Squirrel’s -1, Keppler – 0   7 comments

I have squirrels bad. They are everywhere in my backyard. They drive my little dog crazy. They tease her, she chases them, she barks and the flip their tail and chitter. The squirrels are not really afraid of the dog as many times they have come down into the grass area and the dog has chased them back and fourth across the lawn or around in circles. The squirrels can get away anytime they want by leaping up to 8 feet onto my benches or up a tree. For some reason they love the tridents. It must be that the wood is sweet from the sap or something cause they bother no other trees except the tridents.

Last year in June I experienced a catastrophe. The squirrels had moved in and had eaten the entire nebari off of what I consider my most prized tree. I love the tree not because it is a great example of a maple tree, but I like it because I think it is a great example of a Classical Japanese Style Moyogi Maple. I have other maples that look like maple trees, but this one for me is classical and thats why I love it.

Whats left of pencil size roots are now just chewed off stubs. I had removed some very large roots from the trunk several years ago and had been developing a new root base on this tree. The squirrels chewed off in one day what had taken me about five years to do.

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Feeder roots were left exposed and dryed out. Some of the larger roots are shown below just layin on the soil.

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After inspection a collar was made out of plastic canvas. It was back filled with round akadama and covered with moss. Round akadama is what I use for all my layers and emergency repotts or things of that nature. With it being round there is no chance of losing a good air exchange and roots seem to thrive in it. I only have about half a bag left and can no find it any longer so I do not waste it.

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In this close up you can see the small akadama spheres. I had just exposed the roots some to see what was going on. This was in September and now that I knew I had roots growing out of the stubs I could relax some.

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Lots of new roots growing. Now it will just take time. Much of the scar damage on the lower trunk is from squirrels just “nibbleing” in past seasons. It heals up and just adds charecter. Chewing a whole root off is another story!

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Now it was time to repot for this season. I was excited to see what was going on with the root pad after the repair. The tree was pulled out of the larger Jim Barret pot.

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The small spherical akadama is super soft. While it does a bitchen job of growing roots, it does a better job of making mud.

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So this is what I was looking for. Many of the roots had already started getting some bark on them and they had grown much larger since Sept.

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The root pad was trimmed back to an oval shape. I take off about 50 percent of the roots on this tree when I repot. All or any roots that are growing from the bottom of the trunk are removed.

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In preperation to tying the tree in, I made some small hair pins to hold down some of the smaller, but thicker roots that I did not want to remove, but did not allow me to cover them with soil. This pot is only about an inch and a quarter thick on the inside for soil. The root pad is very thin so no roots can stick up. Usually I just cut them off, but I wanted to keep anything larger than a pencil lead.

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I tie my trees in by going all the way around the root pad and tying off, but leaving the ends long to go to the next wire. I will have to post a sequence of how I do this for those that wish to tie like this.

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Once its tied in and all the wire are tight with pliers I can pick it up like this and the whole thing stays together, pot and all.

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The tree all potted up. It’s a shame that I can’t expose a better nebari than this now since this year was really going to look good. Oh well, maybe in four or five years I can show what it should have looked like.

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Posted February 23, 2014 by California Bonsai Art in Repotting

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7 responses to “Squirrel’s -1, Keppler – 0

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  1. How come you did not put any soil under the roots in the pot?

  2. What for?

  3. You didn’t mention making cuts or using hormone. Did you?

  4. Great post. I’m looking forward to 4 or 5 years from now!

  5. oh lord. i have a horrible case of Squirrel. but these are jurassic squirrels. Rodentus Giganticus Assholius. i have actually begun making detachable screens out of hardware cloth that i wire over the pots. it’s better than covering the soil with rocks, which is also something i do. i chase them out of my yard- which is as useful as tits on a boar. but it makes me feel better. i love animals, but i think i could kill every squirrel i see.

  6. Oh man, I would have been furious. A squirrel holocaust like you had never seen would have commenced. Nice to see it’s recovering.

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