Two questions, one post! Chinese Elm and Brush Cherry

cfox248(3)April 6, 2014

Okay, so I have two questions about two different bonsai but didn't want to make two posts. Me and my mother recently bought a bonsai each. I have one already, this is her first. We bought them because we�re planning on going to a wiring/shaping class that�s local and you need a tree to practice on! They were both potted in nasty wet slop, so we repotted them in Hoffman�s Bonsai soil. That�s why in the pic of the brush cherry, the base of the trunk is really icky. (No, it's not rotting, just very damp and muddy.)

So, first question about mine. A brush cherry. As you can see in the picture, the trunk has no roots coming above the soil or anything. Also, the trunk at the very base is a bit narrower than the middle of the trunk. I have repotted it � before it was potted a bit deeper to hide that. I might follow suit and re-bury it a bit deeper� But first, my question. I have heard you can air layer the base to get more roots to grow. One page I was reading said to take a drill bit and VERY carefully by hand make a small divet in the very base of the trunk. Pack it with rooting gel (I have powder, I think either would work) and sink the divets RIGHT beneath the soil line. Said that this will prompt growth of roots, and then I would have the opportunity for some roots to be above the soil instead of a boring straight trunk the whole way. Could I do this with my cherry?

The second question is about my mother�s very unruly Chinese Elm. We�re obviously going to wait till the styling class, but we thought we�d get some ideas beforehand. It�s strange in the sense that one side of the tree has NO branches on it. It�s rather flat. I was thinking we could either do a tiered style of bonsai (I can�t think of the real name, I�ll link an image of what I mean) or a windswept style, looking as if the wind was blowing toward the side with no branches. We will probably cut off the very topmost vertical branch at the top of the trunk, because the other branch serves as a good leader branch and continues the curve of the trunk.. But other than that we�ve never done this before and are looking for ideas. Any ideas for us? (Sorry the pics are phone quality!)

Yes, one of the elm branches has nasty wire scarring. It had wire on when we bought it, we cut it off. We are not opposed to leaving that branch on if it would serve. I know it should be cut off, but neither of us are competing or anything � so I figured if she doesn't mind the wire scarred branch, it doesn't matter if it stays on if it can serve in styling.

Thank you for any opinions you can give us! (And no, the kitchen table is not their final spot. Just here for repotting and picture purposes!)

Here is a link that might be useful:

This post was edited by cfox248 on Sun, Apr 6, 14 at 11:53

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