Choosing the Front: Old Collected Trees
How do we choose a front on an older, collected tree?
A few tips:
- Keep an eye out for fronts that show a trunk line that is not an S curve
- Use the special features of the tree; this might be unusual movement, shari, live vein, jin, old branch, cavity, or even bark
- Be willing to have a pigeon breast if other, greater features may be featured
- Clean the dead areas of the tree of bark, exposing shari that might influence front choice
- Remember that inclination is as important as front, and is chosen at the same time
- Be aware that large roots on collected trees can pose an angle limit to some inclinations, yet root mounds are more acceptable as well
Very old bunjin Ponderosa pine has all of 7 twists in the live vein (that’s 2,520 degrees). Several front and inclination choices exist for this one—tree from Backcountry Bonsai
A 7″ Rocky Mountain Juniper being grafted, with two possible fronts—tree collected by Backcountry bonsai. They nicknamed it ‘Dunkin’ (for Dunkin donuts).
This juniper has two front possibilities—tree collected by Randy Knight
A collected vine maple, yet to be styled—also two good front possibilities here
While not a collected tree, this cutting grown shimpaku has the same complexities and challenges in front choice—and that choice will have a lot to do with how the shari is created. Incidentally a client of mine grew this Chuhin-sized tree (medium-sized) in about 8 years from a cutting—great potential with not many years labor.