How to Bonsai an Eastern White Cedar

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I’m Going to be showing you guys how to Bonsai the thuja acid and talus also Known as the eastern white cedar [Music] So in this video today we’re going to be Working on the bottom of the tree and The roots and the top foliage part of The tree now the great thing about atuja Is that they’re very easy to look after Great for beginners and they’re Evergreen which means they’ll stay Mostly green throughout the whole year They’re not often seen in bonsai Nurseries but in this channel any tree Can be bonsai and today we’re going to Give this tree a go you don’t need all This equipment this is just what i’m Using today but you could probably get By with a pair of scissors and maybe a Bent fork for raking at the roots and of Course some bonsai wear but here’s what We got wire cutters bonsai scissors Branch cutters some gin pliers a Chopstick a bent fork a bonsai root rake And then in front of me here i have Three gauges of wire so i have three Millimeter two and a half millimeter and One millimeter if it was the pick a wire For a beginner just one wire to get for The majority of trees two and a half mil Aluminium bonsai wire would be the best One to go for but it is good to have a

Range of different gauges of wire for Different thicknesses of branches and of Course today we’re not using a plastic Pot today we’re going to be using this Beautiful ceramic bonsai pot which i’m Really excited to get a tree into and i Think this sort of bluish tealish color Is going to pair lovely with the color Of this studio a lovely green So i’m just going to start by raking Away the top surface of the soil here i Always find that it’s easier to repot if The soil is slightly dry i’m just going To rake away the top piece of the soil Most of this is just bark from the Garden center and what i’m trying to do Is find the nebari of the tree so the Nabari is basically the root spread or The surface roots and to find them i Have to dig away the top piece of the Soil because as this was bought from a Garden center they often plant trees Deeper than they need to be so that they Can reach whenever they’re actually Making the trees from maybe a cotton or An air layering or something so the Eastern white cedar is actually native To north america or northeastern america And some of the southeastern states of Canada i think these make great bonsai Because of the beautiful greenish Foliage on them there’s actually a more Common species of cypress used in bonsai Called the kami cypress obtusa and i

Find that this tree is really similar in Foliage to that and i think more people Should be doing bonsai with this species As it’s really nice to work with that’s Just my opinion you can work with Whatever material you like there’s no Real rules in bonsai that’s what i Really like about this hobby people have Many ways of doing their own thing and I don’t think any of them’s wrong i Think they’re just different so i’m just Raking out here i often find the fork Actually works a lot better than the Bonsai root rake too because it’s more Precise if you look here in the root Rake it’s they’re kind of spread out More I’m not tearing away i’m not tearing Through the roots as i wreck this i’m Just sort of giving it small jabs and by Doing this it doesn’t tear through the Root mass you’re just sort of untangling And loosening the soil give it a little Shake too that sort of does the job as You can see there’s not much roots Through this only a little tiny piece of Them most of the root mass you want to Stay on the tree so let’s see if we find The nebari yet i’m still digging away Here at the top of the tree now Sometimes to find in a bar there’s Actually a thinner roots on the top that Can be in your way for example Here on the side of the trunk with this

Sort of spondyly root i’m just going to Cut that off because that’s too high of A plane for the nebari that i’m looking For a more developed one is further down So don’t be afraid to cut a few surface Routes just to reveal the beautiful Nebari that’s under them So i think this particular tree is a Triple trunk if you ever do an Arrangement in bonsai or even any art Compositions the ie likes to see odd Numbers instead of even numbers so Because this is a triple trunk bond site Is quite nice if there had been four Coming from here i might have removed One in order to keep it an odd number of Three because with even numbers things Can start to look a little bit Symmetrical maybe someone’s created one With an even number and it’s quite as Beautiful again there’s no rules there’s Just principles and conventions that you Can follow so i’ve raked out quite a lot Of the soil from this tree now i’m going To go give these roots a nice wash so to Wash the roots i’ve got this big Container of rain water that i collect Just for doing this i’m going to grab The top of the tree just firmly so it Doesn’t fall in and it’s going to shake It roots through the water and that Should wash off any of the extra soil That’s within the root ball it’s also Good to keep the roots moist as you work

On the roots of the tree because if These dry out the tree or the roots will Die which could in turn cause the tree Today what i love about this tree as Well it’s got a beautiful red bark which Is quite similar to a juniper There we go So i can now just rake out the roots now That they’re all nice and washed Just sort of get rid of any tangles that Is coming to the end of the repotting Season for me this year so i don’t want To work too heavily on the roots all i Want to do now is remove any roots that Are crossing and promote roots that are Growing outwards and radially from the Trunk It’s important to do that whenever the Trees roots are nice and young because As these thicken over time it’s going to Get harder and harder to untangle them Now they’re nice and thin you can bend Them just like that and it’s almost like Starting from scratch whenever you have A thick rich you need to cut off because It’s not bendable anymore there is a lot Of root mass growing downwards so from Here i’m just going to cut A little portion of them Never want to remove any more than one Third of the root mass of a tree at any Given time although i have before and The trees have done quite well as long As you look after them when you’ve

Finished repotting them Okay so that’s all i’m going to do to The roots of this tree now i’ve just Reduced them a little bit so that it Will fit nicely into the spot inside pot Now i’m asking myself the question do i Really want a triple trunk tree because This trunk of the tree here to me looks Too thick in comparison to The the leader or the main trunk of the Tree here and then if i remove this i’ll Have two which is an even number and Even then It doesn’t really uh work with the Design of a tree of that type i was Thinking if i removed these both and Just had a single trunk and then maybe Prune the tree to this height i’d have a Tree that is more in proportion to a Bonsai and i may be able to remove this And have another tree which i’m quite Unsure if it’s joined at the bottom here So i pull this very gently if you’re Doing this Um Nope i don’t want to do this you can see In here that it’s separating from the Trunk of the tree and it’s going to pull This entire root mass with it and leave This main trunk without a nevari so you Also have the option to create a gin Which Is when you remove the bark from that Area of the tree i can actually show you

How to do it before i remove them from The tree it’s beautiful in junipers Because you get the white dead wood so I’m going to get down as close as i can With the branch cutters and just Cut that off okay now there is some Roots on this look at this That may survive if we plant it but for The purpose of this video i’m going to Show you how to create a gin you want to Start by removing all of the foliage We’re just going to pretend that this is Still a part of the tree and we’re going To create a gin if you’re creating a gin On a branch that is a part of a main Trunk of a tree you want to sort of go Around it with scissors like this and That way it will create a circle so Whenever you peel the bark off it Doesn’t start running down the tree now This is actually what the gin pliers are Intended for that’s why they’re called Gin pliers take the gin pliers and just Crush the bark that is On this branch by crushing the bark that Loosens it from the wood of the tree Just crush it the whole way down Doesn’t take much now because the gem Pliers have got these little teeth on Them here that makes it easier then to Twist and get grip on the bark of the Tree and it comes off with ease you can Just peel it off with your hands it’s That easy break the top to make it a

Little bit more natural looking and roll It down Yeah that’s a gin you can then treat This with the lime sulfur to make it White whenever it dries out maybe burn It with a flame it’s all up to you and How you want it to look but the lime Sulfur is to preserve The wood anyways back to the tree the Other branch is coming down here so i’m Going to just cut that off as close as i Can to the trunk without cutting through Any other wrist or anything Now if you want to create cottons from These you can actually just cut the Younger ones off the tree pull off the Bottom stick this in soil and it should Root and become a new tree and you can Do this with all of these so look how Many there is like one two three and Then within a couple of years these will Become just like this this is now how The tree looks and i’m really happy with The single trunk i’m kind of glad that i Took away the other ones because it kind Of makes the tree look older and that’s The goal with bonsai just look at that Sort of trunk line that we can see there Now and that’s the next step we’re going To do we’re going to reveal the trunk Line so it looks nice at the bottom here But as you get further up the tree it Kind of becomes like a bush nothing Really interesting going on you can’t

Really see the the outline as they call It which is this if you were to place This against the white wall you would See the silhouette of the tree i think This is it for now i know this is going To be the front of the tree so i’m going To get this in a pot and we’re going to Do more styling on the top with wire so Before we repot the tree you first have To prepare the pot to do this you’re Going to need some bonsai mesh you call This just a plastic mesh the mesh is to Cover the holes in the pot so our soil Doesn’t fall out so i’m just going to Start by cutting little squares of the Mesh which is just big enough to cover The hole And to hold the mesh and just need a Little piece of two and a half Millimeter bonsai wire so this is the Easiest way to do this take the little Piece of wire hold it in the middle and Pull and you’ll get like a u-shape push It through two of the holes and then put This wire through the hole of the pot It’ll come out the bottom like this and You just want to pull that to the side Flatten it down and pull the other one To the other side That’s the wire held on i’m gonna do the Same with this one There we go This is the wire the tree and the pot Has to go up through one of the holes

Clip it here And then bring that up through one of The holes also The soil mix that i’m using today is a Mix of academic hummus and lava rock and A little bit of compost to retain Moisture it’s going to sprinkle a little Bit into the pot spread it around evenly I want to make a little hell in the Middle so you want to keep in mind the Front of the tree whenever we pot this Now and i want to have the tree slightly Off center because i want to incorporate The rule of thirds which is a Compositional choice it’s mostly in Photography but it’s also used in bonsai To create a nicer composition to the eye So to do that i’m just going to place The tree slightly off center another Tree on this side of the pot for a tree To look powerful in bonsai it’s Important i think not to have it leaning Because it will kind of look uh like a Younger shrub that’s sort of fallen over I think for it to look powerful the Trunk has to be as straight as you can Get it that’s what i’m going to try and Do here i’m going to wire it in now by Pulling the wire that we’ve just put up Through the bottom of the pot over the Root mass like this And from there we’re going to create a Small twist Okay

I’m just going to cut off the wire to Make this easier to grab with the gin Pliers Don’t throw away these little pieces of Wire these can be used uh for you know Wiring into a pot whenever you’re wiring Here pull upwards twist at the same time I’m going to push the wire down so that It’s hidden out of sight when we cover This with soil so i’m going to do the Left test by just grabbing the trunk and Lifting the tree it’s not really going To move and then we can just go ahead And fill in the rest with soil I like to just pour it on top and then Work it in with the chopstick now Whenever we push down with the chopstick What we want to do is remove As much of the air gaps as possible see When i push down my thumb i can’t really Get much in but if you go like this with A chopstick you can get in between all The roots it’s okay to take your time With the re-potting stage sometimes People think that whenever the tree’s Out of soil that it’s sort of struggling To survive and it needs uh needs soil Immediately the tree will be fine as Long as you keep the roots moist so it’s Okay to take your time and really put Thought into the repotting process all Right so the tree is nicely repotted now It looks great as it is but it’s just a Little bit too tall and a little bit too

Congested for it to look fully like a Bonsai but if you’re happy with how it Is after you repot it then by all means Leave it like that and maybe prune it to That shape if you like it for me i want To open the tree up more and give it More of a silhouette so this is actually A really good lesson on branch structure And bonsai because to make a tree look Older it’s important to have an Alternate and branch structure what i Mean by that is see how this branch is Here and the next one’s here and then You want the next one to be up here you Never want two branches opposite each Other that kind of look like handlebars Alternating makes the tree look more Mature there’s a branch back here that’s Very thick now this is one that’s Competing with the trunk line because It’s so thick i’m going to remove that Also The branch cutters I don’t want to have the tree completely Flat so when you turn it this way it’s Almost two-dimensional so i want to keep This back branch just to give it some Depth so for the wire and i’m going to Use some two and a half millimeter Bonsai wire i’m going to start by just Measuring the wire up the side that Should do it about there i’ve mentioned This before but just in case you’re new We’re going to do something what’s

Called the two branch principle this is Where you wire two branches with one Piece of wire so that each branch is Anchored to the other branch so we’re Going to start by going through the Elbow of the first branch measuring it And then just wrapping it around when You wire you want your twists to be 45 Degree angles it’s too coiled i find That it doesn’t really hold the branch As well and i was too stretched out i Can also find that it doesn’t hold the Branch as well so it’s a sort of balance Before you get a good coil for this i’ve Come behind and up This way now if you find that there’s Foliage in your way on the way up the Branch it’s okay just to pluck it off You just don’t remove all the foliage As i get up to the end of the branch and I start wiring it i don’t want a tight Coil anymore i want to create a loose Coil so that it doesn’t crush the Younger Softer material at the end of the branch So just coil it loosely like this So i’ve wired the majority of the Branches of the tree the final one i’m Going to wire is the actual main trunk Line of the tree to do that i’m going to Take a long piece of wire two and a half Millimeter i want to anchor this one Through the soil so to do this we’re Just going to stick it into the soil and

Bring it around the trunk of the tree And there we go so i can just snap this At the top So it’s not sticking out Now we’re at the exciting part we can Actually start styling the tree bent in The branches and getting the tree into a Nice shape for this tree and the design That i want with this tree i suppose i Could do twists and stuff and make it Really interesting looking i think i Just want it to look like a just an old Tree like an upright Standard tree so for that i’m going to Do some clipping now by clipping the Ends of this tree what you do is you Encourage the tree then to produce more Side branches which in turn over time And years of pruning will make the tree A lot denser in foliage rather than Wanting to grow longer so i think i’m Going to just start that process now by Pruning the ends of all these branches It’s okay to change your mind as you Work on a tree because what you want Isn’t what the tree would look best at So by bouncing ideas around with Yourself and possibly other people if You have a bonsai sort of community you Come to the best outcome for a tree Because after all remember it is a Living thing it’s a tree and if you Start putting your own all your own Thoughts on it not considering what the

Tree likes then you could kill the tree So it’s important to consider all the Options i also i think it’s important to Show you how to prune this type of Foliage so whenever you’re printing this Tree it’s really easy to just sort of go Okay i’ll put it into a nice shape like This and leave it at that the problem by Pruning it like that is as you just cut Through the actual tissue of the tree Here whenever this part of the tree then Oxidizes it goes like a nasty brown Color that doesn’t look very pleasing so The tree will survive no problem but by Just cutting through like that it’s not Good practice so i advise whenever You’re cutting a piece of foliage like This and you want to shorten it find the Actual stem of the piece you want to Shorten and only cut the stem like that So that way of pruning is what i’m doing To this tree all over it’s a little bit Here and there so that’s just to produce More side branches and to stop the tree Growing out of control and never leave a Branch with no foliage on it because That stops the sap being pulled up Through the bark if you cut all the Foliage off a branch it’s most likely That branch could die and you won’t get Any more side shoots from it So i’ve done all the pruning i want to Do now last thing to do is to give this Tree a watering

[Applause] [Music] So [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] So yeah that was the video on the thuja Acidentalis also known as the eastern White cedar this can now stay in this Pot for up to two to three years and you Want to re-pot these trees in late Spring they require a lot of water During the summer season whenever it’s Growing a lot and in the winter it’ll Need less water i also think it’s a good Idea to protect this tree in winter Because it can actually get this thing Called frost blush which is where the Foliage turns sort of an orangey color Whenever it gets too cold doesn’t harm The tree but it can just look a little Bit unsightly so you want to bring it Indoors in winter because then the tree Will wake up and it’ll use a lot of Energy maybe just bring it into a shed Or something or a basement just to take The frost off it and if you notice an Autumn that the foliage is sort of Turning orangey brown and then fallen Off that’s completely normal these trees Do shed a little bit of foliage in late Autumn also just like to say before i

End this video a couple days ago the Channel hit 100 subscribers and i was Like oh my god and then like a little Couple days more we’re 200 subscribers Now thank you so much to everyone who’s Been watching the video so far really Means a lot and let me know in the Comments what way you have bonsai this Tree if you’ve done it before thank you So much for watching this video and i’ll See you guys in the next one [Music] [Applause] You

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