I decided to work on my Chinese Elm today. After looking at it during my update post last week, I had to get my hands dirty. It has been growing like a weed and put on a lot of leggy growth this year. It has been in training for some time, but I dont know a lot of the specifics on the tree’s background.
You can see my first post about it here: http://wp.me/p3pRJl-4
Here it is today. The beer is for scale…kinda. It’s mighty hot here in Beaufort. You can see that it is very healthy and vigorous despite a repot at the beginning of the year. Since I didn’t do a real root trim and only removed a couple of the thick roots, it still had plenty of energy to blow up this year.
I decided to defoliate this tree for a couple of reasons. First, defoliating helps to induce new growth and create more ramification. Second, it’s hard to wire with the foliage on the branches. I could have waited to style it in the fall, but I wanted to take advantage of the tree’s current energy.
Here’s a quick shot of the base.
There were several branches that had died back that I had to remove. I also removed a few of the longer thicker branches so they can even up as the tree matures. Another consideration is to match your styling to mature trees. Lower branches are thicker than upper branches in mature trees so you need to style your tree accordingly. To do this, trim your apical branches shorter and leave lower ones longer to thicken.
I stopped here to reevaluate and could easily tell that I needed to remove more. You can see that my uppermost left branch is almost as thick as the lower left branch. The proportion would be way off in another 5 years. I will end up taking quite a bit off but I feel it is necessary when considering bonsai is a long term plan.
This was my final product after more trimming and wiring some of the final branches I want to keep. You can see the bulk of my tree will be on the left side of the trunk. I brought one of my upper right branches down to try to even out the tree and get some branching on the right to even it up. The wiring isn’t perfect, but I’m still learning and practicing. I’ll feed heavily and give another update towards the end of the year when the new growth hardens off.