This elm has been written about here before. I will gloss over the past details and just show a few progression shots for clarity.
This was the stump as dug from the tree farm ( Steve DaSilva ) in Feb. of 2013. Over the next few years the branches were styled and given some shape. Fast growing meant cutting in of the wire many times and some scarring can be seen giving some character to the branches.
I decided that the tree was about as far as I could take it as it was. I would either have to layer the tree reserving the top portion as a good Moyogi tree and then work on the bottom and utilize that over a number of years. Or, turn it into a sort of Bunjin tree because of its long trunk with special branching near the top.
I thought the Bunjin style may be worth the effort so most of the branches on the lower half were removed.
I applied about 8 guy wires to the tree in an effort to pull down the branches to get the necessary effect of an older looking tree. The tree has its short comings as far as a bunjin styled tree. First the trunk is quite large. It is not easily seen in the photo but is nearly three inches across at the base. About half way up, the tree had been chopped for a direction change and some necessary taper in the trunk. What it did was build shoulders on the chop. This gives the impression of two cylinders on top of each other. While the top third shows much more taper due to the fact that I was able to control the growth in a container rather than in the ground.
A picture of the tree during its naked X-rated photo shoot!
This bark was removed from some places to get the necessary taper that would improve the overall look of the trunk.
This large lump will have to be worked on to smooth out the bump.
These old scars and the new ones as well will need some work to make them a part of the feeling of the tree.
Sunday morning Jan. 1st, 2017
I began by carving some interest into all the old stubs. Some were carved and some just smoothed.
I had three choices for Literati pots to choose from. The two shallow ones are from Japan and the other is a local potted.
There are no feet on the pot and it will sit directly on the wire.
I just cut a piece of screen to fill the entire bottom and allow the ties wires to do the holding in place of the screen.
After pruning and root pruning the tree was tied into it’s new pot.
For the guy wires I use a 24 gauge steel wire that is anodized black. I thread that thru 3/32 shrink tube for protection on the branch. It’s all very small and barely visible.
The guy wires are attached to small 1/4 inch brass screw eyes that I thread in along areas not readily seen from the front.
The final result. So far reception has been OK but still not Bunjin. People still feel the trunk is too big. When seen in person that feeling is not present.
This juniper was dug in Mojave in 2002. The tree had done very well producing new roots almost immediately. In and around 2004 the tree received its first wire. During this time the tree had its two apex jinned. A large shari was cut on the front of each trunk from a suitable jin on the trunk as an extension of a disaster some time in the past. Shortly after this period, with in a couple of years, I lost interest in the material. The shari’s of course looked too contrived, the jinned tops looked hokey and the whole thing was not to my liking. I could not realize my model for the tree. Maybe it was due to not enough branching, not enough foliage? I don’t know, but in the back yard it sat. For 10 years.
This is a cool shot of the mountain I got the tree from. This mountain is covered with juniper. Many are as large as a VW bus and larger, and some are as small as a bread box, but really hard to find.
This was the tree growing in the wild before digging. I knew it had a double trunk and was happy when I seen it.
As I began digging around the tree it was good to find some smaller roots at the soil surface. Roots like this can ensure 100% survival with good after care.
The root ball was prized up and out of the hole. A root ball like this with field soil will weigh close to 75 to 80 pounds due to the granite and clay.
The soil is knocked off the root ball and bare rooted. It is then packed with sopping wet long fiber moss and sealed in shrink-wrap.
The tree is planted into a wooden box I made before leaving for Mojave. It is planted in 3/8 black lava and sand.
In 2004 after some good growth I decided to prune it down. It was too tall and I decided to jin the tops of each trunk at this time.
I wanted to pull the top left trunk more to the right so added this fulcrum and a guy wire.
It’s Thanksgiving 2014, ten years later, and time for a new direction. The tree is pulled from the weeds and cleaned up for some new work. This is one of those trees that is sitting around and not earning its keep. Everyday since 2004 I water the tree, “did you look for a job today”? “Are you still looking for a job?” Nothing, the tree just sits there, taking my water and using my fertilizer and has given nothing back…wait, maybe it has.
The tree has rewarded me with long shoots to play with. It is very healthy and all adult foliage. There are many cones beginning to set on the tips of many of the branches.
Lots of the old wire is left on the tree from past work. A mixture of copper and aluminum still in the tree. Some had swelled over it but most was still OK.
In 2004 this was the apex of the tree and there was nothing green above it. Now everthing green is above the jin.
The real work starts be sawing off the branches not needed. The trunks are long and thin and tall. There is only one course for this tree…Literati
Now I am down to about as far as I wish to take it. I feel now that this is the new bones of the tree and anything I do will have to be made with whats left.
Here are couple close-ups of each canopy. These are what I will wire and style.
Here are some closeups of the shari’s. They are really nice now. Ten years have done them good. The live veins have swollen and made them look pretty natural. All of the shaggy bark has been removed exposing the red layers below. During removal of the bark I found black widows up the wazoo, beetles of some kind, potato bugs, earwigs and some slugs down low near the soil.
This is the work station all set up.
Wire, tools, and a chair…which I never sat in.
I started putting on the wire before I got tired and started running out of time. My wife called for me to mash the potatoes, now I know its time to eat. Screw bonsai I got a turkey to eat.
I will continue this saga on Saturday when I can resume my wire for the day……
Edit: I was not able to work on the tree right away and had to come back to it over the weekend and into Monday. I did finish it and this is what the first styling done in ten years brought forth.