Sym
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bald cypress

Hey guys.. I have some questions and I'm soliciting some advice..
The inlaws have a pair of beautiful bald cypress in the yard and I managed to get a handful of bulbs.. I didn't that the thins would grow but low and behold we've got some sprouts.. I am wanting to make these trees to be bonsai but here the questions..
1. Most of the young trees I have seen are tall and skinny and have very little character.. How do trees end up the thicker bases?
2. Once I get the desired height that I want should I start cutting the top?
Sym

tomc
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Re: bald cypress

Sym if you want a thick spreading base, you are going to grow them in a garden bed for the next seven to twenty years. Or, dig one (of the size you want) out of a local swamp. Take it up while still asleep and try and leave on a few roots. Its going to look rather like a baseball bat for the first couple years.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: bald cypress

Re: when I get the desired height, should I start cutting the top? What tom was telling you is no. If you start cutting the top, especially if you have it in a small pot, the trunk will never get any thicker than it is at that time. A general rule of thumb in bonsai design is that the height of the tree should be about 6 times the diameter of the trunk. Thus if you are going to have a 6" high finished bonsai, you want a 1" in diameter trunk. If you want your finished bonsai to be 12" high, it should have a 2" in diameter trunk (this is just a general guideline, but it gives you a place to start thinking about it). So the general idea is to grow the tree out, in a large pot or in the ground until it has something at least close to the trunk diameter you want and then start cutting it down to size. Part of what makes the trunk thicken up is supporting a lot of weight.
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Sym
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Re: bald cypress

when I get the desired height, should I start cutting the top? What tom was telling you is no. If you start cutting the top, especially if you have it in a small pot, the trunk will never get any thicker than it is at that time. A general rule of thumb in bonsai design is that the height of the tree should be about 6 times the diameter of the trunk. Thus if you are going to have a 6" high finished bonsai, you want a 1" in diameter trunk. If you want your finished bonsai to be 12" high, it should have a 2" in diameter trunk (this is just a general guideline, but it gives you a place to start thinking about it). So the general idea is to grow the tree out, in a large pot or in the ground until it has something at least close to the trunk diameter you want and then start cutting it down to size. Part of what makes the trunk thicken up is supporting a lot of weight.
thanks a lot.. this has been extremely informative. About how fast do they grow??
Sym

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rainbowgardener
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Re: bald cypress

They can put on 1-2 feet of height a year in the right conditions. That still means it is going to take a few years to get the girth you want. Bonsai is the art of patience. Tom was giving you good advice - plant your babies somewhere and just let them grow for some years. In the meantime dig up or buy at an nursery a big tree that you can start cutting down and learning some bonsai skills on, while you wait for the babies to grow.
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Re: bald cypress

Bald cypress back buds like a champion. It is very common to build a specimen tree from the ground up. Once you have the base you want at the soil-line and have it dug up you can cut it down to a stub. it really will look like a baseball bat with a few roots sticking out of the fat end.

Once into a pot it will grow very slowly. The cut off top will get finished with a long diagonal cut to draw down the diameter of the trunk.

Often with other trees, limbs get pulled down and wired to look aged. BC they'll get spread but probably should not be pulled down as far as say a larch would be.

I think a pretty good BC example can be well under way in five years or less.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: bald cypress

Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

tomc
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Re: bald cypress

Voila! RBG rounded up a perfect photo of my described baseball bat.

BC heals over very large scars at warp speed (for a tree). the second photo started with a long tapering diagonal cut (that was positioned away from the viewer), and branches were pulled down by wiring.

I expect the base of that baseball bat has flair that is covered over by soil in order to evoke more and better roots.
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Sym
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Re: bald cypress

So the taper that you see in the lower picture is not likely achievable with the first specimen.
Sym

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Re: bald cypress

Sym wrote:So the taper that you see in the lower picture is not likely achievable with the first specimen.
No, it has been covered over.
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Sym
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Re: bald cypress

Imageimage by Sym.da.trainer, on Flickr



these is the bald cypress babies
Sym

tomc
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Re: bald cypress

From seed? Let them grow for now. Maybe next spring they'll be big enough to transplant.

I love seedlings, even if they are a tall drink of water away from a bonsai.
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