New pot for an old Friend   2 comments

This Trident maple has been the subject of many articles here but this time it will get a new pot. Re potting here startes early, like in January. This tree wtill has Christmas ornaments on it from the previous month.

The tree is lifted from the pot and a thick matt of roots are starting to move already. This tree is so vigorous it must be re potted each year as the roots lift the tree from the thin pot.

I remove a full two inch ring from the tree and comb out the roots.

 

The new pot is from Robert Pressler and Kimura Bonsai in Southern California. It is a sky blue Chinese bag pot. Trying the pot for size. I like it!

Drainage layer.

Soil layer with 30 percent coarse fir bark.

Watering it in…

The beauty shot.


At the recent Fresno Home and Garden Show March 2017.

Juniper Winter Work   5 comments

I have worked on many shimpaku and other species juniper over the winter. Many were restyled and re-potted.

Mas Ishii Shimpaku

This first tree is a tree I purchased in 2002. It had been a very beautiful tree but I managed to ruin it over the years. It has escaped death numerous times from spider mite and pinching misfortunes. This is the tree in 2005 after escaping death twice.

Another few years and more rattyness.

A few more years and even less green left.

Left to grow for a few years to get strong and now it may be ready for a restyle….at least with whats left.

Restyled and repotted in a glazed Bunzan.

George Muranaka prostrata.

This tree was purchased in Nov. of 2014. It was left to grow for a couple years and then a first styling was begun.

Cleaned up and put into a first pot.

part of the canopy would be removed and jinned entirely.

Re grow and then style whats left.

George Muranaka Shimpaku

I purchased this tree from George around 2006. Once again it suffered from spider mite and my lack of awareness on how to take good care of the species.

Left to grow and a re style and then a repot. Looks like this now and is growing quite well.

Benny Kim (Kim’s Bonsai) procumbens.

The tree is on the left and purchased in 2002. It had a good trunk about two inches across.

Lots of jins on this one and some carving.

A first styling

Starting to look pretty good.

A new direction for this one. It had started to slump really bad due to the roots giving up on one side. Time to turn it upright.

Done…for now.

Steve DaSilva Procumbens.

These were struck as small plants and wired and twisted up. Planted in a field for a few years and dug up in 2015.

I would use the stock as a demo at the Fresno Home and Garden show in 2016

As it sits today.

Ed Clark Shimapku

This tree came by way of Ed Clark from Bonsai Northwest in Washington State. I kept it for a year making sure it was good for a repot in 2017.

Ready for some work.

It was removed from its growing container and combed out. Root structure was fairly small like most junipers but was rather one sided. I wnted to plant it into a signature Begei pot I had and felt that once planted here it could stay for a while. The one sided root meant it was planted well off center but will be fixed later when new roots go and allow for more diligent root pruning.

Now for the style part.

There is a large looping jin that comes over the top of the tree. The shoot I wish to be the apex is in front of that jin. I need to get it behind.

So…with some praying and bending and pulling I ease the jin around the shoot.

Now I am happy with the position of everything and can start the details.

More pruning and removing everything I don’t want. That should mean I have only the things I do want. Good in theory and poor in practise….

After some wire and manipulation I am able to coex a pretty decent tree out of the aftermath. Next year I will concentrate on managing shoot strength and how to treat possible shari on the trunk….or not!

Mas Ishii Shimpaku

I purchased this tree from Gary Ishii in 2004. Like all my shimpaku I battled the spider mites with fury. Mostly they seem to win but never kill the tree but ruin it for many years till successive cut backs get rid of grey and yellow foliage.

This style took place in 2010 after the tree had recovered for many years. It was planted into a Sarah Rayner shallow glazed bunjin pot.

This winter the tree underwent another re style and pot change. This time into a heavily patinanted Bunjin Begei.

….then the styling

Two Trident maples get new pots.   4 comments

This trident was a purchase from Ian Price of Lone Pine in 2009 at the GSBF convention in Anaheim.001

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Signature Yamafusa pot purchased for the tree four years ago. Needed all four years to get it into the pot.dsc_0031

 

This trident maple was purchased from Steve DaSilva in 2013. It was dug from his field.0003

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This Japanese bag pot was purchased from Kora Daleger back from a recent trip to Japan. It has had many root cut backs to get it into this pot.dsc_00361

 

Cork Elm Reconfiguration   7 comments

This elm has been written about here before. I will gloss over the past details and just show a few progression shots for clarity.

This was the stump as dug from the tree farm ( Steve DaSilva ) in Feb. of 2013. Over the next few years the branches were styled and given some shape. Fast growing meant cutting in of the wire many times and some scarring can be seen giving some character to the branches.001

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I decided that the tree was about as far as I could take it as it was. I would either have to layer the tree reserving the top portion as a good Moyogi tree and then work on the bottom and utilize that over a number of years. Or, turn it into a sort of Bunjin tree because of its long trunk with special branching near the top.

I thought the Bunjin style may be worth the effort so most of the branches on the lower half were removed.dsc_000100011

I applied about 8 guy wires to the tree in an effort to pull down the branches to get the necessary effect of an older looking tree. The tree has its short comings as far as a bunjin styled tree. First the trunk is quite large. It is not easily seen in the photo but is nearly three inches across at the base. About half way up, the tree had been chopped for a direction change and some necessary taper in the trunk. What it did was build shoulders on the chop. This gives the impression of two cylinders on top of each other. While the top third shows much more taper due to the fact that I was able to control the growth in a container rather than in the ground.dsc_00110001

A picture of the tree during its naked X-rated photo shoot!dsc_00120001

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This bark was removed from some places to get the necessary taper that would improve the overall look of the trunk.dsc_0003

This large lump will have to be worked on to smooth out the bump.dsc_0004

These old scars and the new ones as well will need some work to make them a part of the feeling of the tree.dsc_0005

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Sunday morning Jan. 1st, 2017dsc_0007

I began by carving some interest into all the old stubs. Some were carved and some just smoothed.dsc_0008

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I had three choices for Literati pots to choose from. The two shallow ones are from Japan and the other is a local potted.dsc_00012

There are no feet on the pot and it will sit directly on the wire.dsc_0012

I just cut a piece of screen to fill the entire bottom and allow the ties wires to do the holding in place of the screen.dsc_0011

After pruning and root pruning the tree was tied into it’s new pot.dsc_0013

For the guy wires I use a 24 gauge steel wire that is anodized black. I thread that thru 3/32 shrink tube for protection on the branch. It’s all very small and barely visible.dsc_0015

The guy wires are attached to small 1/4 inch brass screw eyes that I thread in along areas not readily seen from the front.dsc_0014

The final result.  So far reception has been OK but still not Bunjin. People still feel the trunk is too big. When seen in person that feeling is not present.best-smaller

 

Posted January 1, 2017 by California Bonsai Art in Styling Trees

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Shohin Kiyohime Maple   1 comment

While on a trip to Ed Clarks nursery in Lindsey I ran across this Kiyohime maple in a wooden box sitting at the end of a table of maples. I thought the leaves were exceptional and he told me that they take really well to cutting back constantly and with correct pruning like to make the small leaves with increased ramification.dsc_00610060

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I purchased this one and felt that the trunk lent itself well to a slanting type of style. I also liked the fact that eventhough it had pretty good taper, it was not so much built in the pine tree style trunk so prevelent in growing fields. It is very hard to make an acceptable spreading oak style tree when the trunk is grown so upright and tapered with branches set in the ascending 1,2,3 style.

dsc_01060001 The canopy was pruned back to what I expected would be the outline of an acceptable maple canopy. The internode length posed a problem since cutting back to the first bud still meant that there would be no inner foliage on the tree. This would mean that the foliage would start about another inch or so outside of this line. totally unacceptable for me.
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I decided what I wanted to keep and cut everything off that was heavy or in an awkward place. Large pruning scars were sealed and covered tightly with chip grafting tape which provides a hot house and keeps the lips of the callus tight to the trunk. Ed swears by this stuff and I have seen the results and it works very well. Not cheap tape, about $12.00 a roll but will last forever. Just have to see what this year brings.

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Yosemite in Autumn   Leave a comment

Yosemite is ablaze with the colors of Fall. My wife and I had the rare opportunity to see the colors of the Yosemite Valley during this colorful season.

 

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Shohin Pines, choosing the correct material   2 comments

A couple years ago I picked up several young pines from a grower in Lindsey, Ed Clark. Ed grows these pines with wire embedded in the trunk to add girth quickly and to add good movement. The technique is not for everyone and pine purists will say they look un-natural and man made. The truth is that as the years go by they look less and less man made and begin to take on a different look. I am OK with the look and will continue to work with these pines to see how I might develop them.

The pines at the nursery are fairly bushy due to letting the growth run and pruning only once a year. The trunks have been wrapped with wire and the wire is allowed to cut in producing lots of scar tissue and bulges and texture. A lot of the trunks at this age look a lot like the Michelin Man.

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The tops tend to look pretty bushy and one can be assured that a yuears growth will really turn it into a bowling ball of green.

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One years growth at my place.

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I had purchased about 10 of the pines. Cursory cuts have been made and the foliage was allowed to grow all season.

After purchasing the material the first cuts are made. Wire is applied to set the shape and then it is allowed to grow and bud.

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Today the pine looks like this one year later.

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The group look like this.

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This second group are one year further along in training.

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Now that’s the method for growing and training pines being specifically grown for bonsai with lots of care and training along the way preserving branches and not allowing anything to get out of proportion. Lets look at some pines being grown for bonsai but with much less work done to them for the future as bonsai. These are good trees, but many of them should have been culled along the way. Many of them are taking up space and water and fertilizer is being wasted on material that does not have a bright future in the bonsai trade.

Lets look at this growers material as a whole.

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Now we can zoom in and take a look at individual trees.

This pine has a good trunk movement. It has a nice curve and the curve is low and in scale with a tree 8 inches tall. This is a keeper.

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This tree has a good nebari and lots of branches down low to work with. A strong pine when cut will bud profusely if it is healthy.

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This is another good candidate with a nice wiggle in the trunk to help add some dynamics. Lots of branch choices and low branches keep the tree in scale and proportion.

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Even though I did not get a good pic of the trunk, the tree has lots of branches and many are low enough to start a good shohin tree. Possibly a good formal upright tree here.

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At first glance this tree may be looked over with the wye in the trunk and straight section off to the right. I would purchase this tree and cut off the trunk on the right maybe leaving a small jin stub. I would continue working the left side due to its compact growth and good trunk movement as well as a profusion of branches to work with.

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Some trees that would be something to look past would be trees with little movement and few branches. This straight beanpole has nothing going for it.

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This small pine while having lots of branches, there is little to work with as far as a trunk. It is straight and uninteresting, branching starts too high and the trunk has little taper. Pass one like this by. I have seen people buy trees like this when there is little material to choose from. Switch to a species with better choices in your locale and be happy a few years from now. Buying material like this is “not” a leaning experience and that line is a cop out for poor choices at the check stand.

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Here is another poor choice. Again the enticement may be the larger trunk size. It seems larger than the others. That’s true but it come with little else. That first section of trunk is out of scale without taper for an 8 inch tree, and finding a tree in this material may take decades.

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There is no taper and the wye in the trunk with a leader out the middle looks funny and cannot be corrected. Removing the central leader will leaves you with a slingshot and will probably not bud back very easily on the old wood.

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Posted October 8, 2016 by California Bonsai Art in First Steps with No Bai De

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