Need advice on styling a chinese elm

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livupottery
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Need advice on styling a chinese elm

Post by livupottery »

Hi all,

My neighbour is having difficulty styling a chinese elm in his collection, I'm personally a novice but thought you folks might have some sage advice.

I'm not able to upload a video as the file size is too large but I hope these pictures are enough for an idea on it's shape. It's almost forming a right angle.
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Promethius
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Re: Need advice on styling a chinese elm

Post by Promethius »

Hello, and welcome!

For me, the trunk is straight and featureless, without any taper. I really can’t get past that. I would consider a trunk chop in winter, if this were my tree. Depending on the nebari, a change in planting angle could also add some interest.

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Re: Need advice on styling a chinese elm

Post by shibui »

There are always plenty of alternatives when designing bonsai.
It's a bit hard to see enough detail from the 2 photos to give really good advice but I can offer a couple of suggestions.
The bend only looks odd because the lower trunk is close to vertical. It the trunk is tilted to the right the bend will appear much more natural. The problem with altering the planting angle of established trees is the roots and it looks like there's a large root on the left side which may limit attempts to tilt right. Need to investigate the possibility of roots under that one that would allow removal of the thick one to allow more change in planting angle.. If all else fails Chinese lem layer really well so you can grow a whole new set of roots at the ideal line.

The other problem with that abrupt change of angle in the trunk is that the upper part just keeps going in the same direction. Shortening that upper section to around 1/3 to allow the new trunk to move back to the right would improve the balance and look of the tree. Major chops like this can be really daunting for beginners but sometimes taking a few steps back can be the best way forward.

There's probably other options that I can't see given just a couple of wide angle shots from one side.
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