Planning New Nebari for this Hornbeam

Another ‘victim’ of the ground layering technique.  A European hornbeam that has taken a long time to thicken up and more girth is still needed for this one.  A curling, thick taproot is useless so hopefully in a couple of years time, I’ll see healthy, new surface roots in the bonsai mix the tree has been replanted in.

Triple Trunk Zelkova

Aug 11

August 2011

Finally, my Zelkova is starting to look like promising bonsai material! It was bought as a wee twin trunk ‘tree’ five years ago as you can see above but I wanted it bigger so I took it out of the bonsai pot it was in and placed it into a free draining mix in the cut down flower pot above.


May 2012

This definitely helped and for a couple of years I continued to feed heavily to bulk up the trunks.  Two years ago I decided to have a proper rootprune to determine the nebari and hoped to cut away the nasty knuckle you can see in the photo above.  While doing so I realised that I’d been had.  It wasn’t one tree but in fact two trunks with a separate root mass each.  The nebari on each trunk was very poor (the knuckle and not much else belonging to the thicker trunk) so I decided to separate and reposition the trunks in the ground, hoping that they would fuse a lot faster and into a wider rootbase.  I lifted the project yesterday.


March 2016

Only two years in the ground and it has grown substantially.  The trunks now have some age to them and are sturdier with some movement too.  I clawed away the ground soil and washed the surface to see what had happened to the base of the trunks.


They appeared to be solid and have finally fused properly.  A lot of tidying up of the surface was needed.


You can see where the minor trunk was placed in the nook at the base of the major trunk with the large root wrapping around it.  No separating of the trunks this time round.  I was pleasantly surprised.


Next step was to reduce the top growth to determine the trunk lines and primary branches.



It was place into a deep pot that was going spare.  The above photo shows the best angle for nebari.


And here it is.  I’ve deliberately left the trunks taller than I intend the final height to be, mostly because there wasn’t much to cut back to in the upper reaches.  I left the lower growth alone to continue to thicken the lower trunks.  I like the way the apex of each trunk points to the one side, giving the tree definite flow.  Two years ago I nearly gave up on this material because I didn’t think it would make a formal upright tree.  Glad I persevered with it and am excited about starting to develop it in a pot.

Future actions:

  1.  Keep the top closely pruned and think about wiring later in the year if it recovers well.
  2. A typical twin trunk bonsai has the major trunk upright and the minor flowing away from it.  Should I aim for this or does it work as it is having the major trunk leaning away to your left?

Japanese larch Minor improvements


This larch was last rootpruned two years ago.  Since then it has risen slightly out of the pot and the chopped nebari isn’t very attractive.

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To remedy this I tilted the tree forward slightly and removed more from underneath the front of the rootball.  I also cut back the long back roots, not by much as it’s the type of work that is best done slowly over time.


One other change I made was to rotate the front of the pot.  I read somewhere that ideally a pot should be displayed with the most stable looking front.  For this pot, it means showing the two pot feet either side of the tree, as opposed to just one foot showing in the first photo above.

Sawara Cypress Repot


This chamaecyparis was rootpruned  last year but has made such a good recovery that I can reduce the rootball further this year and reduce the time it’ll take to get it into a suitable drum pot.


Into a spare glazed pot that was lying about.  I quite like it for the time being.  I’ll continue to keep the sacrifice branches on until it goes into the next pot.

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