Sunday, March 15, 2009

Acer Buergeranum (Tall)

John gave me this trident maple in summer 2008. It hasn’t changed much since that time. It never really shot up and required much maintenance for the rest of the year.

In fall 2008 I put the tree on the ground and heaped mulch up over the pot along with a number of my other trees.

On February 21, 2009, at the first Louisville Bonsai Study Group at John’s, I repotted it into a square wooden box (approximately 12” wide x 4” deep). John helped me a lot, showing me a reliable method for tying trees down into the pot so that they are more secure and cannot be removed or tipped over. That had often been a problem area for me, and I believe that since that day I’ve been getting better at repotting.

I did little to this tree’s roots—perhaps just a little cutting back of very large roots. It has been in training for a while, so there was not a lot of major work to be done.
My soil is about ½ Turface, ¼ pine bark and ¼ chicken grit.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Betula Nigra

I obtained this river birch from a big box store in spring 2006 for $10 US in spring 2006. I set it into a large wooden box, set it in a bare spot of the courtyard at home and left it alone. In spring 2008 I cut the main trunk back, allowing a thin branch to take over as the leader. I also potted it into a smaller plastic box closer to the size of a training pot.


This spring I decided to go ahead and cut out the dead stump a bit to clean it up. I also cut back the leader and clipped the existing branches a bit. My hope is that I can start developing the branches now. I'm not sure I'm going for any strict style. Will try to develop a sketch of a plan.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Repotting Ulmus of Unknown Species

I obtained this elm from Grant Line Nursery in the spring of 2006. It was then only the girth of a pencil at the trunk. The tree was about 9 inches tall from trunk to the tip of the foliage.

In spring 2007 I put the tree into a flower bed at my home and let it grow one season. The following spring I had to move it to the community garden bed since letting it grow freely made the flower bed look a bit too wild.

On March 6 2009 I dug up the tree and wrapped the root ball in plastic bags. The next day I washed off all the dirt from the roots, pruned the very thick roots and potted it into a square wooden training pot (approximately 4” deep, 12” wide).

I’m still not certain about how to shape the top. I know I have three solid branches low on the trunk, one or two of which I hope to keep. As for the top, it has interesting curves, but I’m not sure about the taper. I’m now trying to figure out whether I should chop a little above those three low branches and re-grow, or if I can salvage the upper portion by finding a convincing front view.

The roots are not great, either. Not sure what to do there.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Repotting Ulmus Parvifolia 'Seju'

Ulmus parvifolia ‘Seju’

I obtained this Seju elm from Hollander’s Tiny Tree Farm in southern Indiana (recently closed) in early spring 2006. I potted it in a plastic pot and just let it grow. In spring 2008 I planted it out in a new raised bed I’d created at a community garden because it had reverse taper. I believe that the trunk thickened by about 1 cm. The reverse taper is still there, but now it depends on from which angle you view it.

On Feb. 28 I dug up the tree from the community garden plot, potting it up in a square wooden box made from scrap wood (approximately 4 inches deep and 12 inches wide). It was a challenge to clear the dirt from the roots. I know that some simply use a root hook and their fingers to remove all the mud from field-grown trees. I have no patience for this and opt for running water. Usually I use the outdoor hose to wash all the old soil from the roots, but that faucet is still turned off. I dragged it into the house and used the detachable showerhead to clean it up and see the roots better, causing a mess.
It was VERY cold as well, which made the whole event a bit harder. I did minor pruning, but thought I might wait a week or two before making big styling decisions. I think it has potential.

The first two pictures below show an angle that reduces the appearance of reverse taper. The second two pictures show the taper more clearly.