Saturday, July 2, 2011

'ugly bumps' on the trunk

Why does this hornbeam have these bumps? Goats have prepared this tree over decades. They eat new growth. Like when you cut a hedge constantly it reacts with lots of new growth. The hornbeam has the habit to throw new growth from the base besides on the top. So the goats could not get into the crown at one point anymore. But they could get underneath go eat the new growth at the base. And so over decades the bumps appeared.

If one thinks that they are ugly you better get another tree, I am afraid. One could cut them off one by one and have a fat trunk with a hundred or so ugly scars which will never disappear.

It would be better to do nothing and just feed and water the tree well. It will grow on the top and over many years due to the lack of goats in my garden the trunk may become more handsome.

Or does it have to? Twenty five years ago I made this photograph of a European (English) oak in the south of England. It has this most unusual sexy trunk. I wanted to see what it would look like in a bonsai pot. I can see amazing similarities to my hornbeam. If someone ever doubted that one can jut go to nature and copy a few details of a real tree and create a naturalistic bonsai - here we are.




7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't worry as people are used to seeing these residual knobbles on several sorts of park and street trees.

Looks authentic.

Don said...

This is a very special hornbeam and the "bumps" give it a feeling of age. I really like these sorts of growths on trees. There are some types of tree that forms "lignotubers" near their bases -- certain eucalyptus for instance. I think they are interesting and beautiful.

Al Polito said...

I agree completely. God bless the goats and God bless the warts. It's the imperfections that make life and art beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, don't like those bumps. I would cut them off. Maybe not all at once, but I think it could be done in two batches. Of course the bark would never be as smooth as it is on "normal" parts of the trunk and branches. I think, however, that with a couple of tricks (similar to the shari "sculpting" but much shallower, without removing all the bark layers, using various grades of sandpaper or with very mild sandblasting) it could be blended into the upper part of the trunk rather well. In other words, I would gladly sacrifice the smoothness of the bark for the improvement of the nebari.

Biking Badger said...

I agree with Don and Al about the bumps and the fact that this makes the tree more unique. The last thing we want to see is a cookie cutter tree. I always look for tree's that have these imperfections and try to make them the focal point.

Anonymous said...

Sure. But this particular tree would hardly be a cookie-cutter type if it hadn't had those bumps. There are still plenty of other "imperfections" to work with.

Anonymous said...

It kind of looks like a speedo on a tree :)