TREE HEIGHT

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GavinG
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Re: TREE HEIGHT

Post by GavinG »

I think the only useful point is that a good solid trunk, in relation to the height, always looks better than something that's weedy. Unfortunately humans think that if X is good, then 5xX is going to be better, when it may not be true at all. Hence we get trident maples that look like Jabba the Hut, to great acclaim, just because they are excessively "good", when the requirement to reflect nature is completely forgotten. If you are analysing in terms of numbers, you're not looking at the tree as art at all.

I'm reminded of human breeding of dogs, where a flat face has been a quality admired in pug dogs. Human competitiveness (flatter must be better) now produces show-winning dogs that can barely breathe. When we agree on a "standard", and figure that "more = better" we lose sight of the point of the exercise. Which to my mind is a tree in a pot that closely connects us with the real, natural world, and that nasty undefinable word called "art". Much more difficult. And it doesn't score points easily.

Just my 2c. Putting off doing some real work.

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Re: TREE HEIGHT

Post by treeman »

GavinG wrote:I think the only useful point is that a good solid trunk, in relation to the height, always looks better than something that's weedy. Unfortunately humans think that if X is good, then 5xX is going to be better, when it may not be true at all. Hence we get trident maples that look like Jabba the Hut, to great acclaim, just because they are excessively "good", when the requirement to reflect nature is completely forgotten. If you are analysing in terms of numbers, you're not looking at the tree as art at all.

I'm reminded of human breeding of dogs, where a flat face has been a quality admired in pug dogs. Human competitiveness (flatter must be better) now produces show-winning dogs that can barely breathe. When we agree on a "standard", and figure that "more = better" we lose sight of the point of the exercise. Which to my mind is a tree in a pot that closely connects us with the real, natural world, and that nasty undefinable word called "art". Much more difficult. And it doesn't score points easily.

Just my 2c. Putting off doing some real work.

Gavin
Agree completely Gavin. I am also wainting for the day when all these ''Kimura style'' pines and Junipers with their perfectly groomed interchangable crowns begin to be seen for what they are. Surely bonsai of all things should not be about cloning but about individuality..
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Re: TREE HEIGHT

Post by wrcmad »

GavinG wrote:I think the only useful point is that a good solid trunk, in relation to the height, always looks better than something that's weedy. Unfortunately humans think that if X is good, then 5xX is going to be better, when it may not be true at all. Hence we get trident maples that look like Jabba the Hut, to great acclaim, just because they are excessively "good", when the requirement to reflect nature is completely forgotten. If you are analysing in terms of numbers, you're not looking at the tree as art at all.

I'm reminded of human breeding of dogs, where a flat face has been a quality admired in pug dogs. Human competitiveness (flatter must be better) now produces show-winning dogs that can barely breathe. When we agree on a "standard", and figure that "more = better" we lose sight of the point of the exercise. Which to my mind is a tree in a pot that closely connects us with the real, natural world, and that nasty undefinable word called "art". Much more difficult. And it doesn't score points easily.

Just my 2c. Putting off doing some real work.

Gavin
Not sure I agree with bonsai having "the requirement to reflect nature". I always saw it as a "representation" of nature... and that is what gives bonsai it's artistic element.
While some would argue that mirroring natural trees is the aim of bonsai, it has been stated before on this forum that, in general, mirror images of natural trees tend to look not so good in bonsai pots.
Artistic or aesthetic ratios are not a "standard" to use for analysis, and are referred to only as a guide because that is what looks pleasing to the eye... and that is the "point of the exercise", and bonsai as an art.

BTW, I like sumo tridents... and I also own a pug. :P
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Re: TREE HEIGHT

Post by Rory »

GavinG wrote:I think the only useful point is that a good solid trunk, in relation to the height, always looks better than something that's weedy. Unfortunately humans think that if X is good, then 5xX is going to be better, when it may not be true at all. Hence we get trident maples that look like Jabba the Hut, to great acclaim, just because they are excessively "good", when the requirement to reflect nature is completely forgotten. If you are analysing in terms of numbers, you're not looking at the tree as art at all.

I'm reminded of human breeding of dogs, where a flat face has been a quality admired in pug dogs. Human competitiveness (flatter must be better) now produces show-winning dogs that can barely breathe. When we agree on a "standard", and figure that "more = better" we lose sight of the point of the exercise. Which to my mind is a tree in a pot that closely connects us with the real, natural world, and that nasty undefinable word called "art". Much more difficult. And it doesn't score points easily.

Just my 2c. Putting off doing some real work.

Gavin
I could not agree more. :beer:

If your goal is to produce a tree that looks like a tree, then use whatever ratio looks right for the tree.
If your goal is to produce an artistic interpretation in your eyes of a tree then also use those recommended practises.

But I would be saddened to think that new members or a novice would take advice of producing more aust. native material and strive for a set ratio because it is 'generally' used on northern hemisphere material to great acclaim. I stand by my opinion that Pup is right in that our native trees are much higher in their ratios. The majority of eucs don't have to be growing in a forest setting to develop a high ratio, for the majority, it is their growth pattern. I personally do not think that our natives need to be compromised because they wouldn't look good being displayed like they grow in the wild.

I don't feel this thread is pointless at all, and in fact I feel it is the opposite, (not for the sake of saying you should or shouldn't strive for a set pattern), but more so to make the grower think about what they are producing and what they want their end product to reflect. For myself, I want my trees to look like trees. Some will be 6:1, some will be 40:1 But on the whole, a lot of our more famous native material just doesn't normally exhibit the 6:1 said ratio in nature. Whether you want to reflect that beautiful imagery of our strong tall trees that our natives develop in your bonsai is up to you.

Again, this is :imo: and I am not saying there is anything at all wrong with a 6:1 ratio, I am saying think what looks best for the tree you are growing, rather than what looks best as a bonsai.
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Re: TREE HEIGHT

Post by kcpoole »

Rory wrote: Again, this is :imo: and I am not saying there is anything at all wrong with a 6:1 ratio, I am saying think what looks best for the tree you are growing, rather than what looks best as a bonsai.
We are growing Bonsai last time i checked :lost: so I am going to grow what looks best as a bonsai
you seem to be fixated on the ration of 6:1. All references of tree dimensions speaks of a range of ratio of 6:1 - 12:1 creating a balanced tree
That means that any tree trunk 20mm diameter can be anywhere between 120mm and 240mm tall, to be in that range. All of my natives i am growing have trunks 2 or more times that diameter, and none of them are more than 500mm tall.

Again why is the discussion about ratios relevant?
no one that i know of goes around measuring and calculation it on trees on display ( unless the topic comes up here again). We just look and know because we understand the proportions look about right on our trees/

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Re: TREE HEIGHT

Post by wrcmad »

Rory wrote:
If your goal is to produce a tree that looks like a tree, then use whatever ratio looks right for the tree.
If your goal is to produce an artistic interpretation in your eyes of a tree then also use those recommended practises.
Well said. :beer:
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Re: TREE HEIGHT

Post by wrcmad »

Anyone willing to say they wouldn't give their right arm for this?
It was sold at the sales tables at the Green Club in 2014.
Ratio - 1.25:1

Image
Last edited by wrcmad on January 26th, 2016, 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TREE HEIGHT

Post by Rory »

wrcmad wrote:Anyone willing to say they wouldn't give their right arm for this?
It was sold at the sales tables at the Green Club in 2014.
Ratio - 1.25:1
Sorry, but to me it just looks contrived. Just my opinion :)

However I'm sure the ancient Egyptians would have paid more than a limb for it.
Last edited by Rory on January 26th, 2016, 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TREE HEIGHT

Post by treeman »

Rory wrote:
Sorry, but to me it just looks contrived.


It looks contrived because it is contrived. (actually that's not strickly correct. You can have something contrived which doesn't appear to be so the person who styled this tree made no attempt to hide it or did not even consider that aspect) Pine trees don't actually grow like that naturally. Only in manicured Japanese gardens. That is not to say it isn't of the highest quality work...it is. But the more I look at modern bonsai and conifers in particular, the more I'm getting really bored with these interchagable neat pagoda crowns. And that's why I'm becoming less interested in all the current ''master demonstrators'' doing the rounds who will just make another tree which looks like this one. There's a new wind-a-blowin my friend....It hasn't reached everywhere yet but it will.....
Last edited by treeman on January 27th, 2016, 11:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: TREE HEIGHT

Post by Matt S »

I love these threads but I always seem to come late to the discussion!

The original question - why do we see so many thinner trunked bonsai in Australia? I think there are 2 main reasons:

1. Inexperienced bonsai people are usually keen to get to the ramification part of creating their trees. Growing large thick trunks and branches can be frustrating for a novice who wants to get stuck into their trees, and they want something in a bonsai pot as quickly as possible. Added to that is the fact we haven't been practicing bonsai for as long as most countries and that means fewer experienced people who will correct the novice efforts. I still have a couple of my original trees with skinny trunks and well ramified branches but I have been slowly getting rid of them. They taught me how to develop branches, but it's time to let them go in favour of better trees.

2. Traditional bonsai subjects (pines, junipers, deciduous) haven't been growing in Australia for very long, nothing longer than the first European settlement. Therefore we don't have the same ancient trees with massive trunks to inspire us. The obvious exception are the Australian natives but these haven't been used as a bonsai subject for very long, and for some reason a lot of people don't like working with them.

Actually I just thought of another reason - fashion. Massive trunks and helmet like apexes are all the rage in Europe and Japan atm. Maybe Australians are less interested in staying fashionable?

As for the 'correct' dimensions - I think a thicker trunk will always give a tree a feeling of age and power which I like but it's always down to the artist and the image they are trying to convey. In any art there will be the traditionalists and the mavericks and there will always be room for both. I still think that a novice should know the traditional rules before charging off but that's another discussion.

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Re: TREE HEIGHT

Post by Charliegreen »

"Inexperienced bonsai people are usually keen to get to the ramification part of creating their trees."

Spot on Matt, Nearly all my first trees have this issue. I airlayered two just last weekend in an attempt to correct.
I think its probably an inevitable part of the learning process with the sparse resources we have in Australia and local inhabitants thinking that they can free style it. :aussie:
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Re: TREE HEIGHT

Post by Truth »

wrcmad wrote:Anyone willing to say they wouldn't give their right arm for this?
It was sold at the sales tables at the Green Club in 2014.
Ratio - 1.25:1
Looks amazing wrcmad, it's clearly a tree that was carefully looked after and meticulously crafted for every year of it's life. You don't get yamadori looking like that, it needs to be purposely grown from the start that way.
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Re: TREE HEIGHT

Post by wrcmad »

Rory wrote:Sorry, but to me it just looks contrived. Just my opinion :)
As is most of the best rated, and most valuable art. :)
Last edited by wrcmad on January 27th, 2016, 7:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: TREE HEIGHT

Post by jacques graulus »

Rule of thumb (and only rule of thumb)


1cm trunk diameter = 6cm height

2,5cm trunk diameter = 15cm height

5 cm trunck diameter = 30cm height

and so on ...
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Re: TREE HEIGHT

Post by treeman »

wrcmad wrote:
As is most of the best rated, and most valuable art. :)
In Japan, the best rated and most valuable bonsai are Shimpaku Junipers that were shaped by nature. Their value lies in their trunks and branches not the clipped hedge (''art'') on top. That is only transitory and can always be changed. These are valued at 2 to five times any black pine. (maybe more...Jow might be able to clarify that) The whole point of bonsai was originally to capture the experience of nature in some way. That is where the true artisty is (or used to be). Modern bonsai has strayed from that concept in many circumstances. (IMO)
Last edited by treeman on January 28th, 2016, 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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