This cypress became part of my collection in early 2014. It was the thick black bark, typical of the Tuscan cypress tree, that drew my attention.
Needless to say, these elements of ageing are fundamental. If we imagined the same tree without this bark it would be immediately obvious the minor evocative power this tree could transmit. So, with the same style, when we have such obvious elements of ageing we are in front of a tree with a much more potential.
Unfortunately the cypress also had two important con elements: the very distant vegetation and a Nebari consisting basically of a cylindrical and large root. A solution to these problems had to be found. All at the right time. One step at a time!
Here is the plant as it was in 2014.
A few months later, I decided to immediately face the first problem: the distant vegetation. I don’t like very much trees with artificial and excessively forced bends made to place near the trunk the vegetation. The latter is definitely not my style, so in this case I opt to make a narrow bend downwards to bring the branching closer to the trunk. From here I would obviously recreate a new foliage.
The fold was made in April 2014. Normally I would consider this period as the best time to work on the cypresses. By now, the tree reacts very well to even vigorous manipulations.
I do not prune the plant before the fold because I want it to have as much strength as possible in order to overcome easily the working.
I apply raffia and rubber for protection, then I start to lower the branch helping me with its rotation. When I reach the desired position I secure it with the help of a guy wire.
Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of the fold but only of the outcome after about a year (March 2015).
The fold has been freed from the protections and only a guy wire ensures that the position is secured. In the meantime the tree has vegetated freely and vigorously to confirm that the stress has been completely overcome.
Detail of the fold. With time the new cortex will hide the current artificiality and youth of the movement.
Seen from the side appears in all its obviousness the second problem to be solved: the frontal root!
Given the strong vigour, I decide to proceed with the re-potting where a large part of the harvesting soil is eliminated and replaced by a soil almost exclusively composed of pumice of medium/large grain size.
In March 2016 the cypress is appropriately pruned. The pruning turns mainly to the replacement of the apexes of each branch in order to retreat the vegetation and to confer a conical shape to the branching.
In addition, with a flat blade, I begin to clean the cylindrical root, discovering some dead wood. Right now it is only a slight hint but it could be a beginning. I highlight the already dry parts and I stop here.
The cypress continues to vegetate and produce new ramification. The shari along the frontal root is still defined.
I tilt the tree upwards and reset the primary vegetation creating its movements and openings. I do not bother to refine the final part; this is not the right time. The focus of this work is to place the primary branches only and position the branches. There is no need to do anything else!
I often reiterate this concept: it is useless now to wire with a definitive style it as it makes no sense to do because it would be a useless stress, as useless is a perfecting touch on a tree grown in a cultivation pot with a soil unsuitable for perfecting!
The plant responded very well to pruning and shaping. A beautiful bright green and long vigorous branches!
The shari on the frontal root widens and highlights the previously mentioned hint of dead wood. Only a small vein remains underneath but of secondary importance.
I take courage and in a few days I eliminate the whole root. Problem solved!
In spring 2019 I proceed to the second repotting. Strengthened by the elimination of the large root, the transfer into a pot of adequate size is certainly easier. I change the type of potting soil to one of finer, pumice, akadama, kiryu and a small percentage of coal.
Here is the cypress in September 2019.
After the re-potting, I begin to prepare the foliage for the next styling. In this regard, I shorten the branching with apex replacements. If I will do the pruning in early September, the cypress will be able to vegetate for a couple of months giving life to new branches that I will use in the next styling.
The root is still noticeable. As soon as possible we will have to reduce it and finish it.
Here finally comes the time for the styling that will give the final look to this cypress.
The autumn pruning had the advantage of preparing the plant for shaping. The fact of not having to cut any further allows me to work with the tips of the cypress well vigorous and loaded to start again. The vegetative recovery will therefore be faster than if I had to shorten all the branches.
Before wiring and shaping, I proceed to expand and refine the shari at the base.
Here is the final result
I like this cypress. It seemed logical to me from the very beginning to rotate it to the left, highlighting the natural movement in that direction. It is very interesting how the primary branch that descends downwards and to the right does not actually stop the thrust but, on the contrary, holds it for a moment and then “shoots” the foliage with force to the left, thus increasing the dynamic sense of the composition.
The detail of the apex. Note also the beginning of the growth of the cortex on the primary fold. It will take some more time but it will not take long to form.
Detail of the shari at the base
The first branch
…and finally two videos of the working process: