Four years ago I made a few cryptomeria from air layer (see “How to air layer cryptomeria” and “Cryptomeria from air layer“). I’ve worked little on the trees in the intervening years and only began initial styling this summer. As the goal is to make formal upright bonsai, it’s important to make sure the trunks are straight. I got started by thinning the trees. I removed multiple branches that emerged from the same point and branches that grew downwards. Not all of the branches will remain in the final design, but there’s no rush to remove them while the trees are so young.
Cryptomeria from air layer
After thinning the branches
When viewed from the front, the trunk looks straight. It’s a different story when viewed from the side.
From the side
Next I secured the trunk to the rebar with wire. I used small blocks to maintain even spacing between the bar and the trunk.
Securing the trunk to the rebar
Securing the base of the trunk
In places where the trunk bowed away from the bar, no block was needed.
This part of the trunk bowed out – no block is needed here
As for the apex, a good approach for developing taper in cryptomeria is to periodically replace the apex with a side branch. As this tree is very skinny I don’t expect a lot of taper, but it will be good for the top of the trunk to be narrower than the base.
After identifying a good side branch, I wired the apex to the side. Doing so at the right spot will position the new apex directly in line with the rest of the trunk. I can use the old apex as a side branch in the future or remove it entirely – both approaches will work.
After wiring the old apex to the side
After securing the trunk to the rebar, I added wires to some of the longer branches.
After wiring – a long key branch points to the left
From the side
I’ll leave the rebar in place until the trunk can hold a straight line. This may take a couple of years. If the trunk still isn’t straight when the rebar comes out, I can always wire it back into place.
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