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.

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Note the length of trunk between the two root systems.

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

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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!)

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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