Ballymacbrennan Birch

1 Noel Summer 2011

August 2011

In the above picture you can see the trunk of a very thin two year old silver birch seedling that is the focus of this post.  It was self sown in the yard of the house I was previously renting and came from a mature birch growing in another part of the premises.  I was surprised that it took root in this rocky ground but after two years of continued growth with no help from me I decided this was a hardy specimen that could cope with the demands of being bonsai material.  I had to move house that autumn so in October I took a big chance and excavated it from the rock and put in a pot of free draining soil.

2 oct 11

Careful excavation revealed a great, flat nebari spread. The roots couldn’t go down so they went out in search of water.

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Note the lack of soil and root mass. There was nothing else to take – this was it, barring a couple of root ends wedged in the rock.  Yes, the trunk is tinged blue because the adjacent barn had been spray painted by the landlord earlier that month!

3 oct 11

Potted up. Fingers were crossed.

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Three years later and thriving apart from the usual annual aphid infestation.

 

Very little pruning was done over the three years, just plenty of feeding.

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Before work April 2015

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Future nebari for thickening.

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The best side. More root division and taper required in future.

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Repotting finished into an overlarge Walsall pot that I think suits the dark bark nicely.

I didn’t get round to any pruning of the top before the close of day but will do that asap and take it back to a skeleton framework for a future bonsai.  The lowest branch was originally a sacrifice branch but I’m now unsure as to whether to keep it as a twin trunk or maybe even chop the straight trunk and keep the sacrifice as a new leader.  I love the better movement offered by the sacrifice branch.  I’ll decide after a while of studying it.

 

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