Archive for December, 2008

This is a simple air layer to remove and improve a maple that failed to impress with good branch development as a chop-top . I have decided to layer the top off to form a raft style maple group, using the top shoot/branch as the main tree and a side branch as the raft as it has 4 strong shoots which will be wired vertical to produce the smaller trees on the raft . I first removed a section of bark around the trunk and underneath the main branch , then painting with hormone gel . Using bubble wrap i made a small cone securing it at the base around the trunk with duct tape , keeping the flat side of the bubble wrap to the outer for ease of sealing . Then i simply draw the wrap down and place damp spagnum moss into the base until a suitable pad is form , then drawing back up the trunk filling the bag as i close the wrap around the trunk and branches . Using a sharp knife i slit the plastic around each individual branch/shoot and sealed again with tape . To keep miost all i need to do is pierce the wrap with a small syringe and inject a small amount of water to maintain the humidity . As recomended by my brother i will leave these layers on until late winter when they will be severed over a 2 week period {to reduce shock / stress} and potted up ready for the spring growth to appear .

Here is a couple of Maples i grew from seed and then placed in the ground as landscape trees . Due to a borer attack in several larger trees i decided to remove and Bonsai the numerous 5 year old trees . With no initial training as Bonsai material i decided to chop-top the seven trees unaffected by the borer . After careful removal from the garden beds , i chopped the tops down to 400mm and bare-root pruned to fit into 200-250mm pots . I then placed them into large pots completely bare of branches and foliage . This exercise took place in winter 2008 . During spring i carefully whatched the new shoots appear in selected the ones that were going to be used for each individual Bonsai . With a strong root growth over winter the shoots were a little to vigourous so i had to defolinate to slow the growth down . During this time as the new shoots set 2 pairs of leaves i placed spring clothes pegs onto each new branch to hold them at right angles to the main trunk , and adding another peg to increase the weight to hold the branches in position . After the branches were set i pinched the tip growth out to the desired length . I removed the pegs and defolinated again to increase ramafication on the branches . Allowing the growth to thicken as in the above pics i then femoved the unwanted shoots and branches and wired to the desired finished trainer . Iwill allow the trainer the grow on for another 2 months then remove the PVC coated wire {electrical cable} and during winter 2009 i will place them into Bonsai trays or pots of choice and they should be excellent quality large Bonsai 500-700mm high with 30-60mm trunks and they will all have good tapers

Here is an example of using an unfortunate incident to alter the design of a bonsai . These 2 Tridents suffered serious hail damage so i have decided to change the styles based on the damage and what was left to work with . By simply laying the trees over the original style of informal upright was transformed into slanting style . After carefull consideration i chose to change the second tree to a slanting style twin trunk as a mojority of the branches were smashed off with the hail . I have also lowered the tree and attempted to stimulate a new root-ball higher up the main trunk to change the appearance to twin trunks . Both of these maples are either root cuttings or hardwood cuttings taken from the big maple 9 years ago . They will need about 2 years to recover from the storm damage in the mean time i will no doubt graft and grow many more .