Let us consider the imported S-curve elm. I know that most “true” bonsai artists hate them. So much so that they don’t even look at them. Too bad for them and good for me.
This is how they usually look
It is possible to style it with the typical “1st branch, 2nd branch” cookie cutter instructions. And it might look good if you keep at it and get the branches ramified and full.
Or you can chop it and make it a bit more tree-ish.
The first step in choosing a tree is always pick one out with a good nebari
This is the cut paste I use. I think it might be shin-kiyonal.
Staving off the debate on using cut paste, in some instances I use it. In others I don’t. When I do it works as I want it to. Google the use of wound sealers and you could waste an afternoon. That’s all I have to say to that, right now.
Slather it on (one’s day is fulfilled when one is able to use the word “slather” in a sentence ).
I will keep it in this pot (or bump it up to the next one bigger) for this year. The idea is to get some growth and help heal the cut.
Looks better. I’ll have to repot every year now. What keeps the trees healthy is that repotting. If the roots have a place to grow the tree will grow more quickly.
I always tell my students: it is the cutting of roots that allow the trees to live a long time. A pine tree in the ground in your garden may only live 50-100 years but in a bonsai pot the same species may live 200 years. Why? The feeder roots, the only ones that matter, are close to the trunk and don’t have to fight gravity and drought. The annual or semi-annual repotting ensures that these roots are close by and have an easy time nourishing the tree.
Next, lets develop a tree I cut last year.
Ready for the growing year. I will need to watch for the wire cutting into the tree. I want it to cut a little (gasp…it can’t be!?) in order for that branch to set. The movement is very subtle and it could just straighten out if I removed it prematurely (there’s a joke there I think)
Now, I know that you’re thinking that I only just chop and re grow right?
These next two are examples of what searching for the non-s-curve in the batch of clones.
Some maintenance first. Repotting.
Some of you are wincing when you see all those leaves. This is happening in mid January here in Florida. Those are all last years leaves. Sometimes they just don’t fall off. That’s just the nature of a chinese elm. Not lying.
I use the same size soil in all of my plants. I had tried using the “shohin” mix that some places sell and found that it held too much water and, therefore, stunted the trees growth ( If the trees roots have to stretch it means better top growth. Usually. Don’t let them dry out too much. )
I use a smaller mix for top dressing (moss doesn’t grow we’ll on the coarse mix I use) to put the soil into scale with the tree, but that’s it.
This will be a year without wire in this one. I’m going to go for branch thickening and that’s best done without wire.
Hopefully I’ve shown you that, contrary to the old saying, you can put lipstick on a pig. You just have to do some plastic surgery first.