Archive for the ‘Trident Techniques’ Category
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!
Soil layer with 30 percent coarse fir bark.
Watering it in…
The beauty shot.
At the recent Fresno Home and Garden Show March 2017.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
During that repotting combing of the roots and checking out the deep undercut that was in the lower trunk.
It grew well, but the hot summers of the Central valley drought took its toll on the leaves and strength of the tree.
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!
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.
During the winter of 2012 I decided it was time to address the undercutting.
I used some cutting that had rooted from the previous year, and wood thread graft them thru the trunk.
I also approach grafted four branches on the upper trunk.
All the grafts took. There is one in the center of the trunk which looks like a curving branch.
The tree grew well and the treatment was the same, cutting back the top to allow the bottom to grow and strengthen.
The lower right branch is one of the grafts.
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.
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.
A close up view of my stick.
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.
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.
After a few weeks, sprouts were coming from the trunk. The wire can just be seen in the photo.
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.
I allowed free reign now since the roots were growing well. It grew all summer of 2015.
Pruning continued during the appropriate times to not lose the size of branches within the canopy.
Winter of 2016 and time to cut it off the stump and pot it into a new bonsai pot.
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.
The tree had been growing on an inverted terra cotta water dish to keep the root pad shallow.
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.
Potted in a light blue Yamaki lotus shaped Shohin pot.
Tonight the first pruning was done. All the branches were cut back to a pair.
With El Nino the rain has come and the cool nights and warm days have been great for fall color. My maple is ablaze right now and while it may get better, it is always safe to take an early picture just in case the wind comes up and blows all the leaves off.
This is the same tree thru the years when I had some color. The tree has also undergone some change too.
This maple received an approach graft on April 22. The new graft was the second from a failed first try during the winter which never grew very well. It was an experiment, one which has been logged to never do again. Do grafts in the beginning of the growing season for insured success.
The place where I did the graft was in an area with a sharp bend , but branches , probably growing in the wrong direction had been removed. There were two branch scars in the area in which I wanted to place the graft. To compound matters I also had a scar from the failed attempt some months earlier. One of the scars was off to the side of the graft and one would be directly below the graft. The graft was made and today on inspection it was noticed that the scar below the cut was starting to move significantly. The callus roll was re-energised and it was moving due to the addition of the branch in the area. This can only happen when the area is receiving nutrition from the graft. In other words it has knit.
This was the original graft with the tree tied outside of the pot.
This is the second graft with the tree, same tree, tied into the pot.
The new graft was made over the first one. A sharper downward angle was made on the second graft. The original cut can be seen just above the tie wrap.
The graft is slathered well with sealant.
This is what the graft now looks like. There is swelling at the bud base which I intentionally grafted close to the trunk.
Here is a shot of the wound below the graft showing the swelling roll of material now growing on the old wound. I have had the tree two years and nothing in this area has shown any signs of growth due to there not being a branch around to supply nutrition here.
Here we can see the side wound and how that one is starting to roll too. Both of the buds circled in red are the ones that will ultimately become the future branch. Once ready to cut away from the host plant it will be reduced back to this pair of buds and the new branch grown on from there. In doing this I can control the budding of the future branch by cutting back early and saving buds close to the trunk. This makes a better branch rather than trying to build a branch from a sterile neck with no buds and never will have buds.
In this article I started the ground layer to shorten the tree as well and provide for a better base. I peeled back the moss and akadama for a peek and saw some roots growing. Love to see the roots, new base is on the way.
There is not a lot of information on the net about this process. I started treating my maples this way about ten years ago. Walter Pall has spoken about it at his blog, but not much in the way of how to keep up on the process.
There are other ways to treat the canopy of a maple tree and these other treatments have to do with where the tree is in development. During the trees early life, much like candle management on a pine, early treatment is more coarse and in a branch building mode. There is no need for select bud pinching on a tree that will have it’s branches cut many times during the growing season. Bud selection in April likewise on a pine is kinda pointless.
As trees in training begin pushing new buds, the main branches are chosen. As they harden off, the permanent primary branches are now allowed to elongate to gain thickness. Wire is applied and the tree is left to grow. In mid summer these can be cut back when the tree slows down and then allowed to once again elongate in late summer into fall. In Fall all the branches are pruned back hard and then new directions can be worked into the primary stubs. After successive years and primaries set, the same can be done to build secondaries. During the building of secondaries the first beginnings of hedging can now be allowed to begin.
First I will explain what hedging is to me. It may not be the same for all but for the sake of my blog I will call it hedging and this will be the technique I have developed and use. I feel I get good results and tweak the process as the years go by.
The primaries are set to a specific form. It is this form that the tree is hedged to. This form will now be the template for pruning/ hedging for the next several years. The form may grow in volume and become larger, but the shape must remain the same. To change the shape after several years will mean to cut off all the work the years of hedging have provided.
I will provide a few photos of a tree thru the process and up to where it is today. This is the tree as purchased. It is bare rooted and all the branches that will not be used are removed from the trunk.
At the end of the first season the tree is kept compact by hedging to a conical shape. This shape keeps the bottom branch longer and thicker while pruning back the branches at the top smaller and shorter.
In fall the primaries are chosen and wired.
The front was reestablished with a quarter turn.
This Spring, after bud break the tree is allowed to run for a few weeks. As the shoots begin to harden off, the tree is hedged for shape. The hedging is done with regular pruning shears but the shape is taken back to a preconceived place much like pruning a hedge, hence the term hedging.
A couple of days ago the second flush of leaves have hardened off and the hedging process can continue all summer long about every three to four weeks. This does not weaken the tree, on the contrary, many buds will form from the cut back.
In this shot we can see that the bottom branches have not been trimmed to allow for enlarging the branch and gain some extension.
This is another tree that has received the same process. Again the tree as purchased and this one was radically cut back.
The tree received several approach grafts to improve branching.
This is the primary branch selection process and these are allowed to grow and cut back.
As the tree progresses the canopy is hedged for shape. Again this is achieved by hedging to a conical shape.
Back of tree.
Hedging is done each time after the hardening off of the previous hedging. This keeps a continual flow of new twigs coming while other are budding, some are growing.
At this point after the yearly hedging process the branching is now at the secondary point and a more feeling of ramification can start on the frame.
Bud break this year. The tree is starting to really push now and a cut back is only weeks away.
The most recent hedging is now starting to show how the layers are being defined and the canopy is shaping up to be a slanting trident. Not seen often.
So what happens after years of trimming and hedging?
Each fall the tree will be pruned after leaf fall. This is the time we can come in and remove heavy growth at branch ends, and thin the structure out if needed. It will be needed. After several years the tree should begin to settle down into a nice shape and the final tertiary ramification can begin. It takes many years to build a fine canopy of fine twigs.
This tree has been developed by this method for 14 years. the outline of this canopy only needs periodic light scissor pruning of shoots to maintain the outline.
In the Fall the top may look like this. very coarse and heavy growth due to apical dominance.
Pruning can lighten this feeling and help establish a framework for the tertiary buds to follow.
Last years hedging can bes een in blue. The current years hedging will take place between the blue and red zone. This is where I want the small twigs to ramify.
Hopefully at the end of the season I will be rewarded with a small crop of twigs to build on.