Just This One Last Big Tree … I Think

A couple of weeks ago I measured the height of stupidity at 25 feet, because I collected this massive Sycamore that had to be chopped down from that height.

At the time I observed that getting older means working with fewer really massive trees.  They really are a lot of weight to move around.  Oh, it’s okay to have one on the bench, provided you limit the number of moves you make with it.  But a lot of the problem is getting the tree from the ground (saw and lift, wash and chop roots, pot into growing tub) to the bench.







So the Sycamore lived, as you can see in today’s updated photo.  We’re still four weeks away from the dead-end of growth for 2017, so I anticipate additional foliar growth during that time, most likely a need to do some wiring, and then this tree will be limited to root growth (which I doubt has really gotten much under way yet).  Root growth will continue on into fall, so I’m pretty confident this tree will be ready to rock and roll in 2018.  We’ll know then.





As many of you know, Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) is one of my absolute favorite species for bonsai, and it’s certainly the most popular with my clients.  I never seem to have enough of them.  So I reached out to a local fellow collector to see if he had any extra material sitting around that he was willing to part with.  I picked up a handful of nice specimens today.  This is the biggest one I got.

With a trunk base of 8″ (8″ above the soil surface) and a root spread of 20″, this Bald cypress fits right in the category of trees I’m too old to lug around.  It’s got to weight close to 100 pounds.  At the same time, I know there’s someone out there who has just got to have this tree.  So once we’ve matched tree to BC lover, my wrestling days with this one will come to an end.  Meanwhile, it’s very impressive and has an assigned spot on the bench from which it will not move.

12 Replies to “Just This One Last Big Tree … I Think”

  1. John

    The Sycamore….
    How tall is that cut down trunk now?…soil to top of the chop.
    What’s the trunk diameter above the soil?….maybe an inch or so above the soil level.
    Thanks. I can imagine the collecting chores with a 25′ tall tree that’s well secured to the ground.

      • John

        Heavyweight. Hmmmm…makes me think. I have numerous trees growing in the ground waiting for a trunk diameter of 5″ to 6″. Most are at 3″ to 4″ right now. I haven’t thought about the weight factor of a larger tree….and I will have to move the trees periodically. Maybe I should begin harvesting the trees now while they are a manageable weight….and still a good thick-trucked. The 3″ to 4″ should be just fine….with room to slowly grow out to that 5″.

        • Zach Smith Post author

          I think that’s a smart way to go, John. Now, if you’re working on sumo specimens with really fat lower trunks, the total mass is manageable. But the normal proportions of a big tree bring with them a lot of weight.


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