The Western hemlock, Tsuga heterophylla, has great characteristics as a bonsai subject.
The Hemlocks are a small genus, maybe eleven species, of conifers and all of them are great subjects for bonsai. Naturally small needles, a good response to pruning and equally good with all the other bonsai techniques. The two Japanese species, T. seiboldii and T. diversifolia can rarely be seen as bonsai imported from the far east. The Eastern hemlock, T. canadensis, is common enough in garden centres and the Western hemlock, T. heterophylla can sometimes be obtained from commercial forestry sources as raw material.
I believe that this piece of part styled raw material has huge potential. We have carried out a bit of work on the trunk to create deadwood areas from unnecessary branching, all of which could probably do with a bit of refinement and possibly highlighting according to taste. As far as the branching and foliage goes all that has been done is to grow it and then prune it back leaving primary and secondary branching ready for shaping. The nature of the species is to respond well to pruning so that there is already a degree of ramification and the branch ends. This is a great project tree with an excellent bonsai future. I am sure it will stylle down to chuhin size category from it’s height of 58 cm. Branch spread is currently 56 cm. That impressive trunk is 8 cm. in diam. above the root spread of 20 cm. The pot is a plastic bonsai trainer that measures 35x26x9 cm. It is rare to find raw material as good as this in this species.