Developing a Hornbeam Bonsai Trunk

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hornbeam bonsai

December 2014: The Hornbeam trunk, seen from my intended 'front' view of the tree as a future bonsai.

As expected, the first section, the base of the trunk, had barely thickened at all despite the vigorous growth of the previous 3 years and would not thicken until the new section had achieved almost the same diameter. (For further discussion please see Why You Should Not Chop a Trunk Too Early)

However, the new trunkleader has now thickened sufficiently to create realistic taper in the trunk between it and the first section, and a smooth transition that will continue to heal over the following years. With the first and second sections of the trunk now 'built', the second section could be chopped back hard to a lower branch, creating a final, third, upper section of the trunk.

hornbeam bonsai

December 2014: The Hornbeam after chopping back the second section hard to create taper with an appropriately placed shoot. Note that because the chop is only 1-2cm thick and will heal over relatively quickly, a tapering cut is made immediately. The wound is given a smear of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to seal it.

hornbeam bonsai

December 2014: The new trunkleader, the third section of the trunk, is loosely wired upwards to complete the work.

hornbeam bonsai

December 2014: The Hornbeam trunk after completely work for the year.

In the following Spring, of 2015, the tree will be lifted from the raised bed and the roots pruned to encourage the aesthetic development of the surface roots and rootball. The tree will then be planted back into the ground where the focus of growth will move from trunk-building to developing the branch structure of the tree. Hopefully by the Spring of 2016 or 2017, the tree will be ready for its first bonsai pot.

Further reading: Developing Informal Upright Trunks for Deciduous Bonsai

Field Growing Trees For Bonsai

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