This water-elm, Planera aquatica, has grown out well since getting its first wiring earlier in the spring. Enough so, in fact, that I had to unwire the new leader a few weeks ago to keep the wire from binding. But you can see how far the leader has extended, so no surprise there.
Lately I’ve been thinking it was time for this tree to inhabit its first bonsai pot. After all, building the crown will not require growth beyond what I can get in a bonsai pot. The branches are well on their way already, and in fact need to be cut back to begin the next phase of their development. So why not?
First a trim to bring the branches back to their ultimate limit. The style of this tree requires branching that stays close to the trunk. I’m doing this because the gnarly base of this tree is its best feature, and allowing the branches to run too far will only detract from it. So for future development and care, keeping the branches close to the trunk will be necessary.
Notice I’ve left the leader alone. It needs to continue to run in order to both thicken its base as well as to help heal the angled cut I’ve made. Water-elms heal cuts best where there’s really vigorous growth, and the crown of the tree tends to be reliably vigorous.
And the final result. This Byron Myrick round suits the tree well, don’t you think? It’s a little hard to see in this photo, but the surface rootage is very nice all around. This only serves to make the trunk base that much more impressive.
The trunk is 3″ at the soil surface and 2.5″ above the root crown. The finished height is going to be about 18″.
If you’d like to take over the development of this bonsai, it’s available at our Elm Bonsai sales page.