Collected Beech Bonsai Progression Series and Why You Should Not Chop a Trunk Too Early

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This Beech 'sapling' was collected from local woods in the Winter of 2001. It was just one of a number that I collected that Winter with the purpose of developing them into bonsai.

Beech 'sapling'

The tree was approximately a metre in height at the time of collection and so, as is common practise when developing trunks for bonsai, I chopped the trunk down to the first branch to create a new trunkline. In other words, I pruned back the main trunk so that the thinner first branch would become the new upper trunk.

One of the main purposes of chopping in this manner is that as the first branch is thinner than the base of the trunk, the new trunkline would have greater taper; a highly desirable quality in bonsai. (For more details on developing trunks for bonsai, please visit here)

At this point in time, I intended to develop the tree as quite a small bonsai; (approximately 12"/30cm) and planted the newly collected tree into a small cut-down nursery pot as can be seen above.

Beech

2003: Two years later and the Beech had developed very slowly. The transition between the original trunk and new trunkline had become smoother and new branches had appeared, but this development was slow and I decided to plant the tree into the ground where its growth would be far quicker and therefore development into a bonsai could be sped up (see Field Growing For Bonsai).

beech bonsai

June 2007: For four years while the tree was in the ground, it was allowed to grow wild and would then be pruned back hard to selected branches during the Winter. As would be expected, trunk and branch development was considerably faster.

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