Young Winter Hazel Structural Design—

Although we create a lot of deciduous bonsai here, embarrassingly few of them show up on this blog. I’ll endeavor to include more of them down the road.

One of the enticing challenges of deciduous bonsai is seeing the future tree in the young twigs in front of you. The process is so long that unless you can push aside the years and see the final product in one’s imagination, there will be a moment ten years down the road when one will think, ‘Darn, if I’d only moved those branches over there way back when.’

This Winter Hazel, Corylopsis spicata, is native to Japan and came from Telperion Farms here in Oregon a few years ago, and until now I’ve done little with it but grow the extensions to get a bit of trunk caliper. This past Seasonal class noodled it a bit further, to set it up for its future form. Thanks to Carmen, Sam, and Zach who were our noodlers for this project.

Our spidery-looking Winter Hazel, maybe 10 years young.

After initial structural pruning.

Seasonal students beginning to wire. Some of the wires, the green wires, were wrapped with paper tape, which allows a bit of softness between the wire and the branch. (We didn’t do them all, it was just a teaching moment.)

Fat buds indicate some flowers this March.

Setting the branches.

And where we ended the day. There’s no reason to wire or tweak every last tiny shoot at this stage, nor is it necessary to wire all the way to the ends of the extensions, which will be cut back eventually anyway. It is essential however to have extensions at this early phase; without them the development of the trunks and roots will be diminished dramatically.

An image of what this tree might become now that the branches are set for a similar future. Photo courtesy Andrew Robson.

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