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This bonsai started out as a very wild tree!
Pictured here prior to collection in October 2002, the tree was 6ft+ including the long whips of growth at the very top of the tree.
The top growth of a tree will often reflect what's happening in the ground; this tree was growing in very wet, soggy soil 8-9 months of the year and therefore had a very compact rootball (for a Hawthorn). This resulted in an equally dense and ramified branch system.
Hawthorns growing in drier soils will have very deep taproots and above ground, tall straight trunks free of lower branching.
The above ground part of a tree will very often be a mirror image of the below ground part.
Immediately after collection the tree was heavily pruned to find the trunkline; any branches that were too thick or ill-positioned were removed.
It is better to remove branches on Hawthorn that are too thick for future use at the time of collection for a variety of reasons. The main benefit is that it causes extraordinary backbudding from the trunk, these new shoots being perfect for building a new branch structure.
At this point I retained the low 'second trunk' at the base. Ultimately however, I decided against styling this tree as a twin trunk.
September 2003. Though the tree has recovered quite well, new growth looks very thin on such a tall tree.
The 'second trunk' at the base has been removed and the resulting stub hollowed out to form a 'uro'.
By July 2004 the tree has started to fill out.
Growth is very one sided (see last image); few shoots have emerged from the left hand side of the trunk.
To remedy this, a couple of shoots growing from the right hand side are (approach)grafted so they grow towards the left.
December 2004. After leaf fall, the basic structure of the tree can be seen.