Archive for the ‘taper’ 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.




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.


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



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


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.


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


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 “.


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.



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.





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


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.



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


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.





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.





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.






First Steps introducing No Bai De ~ Acer Palmatums   6 comments


I have had to add a fourth employee at the Bunker to keep up with all the material flowing in. Justin Case and Curt and Rod just can’t seem to curb the practical jokes so I had to lay down the law and bring in someone to keep the guys working.

No Bai De comes  from Indonesia and getting him into the USA was a piece of cake. With the relaxed amnesty all he needed was a box cutter and a North Korean passport, small layover in Singapore on Asia Airlines, they are waaay cheap to fly right now, and he was here. I tried the straw matt and a bowl of rice a day but he was way smarter than that. He damanded two bowls of rice…… which I said yes.

For No Bai De’s first project I had him work over five large maples I brought in. These have lots of branches and long ungainly shoots that have grown large and need to be worked over to be on the road as bonsai. I consider this part of the process of “first steps” and this should be what everyone shoots for when either purchasing material or working the material over when they get home. I had No Bai De work and guide Justin Case and Curt and Rod thru the process and see how they would all work together with No Bai De  in charge.

I gave them my camera and had No Bai De take progression shots of the work. This is what they came up with in one day.After returning from Ed Clarks place I back into the complex and open the truck. It is full of brush and some trunks. Making something from this will take all day.


The boys get the four maples into the back of the bunker and look them over. They are pretty large and Justin comments that these “look no different than most of the other crap I bring back to the Bunker”.  Rod comments that he needs a break and has to roll his free spins on Candy Crush cause he lost them yesterday. Good thing they work cheap. All of these maples were given a preliminary cut back by about 50 percent just to get them on the table and turn table for photo’s. The trees averaged about 5 feet tall and all the bases are 3.5 inches or greater.


The trees will be shown with a few shots before No Bai De and the boys worked them over and then after.

Victim No 1

With the exception on one of these all the material is in a clump form which is something I like in maples. I think they should be graceful and No Bai De agrees with this as he has seen alot of maples in Japan.





Now  the tree has been taken back to secondaries in an effort to build taper in the new branches that grow from these heavier stubs.



Victim No 2





After the cut back. Lots of the small stuff has been left just to insure sap movement.








Victim No 3DSC_00690011





Some of the stubs are left long intentionally just to make sure sap is drawn out to the end of the branch. After bud break lots of the stubs on all these trees will be cut back. For now this is safe.





Victim No 4

This bad boy was chosen just because he had the good start to a traditional moyogi style maple that everyone is tired of.





The tree finished out at 3.5 inches at the ground and twelve inches tall as it is.




Here are some inspirational photo’s of clump style maples in this graceful shape. I should be so lucky if these goof balls can achieve this.

c5Walter Pall

c7Bonsai Tonight


KaedeBonsai Tonight


c9Bonsai Tonight


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