This isn’t the first time I’ve made a deadwood Bald cypress bonsai, Taxodium distichum. They’ve been part of the ongoing How to Make Bonsai Lemonade series. Today I pulled out the last of the BC’s I’ve been ignoring, that failed to bud all the way when I collected it. As you can see, all of the growth is right near the base.

Yep, that’s a whole lot of dead wood that used to be a Bald cypress trunk. Time to do something with it.
















Step one consisted of removing all of the dead bark and all of the shoots I knew I didn’t need. That left me with two as potential leaders. Each had its merits.
















I decided on the thicker of the two shoots, just to get a little head start on the thickening process. A little wire, a little shaping.
















This is pretty cool. There’s a weevil that burrows under the bark of weak and dying BC specimens, carving curving tunnels. These make for an interesting deadwood feature.














And finally into a training pot. I discovered that there was another set of roots below the ones that lay just beneath the soil surface, so I was effectively able to “move” the new leader higher up on the trunk.

This project will be about four or five years to the point where the tree looks like something. The main thing will be to let the leader grow out unrestrained to thicken up, then cut it back and build a branch structure on it so that it looks like a Bald cypress. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to turn out well.

The next step on this one will be to treat the dead wood with lime sulfur. It’s been chewed on by insects enough, I’d say.

The trunk base is 3″ across, and it’s 20″ to the tip of the snag.