Thuja occidentalis cleanup

This tree was looking pretty good last August but I am hoping it will be looking even better by the end of this year. But before that it will have to look like crap.

It was finally repotted this spring into its first bonsai pot, some five years after collection. I am not completely happy with the planting angle nor the positioning in the pot, but that was the best I could do given the placement of the roots. The quality of the pot is not ideal either, but a comparable high quality container would be very, very expensive. If I could even find one. I am thinking about ideas for a custom made container in the future.

Much of the wire from last year was already biting in severely so the tree was completely de-wired. When I remove wire I always try to unwrap it instead of cutting it off. As far as I can see, there are three benefits to unwrapping the wire instead of cutting it off:

  • it is much faster to unwrap it than cut it off bit by bit
  • you are less likely to miss little loops of wire which could girdle branches in the future
  • it is impossible to cut off wire that is biting into a branch without severely damaging that branch. You have to unwrap it.

The exception is very thick work-hardened copper wire which can be very difficult to unwrap without twisting the branches. I usually cut that off if possible.

The tree was also thinned quite drastically. This will simplify the upcoming wiring process and also improve the branch structure. And for the first time, the deadwood was properly cleaned and some old dead stumps were refined. It was also treated with a 50% dilution of lime sulfur.

It is now resting for a couple of weeks then it will be wired.



5 Responses

  1. Mike Simmons

    Nice tree! From the picture angle, it almost looks like two trees with the one growing behind the other. Difficult to see where that back branch is coming from. Perhaps more pictures? 😉

    I also liked your advice regarding wire removal. Gotta cut the big stuff though!

    Look forward to future pics of this one!

    Thanks for sharing.
    Mike Simmons

    July 14, 2015 at 9:20 am

    • LSBonsai

      Hi Mike,

      Yes it is an awkward twin trunk, actually two trees growing closely together. It might be possible to separate them but the back trunk provides some much needed depth and lower branching.



      July 14, 2015 at 10:27 am

  2. Mike Simmons

    I think it looks great. That’s the way it was growing prior to collection, correct?
    I particularly like thuja’s. Have several and do my best to not “change” them too much from the way mother nature did it. Pruning and slight changes to how it sits in a pot, but I too would be reluctant in trying to split those two apart.

    thanks again,

    July 14, 2015 at 10:36 am

    • LSBonsai

      Yes, the trunks were like that when collected. You can follow the link at the beginning of the post to see some earlier pictures.

      July 14, 2015 at 10:39 am

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