This plant was dug from a suburban yard in 2017. At over four feet tall and wide, I had to cut a lot of branches just to haul it home. To make that work I chose to favor the first branch and bend for the future design. Despite the hard cuts, new growth emerged from the upper stump and in other adventitious locations as I gradually worked back the tree over the next couple of years.
It was planted into a large wooden box after a year of recovery in a sandy hole in the ground, and this is the box it has stayed in until this spring. At about 24 inches square and five and a half inches deep, this thing is super heavy! I do not like moving it.
In 2019 the old stump above the first bend was removed. As you might guess, the loss of all those limbs early on caused a significant part (nearly half) of the trunk to die off. I did some carving and removed the bark from the dead roots that were accessible from the surface.
Last year was a great year for some strong extension growth that made me feel like the tree was ready for wiring and styling. I decided to first try to get it into a decent pot, but unsure of the state of the roots, I didn’t know if I would be able to reduce it sufficiently to get it into a ceramic container.
I had an 18 inch square Anderson flat at the ready in case I decided to reduce the roots in stages, but what I was really hoping for is to get it into this 12 inch pot.
The one thing I knew I had going for me is that half of the trunk had died back. This meant all of the live roots were coming off one side and there was no need to fit dead roots into the container. And guess what… it worked!
Is that sweet or what?!
I wish I could show you a fully styled tree, but I just couldn’t wait to share. I’m still trying to practice patience and do what’s best for the tree.
At the time of repotting, I did remove unwanted branches, but I am going to wait to wire and prune what remains until the fragile spring buds have had a chance to open up and harden off. I also need to do a little cleaning on newly exposed dead roots.
I am excited about the future of this tree and look forward to sharing the styling with you later this season.