This Cedar elm, Ulmus crassifolia, was collected in February of 2018. I potted it in April in this lovely Ashley Keller pot. Aside from a little wiring to get an apex going, I just left the tree alone the rest of the growing season.

Here’s the tree as it was earlier today. Growth has been good. In 2019, the tree should flourish. What it needs right now is some direction.

It’s always best to start at the bottom of your bonsai, and that’s what I did here. The first two branches of your tree establish the foundation of the design (not to neglect the importance of the trunk, of course).

This tree has a good slant on it. I didn’t give the tree this slant, at least not directly. When it was first getting established, the rootage on the left side of the tree was relatively weak, and the trunk wanted to lean over. I stuck a rock in the pot, in order to keep it from literally falling over and uprooting itself. The rock stayed there for months. The roots firmed up. The rock was taken out of the pot.

The top of this tree was pretty confusing. Most species are top-dominant, and Cedar elm is no different. So the strong growth presented itself mostly in the apex of the tree. There’s too much there. So I went ahead and shortened the tree to a single leader, and removed unneeded growth in the apex. You can see the angled cut I made. I went ahead and carved it smooth.

More wiring, more editing. The last two side branches are wired and positioned. The rough design is almost complete.

And now the basic structure of this Cedar elm bonsai is set. I’ll get lots of growth in spring, and the ramification is going to come on strong as well. It’s a safe bet that by the time 2019 comes to an end, grow and clip will be the primary styling technique. I love when trees reach that stage.

As I noted a few months back, I’m moving away from smaller material such as this Cedar elm. But I do want to see these trees get into good hands. So this tree is available at our Cedar Elm Bonsai sale page. (The tree has been sold.)