bald cypress initial styling and potting

Sneak Peek

This specimen will make a nice larger flat-top BC bonsai.

Bald Cypress Initial Styling and Potting

Larger Bald cypress specimens almost always lend themselves to one of two styles – either the classic pyramidal (informal upright) or flat-top. This is a larger tree than I usually make flat-tops out of (3.5″ trunk, 29″ to the chop), but it definitely lends itself to that style. The radial roots are very nice and serve the flat-top style well.


As I’ve said before, when you approach a piece of material to do the initial styling you’ll likely have a general idea of how you want the design to turn out. That’s another way of saying you know just about all you need to about the tree’s front, the branches to keep, where the leader is, etc. With that said, however, you’ll often face a tree where it’s easier to decide some things than others. In this case, I have two leaders in the right spots and so that issue along with the front is settled. However, there are a lot of thin lower branches that I’ll need to choose from for my “vestigial” branches. Frankly, I’m not sure at this point which I’ll keep. But the low stuff all needed to go.

Though I usually start wiring branches from the bottom, since I don’t yet know which I’m keeping I went ahead and wired the two leaders I’m keeping. Start from certainty and work your way toward what you’re not certain of.

This is where the leaders need to be.

I went ahead and picked a couple of lower branches and wired them. I can always change later on, given the fact that the tree will push a lot of trunk buds in a few weeks.

I also did the angle cut on the original trunk chop.


It’s always best to go ahead and smooth your carved areas right away. This is just because if you put it off you’re likely (as I am) to forget about it for the rest of the growing season and kick yourself for having neglected it.

It’s good to keep a few mica training pots around in case you need them. Big BC’s need big pots, and pot costs can often be prohibitive. This one is easily a third of what a custom job would cost.

So this specimen is on its way. The leaders will thicken rapidly as I control the lower branch growth. I should have a credible design well on its way to completion by early fall.

Let me know what you think.