Revisiting Redwood Bonsai 8/8/13

Off to a very good start. Though the branching is young and has a ways to go, the trunk, with its power and character, bodes well for the future of this tree. You can find it along with other quality bonsai at Bonsai Smiths.

Don’t worry, soon we’ll be coming up with new material. Meanwhile, we’re still digging into our archives. I picked this post (from Sept 2011) because I’m currently reading a book about Redwoods (and other things, but not bonsai) titled Trees in Paradise. It’s by Jared Farmer (published by W. W. Norton) but it’s an advanced copy, so you won’t find it anywhere just yet.

Redwood Empire
A few posts ago, we showed four excellent Coastal Redwood bonsai from the 2011 Redwood Empire Bonsai Show (courtesy of Jonas at Bonsai Tonight). They were unattributed, so we didn’t know who they belonged to. Now, thanks to Cory Jones, we know that the first two in the post belong to Bob Shimon (Mendocino Coast Bonsai). We still don’t know who the other two belong to.

Where do they come from?
In the comments, a question came up about the origin of Coastal redwood and Giant sequoia (also commonly called redwoods) bonsai and the difficulty of finding stunted Giant sequoias that are suitable for bonsai. Bob Shimon, who knows a bit about redwood bonsai (see above paragraph) replied with what I thought was an instructive answer, though I would like to hear more about the actual origin of Coastal redwood stock.

In Bob’s own words
Bob Shimon’s comment: “It has nothing to do about finding “stunted” trees. The Coastal Redwoods are trees that have been cut back and root pruned drastically but are vigorous enough to sprout new growth and roots,which can be developed into bonsai. The Giant Redwoods on the other hand, do not tolerate root and foliage pruning very well. The branches tend to die back after pinching. I’ve only seen a couple of Giant Redwoods as bonsai.” The original post with all the comments is here.


Four redwood bonsai from Mendocino Coast Bonsai’s gallery, with the caption: Examples of redwood trees displayed at our bonsai club’s last show.

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2 thoughts on “Revisiting Redwood Bonsai

  1. Hi Wayne,

    An amazing book on Redwoods is The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring by Richard Preston. It tells the stories of the men and women who were first to measure and scale the tallest of the redwoods, and the entirely new ecosystem they discovered in their canopies. It’s a must-read.

  2. Hi Al.
    Yeah. I know the book. Great stuff. Thanks for the reminder and agreed; a must read.

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