Hornbeam carving

As you may know, I like deadwood on my bonsai. And I am slightly controversial in my liking deadwood on deciduous trees (and for other reasons too. I’ll not list those). I believe there is a place for it. Now, I don’t mean long, twisting jins like a Kimura fantasy but small, tasteful deadwood hollows and such.
Anyway, here is a hornbeam, carpinus caroliniana. There are two subspecies c. Caroliniana caroliniana and c. Caroliniana virginiana. Not sure which this is.



Side and back.
As you see, I put it into a training pot already and I’ve pruned it. I got it from Steve Smith of Smitty’s Bonsai. It is prone to branch dieback when pruned and it does not heal well. Which makes it ideal for the opportunity to use hollow features.

This is where it was “trunk chopped” and it grew a new leader just below there.

But something must be done to make the story of this tree more realistic. More believable.

These branches are all competing for the leader branch. I will choose my favorite.

Which is not this one

But this one.

Let’s do a partial defoliation.
Here in Florida a lot of deciduous trees have a minor dormancy in July that causes what (to most) looks like leaf burn or fungus.

It’s not much to worry about. But, if you defoliate completely in June, you’ll get smaller leaves, better ramification due to an increase in buds, and fall color. Which we don’t get in Florida much.


Back. Here you can see the stub better.

Side view. The new leader is strong.

Time for the knife!

I’ve scraped away the bark where it’s died back. Which is about where I thought it might be.

Down to here.

Surgery time. First step is opening it up.


This is my flex shaft with the small handle. It accepts all the bits a Dremel tool does.

Like so.

That’s all with such a small tree.

And that’s it from the front. Very understated and subtle. I like features on trees that make you want to look into it and not just at it. A small detail that draws your eye and shrinks you down small enough as though you are able to climb into the tree and hang upside down from your knees. Make you believe in trees again.
I’m not sure I can accomplish this but I try.

This is it wired out and shaped.
I think I will adjust the angle

Like so. I’ll let it fill in first.
I should get at least one more growth cycle this year; I’ll post an update soon.

About adamaskwhy

Visual artist specializing in bonsai, mostly.
This entry was posted in rare finds and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Hornbeam carving

  1. Pingback: Carved hornbeam update | Adam's Art and Bonsai Blog

  2. granolagirlatheart says:

    So what made you choose the one branch over the other for your new leader?


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