CARPINUS BETULUS NO.3 "GEMINI" with new fresh foliage

Hornbeam tree was defoliated last month, now new flush of foliage is covering it again. I leave it there for few more weeks and cut it back in end of August or beginning of September. 

Some back budding on old wood, but some branches dried (maybe before defoliation due to lack if sunlight)


some branches sprouted only from terminal bud

some new branches deep inside the crown.

On sacrifice

Let me tell you few words on sacrifice branches. I use example of my Field Maple I was working recently (Acer campestre No.2). Reason behind unrestricted growth of some (one or more) branches on a tree is energy generation. 
Imagine your tree is big growing City which needs a lot of energy for its occupants. It is modern Solar Power City. Branches of the tree are power cables. Closer to the trunk/city, thicker they must be to transfer energy(sugars). Leaves growing on branches are Solar Power Plants. If they receive sunshine, they produce energy(sugars). More sunshine means more energy. More energy produced by any single leave/(solar power plant), more capacity in cable(branch) connecting it to City(trunk) you need. So, when leaves on branch produce energy, they send it down, through the branch to trunk and roots. When Power Management Company (Tree) finds out branches produce more energy, than it is possible to transfer, it will send resources to thicken those parts of tree through which energy is transferred. So, Power Company people are adding more cables connecting leaves with trunk. It means all parts of tree structure between leaves and roots get thicker. 
Now, how we can use this in tree design? We are able to thicken those parts of the tree, which needs to be thicker, due to our design plan. We can grow thicker trunks, and branches, where we need them (on lower parts of the Tree usually, but it depends). So generally, longer branches we get, more leaves are on them, and thicker they will grow. We need a lot of green foliage mass to thicken the branch or trunk. Do not cut leaves from sacrifice branch. Also, more vertical branch grows more energy due to gravitation is flowing through it. In case you want to thicken some specific branch, you can wire its tip into vertical position to strengthen energy flow. 
We can also use sacrifice branches to help healing wounds on our tree. Obviously, there are trees which are able to heal cuts and wounds better (acer, quercus, tilia according to my experience)  than others (hawthorns). But generally, more energy is flowing around cut or wound, faster is cambium creation around wound and healing is therefore faster. 
Question is, how much sacrifice you have to sustain. This you have to find yourself. But I would say let it grow as much as you can, until you are sure cuts created when you cut it back will heal. It is easier said than done. 
So, back to my field maple. It was not cut back this season up until last weekend. You can see the pictures with amount of growth produced by yourself. Now tree, was cut back. Cuts were worked a bit. Majority of branches were wired. It will stay like this for couple of weeks before wires start to bite in, they will be removed. If you check previous post about this maple, last year I did more less the same. This is, according to my experience, way of building deciduous bonsai from yamadori collected material.


Before work

man behind the tree

...5 minutes later
One of the major wounds, with maple one can at least hope it will heal in couple of years of aggressive growth of the crown.
2016 and 2017 same wound, more growth, more callus, faster healing


Tree was slightly edited recently since top of the crown on right size of the first picture was overgrown. I neglected it for a while and I had to deal with it now or later. 

This is how it looked before, all branches were shortened and cut back. Then couple of guy wires were applied as you can see on next pictures. I wait till spring now and it will be most probably cut back even deeper to achieve more curvy shape of the top of the crown. 

Tree will be possibly reported during spring again (last repotting last year, as you may know I'm trying to avoid frequent repotting like a plaque). Reason is hill under trunk is drying more than rest of the substrate and it is not good for the roots. Covering with moss would obviously helped a lot, I tried it many times before. But birds will make pig's breakfast of it in a day. And amount of protection I have to make to secure moss is beyond my patience threshold. 


This maple was partially defoliated couple of weeks ago. Now this is how it looks with second flush of leaves. It was becoming too dense so, couple of shoots were shortened and few leaves removed.

QUERCUS PUBESCENS NO.7 thread grafting

Let me tell you few words about this oak tree. You can find several post about it here on the blog. Tree was collected during summer 2011 by myself, as most of my trees. 

June 2016

It is quite some time since then, but I'm failing to build significant structure of the crown. Problem is I never had back budding on thicker trunk low enough to work with. I wanted to have upward moving sub trunks creating illusion of wide old oak. But branches were missing.  Usually I do not have such problems, when I collect I chop trunks on site when collecting, which tend to result in buds all over trunks as low as base of the tree. No with this gentleman. One of the reason could be that tree was chopped too high, you can see on old picture it must have been more than 1,2 m above ground. I don't remember what I thought doing this. Most probably I did not wanted to destroy fantastic bark on lower part of it, and secondly it was probably easier to move it down from forest to car. And I wanted to have some branch with actual buds and leaves on it and first one was so high as you can see. So when I re-chopped it back home after some time, effect was not the same and I created a lot of troubles for myself.

2011, after collecting from wild

During last season I was well aware I need to solve it somehow, otherwise tree will be piece of junk forever. So I planned to make thread graft on trunk and I prepared two longer lower branches for that purpose. It was right time to move forward with job in spring. I was waiting until buds will start to swell as sign that tree survived harsh winter. When they woken up I was almost ready. But, unfortunately I was so busy with other work I had basically no time for doing that. I was watching swelling buds daily during my morning watering session and I was praying they stay closed for one more day. Finally, in late April I had some time to perform the task. As you can see from rubbish quality pictures I was in hurry (as always when I do something on my trees and my three kids demand my full attention). So, in between pushing swing with daughter I was drilling 6 mm hole into trunk. I bought 200 mm long wood drill bit for that purpose (I did not find slimmer one, but I proved I was just about right diameter).

Only terminal buds were left and rest was removed not to create obstacles when pulling through tight hole. Terminal buds were packed into teflon tape to protect them. Than strong string was attached to the end of the branch (I had catfish fishing string I used to buy for completely different purpose ages ago).

Branche was pulled through drilled hole. I was with some problems but it worked. Than, tape was removed, and branch was secured by wedge cut from branch and provide force pushing my branche against cambium. Entering and exiting hole was sealed with cut paste.

Now branch was exiting tree in not best angle, but I was not able to achieve sharper angle. It obviously could be edited slightly in the future when branche will be securely grown into the trunk, then I will wire into better upward position.

And I waited how it will react. And it actually leafed out, but did not grow like crazy, like I wanted. It was barely surviving. If you see it is going down and than turning up to go through hole you see that sap flow must be quite problematic in this case.

June 2017

I was thinking how I can help those two buds gain more energy, and one of the solution was I kept tree tilted simply by putting large rock under the pot on side of the exit hole. Did not help.

Then I pruned back the top in June. Finally it was signal for bude to open. It is too early to open champagne. I need massive amount of foliage to thicken the branch, so cambiums will merge. But there is new hope.

Fresh growth in second flush this year on top of the tree ass well

BTW, when researching for good tutorial how to do it I found good source on Bonsai Nut forum, I found marky scott thread on grafting and it provide me a lot of valuable information. Check it out if you need any info on this topic.

Elm ground layering