Archive for the ‘Maple’ Tag

New pot for an old Friend   3 comments

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!

Drainage layer.

Soil layer with 30 percent coarse fir bark.

Watering it in…

The beauty shot.


At the recent Fresno Home and Garden Show March 2017.

Two Trident maples get new pots.   4 comments

This trident was a purchase from Ian Price of Lone Pine in 2009 at the GSBF convention in Anaheim.001

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Signature Yamafusa pot purchased for the tree four years ago. Needed all four years to get it into the pot.dsc_0031

 

This trident maple was purchased from Steve DaSilva in 2013. It was dug from his field.0003

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This Japanese bag pot was purchased from Kora Daleger back from a recent trip to Japan. It has had many root cut backs to get it into this pot.dsc_00361

 

Throwback Thursday – Trident Neagari Style   Leave a comment

This small maple started as a cutting in 2006. It had an unusual bend in the trunk which I accentuated and decided that I woud train it into a neagari (exposed root) style. I planted it out in a half gallon milk jug to grow the roots long. I grew the roots in straight pumice with the top of the jug backfilled with akadama. The roots went straight down in the pumice. sitting in a water saucer.

The tree did not grow that well in the jug and while it did grow roots pretty well the top never really developed. It kinds grew all willy nilly, with heavy branches and not much shape.

In 2012, I decided that maybe it could become a trident on a stone. The stone had a …er..unique shape. Very masculine.

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I tried bubble wrap as my wrap for affixing to the stone. My thought was that the bubble would help push the roots into the shape of the stone and get good adhesion. Also the wrap would last a few years and not fall apart so fast.

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So here is the tree all wrapped up ready to grow and make a smashing bonsai. Well the top was pretty bad and looked like hell. no branch structure and the tree really was about the base and not so much the top. Over the next three years I would prune and snip wire here and there.

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Last winter in Jan. 2014, I took the wrap off and the rock fell out of the roots. WTF, something went wrong. By now I had a better canopy and I was able to start removing branches and wiring others. It was repotted in the Bunzan semi cascade pot. The tree recieved more attention last year due to the Keppler Snail Scourage of 2014. It was moved to the safety of the patio untill the snails died off.

Tonight it gets a photo of the new look and nine years work. More work on the drop branch on the right but its getting there.

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Catching up around the yard   2 comments

This is my first spring since my wife was down for a year with cancer. I did not spend any time in the backyard and just watered trees. As the radiation was over last July I was able to catch up on a few things bonsai related but much of the damage was done and I would be playing catch up for a while. Over the winter I was able to repot and get some unfinished business out of the way like pruning and styling of a few trees that had never looked like much.

So this is the fruit of my labor. Still have a ways to go but most stuff is caught up now. Still looking for a place to put trees under construction, but that a never ending job. Lets have a look around the backyard.

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There are 30 shohin on the bench right now with about 12 more coming soon (two or more years). An assortment of elms, pines and tridents still to come

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This California juniper is now in its second year in the grow stones and it has never looked better.

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Ghidorah -1 gat some trimming, a repot into a nice Chinese round Literati pot and a good painting of lime supher.

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Took this tree to the club meeting yesterday and cleaned and oiled the pot, cut back the moss and applied some black/red sifted lava around the moss to dress the top. Some light pruning and wire and I’m done for a couple months.

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Well these two are just growing. They both need help.

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Two recent aquisitions, The Maple last Nov. and the giant cork bark elm a couple months ago.

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The above maple, Oshio Beni is now making leaves. Ther are unfolding each day and I am excited to see the red leaves finally. After thirty one years of bonsai this is the first red leved maple.

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It is pushing very hard and the buds out of the old wood show that.

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The Muranaka pine is sending candles out now.

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Crepe mrytle I purchased last week. Leaves come out red and then turn copper finally green

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The elm root cutting are sending green buds skyward. Leaves are beginning to form and next year training will start on more shohin trees.

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This small 3 inch tall pine from Ed has candles already 14 inches long.

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I have two hornbeam shohin and both are getting ready to unfurl the leaves.

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The ole miss, looking great this year.

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Repotting the Oshio Beni   2 comments

I am getting very excited as the buds are about ready to pop and I want to see what I have in the way of leaves. I did not wish to look at this plant all year long in the 20 gallon nursery container and so I decided to remove it and cut it down and replant it into an old large pot I had laying around. The pot is 28 inches across.

So this is the way it looked when I drug it home.

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Started by sawing branches off. This was done back in the fall when I aquired the tree.

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This was final pruned product.

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Today I started by whacking the shit out of the container. The roots had grown thru the drainage holes and were over an inch thick. No way that bad boy was coming out easy. I got to get all Clint Eastwood on the thing.

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Don’t worry…the first thing I did was saw off that root flipping me the bird. I hacked the root ball down to about two thirds waste. What was left is now on the table and all was done by my Japanese chicken cleaver. I wouldn’t trade that thing for anyones wife. Maybe the chick in the Carl’s Junior commercial…but thats it.

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So this is the tree all potted up. Now I can relax on this one…I been dreading potting this bugger. The tree stands about 40 inches tall.

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Posted February 11, 2015 by California Bonsai Art in Repotting

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

 

Shohin Study Group of Fresno   3 comments

We had our second study group last Wednesday. So far we are moving around to members homes to have the study groups. This gives other members a chance to see other members collections. This month we met at Pat and Linda Galle’s home.

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Steve DaSilva holding Pat’s Burt Davi fig shohin.

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Ken To is part of the group also. Ken makes the super spectacular wire sculptures of bonsai.

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Pat’s collection of Bonsai

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To the study group I took a trident maple that will be ground layered this season down to Shohin size. It has a terrible base and the thread grafts I did last year were not successful in building the base I wanted. I need more flasre and the only way I can get this is to start over. The branching is doing OK and I think the overall look of the tree will be great after the layer.

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Posted November 15, 2014 by California Bonsai Art in Spotlight on Shohin

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My technique for flare and roots.   5 comments

I have had this trident maple since 2001. It has gone thru a succession of work periods and mishaps over the years. This past year has been particularly hard on all my trees. My wife has undergone treatment for breast cancer and taking care of her this past year has taken alot of time and care to make her comfortable. Also, I had a spring wrestling match with a tribe of snails. I had no idea how fast they can strip a trident maple over night. I learned that a trident no matter how strong it is will only allow one mulligan in having all its leaves stripped. They ate the second bud out a week later and some trees gave up and died right on the spot. I have never had this happen in thirty years of bonsai. This year was different in that I had lots of tridents in pond baskets on the ground in front of my benches. The pickens was just too easy.

In the past they really never bothered the trees on the benches and it was like that again while the trees on the ground were decimated. A little background on this tree. I will not bore you with the beginning, but will take up after cutting off some large roots a few years back and the subsequent work done thus far.

The tree starts out here in 2008. The roots are awful. The tree swings out of the soil to the right giving the impression of some flare over there. A large root on the right gives the impression of trunk flare on that side. The problem is when seen at certain angles, there is daylight between the roots and the trunk. A large verticle root comes straight down on the right starting fairly high on the trunk.

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A few weeks after the above photo was taken I decided to remove the large offending roots. I had a great dense root pad and so was not in the least bit worried that removing such large roots would set the tree back. I sawed them all off leaving only the fibrous roots to support the tree. They do all the work anyway and the large roots only offer support. I must admit that after removing the large roots the tree was much harder to tie into the pot. The tree would actually wobble like a rag doll at the hinge line at roots/tree intersection.

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The largest root was a full inch and a quarter across.

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After the tree was repotted this is what it looked like a year later.The tree is much higher in the pot now increasing its height by 2.5 inches. The large root scar on the right is now a full three inches above the soil line whereas before it was at the soil line.

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In 2009 I had some roots now growing around the perimeter of the tree. Things were looking good and I was now able to concentrate on having a better showing base on this tree.

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In 2010 I was able to show the tree in the second annual Kazari in which I won second place.

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In 2011 I entered the same tree once more except this time i was able to show it in Winter since the Kazari had been moved to a Winter format instead of Spring. Again I placed second for the second time in a row. As can be seen the base of the tree has started to flare and the rootage has grown much larger with roots nearing 3/8 inch.

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The Giant Squirrel Scourge of 2013

In 2013 squirrels had chewed off every root exposed on the tree. They had dug up large parts of the root matt to bury things and had done a lot of damage.

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All I had left was stubs where large roots used to be. I was very angry and soon bought a CO2 BB pistol and began going all Wyatt Earp on the bastards.

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To help save the root stubs that I had, I built a collar and and back filled it with pure akadama and covered that with sphagnum moss.

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A couple months later I inspected my work. Sure enough I had new root emerging from the root stubs and was very lucky that they had not dried out too long.

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At the end of the 2013 season I had some pretty good roots. It was now time to try something different. Over the last couple year I have been planting out many tridents on terra cotta water dishes turned upside down with hole drilled in them. I thought about that and decided to try that with this tree except I would not use a disk to plant on, but the bare bottom of the pot.

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In Feb. 2014 I would start the repot. The tree was removed from the planter and pruned back in preparation for planting. The bottom of the root pad was planed like I do every year and the roots removed from the base. The pad was cut back by at least half.

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The tree was planted directly on the bottom of the pot without soil. Just sitting right on the ceramic bottom. The real secret is to tie the tree in very well. Not just a two wires over the ends of the root pad to keep it from falling out of the pot in the wind, I mean TIE the tree in. The wires are left very long from the holes in the pot and the first wire tied together are those adjacent to each other. With one of the tails, move to the next hole and twist together with pliers very well. Continue moving to each successive hole ending with the first long wire at the starting point. Now you should have a continuous loop of wire around the whole root ball.

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This is when the Cancer treatment started and not having the amount of time to devote to the tree I would like. I was able to keep the tree very well hydrated and did not prune it for months at a time. During the first part of the spring and summer I was using the siphon feeder with miracle grow and gro power with humic acid daily. I had shoots on this tree at times over two feet long. The fertilizer and hot summer as well as little pruning allowed the tree to turn into a sort of Bruce Banner type of plant. In the shot below much of the canopy is sunburnt and the leaves are really shriveled up. None of the twigs have suffered as it is under shade cloth but gets pretty good sun till about noon. The base of the tree is covered with soil and one can see poo balls on the surface also. I had removed the siphon feeder in June but have reconnected it just prior to the photo. About two weeks ago. I am feeding with fertilizer injected daily for winter strength build up.

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I began noticing the root pad pushing up out of the pot along the edges. This is the only place it can do that since the tree is really tied in.

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I was able to sweep back the soil and see the nebari that has manifested itself this season. The knobby places around the base are from teeth marks left by the squirrels

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I pruned out all of the dead leaves, removing about half of the canopy. I still have at least two months left of growing season and this will bud out and push more leaves before winter. The photo shows the new larger flare I have gained by tieing in the tree so tight and planting it directly on the bottom of the pot. The tree can only push up against the wires and do nothing but make larger roots and flaring the buttress.

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This is the really cool part. This tree is growing in no soil. The only soil in this pot is the 1/2 inch layer you see on the top of the tree. All the soil that was around the cut back root pad has been pushed out of the pot and is scattered around the bench and on the ground. I have shared this as testament to my ramblings over the years about plants.

1. Plants do not need soil to grow.

2. Plants do not drown in water as long as the tips can find air.

3. Soil mix just needs to retain some moisture and allow air for the plant to thrive. What you use for that is sorta moot.

I will be back this spring to detail taking this plant from the pot and showing the no soil pics. I figure the squirrels set me back about two years from where I would have been. By now I would have had some fusing of roots and should have started to see some plating.  That reminds me, I need more CO2 canisters and another 5 pounds of BB’s!

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Some updated photo’s of the nebari on this trident. Looking good so far.

Posted October 9, 2014 by California Bonsai Art in Trident Techniques

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