsai.googlepages.com/broom

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Re: Elm needs advice on styling

Post  sixhunter on Sat May 30, 2009 5:38 pm


i just got it repotted, trim some old roots off, washed off the old soil and changed into a fast draining one. guess i'll get a new handy saw and some vaseline tmr b4 i start cutting a v-notch in.

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Re: Elm needs advice on styling

Post  MrFancyPlants on Sat May 30, 2009 6:36 pm

Personally, I would have left a bit more green on there, but design-wize, I think you are spot on. Perhaps leave the sawing and carving for another year? You could trim off the bark above the dotted line with a razor blade once it has had some time to recover.

Thanks for sharing, and I look forward to an update,
David

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Re: Elm needs advice on styling

Post  Kev Bailey on Sat May 30, 2009 8:20 pm

It's not necessary to leave any green with all of the Elms that I've worked on. You can chop them to within an inch of their lives and they respond like crazy, sprouting all over. The biggest problem is preventing sprouts that keep popping out in areas that you don't want them! So long as you don't rock them about, ie secure the trunk somehow when you saw, you could cut the v notch as soon as you like. I usually use a sharp Japanese pull saw and hold the trunk with the other hand.

Try to make the notch assymetrical, longer on one side than the other and perhaps at a steeper angle on one side. This looks less man-made. They usually sprout all around the cambium layer at the edge of the cut and you have to select the buds you want to keep.

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Re: Elm needs advice on styling

Post  sixhunter on Sun May 31, 2009 1:47 am

thanks kev, im not sure wat kinda saw is good, u think u can post some pics of small handy saw that u recommend is good for sawing nicely? hopefully i can get it cheap here. lol ah, regarding the vaseline issue ? do u think its good to apply a thin coat over the chop area ? to prevent drying out ?

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Re: Elm needs advice on styling

Post  Jim Doiron on Sun May 31, 2009 2:12 am

Wow, that was fast sixhunter! Yeah, that's kind of what I was thinking but I didn't take it that far not knowing what of those branches were usable. I have used wood glue on cuts to keep them lightly sealed until they heal over. If you have a bad saw for the moment I would go back and clean the cuts up with a sharp knife to aid in healing.

The raffia is put on there to keep the emerging buds from forming a bulge at the cut edge.

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Re: Elm needs advice on styling

Post  sixhunter on Sun May 31, 2009 3:19 am

hmm can i use broad string like the one in the 1st pic shown ? cos i hav quite a bunch of those and they are plastic and very durable n tough

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Re: Elm needs advice on styling

Post  Kev Bailey on Sun May 31, 2009 9:28 am

You can use your flat string. I'm not sure about vaseline. Isn't it a petroleum jelly product? I generally use no sealant these days, especially on Elms. They generally don't withdraw sap or die back much. Only when an area (very rarely) doesn't pop buds, will a short section die back.

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Re: Elm needs advice on styling

Post  sixhunter on Sun May 31, 2009 10:01 am

I never use any sealant before til now as well lol, but I had tried remove some fat branches and they have quite a noticeble wound about 2cm in diameter and I noticed that they heal very slowly and callous back very little, the whole middle area which is exposed is dried up.

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Re: Elm needs advice on styling

Post  Kev Bailey on Sun May 31, 2009 10:44 am

they heal very slowly and callous back very little, the whole middle area which is exposed is dried up.

On the contrary, if it is an Elm they heal very quickly and callous back remarkably well, so long as you let the new branches grow unrestrained for a while to thicken. You will want to do that anyway, so that they get to a believable thickness springing from a chopped trunk. Then chop them and repeat the process, so you get the taper you need.

The exposed area at the middle of the chop is supposed to dry up and will eventually (3 - 5 years say, depending on thickness) be covered by the callousing.

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Re: Elm needs advice on styling

Post  sixhunter on Sun May 31, 2009 12:33 pm

thanks kev, ur've been of great help, and others as well. Well once i get my hands on a good new saw at the store, im gonna cut it. Guess im gonna look out for a few more of elm this thick to b made into shohin at such attractive prices Very Happy

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Re: Elm needs advice on styling

Post  Kev Bailey on Sun May 31, 2009 5:34 pm

Keep in mind that they air layer easily, at this time of year, so you can get two trees (at least) for the price of one. Only do one air layer on a tree at a time, by the way.

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Re: Elm needs advice on styling

Post  sixhunter on Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:15 pm

u noe wat kev, i got another elm that i will post up soon, its slightly thicker than tis current one, and i plan to air layer 1 half off so the other lowest fattest one will become sumo-styled cheers

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