One thing I like to do when I bring new trees into the garden is to give them a close look. I don’t always stop to appreciate all of a tree’s good or bad points when I’m shopping so I try to take the time once the trees come to the garden.
I also like to check for pests, dieback, and discolored foliage, if any, to try to get a better sense of the health of the tree. This way I can have a baseline understanding of what care the tree will need going forward.
I recently acquired some collected redwoods from Mendocino Coast Bonsai where Bob Shimon maintains a great selection of oaks, Sierra junipers, and coast redwoods. The trees were covered with new shoots, including a number that sprouted from the ground near the base of the trunk.
To get a better view of the trunk, I removed some of these low shoots.
After removing the low shoots
One fun thing about redwood bonsai is that some specimens look like miniature trees while others look like small trees with fast taper and interesting deadwood. The tree above fits into the latter category. I’ll look to shape it in the form of a bonsai rather than a miniature version of a giant tree.
The tree below evokes fallen and half-rotten logs with sprouts throughout. I’ll try to preserve this look when it’s time for styling.
New shoots emerging from the trunk
I have a couple of options for the tree below. The base is large but there’s less deadwood so I may look to style this as a taller tree, depending on how many new shoots I have to work with on the upper section of the trunk. If new shoots don’t appear, I can reduce the trunk and aim for a more compact design.
Coast redwood with low shoots
The largest tree I picked up will be left tall. Although there is a large trunk and some deadwood, I like the idea of preserving several trunks that suggest more of a forest scene.
Because these trees had been growing near the cost where the weather is cool, I’ve placed them under shade cloth to avoid burning the leaves. I plan to move them to a sunnier spot once the foliage is more used to the increased light. I’ll then look to repot the trees this fall or winter.