The mildness of winter (so far) plus the need to get things moving for 2020 encouraged me to pot up this Water-elm. It’s a nice smaller specimen, an unconventional triple-trunk. The larger ones are 3/4″ thick, with the entire base 2″ across. The first thing to figure out is the right front. Here’s one option.
I think this is it. There’s uneven spacing between the trunks, and good perspective among them. Also nice complementary movement among the trunks.
As for training at this time, I only needed to trim away some unneeded shoots and trim back some others. A little wire for a couple of stronger shoots was also called for. Once growth begins in spring, I’ll look to add more wire and finish the basic design. Then it’s all about grow and clip, which Water-elm seems to have been created for. I’ll have a complete bonsai by the end of the 2020 growing season.
Here’s where the tree zigged on me. When it came out of the ground, there was the main trunk and then, from the base of an original shoot that grew into two of the three current trunks, a large surface root. I left that root when I potted up the tree. Why? To remove it would have rendered the appearance of the tree odd and off-balance at the base, and I wanted to avoid that. At the same time, I left the main root base longer than I should have. True to form, new roots sprouted from all around edge of the cut base. In order to keep them going forward, I’d end up having to pot the tree relatively high in its bonsai pot. That won’t do with this specimen, which needs to be in a low-profile pot in order to look right. The only solution is to zag. I can’t cut off that surface root on the right, so I have to take off a good chuck of the base along with all the roots growing from it.
Here’s what I was able to make happen. The tree now sits low enough in the pot to make a believable multi-trunk specimen. I also retained the balance provided by the root on the right side. I think the zag worked.