From bagged tree to show pot   5 comments

2010

This trident maple started life as a bare root tree in a shopping bag at a Fresno Bonsai Society swap meet. The Grower is Ed Clark.Very tough to see any trunk line in this bagged tree, but I saw a decent line and thought I could improve it.

a1a

The tree was pruned back very hard and planted in a cut down pond basket. Some wire was used to preserve what branches I did keep.

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The tree went on to be used for a demo in what I called livin in “realville”. The shorter story can be read elsewhere on this blog. The contention was that sooner or later every person working with bonsai has to make decisions on which pieces of material to keep and which to find a suitable home for. Hopefully make a few bucks to cover your trouble. The premise was which of the two was the better one to waste ones time on. I kept the one on the right and sold off the other.

a2b

I decided to make a virtual of the future of the tree. This was all going on with the 2010 purchase and repotting in 2011.

a2c

During that repotting combing of the roots and checking out the deep undercut that was in the lower trunk.

a6

It grew well, but the hot summers of the Central valley drought took its toll on the leaves and strength of the tree.

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Here is a good shot of the undercut portion of the trunk. For the tree to look like anything this would have to be addressed and soon!

a7b

During the growing phase I kept it pruned back hard on the top and tried to keep the growth in the lower portion of the tree. Very hard to do on a trident.

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2012

During the winter of 2012 I decided it was time to address the undercutting.

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I used some cutting that had rooted from the previous year, and wood thread graft them thru the trunk.

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I also approach grafted four branches on the upper trunk.

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All the grafts took. There is one in the center of the trunk which looks like a curving branch.

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The tree grew well and the treatment was the same, cutting back the top to allow the bottom to grow and strengthen.

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The lower right branch is one of the grafts.

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2014

Two years ago I decided the tree was too tall for shohin. Using the stick I made for size limits, we can see the tree is about 1.5 inches too tall.

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All along the process this has been my front view of the tree. It received some massive squirrel damage in 2012 and I did not like the look of the trunk after the damage.

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A close up view of my stick.

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2015

A layer was the only option left to fix the trunk. This would not only get the tree down to the correct size, but would also improve the undercut side of the trunk which had failed with the thread grafts.

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The black line was drawn on the trunk and the incisions were made. At the top of the cut I added a large piece of wire around the cut to insure the roots growing outward from the trunk.

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After a few weeks, sprouts were coming from the trunk. The wire can just be seen in the photo.

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After about 75 days the entire root process stopped. I uncovered the trunk and found that the tissue had bridged and was growing just fine stopping the rootage from growing. I took a sharp knife and cut away all the  live wood and allowed it to sit for a couple days open to the air. Then re-buried it.

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I allowed free reign now since the roots were growing well. It grew all summer of 2015.

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Pruning continued during the appropriate times to not lose the size of branches within the canopy.

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Winter of 2016 and time to cut it off the stump and pot it into a new bonsai pot.

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2016

I layered in winter of 2014 and allowed it to grow all of 2015. In spring of 2016 this is the root ball I had growing in the colander for one year.

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The tree had been growing on an inverted terra cotta water dish to keep the root pad shallow.

a50

Here is what I kept after pruning back the root pad and spreading it out. Good radial root spread with roots all the way around.

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Potted in a light blue Yamaki lotus shaped Shohin pot.

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Tonight the first pruning was done. All the branches were cut back to a pair.

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5 responses to “From bagged tree to show pot

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  1. That was very well done
    Brian

  2. This is well done technique and proper documentation of the process. Very useful indeed. Thanks

  3. Great work! that tree is coming along nicely !!

  4. Looks great Al. I’ve had the same issues with layering and air layering Tridents and Chinese Elms…. they just want to callous and grow over the gap no matter how big you make it. Eventually you can have success like you have but sometimes it’s like pushing shit up hill. Here is a link to one of our members whose technique presented here I’ve used with success first time everytime. Worth a read.
    http://www.bonsaisouth.com.au/bonsai/index.php/forum/23-techniques/39269-how-i-do-ground-layers

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