And so, armed with some new handmade pots that I wrote about yesterday, my trigger finger has suddenly gotten itchy. To satisfy my need to create bonsai, I went out to my growing area and decided this Hackberry, Celtis laevigata, could be successfully lifted and made into something that can look good immediately this spring.

This one has been in the ground about four years, starting its bonsai journey as a pencil-thick seedling. This past year the tree put on a lot of strong growth, which helped thicken the trunk base to about 1″ diameter. But there’s a really long and straight section of trunk that continues on from the lower trunk area, which by the way has some nice movement. What would you do with something like this?







Here’s the answer I saw. By taking off the main trunk at the point where those two nice sub-trunks emerged, I now have a rudimentary crown for a bonsai that just happened to grow on its own for me. Makes sense, right? So the next move was to cut the tree out of the ground.











Another really nice thing about this Hackberry is that it came up with a good root system. Since the tree did not grow in place from seed, there wasn’t a tap root to have to deal with. So I’ve got a head start on good radial roots and a fibrous root system.








Now everything’s been pruned back where it needs to be for now. I’ve established a nice set of proportions in the crown of the tree that complements the size and height of the trunk. The roots have been cut back to fit a bonsai pot. And isn’t that trunk movement and character nice for a young tree?









And so, taking one of those nice Byron Myrick ovals I wrote about yesterday, I’ve now got a neat little Hackberry bonsai-to-be. Assuming all goes well, this tree will have a pretty complete broom-form design by the end of the 2017 growing season. I’ll post it for sale sometime in the spring.

Let me know what you think. Have you worked with Hackberry before?