It has been exactly one month since I collected 3 Bald Cypress and 1 Water Elm from the shores of Lake Marion here in South Carolina (see post here http://wp.me/p3pRJl-6g). Since that was my first adventure collecting quality trees, I have been more anxious than my 3 & 5 year old on Christmas Eve.
It took about 2 weeks to see new growth on my first cypress. As I predicted, the first signs of life came from the tree with the most dense fine roots. It also happens to be my favorite with the large knee on the side so I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw it pushing new buds.
You can see that most of the new shoots are near the top of the tree but the first noticeable growth was seen at the base. These trees are very apical with their growing habits so no surprise there. In another month or two I will have lots of bright green new foliage. My plan for this fine gentlemen will be a formal upright styling. The chop will be made lower and a new leader chosen next Spring. Right now I just want it to gain strength and continue recovering.
I also have some good action on the second tree with the smaller knee at the base. It produced new buds about 5 or 6 days later than the first and has been also doing very well. I have some different ideas for styling this one. The more I look at it, the more I dislike the roots on each side of the base.
The roots separate from the trunk higher up than what I like and just generally don’t appeal to me. I haven’t decided exactly what to do yet, but I will most likely do some carving at the base to fix the roots. Maybe a small cave like opening or something….we’ll see. I have a lot of time to decide and I still haven’t decided on the front.
Well…unfortunately…the third tree is most likely dead. Maybe not completely dead yet, but the lack of new foliage doesn’t give me any hope.
It’s a damn shame too because I love the killer base of this tree/dead stump. I will continue to care for it for another month or so and keep my fingers crossed. It was chopped and worked in the same manner as the other two so my only guess is that the tree didn’t have as much initial strength built up as the others. You win some and you lose some. I still have a cool idea for the dead trunk though. It involves a saw, shellac, lamp parts, and a nice ambiance. Pics to come if that happens.
The Water Elm is doing extremely well and showed growth as early as the first cypress. One note on the water elm, it isn’t actually an elm but a close relative. Everybody just calls it a water elm because somebody decided to do that….who am I to argue?
I wasn’t expecting it to do as well as it has considering the condition of the roots when I got it home. It proves to be a tough species that I wish I had more of. If I had room, I would head back and collect a few more. Everything I have now will be packed in a U-Haul for a move to Indiana this November so I have to be pretty selective.
I plan to chop this guy again as well next Spring to a leader about half way up the tree. I really like the movement to the left and will continue building my tree in that direction and developing taper. Give it about 5 years and this tree will be a real looker.
I also received a beautiful Arakawa Maple from Martin Sweeney a couple of weeks ago. I may make a small post about it in a couple of weeks to brag about how awesome I think it is.