Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Olive Tree Gets a Virtual Makeover

About a month ago I discussed the possibility of changing the front of my olive tree.

The few comments I received at Reddit came from people who felt that I should stick with my original front. Thankfully that's not a decision I have to rush into making, because a month later I'm still feeling really confused.

A long and well thought out response from richprettyboy really got me thinking though. You can read his suggestions in the comments on my Reddit post. With his permission, I'm sharing his virtual edit of my photo here.

Virtual edit by richprettyboy from one of my photos

While I probably won't follow this plan exactly I have to admit that it's a big improvement on the way the tree looks right now.

What immediately stands out is that he has removed a few excess branches which were making the top of the tree look really cluttered. With this in mind I brought the tree back inside to get some photos with a few of the branches covered up.

Starting with the current front:

Current front - March 2018

I covered up two branches that really bother me:

March 2018 - two undesirable branches covered up

I think that's an improvement, though the top two branches are on the same level. How to deal with that?

In Photoshop I tried removing one branch and repositioning the other.

Extra branch removed and second left branch raised

No, that isn't going to work.The tree looks too naked now. Pulling the branch on the right down (in the first "pruned" picture) probably won't work either. Maybe wait for a new bud to appear slightly lower on the right side.

Moving on to my alternate front:

Potential front - March 2018

I tried covering up the same branches.

Potential front - two undesirable branches covered up

Once more I have a problem with handlebars.

Looking at the tree from different angles also made me realise that the taller jin is rather straight with a bit of reverse taper. Removing some branches might help with the reverse taper, but not the straightness. It also seems a bit too tall and there's a slight temptation to shorten it, though I'd hate to lose the carving that has been done at the top and really don't know who'd redo if for me now.

Still, I tried it out in Photoshop to see how it looks:

Potential front pruned in Photoshop

The branches don't look right, but I prefer the trunk that height. If only pruning a tree was that easy!

Whichever front I opt for in the end, I need to get rid of a few branches and grow a few new ones in better positions. However with material of this quality I lack the self confidence to make any major changes on my own, so I'll probably be taking it to our club meeting in May for some expert opinion. In the meanwhile I'll allow some of the new buds that are forming to grow if their position seems like it might be useful. It will be easier to remove unwanted branches once I know that suitable replacements are waiting to fill the gaps.

1 comment

  1. Excellent Elm!! $30?! That's gotta be a mistake!

    The 'potential' front IMO is *the* front, also would remove those photoshop-removed branches sooner than later as there's enough foliage up top to support that thing and the longer you wait, the more resources that'll be wasted when the branch is sacrificed + you'll have a larger cut-mark..

    Very jealous, that's an excellent find there are so many subtly varied ways to 'do that tree correctly' that it almost seems minutiae, the thing looks like it just 'wants' to be a bonsai!!