Hinoki Cypress


This is my Chamaecyparis Obtusa Nana Gracilis. I acquired it just over a year now from a small garden center in the middle of no where, it was just sitting in the corner minding its own business until i came along. The garden center owner was more than happy to sell it cheap, I think I paid 6 or 8 euro in the end for it.

I have not attempted to style it in anyway, only keep it alive and healthy. When I first got it I reduced the size of the pot it came in by cutting the top down and removing a small amount of top soil. On doing so I revealed the second trunk and a nice enough small natural shari. I reduced it further this year to get to the base of the trunk.

I just pinched the new growth to allow sunlight to penetrate to the inner branches, as I have heard a Hinoki will never back bud on old wood. I was hoping to maybe begin to style it this summer and repot it next summer as I don’t know how long it has over stayed its visit in the pot it is in. Anyway here is some photos I have been meaning to up load a while since starting the Blog.

I really like this shot from underneath


Some growth I am trying to protect and encourage


From above


Just need to decide now where to start with styling. Plenty of thought and research before hand ;)

At the Munster Bonsai Club workshop, i had the oppurtunity for Ian and Phil from NIBS to have a look at this and see what they thought.


After some discussion it was decided to remove the lower branch and begin to wire it.



It was decided the whole tree needed to be wired in the end, with help from Ian it finally got done, Here me grooming my balded tree 🙂


The before image


The after image, Finally 🙂


So that’s where the tree stood after our workshop in January 2014. And heres how it looked after a few weeks..



And here it is in May 2014. Starting to fill out a bit.




Here is the pot i have recieved from Phil In the Northern Ireland Bonsai Society.



So after a bit of deliberation we decided to have a look at the roots and see what can be done to get one step closer to this pot.






There was quite a lot of long roots wrapping around the pot. So we removed any heavy roots that we didnt need,



Me and Piotr getting stuck in.



When we got through a lot of the roots we could move out of the way the main tap root was quite strong and hindered the potting chances of going into a shallow pot. Just like what i have. The decision was to remove what we could without compromising the health of the tree. As we removed earth and roots we discovered what we had originally thought was the nebari was just the beginning of the nebari. It turned out to be quite powerful. A major bonus. Although what i had originally set as the front may be changed due to the find.

Here is a shot of the newly discovered nebari.


It was decided to cut down the original pot and place it back in their untill new roots had developed and we could look at removing more of that heavy main root. Probably next season. Anyway i was able to put the tree into some nice akadama i had recieved also from Phil (Major plug for phil, top man for supplies in Ireland)



it turned out we had cut the pot too short so we had to put some of the trimming back on.


So here it is after stage one of root trimming. Quite happy to have found that inside the pot.



So thats how the tree looked after the club meeting. A few days later i decided the time had come to remove the wire that was on the tree since january as i was quite close to biting in. Here was the tree in the end of may 2014. Ready to remove the wire.



A look at some of the wire






I think this is the first time I can truly say that i badly need proper tools. I have seen how nothing compares to proper concave cutters or wire cutters that snip right at the tip of the cutting blade. It makes a massive difference and I am in the process to get my hands on a decent kit, especially after the time it took me to carefully remove the wire without damaging the branches. I should have known from being a mechanic that the right tools make all the difference.




Heres the tree with the wire removed



And a loof around the side and back





A closer look at a jin that hasn’t recieved any lime sulphur yet.


When we removed the hinoki from its pot and rmoved some roots and soil, we discovered this lump of nebari. since its not wet and dried since the last photos i said i would take some photos and show you it a bit closer.







So thats the newly acquired nebari, that we didnt even know existed. That were the tree stands at the moment.




Next step now is to re wire the tree the coming week. Should be fun 🙂



6 thoughts on “Hinoki Cypress

  1. Hi there,
    I need your advice, as I am about to remove a Hinoki Cypress from one of the family graves located near Strasbourg in France, that is about 100 years old. My godmother wants to change the setting of the tomb and obviously, I want to turn this tree into a bonsai, otherwise, it is going to be removed and dumped, which would be a catastrophe. It is about 3 feet high and in already a rather amazing natural shape. He has grown in a very shallow soil, but has managed to develop a rather large root on the side (about 1/2 inch in diameter), escaping from his allocated area.
    Obviously, I want to do it right and I was thinking of doing the following:
    – Do the operation in April (Would that be the best time?)
    – Cut the large root, put some mastic for rapid healing
    – Put the tree in his natural soil in a temp pot mixed with some Acadama to help him root, along with some organic fertilizer.
    – Let the tree in this temp pot for about a year and only start pruning it and putting it in a bonsai pot next spring
    – Put the tree in a cold glass house for its first winter,
    If I could get your advice on this, that would be much appreciated.
    Many thanks,
    Sebastien 🙂


    • Hi Sebastien, Thanks for the comment. I will try my best to help you. First of all Hinoki are really great to work with. The best time to work on them are in mid spring, so april would be ok. The one thing i would be quite cautious about is removing a big root straight away. If you could cut the root and leave the tree where it is till next season and then lift it would probably be better. But the fact you do not have that luxury i would lift the tree with the root if at all possible. I would leave as much of the original soil as possible on the rootball, not damaging the roots when lifting. A quick draining soil like akadama would do fine. And a nice big pot or box would suffice.

      When you have lifted the tree and potted it there are a few things to be aware of when working with Hinoki. Make sure it gets plenty of sunshine and do not let to many areas of the tree encounter shade to much or for prolonged periods of time. It is quite common for shaded areas of the tree to die back. And once they have died back they do not back bud at all. Also dont keep the roots too wet, as they can encounter root rot also.

      I would love to see the tree, before and after. I have a soft spot for hinoki’s. If theres anything else just drop me a message.




      • Dear Adam,
        Thank you so very much for your advice. I am collecting information at the moment as to best handle this delicate task. I will in any case take plenty of pictures of the tree, before and after and I will do a proper doco on it, as to document as much as possible the story of this amazing tree. I will no doubt send you pictures of it for your perusal.
        Many thanks for your help and speak soon,
        Seb 🙂


      • Glad to hear that. Plenty of research has always been a priority to me before carrying out any task. I look forward to seeing this tree. Best of luck and i hope everything goes well for you.



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