Archive for the ‘fused roots’ Tag

Realville gets a makeover   10 comments

This trident goes by the name Realville. Some day I wish to add small metal tags to the trees and number them so I know which ones are witch. Until that day I just name them. Not all of them have names but sooner or later something comes to me and it sticks. The name comes from the title of a blog post here I did a couple years ago. A search on the home page with “realville” should pull it up.

What I wish to do for this tree is shorten it up to maybe work as shohin. I think it will work but it will take a couple years to achieve. As it stands, the tree has a pretty good trunk and good taper. It has a terrible nebari and eventhough I tried to graft whips to the bottom, they failed and the base looks crappy still. I took the tree to a shohin study group I belong to hear and developed the plan.

So here is the measuring stick I made to measure at a glance the catagory a tree fits into. As we can see the tree is just about 1.5 inches too tall for shohin which is at the top of the orange portion.

 

a34

a38

I figure that if I layer the tree at the thickest part I can shorten the tree and put a better base on the tree in one throw.

a38a

Leaves fell off and the line is marked at the study group.

a39

a41

So today I carve a groove all the way around the base of the trunk at the line.

DSC_00130013

A large piece of wire is tied around the trunk. The wire is pounded into the trunk tissue and alloed to follow all the curves and indentions.

DSC_00140014

Once the wire is affixed a collar is made of plastic canvas for holding the soil.

DSC_00150015

A little bit about the soil. This is a bag of akadama I picked up several years ago…maybe about seven. I had no idea what it was that I had. When I opened it I was kinda like …”what the hell is this “.

DSC_00160016

The akadama is in round balls. Perfectly round balls. No broken edges, no rough sides, just smooth round balls. It is soft, very soft, and absorbs water like no bodies business. I mean it holds a lot of water. What’s really good about it is that being round, one can see in the picture all the shadows. It is about 60/40, akadama/air. It never compacts and allows perfect air exchange. This stuff grows roots so fast even I am shocked. No hormone here. I have used this on my large trident after the squirrels ate the nebari off and I had roots with this stuff in a collar like this in a few weeks. I have used this medium for all my layers thru the years and am on the look out for a bag to replace this one with. I have about 25% left. I’ll be back in 60 days and brush away some particles and we’ll see what we have.

DSC_00170017

 

Almost too late   2 comments

I looked over the trees on Friday and had a trip to the coast planned for Sat. The buds on the maples looked good and I felt I had some time to repot. Good…I can go to Santa Cruz on Sat. and repot the maples on Sunday. Got up Sunday and decided they would wait until next weekend. Big Mistake! Never put off to tomorrow what you can do with your lazy ass.

Came home from work today after a 74 degree day after the small rain storm on Friday and Sat. The buds on the tridents had jumped right over the swelling stage and bolted right to the green leaves unfurling stage. No time to lose, move the table into the yard, get the buckets of soil already made and wire for the pot this is “go time”.

The tree was already in a state that need repotting for sure. The tree was pushing the root pad up and out of the pot.

DSC_00650001

The tree was unwired from the pot and the whole root pad was lifted from the pot. It was thick as the pot and dense and fiberous. The entire rim of the pad was removed from the tree. In past years I have taken this even shorter to the trunk but this year the nebari is finally improving to the point that cutting back too short means getting into larger roots and I don’t want to disturb those yet.

DSC_00660002

This is how short the pad was made this year. At this point it still has a small layer of soil on top and the pad is full thickness, about 1.5 inches.

DSC_00670003

I then rake the bottom of the pad to dislodge the roots from the bottom. These are allowed to hang down and then are trimmed flush with the hard bottom of the trunk.

DSC_00680004

Now the old soil is raked off and the roots teased for the new soil. At this point the root pad is about 3/4 inch thick. The tree is oriented for aesthetics and then placed directly on the bottom of the pot with out soil. It is wired firmly…I mean firmly, so that it will not push away from the pot. I want all the energy of the first growth spurt to be against a hard surface to get maximum girth on the roots around the tree and to swell at the soil line. The tree at this point is starting to get a good flare at the soil trunk transition and this is due to planting directly on the pot and firm tie in of the tree.

DSC_00690005

The tree is tied and I can pick it up by the trunk and the pot does not move. The tree at this point still has no soil in it. Just a tree and pot. The soil for the whole tree is backfilled around the depression around the edge of the pot. The soil in the roots from the previous season are not washed from the root mass. This allows the new roots to fill the new area with roots while the roots next to the trunk can inarch and graft together to help form the nebari.

DSC_00700006

The tree is now backfilled and watered in and placed back on the bench. It will be full of leaves by Friday.

DSC_00710007

 

Grow Stones and Maples   1 comment

Last year I did two trees as an experiment with the grow stones. Both trees were planted in 100 percent grow stones. I did a conifer that was ailing which would give me a visual indicator during the year if the increased air and drainage was worth the effort. I also did a group of five maples thru a disk with five holes to build a massive taper larger trident. I can say that while the conifer was actually improved and grew very well the trident while not suffering too badly did not thrive in my heat.

I planted the trees as they were in the growing pots about 14 inches tall. The trees wear about 3/4 inch across and were planted thru 1 1/4 inch holes drilled in a ceramic disk. The tree grew and managed to grow to about five feet tall which in itself is good, not good for what they should have done in a year around here. I should have had about nine feet of growth and a good increase in caliper.

All of the trees I planted into disks were left the height they were while they had been growing as single trees. The smaller ones I planted from the seeds the year before were about 10 inches tall. While the small ones did increase in size and layer at the disk intersection, I feel this was because the better and more moisture laden soil they grew in. They all grew in colanders so that part was equal as well.

This year the large group of five in individual holes will be planted into a much more humus rich soil mix. Based on trees grown in previous years, the trees should begin to fill the holes and layer off. I need each one to increase in girth by at least 50 percent to even touch each other and begin grafting. Should take about two more years to get to that point.

The most important part of this project is what was done for this year. Like the trees I did a decade ago, massive girth in the bottom third of the tree will only take place when the shoot emerges from the trunk low on the trunk. Let me explain. When a tree is expected to increase in size, sacrifice branches are used to achieve this. If a tree is 20 inches tall and the sacrifice is used from a bud that emerges from the trunk in the first inch above the soil, that shoot will increase the base of the trunk by a lot over a season. In fact this is a good way to improve reverse taper.

If a person is trying to achieve a large trunk and uses a shoot in the upper third of the trunk, all of the branches adjacent to the shoot will increase in size but the base of the trunk will hardly see any increase in size. Further, all increase in size happens below a sacrifice or adjacent to it. For this project on the large tree as well as the smaller projects I have going, I have cut back all the trunks on the groups of tree thru the plates down to about 2 -3 inches. The larger project was cut down to about 4 inches. This cut back will force all the energy into only the four inches of trunk and swell a lot. If I left the trunks 5 feet long the shoots would only increase the trunks right out on the ends of the trunks, 14 inches away from the holes I need to fill. With the trunks now only four inches tall, the new shoots will direct all the energy into the trunks and they should swell to fill the holes by June. The tree was checked and the buds are swelling and now is the right time to cut the canes. this will now force all the energy into the bottom.

 

018

019

020

This is how much larger the trees have to grow to fill the holes and begin layering.

021

The roots have been covered with a layer of the grow stones as well as what above the tile. just from the fact of being covered with soil the trunks will begin to emit roots.

DSC_00980040

DSC_00990041

Here are the five trunks cut back and ready for next years growth.

025

All the trunks were cut back to shoots or buds on the trunk. this is the safest method to insure the trunk will take off when the sap is on the rise.

023

024

DSC_01010043

DSC_01050047

Here are some of the other baskets of maples with the trunks all cut back ready for spring. These are all the seedligs I did under the screen. They have good movement as a benifit from the screen.

002

003

004

005

This is one of the larger seedlings done from the same batch. It is amazing how fast they grow if they are not stuted by having screen thrown over them. the squirrels did a number on this root connected pair as can be seen in the close up.

010

011

 

 

 

Ed Clark….redux   4 comments

This is the follow up to my post about Ed Clark. While I have several trees from the man he lives a good hour and a half away so I have never taken the time to go see what he has. That was my first mistake.

The nursery is tucked right up next to the foot hills and the canopy of trees and shade structures and hoop houses, of which I seen about five or more with several acres under shade cloth. I was amazed when I started to look around. I could hear a radio blasting country music so I followed the sound. I found Ed there in the midst of several benches of pines busy pulling needles, cutting candles and cleaning weeds out of pots. He was also potting up some material into larger containers. I had mentioned that Ed did not have a lot left from the old days, but I did see quite a few older maples in large containers and he had these cool tridents over some really black limestone type rock. Very cool to see these.

Second mistake, I did not have my camera. I took all these pictures with my Iphone, and while some are really good, some are so so, and some are kinda blurry. I think we can get an idea of the scope and breadth of the place from these photo’s. Keep in mind that back in his commercial nursery days he had no benches. Older now and he said he did not want to bend over if he could help it. he built all the benches you see in the photo’s. Ed told me he spent $5,000.00 just on bench material.

On to the photo’s.

I have tried to break this up into logical blocks of the same kinds of trees, although I walked thro so many hoop houses with benches full of hundreds of pots of trees in age groups. I try to start with the young ones first and move to the larger of the species. Don’t worry too much, it’s all tree porn. Ed Clark showing me around on a drizzly day.

001

These are some of those tridents on the black rock that are over 30 years old.

002

003

004

 

005

006

These are just some odd tridents hanging out on benches.

006a

007

008

009

010

011

012

013

These are twisted pomegranate. Ed has hundreds of these all started from cuttings. Many of them have had the wire thing done to them also to try to introduce some movement.

014

 

015

016

017

018

All the previous photos have been the pomegranates. This bench with those on the right are full of movement also.

019

This is some of the material from many years ago. There are large maples in here and many of them are very difficult to find cultivars.

020

021

I wanna go back for this one. I told Ed to save this for me and I will dig it out when down next. Kashima Maple

022

023
Here’s a big block of procumbens with wire.

024
I will let the Itoigawa speak for itself. Ed says he has just reached the point where he has enough material to keep the wire going on the trees and adding movement. wire on the pines is easy peasy, Ed says the junipers are more tricky because they break so easy.

025

026

027

028

029

030

031

032

033

034

035

036

 

037
By far Ed has mostly pines that have received the wire. He has house after house full of pines. I would easily estimate there well over a thousand or more trees here.

038

039

040

041

In this next photo one can see the small trees on the right that do not have many needles. These are banshosho dwarf pines that have been grafted onto mikawa understock.

042
Lets just look at some of these trunks. I was mesmerized and my arms were shaking like a dog shitting peach pits. Blurry yes, but still worth it.

043

044

045

046

047

048

049

050

051

052

053

054

055

056

057

058

059

Here are a couple of shots of young pines with the wire embedded at the beginning of the process. It seems that there are not that many twists and turns, but as it grows and swells it must find new paths to grow which adds all the character.

060

061 (2)

061

062

Larger pines in baskets. These have been taken from round containers and placed in pond baskets. Here they will bulk up and gain girth for larger shohin type pines.

063

My hand for comparison. These trunks are fully 1 1/2+ inches across and about 6 inches tall.

064

065

Pines in long cups for stones. The roots on these are growing length in an effort to merge them to stones in the future.

066

Large pines growing out. These pines are in baskets and then buried in these 25 gallon large nursery containers. This provides a controlled setting but gets as much growth as being in the ground.

067

068

My hope is that I can convince Ed for me to style this tree.

069

Bonsai Tips with Justin Case – Winter Silhouette   1 comment

For those that have trees getting to a more refined state, winter time is the perfect time to photograph trees. I like to shoot them at night since I don’t have to fiddle with backdrops, and the camera will shoot pretty true with its own flash. During a night shoot, the outline of all the twigs will show up and dead spots, bare spots, bulges, out-of-place branches and all sorts of faults will show up. This is the time to get in there and correct these places so that a new photo can be shot. Only the owner will know the whole picture since a photo is so two-dimensional, but for a straight on full view, it will be pretty true to what the viewer might see.

Of course tonight kind of played tricks with me since it is a full moon. I had some serious moon shine in the background and had to turn the contrast way down in post production to get the background blacked out. For a test it can be fun to see the trees in full twig. I love this time of year and the trees do too.

Shoot your trees at night and look for faults….Justin Case

DSC_00050001

Bonsai Tips with Justin Case   Leave a comment

Let me introduce myself, my name is Justin….Justin Case. I have been retained by the bunker to find the tips, bonsai tips that may help in the pursuit of bonsai.

This first tip is from Fresno Ca. A crafty fellow out there doing bonsai…”His Way” has this to say about new material.

Safety Cuts, use um or lose um.

What is a safety cut. Well to his way of thinking, safety cuts should and can be used throughout the year on any material for a number of reasons. When purchasing new stock, safety cuts should be made straight away on the material for two reasons.

1. it will give one an idea on how well it responds to pruning

2. it will give one idea how well it buds on old wood.

Why is this important? Knowing how stock responds to pruning is how we go about styling a tree. Styling a tree with a species that responds well by stimulating new growth after pruning allows one to be more aggressive with styling ideas. Knowing how a species responds to pruning and the stimulation of buds on old wood means more aggressive styling can be done by removing unwanted growth at the tips with the assurance that it will back bud appropriately. I know from experience and many safety cuts on Pyracantha that I can prune all the way to the soil and it will bud aggressively. The same can be said with Cotoneaster and pomegranate. On the other hand, trident maples will only bud back on old wood if the cut is made back to a live bud. Beheading a trident will probably kill the tree, while beheading an elm can start the process over again and a whole new tree can be built.

Even conifers can benefit from safety cuts since many times an awkward branch that is too large can be pruned back to the trunk area leaving a stub an inch long, and even with no green on it, will sprout new growth adjacent to the stub from the collar. Cut the branch off flush and no bud growth. The stub keeps the area viable long enough for the buds to stimulate and new growth to start. This technique can also be used over a period of a few years to push growth back closer to the trunk by making safety cuts each year. After the first cut is made one will have an idea how deep the next years cut can be made and how the tree will respond by adding new foliage in deeper where we want rather than out on the tips where we don’t.

Safety cuts on stock being grown out for bonsai material can also benefit from this method. In my technique for growing tridents with larger trunks, I grow during the season and defoliate in fall. after leaf removal the tree is allowed to keep all its long growth, in spring the tree is spur pruned.

What is a spur prune? A spur prune is a term used in the growth of grapes. To spur prune is to leave a small portion of last years growth for the cane to grow from. many grapes grow from the trunk and do not require a spur. In fact the canes are better grown from the trunk each year since the cane becomes exhausted. Some grapes do not push forth growth from the trunk and require a spur for next years growth. Grape bonsai should be made with a variety that requires spur pruning so as to not have the bonsai styles branches cut from the stump each year. Muskat grapes work well for this.

Back to the tridents, so in spring the canes of the tree are cut back to the trunk area leaving a spur, maybe an inch long. This spur will sprout and add tremendous girth and scar tissue to the base of the tree.

What happens if we cut back a cane in spring and it does not shoot?

This means that the spur was too short and the tree had no bud wood on the spur to shoot. The way we correct this is to make a safety cut back in the fall after we removed the leaves. Cut the cane down to about 6 inches of the base of the tree. This will allow the tree to generate the bud areas for next years growth. In spring when the buds begin to swell this small six-inch long cane will have a multitude of buds on it. It will have a bud at every bud ring on whats left of the trunk. Then after the leaves come out and develop into two pairs, the six-inch long stubs can be reduced to the short spurs by cutting down to the first bud on the shoot you left and it will continue on and grow from there creating girth and swell to the point that in mid summer there will no longer be a spur there. It will become just a shoot on the new larger trunk mass and melt into the new base you are building.

013

018

If one studies these two photos one can see that the second picture shows the long spur that was left the year before has now become part of the flare of the base of this trunk. The shoot that grew from it can be seen in the pic also. This will be pruned out again this year and the whole process started over again in spring.

Make those safety cuts early so the tree will respond as you like……Justin Case

 

Five Trees in a Hole Update   7 comments

This project is what lead to the five hole on the plate project. When I started these it was my wish to have some material to work with that I could never buy, these are just projects that one just has to do for yourself. So far this project is really coming along. I started this project one year before those on the plate, which is a larger project and will make a larger tree. This  project will be a small tree as it was simply an experiment to get my feet wet. This tree was planted on an inverted  terra cotta water saucer. This tree was planted in my regular ALP (akadama, lava, pumice) mix and watered and fertilized profusely.

 

002

As I was getting close to fall of 2013 I took a peek of what I had. Looked pretty damn good to me. I had never did this so this was pretty exciting.

004

In winter of 2014 around Feb. I do my repotting. This was what it looked like after washing off all the gravel. I paid special attention to getting as much embedded rock out of the trunk as I could. I didn’t want embedded stones in the growth.

009

Two of the shoots were cut back to a low bud in an attempt to change direction of a couple as well as give some taper to two of what would be larger trees later. Study this picture becuae what happens is paramount to growing a base.

012

This is the tree now, Fall 2014. Pay attention to the scar at the base. Notice how it is part of the base now. The stubs were left close to an inch long above the base I had last year. Now the trunk has used the condensed energy of the cut short shoots so close to the base to cause it to swell more than it would naturaly. This is the same technique I used to build the trunks on the three little pig trident sumo shohin maples. It is a grow all year, cut back to a short stub in spring and grow out again. Scarring at the base will add girth quickly.  This year at repot I will pick two from the opposite side and cut them back short and do it all over again. I have roots beginning to fuse in only two years.

DSC_00170017

When the repot is done the top plate of roots will be cut back very short to maintain a small size suitable for a shohin pot. The tree at this time still has its base under the plate and can sustain a pretty good cut back to the roots and still have enough energy to sprout at all the cut tips. The red lines on the two trunks show which two will be cut this next season. Make sure a cut is made above a suitable node so it will bud, other wise you may loose the trunk in that spot.

cuts

 

 

%d bloggers like this: