Getting a tree ready for an exhibit.   5 comments

This maple is going into a Winter Silhouette exhibit next weekend at the city college in Fresno. The trees will be paired up with canvas art like the exhibit held here around 5 years ago. Chairman for the event is Steve DaSilva, President of the Fresno bonsai club, founding member of the college club, member of the Merrit college ornamental pruners of black pine and works at the college in the botanical department.

The tree has not been repotted since 2010. In 2011 for the Kazari in November I lifted the root mass and added some soil to the back side of the pot and trimmed some roots on the front side to get a better angle on the apex of the tree for exhibiting. It was not repotted though.


The tree lifts right out as there are many roots filling the pot.


I use a brush to clean all the moss off the trunk and roots.


In this view you can see how the roots have formed a thick dense matt of roots fully 3/4 inch thick. This is what was pushing the tree right out of the pot.


004I use a long Ginsu type knife and remove the pad like splitting a layer of cake to be filled. This pad is from the first pass.


I wash the area of grit and make another cut. Now I am down to the darker roots. All of this growth is fresh and not needed.


I clean up the root pad on the tree and trim it for size. This tree is vigorous and grows roots really fast. I started very early developing this thin root cross section to be able to plant in these shallow containers. The nebari is developing much better now after taking off all the large roots 5 years ago.


Who says diciduous trees don’t grow in the winter…mine do.


In this shot, that is all the soil that was in the pot on the right. Most has been washed away as the tree has pushed up in the pot from the thick matt of roots are it has consumed much of it, taking as much minerals from the akadama as it can use.



The tree is wired in using the wire around the pot method. Leave two tails of wire sticking out of the pot a foot or more from two holes. Bring one of the long wires over from the other hole that is long and twist the long wire to the base of the other log wire. Continue the tail of the first long wire to the next hole and twist at the base. Continue around the pot twisting at the base until you get to the last hole. you should reach about half way to the first place you twisted. then take that extra long tail you left and switch direction and tie that one off. You now have a tree tied in that is extra strong and wires the perimeter of a dense flat root pad such as this.


Here is a shot of a wire twisted at the base and one cut off and the other goes on to the next hole. the only one you do not cut off is the first hole which you leave that extra tail so you can tie off the last wire. Sounds complicated but is easy peasy.


Back of the tree and interesting nebari back there. Also some damn squirrel damage.



The tree is back filled with soil. This is the first time I have ever planted this tree without akadama. I was not happy with the last stuff I got and it seemed to turn to mud very easily. Previous pictures above will bare that out. The nebari area is left uncovered. It will recieve only a thin layer of moss and some fine akadama to fill in any bare spots giving the surface a more natural feeling.


Notice how much flatter in the pot it sits now. Down where its supposed to be.

Back on the pedistal with her friend the C. juniper.




5 responses to “Getting a tree ready for an exhibit.

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  1. Looks great Al, it will show very nicely.

  2. awesome trees al, how do you feel about the one section of the trident that looks a little straight compared to the rest of the tree? does it fill in with the surrounding leaves? is there a plan in place to pull down or up the surrounding areas? or maybe it just needs to thicken up ? i dont know, maybe im being a little critical ? just looking tho

  3. This comment was meant for this post…but the others are great trees too! — “Great trees! And thanks for sharing the process.”

  4. Glad to have you display in the show

  5. All your photos show the quality of your trees. Thanks for the great photos. Better than going to a demo. lee

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