Pohutukawa Metrosideros

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MJL
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Pohutukawa Metrosideros

Post by MJL » October 28th, 2018, 7:28 am

Good morning bonsai folk,

I hope your day has started well!

This tree was purchased in mid-2017 at a Bonsai sale day. Some folk seemed to be turned off by the aerial roots, I found them interesting. I was happy to part with some hard earned cash back then and indeed, I am happier now.

With thanks to Rudi and Marlene at my local club, they helped me repot it in December 2017.

This tree is commonly known as NZ Christmas Bush and has red flowers; that said, I understand it to be notoriously hard to flower as bonsai. What I have found is it loves a trim and responds wonderfully; back-budding on old wood and growing profusely. It is due for another trim soon.

I need to wire to better shape some of the existing branches but this will be a tree that responds well to clip and grow shaping I believe.

Anyway - I thought it worthy of a thread and we’ll see how it develops over time.

As always - happy to receive thoughts, ideas and guidance.

Enjoy your Sunday.
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Re: Pohutukawa Metrosideros

Post by morrie » October 28th, 2018, 12:22 pm

i'm interested to see how it goes, i have one of these in the ground that needs a cut back so i might air layer it instead and see what happens

they seem pretty tough?

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Re: Pohutukawa Metrosideros

Post by MJL » October 29th, 2018, 9:09 pm

Hi Morrie,
Thanks for your note. Regarding your comment, this plant certainly seems resilient. My plant had a its roots pruned by about 40% when repotted and responded well. It also responds very well to leaf/branch pruning too. As the photos show, very vigorous regrowth on new and old wood!

Also - I was sent this photo (below) as inspiration too. I love how the roots are a feature in the photo below. So, although a different species and mine is not root over rock either, I like the way it has been designed to highlight the aerial roots. :tu:
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Re: Pohutukawa Metrosideros

Post by MJL » July 1st, 2019, 9:19 pm

I have seen many, many threads about ficus on this forum and many of the discussion (and pictures) remind me of my New Zealand Christmas Tree (Metrosideros Excelsa, called Pohutukawa in Maori) - pictured above.

It is such a vibrant grower with aerial roots. I note that my tree it is still growing through the cold winter here in Melbourne. It shoots and shoots and responds well to clip and grow.

Due to the similarity in my mind - I searched google and found this comparison article from the 60's! http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarl ... dy-d3.html

Amazing the paths that I travel when researching bonsai! Interesting to read. :ugeek:
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Re: Pohutukawa Metrosideros

Post by MJL » March 22nd, 2020, 10:25 am

Howdy,

I haven't updated this thread in a while. In truth, I am struggling with the tree... it took a while to recover from a hair cut that I think I gave it at the wrong time of the year. Anyway... a quick clip turned into three hrs this morning! I think it improved but I am not saying that with masses of confidence.

The photos below will be a little bit of spot the difference but it went like this. Hair cut...yuk. What's happening with the top. Bend the top over the trunk and compress the tree. Better but meh! Committ to the right hand lean - bend the top to the right. Better, I think. Now I have committed to the right hand lean, tighter left side, elongate right ... cut top ... Anyway ... pity a poor tree in my hands when I am undecided. I think the tree wishes for humidity and probably a new owner! :palm: That said, I think it is better and thoughts and comments are always appreciated. Cheers, Mark
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Re: Pohutukawa Metrosideros

Post by Raging Bull » March 22nd, 2020, 12:43 pm

:imo: it's coming along nicely. After this last clipping it should ramify and fill out nicely. Keep it going. :tu:

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Re: Pohutukawa Metrosideros

Post by melbrackstone » March 22nd, 2020, 7:05 pm

I have a tree from this family, mine is called Little Ewan. Same flowers, but smaller leaves, and more compact growth. In saying that, it hasn't flowered since i put it into a bonsai pot, even though it's a very generously sized container. After reading the article you linked to, I suspect I'm being too kind to it.

Whenever I've seen trees with substantial aerial roots, the various demonstrators/presenters who see them will often mention that there is a fine line to keeping the branches in check when aerial roots are allowed to reach the ground. The branch will thicken much more from the aerial root's junction, and you'll end up with reverse taper. I'm seeing that in your tree, and wonder if they are causing problems in your vision for the tree?

Have you taken it to a club workshop and talked to a senior member?

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Re: Pohutukawa Metrosideros

Post by MJL » March 22nd, 2020, 7:39 pm

Thanks for the prompt Mel. I will ... when club meetings reconvene - actually just thinking - I might take it to my workshops with Scott ... when they resume! I sense we’re going virtual for the next few months - at least!


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Re: Pohutukawa Metrosideros

Post by melbrackstone » March 22nd, 2020, 8:23 pm

Oh yeah, when normal services resume.... :(

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Re: Pohutukawa Metrosideros

Post by GavinG » March 23rd, 2020, 1:17 pm

Interesting. I'm not often keen on figurines, but as soon as this scarlet gentleman appeared, I instantly paid more attention to the tangle of roots to the left and the aerial roots to the right. The tangle is very non-bonsai-neat-nebari stuff, but very dramatic in a Chinese way. The aerial roots look too thick in every photo except the last, when they form a frame around the figure.

So. Interesting journey.

(Contemporary figurines, reflecting where we live and who we are - anyone got any ideas? An entirely idle, we're-all-in-this-together question.)

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Re: Pohutukawa Metrosideros

Post by MJL » June 2nd, 2020, 6:38 pm

Two and a bit months on and I am happy with how this tree reacted to my last prune. The tree’s growth is slowing down as we move into winter but it’s still growing and I like the way it is sprouting - I should be able to drive better ramification over time and the leaves are getting smaller. And the bark is starting to get some interest too. Image I wish I had more humidity to push more aerial roots ... they start but dry out and I haven’t got around to trying various methods whether that be straws or paper towel.
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Re: Pohutukawa Metrosideros

Post by Raging Bull » June 2nd, 2020, 7:31 pm

Hi Mark, If I were you I wouldn't worry about the aerial roots and lack of humidity with this tree. When I was living in Adelaide many years ago (pre bonsai days for me) I planted one of these on the nature strip between the footpath and road out front of my house. It grew like Topsy with minimal watering and I was forever cutting the aerial roots off it, trying to keep it looking neat. Even in the dry Adelaide summers.
Cheers, Frank.

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Re: Pohutukawa Metrosideros

Post by MJL » June 2nd, 2020, 7:45 pm

Cheers Frank! You know stuff ... your comment/observation of March 22 re: ramification is coming to fruition. :yes:

The aerial roots is more about a different design - perhaps a denser curtain of aerial roots .. (if I lived in a different climate). That said, no point forcing it and it is coming along nicely .. so happy times.
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Re: Pohutukawa Metrosideros

Post by treeman » June 3rd, 2020, 2:01 pm

Those roots will excessively thicken what they support and reduce thickening rate of the trunk. :shake:
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Re: Pohutukawa Metrosideros

Post by MJL » June 3rd, 2020, 6:23 pm

treeman wrote:
June 3rd, 2020, 2:01 pm
Those roots will excessively thicken what they support and reduce thickening rate of the trunk. :shake:
Hey Mike,

Understood (I think - further questions below) and I remember another AB member noting the potential (indeed reality) of the branches having reverse taper at the junction of the aerial roots.

It seems I have two choices - well I have a lot of choices - but for the sake of this discussion - two, as follows:

1. Remove the aerial roots and work on the tree as an informal upright or
2. Keep the aerial roots and accept that:
a) there will be reverse tape in the branches being supported by the aerial roots
b) there may be some weakening of the main trunk and therefore a reduction in thickening rate.
(Point b) will be even more worrying if you are suggesting the main trunk may lose health as well.)

But here's my thing and you'd know by now I think differently/wierdly (and write more words than I might need).

Would the cluster of interesting (or ugly) roots at the base of the main trunk provide enough vigour to the base and the main trunk - perhaps enough to balance vigour across the tree and keep the main trunk thickening? (That is the assumption I have been working to.)

and

Would reverse taper at the juncture of aerial roots look 'logical'? (i.e. - yep, reverse taper is unsightly ... unless it is reasonably logical outcome of the way the tree was growing - in which case I reckon it could just be part of an interesting tree.)

To be honest, I am working blind. A bonsai experienced friend told me that these trees grow in NZ with aerial roots so vast that roads run under branches with the trunk on one side and the aerial roots grounded on the other. Albeit, with no visual to refer too - at last none that I have found ... that's the kind of logic that I have been growing the tree too.

Any merit or am I wasting time ... and of course, I may continue to waste time. ;)
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