Field Growing a Cryptomeria

I’ve been growing two Japanese (Temple?) Cedars in the flower beds for three years now.  I bought them as saplings online from a gardening website and wasn’t entirely sure of the suitability for bonsai at the time but thought it was worth a try.  The only examples of these trees as bonsai that I have seen are photographs of bonsai in Japan.  I think there’s one or two pieces of raw material belonging to NIBS members but they seem to be pretty rare in the UK (perhaps unsuitable in our climate?)

Anyway, I have since discovered that the variety that I bought are requiring quite a bit of patience! They are slow growing with coarse foliage and new wood takes a long time to lignify.

When bought, the trunks were green except for the base which was turning brown.  They were tall (approx 80cm) and slender and so my immediate thought was that they would be a long term project.  This post features the most promising of the two trees.

4 may 12

Over the past couple of years I have been letting the lower branches grow unhindered while keeping the apex short by pinching the new growth in spring and pruning in late summer.  As a result the tree is developing gradual taper throughout the trunk .

I’ve also been paying attention to the spacing of the branches and as you can see in the photo above, the branches are further apart in the lower half of the tree but closer in the upper trunk.

5 aug 13

This year I’ve just finished pruning to develop branch taper.  It’s a cluttered picture I know but you can see how the trunk has finally lignified and hopefully it’ll not be too long before the primary branches turn woody as well.Anybody any advice on how to speed up the process of turning branches woody? I’d love to hear from anybody who has similar material in the UK especially.

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