Choosing the Front: Old Collected Trees

Michael Hagedorn

How do we choose a front on an older, collected tree?

A few tips:

  • Keep an eye out for fronts that show a trunk line that is not an S curve
  • Use the special features of the tree; this might be unusual movement, shari, live vein, jin, old branch, cavity, or even bark
  • Be willing to have a pigeon breast if other, greater features may be featured
  • Clean the dead areas of the tree of bark, exposing shari that might influence front choice
  • Remember that inclination is as important as front, and is chosen at the same time
  • Be aware that large roots on collected trees can pose an angle limit to some inclinations, yet root mounds are more acceptable as well

Very old bunjin Ponderosa pine has all of 7 twists in the live vein (that’s 2,520 degrees). Several front and inclination choices exist for this one—tree from Backcountry Bonsai

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