You may have read the main Bald cypress bonsai page ... this page is about a Taxodium distichum that caught my eye, at the Marion County Bonsai Society in Ocala, FL. I was there to give a 'critique.'
Members brought their trees for sharing and suggestions. We discussed several very nice specimens and their potential as good bonsai.
Then came the cypress bonsai with "knees” … lots of them.
What I saw on this bonsai was not exactly what you see in the nature, but they were on their way.
I had to ask how the knees got started.
In the bonsai world, I had always heard “knees don’t form once cypress are collected and placed in a container”. So, I was especially curious.
The owner, Ronald Weiss was more than willing to share his technique.
He explained that his “cypress is a work in progress,” and went on to give details.
His bald cypress bonsai is being styled after a specimen tree near the entrance of the 'Silver Springs' attraction in Central Florida.
“My tree was purchased in 1995, and was ten feet tall at the time. I topped it at the nursery, no taper."
Photo to the right shows a scar from the original cut. (Placed in the back, so it doesn't show).
"Then there were no branches, trunk only. I allowed several loss leaders to fatten the base. It continued to develop.
I started making the knees about seven years ago.
I skipped an annual re-potting so I would have long heavy roots to work with.
During repotting, all the roots are visible.
It's then easy to select the best for potential knees.
I tie the roots together with wire into hair pin design. With roots that are long enough, I make two knees each."
"Always make extra faux knees; not all the knees will thicken or survive.
At first, plant the entire root below the soil surface.
Don’t try to expose the new knees in the beginning. I remove extra
knees that don’t fatten or are not necessary."
Time will determine which knees on Ron's bonsai are best and which are best placed.
When I asked Ron where he learned this technique, he told me -
“I had never seen it done, this was just an experiment.”
What an experiment!
Admittedly it is a long, slow process.
Imagine the difference it could make in your Bald Cypress bonsai.
more Bonsai Tree Articles
is my free monthly newsletter. Subscribe to get current tips, ideas and photos that may not appear on this site.
So glad to know you're a real person!
. . . Bob C
Finding your website was like finding that needle in a haystack! I
truly enjoy your straightforward information on all the topics you
. . . Kristian M
People like you solidify novices like me and our desire to continue in creating Bonsai.
. . . Brian P