Sunday, 2 September 2012

Taxus Cuspidata - a winter project

In the later years I have tried to concentrate on a small collection of nicer trees of varied species rather than too many of one kind. This also spreads the workload and seasonal interest to the collection.

One gap in my trees was a really good big yew, added to which I had never owned a japanese variety cuspidata so my radar has been tuned to keep an eye out for one in my travels. My choice when buying material is to try and get a mature tree that still needs the refining, fine wiring and a reasonable amount of styling rather than a more finished tree. Also I don't really go for very new material that needs 10-12 years to grow branches on, so I guess I look to shop in quite a narrow band classed as nice material trees, and even more so if there is a chance to make a transformation. This type of shopping does get you lots more for your money as you are noy paying for hours of proffessional wiring, or a final pot which can easily add 10-20% to the cost of a tree

I knew of this one for a while having seen pictures of it for sale in the past. It came from Shinji Suzuki I believe - it has had 3 UK owners but unbelievably the tree remained as unstyled but preped material - some of the deadwood had a bit of nice carving but most is just aged naturally. The live veins are natural and well swollen while the foliage mass has been kept pruned to maintain plenty of dense inner growth.

We nipped off in the van Friday as the tree had been reserved for a few weeks so needed picking up

Here she is - plenty to work with ! and the tree was surprisingly big too ! .......... mostly untouched trunk with quite a bit of soft dead wood to clear out - particular attention will be placed on making sure water can drain out of all the trunk hollows and into the pot - otherwise the rot will be impossible to control. This type of water rot hollowing in Japanese trees may be an intentional method as I have a couple of trees  that would be impossible to hollow in the intricate places where long spiralling holes go down the center with no machine 'access' holes.

I want the tree to be a classic twin trunk - the smaller section with its own tree like image to complement the larger trunk. There is a critical big bend to make this image though as the small trunk angle is flat, completely horizontal when I need it vertical for the tree I want to make. This is just like the juniper rigida from earlier in the year - but this branch was twice as thick !  The distance the branch needs to move is quite a lot so 2 torniquet wire strainers were connected together and secured to tree and pot with  3mm copper wire - doubled up.
The winding started and soon there were lots of little cracks and creaks as the flat branch was cranked up to become a trunk. I have not used raffia on this one as there is no twisting involved, just raising. The raffia does a great job of keeping the cambium layer from seperating from the under wood if you need to twist a branch, but yew is a flexible wood used for longbows so I decided to just keep the process neat and simple.
At 45 degrees the live vein feeding the entire trunk started splitting away from the dead wood - this was perfect as the bending got a lot easier so one single 10 minute stint saw the trunk bent 90 degrees upright. All the cracks were covered in sealer and the tree will be left untouched for a week or two while it accepts the new position.
 A new better viewing angle and the 2nd trunk is up - compared to the first picture there is now far more usable foliage on the right. This foliage could have been just wired up maybe but up close the appearance would be poor as viewers would see the 'trunk' bending away and the branches poking up. Now the job is done properly 
More to follow soon, but now the tree can have a little R&R

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