This nice Water-elm got its first bonsai pot in late February of this year (2109). I had collected it as a bare trunk, and chopped it where you see the obvious mark.
So here we are, just under 10 months later. There’s been a good bit of wiring and trimming during that time, and the tree is shaping up well. But … time for a cut and style!
Whenever you’re doing this sort of work, you need to examine the tree closely for this problem – namely, overgrown apical branches. Just about everything you’ll grow for bonsai will be apically dominant, and it’s this phenomenon that can literally ruin a tree. I’ve caught this one in time, but I do have to take strong measures to rebalance the tree’s energy.
This is the first step in controlling the imbalance, namely, cutting back the strong branch hard. Now, it will react as you’d expect, and try to regrow what I hacked off. As long as I come right behind and keep the branch trimmed, I’ll win the fight.
The problem is not as bad over on the right, but if I don’t cut back pretty hard it’ll just keep on thickening and get out of balance as the left one did.
And this completes the pruning of the crown of this tree. It’ll bud like crazy some spring, so I’ll need to be on my toes. But I’ll achieve at least tertiary ramification in the crown in 2020.
In this photo, I’ve done the rest of the cleanup pruning and trimming. All that’s left is to do some necessary wiring to get the structure back in line.