Each year in January I get ready for the repotting season. The time gets busy from the lazy days of summer and time is spent while it is cold mixing soil and gathering the trees and preparing them for various projects. This year I continue my quest for developing maples. For the most part I am not breaking new ground. Most of the stuff I wish to do is pretty boring as it has been done for decades.
It started last week when I drove to Sacramento for more soil stuff. With the procurement of the larger baskets to grow in, I would need more soil to put in them. This is a view of the soil pile thru the gate. Lava and a 50/50 mix of lava/pumice.
I would put all my stuff together for this years soil mix. Lava and base mix a long with akadama, six bags.
The mocha lava as it is called is a mix of lava and pumice. It is graded for size about 1/4 to 5/16 inch. perfect size for bonsai soil.
A close up of the material
For those of you still trying to grow plants in turface and not getting a good mixture of air into your soil, this is why. a comparison of particle size between what I use and turface on the right.
Here is a close up of the 50/50 breakdown of the base mix. lava on the left and pumice on the right. This photo just shows them seperated for a visual comparison.
I use two grades of lava as an addition to my mix. The larger for most of my trees and the smaller for making shohin soil for exhibition trees and soil topping. Shohin trees in the growth phase use the larger mix. The smaller mix is just for a visually appealing look when seen in exhibition.
For the first project I have started with a large 12 inch terra cotter water saucer. This is the dish that sets under a large terra cotta pot. I cut the rim off with a diamond blade in a mini grinder. Five holes have been drilled into the disk. In Gary Woods blog he has shown how merging tridents with a disk and five hole drilled into a pattern of the number five on a craps dice.
The disk measure sabout 9.5 inches after the rim is removed.
Holes I drilled are 1.25 inches across.
I found these 6 plants in the growing area. The blue pot has a pair of tridents in it and the others are single trees. The pair are root connected and will have to be seperated to be planted in the disk
All the branches are removed so that the trees will fit thru the holes. The branches were removed properly leaving either a pair of buds at the base or a small stub which will sprout at bud break. With the removal of the branches now the tree should explode with super hard growth. When I take the roots apart they will cut back super hard since there are no branches on the tree.
I try threading the trees thru the holes just to see what it will look like. The large colander it is setting in is the pot that will house this project for the next couple years. The project will be prepared this weekend and a follow up to that project will be added later. I suspect that trunks will fill the holes by seasons end and then next year the base should begin to layer at the disk. While the idea is old and tried many times before, it is new for me and this old man is excited.