big cedar elm update

Sneak Peak

It’s time to check in again on my big Cedar elm. I write often about the stick/stump to bonsai path. This is one of the best examples I have on my bench.

Big Cedar Elm Update

Above is a shot of this tree as a stump, then this photo of the initial wiring back in 2017. That was just a few months after it was collected. I normally like more trunk in my collected trees, but this one came only with great radial roots and lower trunk movement and taper. You work with what you get.


I’ve blogged before as this tree has been built from the ground up. The obvious biggest challenge in this tree is to create roughly the top half of the tree. This procedure is a multi-step, multi-year process and there’s no short-cutting it if you mean to get it right.

I let the latest leader grow all last year, and it’s now about six feet in length. So … time for another chop. Where to chop is the question, of course.

How about this possibility?

No, of course not. There’s almost nothing going for chopping the trunk in this spot. There’s no taper and you can’t see any movement from this angle.

This spot is much better. It complies with my rule of thumb that calls for chopping a branch or leader two or three basal diameters from the point where it emerges from the trunk or trunk chop.

Here’s a closeup of my new chop. I’ll get a new leader here, most likely from a bud that forms near one of the lateral branches you can see.


And finally, a trimming of the branches to finish off today’s work. This tree continues to develop per my plan. Just another few years and this will make quite a Cedar elm bonsai.

That lowest branch has been bothering me for a while. I think the tree looks better without it. What do you think?