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Allocasuarina Aorulosa

Posted: January 16th, 2020, 12:23 pm
by Jarad
Another tree picked up over the break, same deal as the others, lopped the top off, fresh soil, new pot and fertilizer added.
AT01 - 20200103.jpg

Re: Allocasuarina Aorulosa

Posted: January 16th, 2020, 12:59 pm
by Rory
Nice one Jarad.
With torulosa, at this time of year and your location you could start to see visible buds appearing on the top thinner branches in about 17 days or so.
It will take longer for the buds to appear on the deeper fissured trunk, sometimes up to 30 days to eventually appear. The hotter the weather the quicker it shoots too.
It will probably shoot all over the trunk and give you a multitude of options. If you are wanting a shorter trunk, wait another year at least for the next trunk chop.
Try to resist the itch to cut back and shape the new growth. Leave the new foliage on the tree as you start to approach winter. This way it has more energy to continue growing strong over autumn and winter. (torulosa still grows quite well over winter even when nights drop as low as 2 or 3 degrees for your area, if its in good health)
Watch for grasshoppers, possums and wallabies - They love the taste of new Casuarina growth.

These make lovely trees, probably the most beautiful of all the Casys because of the gradual weep. :yes: :clap:
You can pretty much fertilize Casuarinas anytime. Though I only use slow-release osmocote, but if I can be bothered remembering I use liquid fert.
They love sun, and don't over-water it now that you've drastically reduced the foliage.

Re: Allocasuarina Aorulosa

Posted: January 16th, 2020, 2:00 pm
by Jarad
Thanks Rory! I will keep that all in mind.

Quick Q: Over time the fissures in the bark the alo's and cassies get quite deep and out of proportion with the bonsai and (IMHO) don't compliment the tree as a whole. What's your opinion and do you have any convincing examples where this isn't the case? And have you tried to remove some of the outer mayers to make the "chasms' look more proportionate?

Re: Allocasuarina Aorulosa

Posted: January 16th, 2020, 2:32 pm
by Rory
That is a great question. The answer is not so simple.

There are some easy solutions.
1. Don't grow torulosa. Any of the 'smooth' bark Casuarinas produce a much more realistic tree without swollen fissured bark at the base.
2. Grow it 15 metres tall
3. Manually reduce the bark length. Cut the length of the bark in half carefully at the base and gradually rubbing off the younger bark as you go further up the tree.
(this 3rd option is difficult. I have done this on material where moss had grown so thickly that it was rotting the bark at the base. But you need to do it in proportion going up the trunk, otherwise the bark above will be almost as thick at the lower areas if you don't also do the same).
However, a really cool option for number 3 is to use a handheld flame gun. You just gradually burn off the edges a little bit each time to reduce the length of the bark. Plus it creates a magnificent bush fire look, which is very natural. Just a tip though, keep it far away so it only singes the bark and doesn't set it on fire.

Torulosa generally looks the most unrealistic as a shohin because of its natural tendency to bulge at the base, and when you combine this with the deep fissures it can look quite ridiculous I agree. I am currently experimenting with shohin casuarina from seedlings at the moment and am trialling littoralis/torulosa and cunninghamiana/glauca. I specifically chose the torulosa seedlings that were not naturally bulbous at the base for this exact reason. I predict that littoralis will be superior for shohin than torulosa, but not sure about the other 2 yet.

At one point I had about 60 mature torulosa growing. Having so many allowed me to find variances in the levels of deeply fissured bark, whereby some naturally didn't swell at the base and others did.
Personally, I feel that trunk chopping torulosa down low accentuates and creates more of this problem.
I prefer to thicken the trunk by allowing branches to extend and grow all over the tree, which produces a much more natural look of age rather than the traditional trunk chopping for this particular species.
But they can be quite variable, I have had young material with really, really deep fissured bark and much older material that was relatively thin.

Littoralis and torulosa are often mislabelled. Littoralis is much more easier to create a natural looking Casuarina than torulosa.

The deep fissures are formed by the bark splitting and pushing outwards as the diameter increases. Torulosa branching will thicken very quickly, so in 3-5 years, you can have branches that will look proportionate on thick bases if you allow them to extend. Also, the fissured bark forms proportionately to the size of the branch so you can easily play catch-up by allowing the branch to grow uncut.

Re: Allocasuarina Aorulosa

Posted: January 16th, 2020, 6:23 pm
by shibui
Quick Q: Over time the fissures in the bark the alo's and cassies get quite deep and out of proportion with the bonsai and (IMHO) don't compliment the tree as a whole. What's your opinion and do you have any convincing examples where this isn't the case? And have you tried to remove some of the outer mayers to make the "chasms' look more proportionate?
I discovered, quite by accident, that rubbing off the outer bark will allow the tree to grow new cracked bark more in proportion to the trunk size. That was with Corky Chinese elm but I have no doubt that the same would apply with A. torulosa as bark is bark and corky bark is corky bark. you will sacrifice a little in trunk diameter but end up with a much more pleasing bark.
As Rory has pointed out, you'll need to rub off as far up as necessary to avoid inverse taper

Re: Allocasuarina Aorulosa

Posted: January 17th, 2020, 9:36 am
by Rory


Transition from trunk to primary branches (Simply grow them uncut and don't cut them back too often):
This first pic with the yellow writing shows you this.
The above branch is about 6 years old, and was cut back repeatedly and also shaded more over the years (no obvious deep bark developing).
The lower branch is about 4 years old and has been allowed to grow long and uncut and has developed bark much faster. It now almost matches the fissured bark on the trunk.
Also on a side note, this trunk has had the entire bark stripped twice since I've owned it. The material is approximately 15 years old.
What is interesting to note is .... it has not developed heavy fissured bark after the 2nd bark reduction. It has significantly slowed down the development of thick bark at the base even though it is still in a growing pot.


There is usually a line around the circumference where the bark starts at the base on most A. torulosa This is kind of evident in this photo and shows you how the exposed roots just below this line stay somewhat flush. This material has had the trunk stripped of bark up until the trunk chop. It has had a tortured life (branches broken off). When you place this species into a bonsai pot it significantly slows down the bark formation at the base, sometimes to a perceived stand-still on the lower trunk area. So my advice is to have the bark on the trunk at a point which you are happy with before you place it into a bonsai pot. If these get full sun, you will have no problems with branches growing below the horizontal and you do not need to force the ends to grow upwards to maintain excellent health.


This tree is approximately 15 years old. The trunk has been stripped twice of its bark in that time and yet still slightly flares at the base. It had significantly more taper years ago because of the heavy fissured bark, but I prefer less taper on mine.


This shows you what you're up against with some of them. Sometimes the bases just go into overdrive, like Banksia serrata. They are amazing. The base on this is about 7cm across. If you cut across the base and look down, you would see about 2cm either side of the cambium will be fragile bark radiating outwards.

Re: Allocasuarina Aorulosa

Posted: January 17th, 2020, 11:24 am
by Jarad
Thanks for the replies Rory and Neil!

The bark on that first tree looks amazing!

I'll have to get a couple more and experiment with the scraping and burning like you gents have suggested.