Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

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Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  Poink88 on Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:30 pm

I see a lot of posts about shows and competitions and while I appreciate the time and effort that goes on each little twig in those bonsais...I see more trees that I believe (personal taste) have way too much ramification that it actually takes away from the bonsai instead of helping.

I also see lots of trees styled almost like they ran a hedge trimmer on them to get the smooth "manicured" shape which (for me) is not realistic.

Anyone else feel the same? Or is it just my weird self?

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  jgeanangel on Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:52 pm

for me ramification is an indication of how well and how long a tree has been cared for... A lack of it just tells me that this tree is only beginning its journey as a bonsai. I guess it all boils down to personal preference but after you have been doing bonsai for more than 5 years you will hopefully gain an appreciation for what it takes to develop quality ramification....its most often measured in decades not years.

and just for future reference...the plural of bonsai is bonsai...there is no adding an "s" to any Japanese words. (holy crap...I am beginning to sound like Jim:))
John


Last edited by jgeanangel on Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:54 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  bucknbonsai on Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:52 pm

agree with second comment but not the first. In response to poinks comment not johns

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  Jesse on Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:59 pm

bucknbonsai wrote:agree with second comment but not the first. In response to poinks comment not johns
Hahaha....that made me laugh and pause to try to understand the comment.

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  Poink88 on Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:04 pm

jgeanangel wrote:for me ramification is an indication of how well and how long a tree has been cared for... A lack of it just tells me that this tree is only beginning its journey as a bonsai. I guess it all boils down to personal preference but after you have been doing bonsai for more than 5 years you will hopefully gain an appreciation for what it takes to develop quality ramification....its most often measured in decades not years.
John,

Thanks. I do appreciate it and understand how long it takes to attain but still believe there is a point where it is too much.

I guess I don't believe in ramification for ramification's sake. It is ramification for the (over all) bonsai's sake for me.

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  bucknbonsai on Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:26 pm

poik, i kind of change my mind.
I thought of situations of too much ramification. shohin tridents and even larger tridents, that are very old end up with to much congestion toward their branch tips making the tips look fatter than the rest of the branch. (looks like if youve ever seen a sapling run over by lawnmower for many years, or the european tree trimming technique of pollarding) I think those trees as hard as it would be to do would benefit from cutting back branches and starting over creating more taper on the branch and opening up the outer branches.

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  marcus watts on Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:28 pm

I think there are two points mixed into one observation here -

All good mature refined bonsai must show superb ramification - primary branches splitting to secondaries and these to the first tertiary branches is just the start of the branch underpinning - from there another 2 or 3 splits gives the branch the first sense of depth, but is still far from mature. Without it the tree is not ready to be at a show really (its just the owner that is in too much hurry) as it takes time, horticultural skill and a very good understanding of balancing the trees growth habits to achieve. When you first start the hobby it seems daunting to think "my tree wont be anywhere near ready for 10-15 years", and you look to justify to yourself more than anything that short cuts are ok, but before long you realise there are no shortcuts that look good, and the time flys by as you build a varied collection of trees.

The second point of the trees with a solid silloette looking as you say 'hedge trimmed'. These are virtually a style of their own these days and are not over-ramified at all but are showing how false a tree with no negative space between the branches can be. These trees would often benefit from having entire branches removed rather than the fine ramification cutting off, but as I say it is a viable bonsai style and actually an incredible display of horticultural skill to achieve and maintain.

I think initially people like their conifers as they can get an image thats half ok quite quickly while their deciduous trees look like a pile of stumps and twigs. In time you change and appreciate the effort that is reflected in a well ramified tree and a new appreciation forms - I know that is the path I took - 0-10 years conifer mad, 10-15 yrs hooked on junipers but starting to enjoy deciduous bonsai, 15yrs + now spending a lot of time on the deciduous trees before its too late to see them in their prime, and getting fussy about which conifers I keep.

good question - and i think your answer will adjust in coming years

cheers marcus

Quick edit to comment on above post - i think these lumpy tridents are not over ramified - they are actually over defoliated, then the new buds are not thinned correctly so they get to dense on the tips - more a sign of poor tecnique and not really a prize winning tree, and as you say, the branch needs cutting back a bit and starting again

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  jgeanangel on Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:39 pm

bucknbonsai wrote:poik, i kind of change my mind.
I thought of situations of too much ramification. shohin tridents and even larger tridents, that are very old end up with to much congestion toward their branch tips making the tips look fatter than the rest of the branch. (looks like if youve ever seen a sapling run over by lawnmower for many years, or the european tree trimming technique of pollarding) I think those trees as hard as it would be to do would benefit from cutting back branches and starting over creating more taper on the branch and opening up the outer branches.

I agree with this but I don't think anyone would qualify a tree with branches like you describe as one with quality/desirable ramification. Much of the battle in creating deciduous bonsai is in branch develop and management. Over time one has to plan for replacing branches that get too fat for their location on the tress or lose their taper. This is an ongoing battle that never ends with deciduous material and requires constant attention on the part of the grower. So, for me that makes any tree that has well-developed ramification that much more worthy of my appreciation.
J

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  JimLewis on Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:43 pm

end up with to much congestion toward their branch tips making the tips look fatter than the rest of the branch.

This is what happens when you do the ramification work poorly -- or, when in a hurry, take a well-ramified tree and apply the hedge trimmers to it just so you can get the tree ready for the show.

Well ramified branches start out thickest near the trunk and get proportionally thinner out to the trunks. Every so often, you will take thee branches back a step further than when preparing for a show (in effect "sacrificing" its looks for a year or two while you rejuvenate it), then let them grow out again so your tree doesn't get a swelled head.

So. To answer Poink's question, "No. You can't have enough well-done ramifiation."

Glad you made the comment, John. Maybe they'll listen to you! Your next assignment is to get people to STOP USING THE APOSTROPHE on plurals!

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  Poink88 on Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:02 pm

JimLewis wrote:
So. To answer Poink's question, "No. You can't have enough well-done ramifiation."
Just like beauty, "well done" is relative, so the wheel keeps turning.

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  JimLewis on Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:10 pm

Maybe you need to point us to the over-ramified trees you don't like? (Unless they are your trees, links only, please).

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:21 pm

I've pondered this a number of times. Min Hsuan Lo's work on his Celtis bonsai have made me question this before but after much pondering, my thought is this; If taper and branch thickness are there, it will all look natural. Without taper, extra ramification can and often times does look ridiculous. I've observed hundreds of oaks in NC that have ridiculous amounts of ramification, but it's always off of lots of well tapered branches.

I wish I could post some images on here to further explain what I mean but since I don't own the rights to those images and can't contact the artists to ask their permission, I can't. Google Min Hsuan Lo bonsai and you'll see some of the Celtis I'm talking about. There are some trees posted in the topic below that might be a good discussion for this http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t8862-some-stunning-wrightia-religiosa-from-malaysia. To me, most of those trees are truly stunning and the work that's gone into them......mind-boggling.

Good topic though. I wish we could have some images to discuss. Or better yet, how to achieve greater ramification for certain species. Say Chaenomeles Japonica? I could use some information about that in specific. Smile

Have a great week!!!
Sam

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  JimLewis on Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:31 pm

I truly despise winter and all appurtenances thereto, so I don't go for the winter silhouette very often (and I simply do not have the patience -- or the 50-cents an hour staff!!! -- to do that kind of work. This (a 10-inch Korean hornbeam) is the closest I've come to a decent ramification on a deciduous tree (I've tried to light it to highlight the twigginess):



And thanks, Poink for forcing us into this discussion, this image shows me where I have to pull down a back branch to fill a void. <g>

And if the ends look fat it's just because the buds are about to BURST.

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  Glaucus on Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:12 am

Judging from the deciduous trees that the Japanese display in winter, the general simple answer would be 'no'. Some of those have insane ramification.

It seems you don't like it. I kind of feel the same way. But then I rather see evergreens of deciduous ones in leaf anyway. In the end it is all subjective. But when the Japanese deliberately get the level of ramification they have on those trees, it obviously isn't a mistake or a flaw in their eyes.

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  marcus watts on Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:22 am

hi again,
The other thing you need to remember dario is that you may have made many of your observations from photographs and internet images and this is not true experience of a real ramified bonsai....I tried to photograph a large maple but the tree was 36"DEEP, from front to back, the ramification was beautiful in front of me but the 2 dimensional image appeared solid twigs due to the depth of field.

I'm not sure how many 'winter image' type bonsai shows you have the opportunity to visit in texas, or high end bonsai nurseries that carry specimen stock of show trees to observe for real. If you have seen these trees for real, up close, from the side, round the back etc and have decided quality ramification isnt for you then that is fine, taste is personal afterall. If you've only seen this type of tree virtually, or in a book then you aint seen nothing yet, so dont hold your own trees back based on what you see in pictures. It boils down to time, skill and patience - there are no short cuts.

Now we can evolve the thread as so far everyone has kept talking about deciduous trees - pine ramification is equally essential and wiring of long branches into curves is a more abused method to fake ramification on many pine trees. Again it is bonsai for photo styling rather than bonsai for human veiwing - and we've all done it Very Happy

This is the bottom branch of one of my pines - i cant take credit for about 20 years work on it though - but it is my duty to maintain and improve it through painstaking slow work needle plucking, candle pinching, bud selection and sometimes cutting back to weak inner shoots and starting sections again.- bonsai is a commitment if you want ttrees to be proud of.



cheers Marcus

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  marcus watts on Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:29 am

JimLewis wrote: Maybe they'll listen to you! Your next assignment is to get people to STOP USING THE APOSTROPHE on plurals!

haha,it was a long time ago i was in school but is this right Jim?

bonsai's = just wrong
bonsai's great = bonsai is great, poor but ok
poinks' bonsai = the bonsai belonging to poink, ok grammar?
poinks's bonsai = poink is bonsai, so wrong

I like apostrophe's' Very Happy , hate to use one in the wrong place though

cheers Jim, i await a little reminder course

marcus

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  JimLewis on Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:58 pm

bonsai's = just wrong
bonsai's great = bonsai is great, poor but ok
poinks' bonsai = the bonsai belonging to poink, ok grammar?
poinks's bonsai = poink is bonsai, so wrong

You are right.

The first is absolutely wrong, but is, for some reason, getting more and more common. I even see billboards using it.
The second is a contraction -- "That bonsai is great!" -- sloppy writing, but OK, just barely.
The third is correct. The bonsai belonging to poink - a possessive.
The fourth would only be correct if the poink in question actually spelled his name "poinks" and then it would have the meaning of "poink's bonsai."

There is a use for an appostrophe as a plural that is acceptable -- pluralizing an abbreviation, as in "there were 5 PC's in the room" -- although PCs is also OK. Also, he is learning his ABC's.

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  my nellie on Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:43 pm

Hmmm.... ???
JimLewis wrote:
poinks' bonsai = the bonsai belonging to poink, ok grammar?
The third is correct. The bonsai belonging to poink - a possessive.

On the condition that the poinks in question actually spelled his name "poinks".
Because if he actually spells his name "poink" then the bonsai belonging to poink would be "poink's bonsai", wouldn't it?

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  Poink88 on Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:46 pm

Guys,

Great to have an English lesson but let us not forget this is INTERNATIONAL Bonsai Club. Some members are struggling just to communicate in English. I am sure you wouldn't want someone giving you German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, etc. class here would you?

For myself, English is my second language and though I am not that good at it, I actually write better than most average American I meet (in life and online) and it seems getting worse with the younger generation which is a shame.

By the way, there is a term for this sort of thing...THREAD HIJACKING I believe? Wink

Now back to regular programming.

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  Poink88 on Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:50 pm

marcus watts wrote:hi again,
The other thing you need to remember dario is that you may have made many of your observations from photographs and internet images and this is not true experience of a real ramified bonsai....I tried to photograph a large maple but the tree was 36"DEEP, from front to back, the ramification was beautiful in front of me but the 2 dimensional image appeared solid twigs due to the depth of field.
Marcus.

This could be it! I've never been on a real world class show and all my ramblings are based on 2D pictures. This makes perfect sense to me.

Thank you.

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  John Quinn on Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:16 pm

my nellie wrote:Hmmm.... ???
JimLewis wrote:
poinks' bonsai = the bonsai belonging to poink, ok grammar?
The third is correct. The bonsai belonging to poink - a possessive.

On the condition that the poinks in question actually spelled his name "poinks".
Because if he actually spells his name "poink" then the bonsai belonging to poink would be "poink's bonsai", wouldn't it?


Correct, Alexandra. Cool

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

Post  Brett Summers on Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:56 pm

Poink88 wrote:I see a lot of posts about shows and competitions and while I appreciate the time and effort that goes on each little twig in those bonsais...I see more trees that I believe (personal taste) have way too much ramification that it actually takes away from the bonsai instead of helping.

I also see lots of trees styled almost like they ran a hedge trimmer on them to get the smooth "manicured" shape which (for me) is not realistic.

Anyone else feel the same? Or is it just my weird self?

I think it is all a manner of taste Poink, Personally at the moment I most enjoy the trees that have branch ramification that is long and seems to go forever.
But I can also appreciate the shorter ramification to the point of a tree that reminds me of the perceived control we have over nature like a freshly cut lawn.
But the short answer is no we can never have toooo much ramification. It is ramification that shows age in bonsai and trees and to me considering time is a big factor in bonsai.

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Re: Ramification...Is there such thing as too much?

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