This tree has been in training for 3 years. I bought it when it was as thick as a pencil. It is a variegated Chinese elm.
I have been trying to develop the trunk and roots. I lost the top of this tree last year. This ruined the original design I had chosen. You can see the scar where the top died. Also in the next two pictures you can see that I have terrible scars on one side, and reverse taper. The trunk is thicker at the top than at the bottom. This trunk is ruined.
I thought about it for a while, and decided to change the design to a broom style. This is accomplished by cutting the trunk off in with a flat cut or a V shaped cut, wrapping the wound in raffia, and growing new branches. The following illustrations show the progression of a broom style tree being developed.
First, a trunk chop.
The raffia makes the branches grow up at the wound site.
Pinch the ends back to create ramification.
If all goes well, you'll end up with a nice bonsai tree.
Hold your breath and lets get started.
I placed the cut below the reverse taper.
After the cut.
The whole top of the tree gets discarded. Say hello to my dog Opal, and goodbye to about 3 years of work.
Speaking of three years, you can count the rings in this next picture. Chinese elms grow like crazy in the ground or in a large container.
Next, soak the raffia in water. Raffia is a natural fiber available in craft stores.
Wrap the wound tight and tie it off.
Spring is here, and the trunk is starting to bud out.
Mid-Summer the same year. Raffia still in place.
I included a pen in this shot to give you some idea of scale.
As they have grown in, I have started to select the ones to keep as the new branches for my broom style tree.
Below is a fully developed broom style bonsai for reference.