Tale of Two Leaders

I got this little Shohin Corkbark Elm from Willowbog Bonsai last year. It was repotted this Spring and after a slug attack on the new emerging shoots, it’s eventually got around to growing. It’s been a strange yellow colour and has produced some variegated leaves.

At the BSA Exhibition in March I watched Peter Warren working on a very similar tree during a demo. I thought it would be hard to make any real changes to it, but he proved me wrong. As you can see in this photo taken during the Winter, the tree has two leaders within the canopy. Peter explained that this was disturbing to the eye. As you follow the movement of the trunk line and then reach the two leaders, you don’t know which way to go in following the flow of the tree. [ Not his exact words, he said it much more eloquently than me :-)] Peter removed part of one of the leaders and adjusted a few other branches making a tree with far less disturbing structure that was more pleasing to the eye.

As I had repotted the tree, I didn’t want to attempt this until it was clearly recovered. The other day I decided it was time to follow Peter’s advice on that similar tree and reduce the second leader. This was the result.

It will look a little sparse for a few months but will fill in quickly resulting in a better tree. The tree has to take a step back to progress forward.

I love moments like this where you think you are happy with a tree and then someone waltzes in and with one snip shows you a better option.  I have a far idea that Peter might be doing that a lot when he stays with me in October. Can’t wait.