Archive for the ‘trunks’ 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.

 

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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 “.

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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.

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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

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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

 

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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Trident seeds update   2 comments

This is how the small trees are doing now. The screen has been elevated on some blocks of wood to keep the seedlings crumpled and adding interesting shapes to the trunks. In total about 27 sprouted. snails have got about 7, leaving me about twenty seedlings. Not a very good yeild out of 100 seeds. Maybe some will sprout next year. I have been told that sometimes they take two years to germinate.

 

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I continually battle snails and slugs that eat every leaf off the stems.

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Posted April 20, 2013 by California Bonsai Art in Tridents from Seed

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December 22, 2012   Leave a comment

hmmm….The day after the end of the world. As I sit and write this I am reminded of my bank account on January 1, 2000. It was still there and so is the world.

I have put off working on a lot of bonsai due to the fact that why put emormous amounts of labor into a tree that would turn into ash at 12:01 on the 21st. So now I need to get busy. Work on those roots, build those trunks and ramify some branches. That will be my resolution for 2013 or at least until the next end of the world.
If the Mayan’s were so smart why are they not here to take all the ribbing?

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Posted December 22, 2012 by California Bonsai Art in Uncategorized

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