Adjusting and Maintaining a Large Cryptomeria–

This cryptomeria was one of the standout trees in Boon’s backyard when I studied with him ten years ago. He’s been maintaining it for years. It was originally styled by Mitsuya during one of his visits to the states in the early ’90’s, and is the most significant cryptomeria I’ve seen in the United States. It’s about a meter tall, and has been developing as a bonsai for about twenty years.

One of my clients currently owns this tree and we agreed it was time to wire it again for a bit of reworking. On an established tree like this, such work is done infrequently, while the main yearly task is cutting back the growing shoots. The metabolism of this tree is slower due to its long establishment and so cutting the shoots is only about once a year, as opposed to a younger tree where scissor maintenance might be done several times over a growing season. And also debris, such as dead shoots and the like, are removed from the interior of the foliage pads at the time of shoot cutting, giving it an airy feel after the work is completed.

The Before and After photos here are rather subtle, as is commonly the case with such an established tree.

Some of the branch ends were brought down with wire, that was the main work. The wiring just allowed the form and branch structure to be crystalized a bit. In five years, this will have to be done again. And the apex needs to fill out a bit for some density on top.

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  1. Sam Ogranaja says:

    You’re right, Michael. The changes are very subtle but needed. That is an amazing piece.

    Great work brother!!!

  2. Scott Tice says:

    Love that tree! One of my all-time favorite species. Would love to have one. Great job!!!!

  3. Marc says:

    Subtle changes that = great improvement!
    Successful Formal upright trees are very rare outside of Japan.
    I love what you have done with this tree and I would love to see it in person
    at the next National Bonsai Exhibition.
    A few months ago Michael, you begged (dared?) your faithful blog followers to
    throw out critical comments. Okay, one thing bothers me about this tree.
    The one root that comes straight towards the front of the pot. It seems that a few degree one direction or the other would solve that?


    • crataegus says:

      Glad you agree… that’s something that bothers me too. It may be hard to change, but the tree is due for a repotting within the year and we’ll see what the options are! It may be that a couple of degrees shift will still work with the old branching, that would be simplest. Thanks for the comment–

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