Earlier this year, I picked up a zelkova in need of repotting. I cleared out the old soil and let the tree grow freely. Now that it’s showing signs of great health, I thought I’d start working on the branches.
Before getting to work, I thought about where the front might be. I didn’t find any obvious candidates, so I defoliated the tree as this can make it easier to see the branch structure.
Healthy zelkova foliage
After removing the leaves
I turned the tree around and still didn’t find a satisfying front. I thought pruning might help so I shortened the longest branches.
This didn’t help much either so I thought I’d see if wiring the tree made a difference. It did – I liked the way the tree looked wired – but I wasn’t much closer to finding a front.
Here are a few views from different sides of the trunk. Do any look like they might work for a front?
After wiring (11″) – option #1
I plan to let the tree grow out over summer and then prune again in fall. The new growth might help me find a good front, and if not, I can continue making improvements until it’s time to move the tree into a bonsai pot.
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