Bottle brush - Nursery Stock

Bottle Brush
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its_kano
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Bottle brush - Nursery Stock

Post by its_kano » February 22nd, 2020, 8:15 pm

Popped past flower power today and scored this 'little Johnny' bottle brush.
It was on the sale bench for $19 and I liked its potential.
After repotting, wire and a prune I'm quite happy with it.
There was an interesting nebari, although I wasn't to impressed as it was a circular knot looking bunch of roots. For now I have just covered it & I may play around with the idea of exposure at a later stage.
Still relatively new to bonsai but already have learnt so much reading through this great forum daily. Happy for your thoughts and/or constructive critisism Re future upkeep and maintanance.
Cheers. :beer:
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Re: Bottle brush - Nursery Stock

Post by Alex_B » February 22nd, 2020, 10:33 pm

That's a nice looking tree you have kano I like the natural bend in the trunk it has and it looks like it has the beginnings of a nice layered canopy look.

I've never had a bottle brush before but it looks like it has some good potential especially with some of those thick roots for nebari.

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Re: Bottle brush - Nursery Stock

Post by shibui » February 23rd, 2020, 8:43 am

Well done on choosing an Aussie native.
Most callistemons, including these dwarf types are great for bonsai.
They will bud on old, bare wood when you cut back, and sometimes even when you don't cut which makes it possible to grow large and chop or just to reduce branches or apex significantly.
I've had very few problems with root pruning. I do most of my repotting in late sprung and early summer, even if the tree is in full flush of new growth. Some have been root pruned just before significant heat waves and still grown well.
Callistemons seem to like water. Mine often sit in a tray of water through the hotter months with no ill effects.
Little John is one of the varieties that produces lots of close buds so it is likely that your branches will get congested. Don't be afraid to thin out - remove some shoots - occasionally to allow some spaces along the branches.

Knotted roots is very common in commercial nursery stock. Low paid apprentices and casual nursery staff spend hours at a time potting thousands of little rooted cuttings ore seedlings into larger pots. They do not have the time or inclination to sort out the tangled roots for us so those tangled roots just keep getting bigger and thicker and more tangled. Occasionally that can end up looking good but normally requires major surgery to remove the worst parts or layering to get new roots on the trunk. I guess it is the price we pay to get someone else to row cheap plants for us. Alternatives are to grow your own, start with much smaller plants where the roots can still be manipulated or pay more for trees that have been grown specifically to have better roots.

I can still see one larger upright branch at the rear top. I think the look would be improved if that one was either removed or at least shortened significantly, even if it creates too much space temporarily. New shoots will usually grow to fill the space but usually only after the branch that's already there is gone. Short term sacrifice for a longer term improvement.

The wiring appears to be reasonably effective but has the untidy look of beginner wiring - something that we all go through (except for the wiring snobs who were apparently born with the ability to do it correctly first and every time). Look for illustrations or videos or ask at your club for guidance and tips on applying wire so that it not only works but looks good too.
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Re: Bottle brush - Nursery Stock

Post by KIRKY » February 23rd, 2020, 12:49 pm

“Wiring snobs” :lol: :lol: :lol: I think I’ve heard it all now.
I can wire in my sleep...... its only when I’m awake I’m all thumbs! :palm:
Cheers
Kirky

its_kano
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Re: Bottle brush - Nursery Stock

Post by its_kano » February 23rd, 2020, 2:57 pm

I agree though, my wiring looks terrible after further watching specific tutorials today haha. Anyway I felt compelled to re-wire and I went and bought several more gauge wire sizes to better facilitate the job.
Shibui thanks for your honest opinion, honestly would rather it that way, my bark has thickened over the years so I'm not afraid of critisism where it's due. Can you possibly point out which branch you were referring to Re chopping?
Thanks all that have responded thus far.

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Re: Bottle brush - Nursery Stock

Post by shibui » February 23rd, 2020, 5:07 pm

I've marked the branch in red here.
callistemon.PNG
It is very thick for the top part of the tree, as thick as the main trunk by the look of it.
It is also very straight. You have some subtle bends in all the other branches but this one is quite straight. Our minds seem to like a theme to continue through whatever we look at so differences seem to make things less attractive.

Just an observation from me. Happy for you to disagree if you want.
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its_kano
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Re: Bottle brush - Nursery Stock

Post by its_kano » February 23rd, 2020, 5:21 pm

Thanks Shibui, as always very helpful. I will look closer at this suggestion. Thanks again.

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