Sep 4, 2016

A Corky Tale (Ulmus × hollandica ‘Major’)

This interesting little Corky Bark Elm came into my possession about three years ago. Although small in stature, it had a couple of nice features which could be exploited in the future to make this quite and interesting and unique tree. However, as is the way with most pieces of raw material, it has it’s fair share of faults that needed to be addressed. They were 3 major branches emanating from the same place – which would have led to severe reverse taper in the future and a series of overgrown and heavy branches which were ruining it’s primary structure.

So…the journey begins.

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January 2015

The faulty branches were removed and was placed into a lightweight Styrofoam box to promote faster growth on the primary structure I wanted to develop. It was left to go virtually unchecked until August 2016.

August 2016

Fast forward a year and a half and I’m happy with the tree’s development and we are ready to start this tree on its journey to becoming Bonsai.  Here is how the tree looked before commencing work.

You can see the Primary branches have all thickened up nicely. The first steps were to trim the branches back so that secondary and tertiary branches can start being developed. I also needed to address the scars left behind from major limbs that were removed back in August

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On the left, the tree as it started out today. You will notice the branches I left down the bottom to grow unchecked which has allowed them to thicken. The middle photo shows the result of the branch thickening. Last image shows the result of the first round of cut backs. A further round of judicious cutting will take place right at the end.

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You can see where two significant limps were removed. The challenge will be to integrate these into part of the natural looking feel of the composition.

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Using my trusty die grinder to deal with these scars and the stump.

The ugly stump has been transformed into a natural looking hollow. Once seasoned (12 months) this will be further refined and naturalised.

The ugly stump has been transformed into a natural looking hollow. Once seasoned (12 months) this will be further refined and naturalised.

The drfitwood is carved a little to enhance the flow and shape. It’s then hit with a gas torch to remove all the fuzz and oxidize the wood to help it all blend together.

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Drainage holes created and the tree is roughly positioned into the driftwood following a significant root reduction.

Almost done......a little bit of moss added to help contain the soil and add to the effect.

Almost done……a little bit of moss added to help contain the soil and add to the effect.

As of the 11th of August 2016....still early days for this tree, many years of fine branch development to come. Stay tuned...

As of the 11th of August 2016….still early days for this tree, many years of fine branch development to come. Stay tuned…