Archive for the ‘Pruning’ Tag
This elm has been written about here before. I will gloss over the past details and just show a few progression shots for clarity.
This was the stump as dug from the tree farm ( Steve DaSilva ) in Feb. of 2013. Over the next few years the branches were styled and given some shape. Fast growing meant cutting in of the wire many times and some scarring can be seen giving some character to the branches.
I decided that the tree was about as far as I could take it as it was. I would either have to layer the tree reserving the top portion as a good Moyogi tree and then work on the bottom and utilize that over a number of years. Or, turn it into a sort of Bunjin tree because of its long trunk with special branching near the top.
I thought the Bunjin style may be worth the effort so most of the branches on the lower half were removed.
I applied about 8 guy wires to the tree in an effort to pull down the branches to get the necessary effect of an older looking tree. The tree has its short comings as far as a bunjin styled tree. First the trunk is quite large. It is not easily seen in the photo but is nearly three inches across at the base. About half way up, the tree had been chopped for a direction change and some necessary taper in the trunk. What it did was build shoulders on the chop. This gives the impression of two cylinders on top of each other. While the top third shows much more taper due to the fact that I was able to control the growth in a container rather than in the ground.
A picture of the tree during its naked X-rated photo shoot!
This bark was removed from some places to get the necessary taper that would improve the overall look of the trunk.
This large lump will have to be worked on to smooth out the bump.
These old scars and the new ones as well will need some work to make them a part of the feeling of the tree.
Sunday morning Jan. 1st, 2017
I began by carving some interest into all the old stubs. Some were carved and some just smoothed.
I had three choices for Literati pots to choose from. The two shallow ones are from Japan and the other is a local potted.
There are no feet on the pot and it will sit directly on the wire.
I just cut a piece of screen to fill the entire bottom and allow the ties wires to do the holding in place of the screen.
After pruning and root pruning the tree was tied into it’s new pot.
For the guy wires I use a 24 gauge steel wire that is anodized black. I thread that thru 3/32 shrink tube for protection on the branch. It’s all very small and barely visible.
The guy wires are attached to small 1/4 inch brass screw eyes that I thread in along areas not readily seen from the front.
The final result. So far reception has been OK but still not Bunjin. People still feel the trunk is too big. When seen in person that feeling is not present.
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.
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.