Scale Attack

I’m enjoying my Chinese Elm which is developing a pleasantly full and natural image but noticed some pests recently.  Plucked them off and sprayed.  Hopefully that’ll be the last of them.

 

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Partial Defoliation of a European Beech

I bought this early last year from an auction at the local club.  It’s the biggest bonsai I have and it was grown from scratch by someone else over a long period! I can only hope my efforts at field growing turn out as well in 20+ years.  Anyway, it spent last year recovering from being lifted from the ground and this year flushed out pretty strongly.  I read up a bit on defoliating beech and am informed that they don’t like entire removal of foliage but only partial and a leaf must be left on the end of each branch as a sap drawer.  There’s a lot of ramification to develop and I wanted the inner branches to receive more light so I was selective.

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I think that the tree would benefit from a tilt at repotting time  so that the trunk is more vertical.  We’ll see.  I’ll branch prune and wire in the autumn.

Rescuing a Contorted Hazel (Corylus avellana ‘contorta’)

From my Dad’s garden.  He no longer wants it because it’s in poor health and hasn’t produced any new top growth the past couple of years.  It’s been sending out suckers of straight growth from the base instead and now resembles a bit of a clump.  I have a bit of experience in rescuing unwanted shrubs so we’ll see what happens once it’s rootpruned in the spring.  I’ve only seen one hazel bonsai and it’s a magnificent garden grown specimen owned by someone affiliated with the NIBS here.

 

Pruning a Beech to Shape

About six weeks ago I performed some drastic pruning of this European Beech material that I’ve been growing over the last six years.  Since ground layering a new root system three years ago, it’s been slow to recover.  Finally off to a vigorous start this year so I knew it was ready for shaping by pruning.

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Before work: May 

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Spreading newly established nebari

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Before: leggy growth and few primary branches

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Step 1: Establish a final height of the tree and future apex.

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Step 2: Prune back leggy primary branches.

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Step 3: Go one further and eliminate undesirable primary branches.

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Step 4: Feed heavily and wait for possible backbudding along the trunk.

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After: Late June.  New growth on branch tips.

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New buds from above

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An abundance of adventitious budding.  Happy days!

All being well, I’ll wire growth in the autumn and then put it into a bonsai training pot next year.

Thinning Out a Potential Clump

Lifted this azalea from the ground a few years ago and it was root pruned and potted into this seed tray two years ago.  An overdue thinning was necessary:

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The potential front with majority of trunks leaning to the viewer.

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Getting there. One or two crossing trunks removed.

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A drastic thinning.

A lot of leggy branching/trunks so I’m hoping for more backbudding and a reduction in height further still at some point but I’ll keep it tidy from now and change the soil next year.

Amur Maple Airlayer

This tree (of sorts!) recovered from its problems last year and after letting it leaf out and harden off, I’ve decided to follow a friend’s advice from two years ago and air layer the top.

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Here’s hoping it takes.  I’ll let the bottom grow out and decide what to do with it after the layer is removed, hopefully later this year.