Shohin Scots Pine Repot

I apologise for my absence online but now that I’m back to work, it’s hard keeping up with the bonsai regularly.   Normally I’d be all over the trees at this time of year but this year has been different.  I’ve found that I don’t have the same level of interest in the trees at the minute and I’ve been unable to attend a lot of bonsai related events or occasions, which hasn’t helped.  Anyway I tell myself that I must continue to make records because one day I shall look back and I shall be glad of it.  In the mean time I’m doing my best to keep things ticking over at the very least.

A long overdue rootprune of this wee collected Scots Pine.  It’s been in this cut down plastic flower pot for a long time.

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Good evidence of mychorrizae.  I had no hesitations about reducing the rootball substantially to fit into a plastic training pot.  I never got round to buying a ceramic semi cascade pot.

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Mugo Pine Observations

Another tree relocated from the front garden to the back.  One of my least promising trees at the minute, its suffered from my past indecisiveness and lack of attention while in the growing bed.  I’m learning from it though that with conifers the process of field growing is still hands on.  You can’t just plant and forget about them and expect to have decent bonsai material 5 years later.

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I’ve pruned this in the past to try and encourage back budding but to little avail so far.

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A pretty straight lower trunk and not much taper unfortunately.

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Some inverse taper too as the base does not exhibit the necessary root flare or width to suggest stability.  So what to do?

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Well I thought a 90 degree turn would produce a better front for a start.  I think I’ll keep the two longest trunk lines as sacrifice branches and keep the shortest trunk line facing forward.  Perhaps a literati style is the only viable option but I know Mugo Pines have a propensity for quite long needles.  Time will tell.

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Maybe I can get more buds like these popping.

Japanese Cedar Relocation

The 6ft sacrifice branch on this Japanese Cedar has been impeding the view of my monkey poles from the kitchen window so I recently decided to move it to a better location where it will get more sunlight too.  An overdue thinning out of the tree was performed too. Existing branches are lignifying well on this but its still not ready to put into a training pot.

Black Pine Root Inspection

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I’m in the process of moving bonsai material from my front garden to the back garden where I have more space.  I can then plant some shrubs in the front to fill out naturally and these will look more attractive than small half formed trees with leggy escape branches.This item has been growing in the ground the past few years and I thought it was time to look at the roots and have a direction in mind for the tree anyway.

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I’m very happy with the root base which flares out well.  Not much root pruning was done as the tree was planted on a tile in the ground.  Just one or two thick roots trimmed.

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I’ll start the high nitro feed next month and let the tree establish in the new location before wiring the trunk again.  The sacrifice branch will hopefully continue to do its job and I’ll keep the rest of the shoots short after the first flush of growth in May.

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Assessing a Garden Shrub for Bonsai

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At about this time of the year I usually start lifting material from the garden and assessing how suitable it is for use as future bonsai.  I am fortunate enough to have a reasonably large garden with lots of established and mature shrubs, some over thirty years old.  One or two species have been worth considering and are being developed as future bonsai material.

The photo above shows a variety of cotoneaster that self seeded in the flower bed before my arrival at the property.  I’ve been trimming the top growth each year but nothing else. I’m clearing the bed to make way for bonsai/vegetables so this shrub was being lifted anyway.

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The leaves are a bit large but an attractive shape and colour. I thought I would lift it and have a look at the trunk line and any surface roots.dsc_0416dsc_0417dsc_0418

My conclusion? Put it somewhere else in the garden!  The surface roots are one sided and a bit lacking, the lower trunk curves and is then very straight with little taper.  Pretty unappealing and very little worth keeping as a future bonsai.  Still a nice garden shrub though so it went in a gap in a new flower bed out the front.