Demonstration by Eric Schrader – Monterey Cypress

On February 26, 2019, Eric Schrader returned to conduct a demonstration for the REBS meeting. Eric worked on a Monterey Cypress, approximately 12 years old, grown from seed. Eric said he collected the Monterey Cypress seeds from the Presidio of San Francisco. He planted a number of the seeds. The Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) were planted by the US Army in the 1880s.

The Monterey Cypress is a very vigorous grower and quick to develop into a bonsai. The tree experiences year-round growth. The demonstration tree was planted for awhile in the ground to speed its growth.

Eric brought in another Monterey Cypress as a potted bonsai. It was a smaller version of the demonstration tree. In order to maintain its shape and compact foliage, Eric will pinch the terminal tips of any runners.

Eric described the natural growth pattern of the Monterey Cypress branches as growing upward and outwards from the trunk. He demonstrated wiring the branches upward and outward. The ends of the branches were laid out flat to form the usual pads.

Eric identified a front view and marked it with two pieces of chopsticks. The front view was selected based on the movement of the trunk. There was one side of the trunk without branches which did not serve well for the front.

He then proceeded to remove surface soil to reveal some of the flair in the trunk base. Some surface roots were removed as well. Eric started to wire the top branches. He did this versus starting to wire from the bottom as normal because he intended to wire the branches upward and outward.

Eric said the Monterey Cypress is vulnerable to scale and spider mites and so one must keep an eye out for these pests and treat accordingly. He also said the Monterey Cypress does not take heat (100-degree F and above) very well. San Francisco’s weather is normally ideal for the Monterey Cypress. However, the weather can spike upwards in the summer.

Eric cut with a small saw the trunk more than 50%. The length of the trunk was grown to enlarge the trunk base. After growing the size desired for the trunk base, the length was no longer needed. This is referred to eliminating the sacrifice branch or limb.

Eric discussed creating jin and shari (deadwood features) to demonstrate age and mask the cut wounds.

When questioned about the best time to work on Monterey Cypress, Eric replied he prefers July, August and September time frames.

Upon completion of the demonstration, Ivan Lukrich won the Monterey Cypress.

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