One Monterey Cypress

Posted by on Aug 9, 2014 | No Comments
One Monterey Cypress

In 2007, after having started a batch of pines the year before, I started a batch of Monterey Cypress. I collected the seed from a tree in the Presidio here in San Francisco. Cypress grow very fast, even as seedlings. It takes only a couple years to have a tree that is three feet tall, although the trunk remains small.

I grew these in pond baskets and boxes for a while, like with the pines. They do okay in baskets, but tend to get roots so dense that using a Sawzall to remove the bottom of the root mass is necessary. When I moved to Thousand Oaks I put eight of the trees into the ground, almost like a hedge along one side of my bonsai growing area. In only a couple years the trunks went from less than an inch to about three inches across.

Just before leaving Thousand Oaks, I dug them all up again and put them into large boxes to transport back to San Francisco. This is one of four from that hedge that I decided to keep.

Before work.   The tree was cut back hard after being dug out of the ground.   The top half was removed and all the large branches were stubbed back to be short.   Cypress can easily grow a couple feet worth of branch extension in a year so it didn't tae long to get some good small branches to work with.

Before work. The tree was cut back hard after being dug out of the ground. The top half was removed and all the large branches were stubbed back to be short. Cypress can easily grow a couple feet worth of branch extension in a year so it didn’t take long to get some good small branches to work with.

Detail of the base from what I'm thinking of as the front.

Detail of the base from what I’m thinking of as the front.

My chosen front.    It provides a good balance between the movement of the main trunk and the angle of the large branch on the left.

My chosen front. It provides a good balance between the movement of the main trunk and the angle of the large branch on the left.

The tree measures about 25″ high with a girth of 3″. One of the great things about Cypress is that they seem to put on significant wood even in a bonsai container. The wire will cut in very quickly, and after removing the wire the branches have a habit of springing back. On other cypress that I’ve been working on I tend to wire the branches, then remove the wire and add guy wires to keep them from springing up too much.

The disadvantage of their wood production is that over time the branches can get too large, particularly on the top of the tree.

Just left of what I consider to be the front.   The main branch on the left is coming forward too much at this angle.

Just left of what I consider to be the front. The main branch on the left is coming forward too much at this angle.

To the right of my chosen front.   The main branch on the left appears a bit too disconnected and movement of the left trunk is not as interesting.

To the right of my chosen front. The main branch on the left appears a bit too disconnected and movement of the left trunk is not as interesting.

The right side, with the smaller trunk in front of the larger one.

The right side, with the smaller trunk in front of the larger one.

The back, smaller trunk toward the viewer,as usual, a candidate for a different front.

The back, smaller trunk toward the viewer,as usual, a candidate for a different front.

The back, smaller trunk slightly farther away from the viewer

The back, smaller trunk slightly farther away from the viewer

Looking down at the top of the tree.   Lots of wire!

Looking down at the top of the tree. Lots of wire! I should have done something about that cut mark before I wired the tree I suppose.