Some Overdue Work on my Thuga Occidentalis

I last worked on this tree in the summer of 2012 and the result of that work can be seen in the first picture. The early history of this tree featured in a previous post


I didn’t get an opportunity to work on it last year because of building works at my house, so as you can see in the next picture, by the summer of 2014 it has become quite overgrown again.


This week I thinned out the foliage and removed four main branches to open it up a bit. This is how its looking at the moment



I have mixed feelings for this tree, sometimes I like it and sometimes I hate it. Its been with me for quite a long time and I definitely have an attachment to it.For a number of years, I have felt that the deadwood feature which I created in 2005, doesn’t really work well with this species.


While I have been working on it this week, I have been considering dramatically reducing this deadwood feature and changing the front of the tree to something like the view in the next picture.

What do you think? Am I better leaving it as it is or is it time for a change?





12 thoughts on “Some Overdue Work on my Thuga Occidentalis

  1. Robert,
    I like the tree. I am still new to bonsai and I may be mistaken but with the proposed front it might seem to move to words the viewer too much. Also, I think wether you reduce the deadwood or leave it, the tree will still look good. Have you considered bringing the tree more upright and possibly adding some deadwood higher in the tree for balance? Again, I have a long way to go with what I see in bonsai so just a thought. Cheers!

    • Thanks Derek
      When I re-pot the tree, I would tilt it back a bit but still retain some of the forward movement at the top. A tree where the apex moves towards the viewer has become quite fashionable in recent years

    • Hi Shah
      If its not as white as you would like, use the lime sulphur in a more concentrated form or alternatively just apply several more coats after the first one has fully dried. Bear in mind, if you are using it for the first time that it can take a couple of days to dry to a pure white. The final colour can also be affected by carbon if you have used a blowtorch to dry the deadwood before the application of lime sulphur

  2. Hi Robert
    I like your work on this tree so far. Thanks for sharing the post.
    I think the trunk looks better with the proposed new front as the other photos perhaps give the illusion of inverse taper at the base of the trunk where the live vein meets deadwood. That’s what caught my eye.

  3. Hello I also think the new front is a better choice. Also the upright positioning of the tree makes it look more majestic. But I would considering removing the jins on the left Side they go against the movement of the rest of the composition. Other than that lovely tree.

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