Here’s a Bald cypress I collected in February of 2018. It’s a good piece of material, but not a great piece of material. It is nice and big, with a trunk that measures 6.5″ across about 6″ above the soil. Taper is very good, as you can see. But the trunk, while decently fluted, isn’t a show-stopper in that department.
This side presents a bigger problem. The buttressing roots on the side are fine, but in between them is a pretty flat piece of “trunkscape.” Again, good piece of material but hardly great. Things did not get better once I potted up the tree and waited for it to bud out – namely, it took forever to bud out. It was not obviously dead, so I relocated it to a back bench and more or less forgot about it. Then, way long into the growing season, it decided to wake up. I fed it, kept it watered, but continued to ignore it.
Then came 2019, and the tree sure enough pushed more buds than it had in 2018 and did the amount of growth it could, given its location and presumably its general state of health. But I’m somewhat encouraged by it, and have “promoted” it to a sunnier bench for the 2020 season. But … it’s still not great material, even if the growth really kicks into high gear this year. What to do? (This shot is from what would presumably be the best front. We all know how the back looks, though.)
It never hurts to pull out the sketch pad, because you can try a number of different options for a tree before you assault it possibly irreparably. Given the flatness of what would be the back of the tree going by the above photo, I thought hollowing out that side could make this a very good or even great bonsai. Is it worth the risk? I think so. Time, and the chance associated with development techniques, will tell. I won’t know until sometime in spring if I’ll be able to carve this tree in 2020. I don’t want to stress a tree that’s not in full vigor. Stay tuned for updates. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you think of Plan B for this BC.