Shammah Beech

1 jul 11

July 2011

This is a European beech that is nicknamed after the friend whose garden I ‘rescued’ it from in the summer of 2011.  I say rescued because he thought it was a weed and was in the process of resurfacing old flower beds in the garden of the house he just bought.  By chance I happened to be there for a barbeque and having started my bonsai interest, I noticed the plant and asked him of I could give it a home – not because it was really nice, mature material, just because I wanted anything I could get my hands on!  Anyway I knew enough to realise that it was definitely out of season for rootpruning/repotting and that it was a big gamble trying but had a go anyway.  I just took a spade to it and cut around it.  It didn’t come out easily but I persevered and took it home in a plastic bag.  It was potted straight away into pure cat litter, placed in the shade and frequently misted. I crossed my fingers for the next while.

3 aug 11

Aug 2011

Over a month later it was still green so I started giving it a low dosage feed.  You can see the lower trunk suffered considerable strimmer damage and was quite thin at the point of the scarring.  I knew that this inverse taper was a major problem so the following spring I decided to put the tree in the ground and put a wire tourniquet on to produce a new root system above the damage.  The tree didn’t have existing nebari and I found out that the root mass was concentrated around one heavy tap root.  The tourniquet would solve both issues.  So I left it for three years in the heavy clay soil of my new house and it hasn’t grown much at all above ground but a couple of weeks ago I lifted it and I can see where all the energy went – into the new root system.


Note the length of trunk between the two root systems.


Note the original thick tap root – unsuitable for bonsai. The trunk is also thicker above the new root mass.


Close up of new nebari

I’m really happy with the new nebari which circle the trunk and show a lot of promise for the future.  Everything was washed out and I cut back the two heaviest roots on the left of the picture to give the others a chance to increase in girth.  The tree was planted into a deep plastic tub to promote more growth above soil level now.  Once it recovers I’ll feed it heavily and start development into an informal upright chuhin tree (hopefully!)


May 2015

Since this last photo was taken a few weeks ago, it has now budded out and leaves are making an appearance.  Looking forward to working with this one.