I’ve had this Korean Hornbeam for 5 years now. This was how it looked back in July 2010. It was weak and had suffered for a few years and lost a lot of branches. It took 2 seasons to get it on track and build up some ramification.
This was it in 2013
And here in December 2014.
At this point I decided to make a few changes. Both trunks were parallel to each other in the pot creating a very flat image. The main trunk lacked taper along the last portion of the trunk line and about 2 inches from the top is a swelling that looked ugly and was only going to get worse with age. I opted to layer the top off the main trunk to create a little multi-trunk shohin tree for the future. I also decided that I’d change the front of the tree to offset the two trunk creating more depth.
Below is the tree in December 2015 after the layer was removed. I had give the tree free growth for the year to give me a few more options when thinning out the branches.
This was to be the new angle for the front. I’d lose a little of the width of the base but give the tree a little more character and depth, hard to see that in a photo of course!
I trimmed back unwanted branches and pruned out a few area that had become too heavy.
I then wired out the branch structure creating the basics of two new apexes and got rid of a lot of clutter and crossing branches.
If we are making changes to the front, I might as well repot it. I had a Sylvia Webber pot on the shelf that I love and was itching to use again. I think that’s who the potter is anyway, perhaps someone can confirm from the chop mark below. Is she still making pots? I got this back in 2003.
I transferred the tree over adjusting for the new angle. The pot is perhaps a little shallow looking for such a heavy trunk, but I like it. I was also able to remove an ugly root at the back as a bonus. It’s hard to tell just how much better the image is in a photo, especially as the old front looked good in a photo and this photo isn’t great but trust me, I’m a lot happier with where this tree is going in the years to come. Double the current ramification and I think we have a nice tree in the making. That’s what I love about working on Deciduous trees, there’s no quick image to be had like a conifer, the work has to be done year on year to create a descent bonsai.