English Yew Lifted

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Ground Layers Update

The rest of my material that was ground layered two years ago:

Japanese Larch twin trunk

Jan 2018

Silver Birch

Cut sacrifice branch Jan 2018

Field Maple

January 2018

Field Maple corky bark.  Air layer candidate.

Japanese Maple garden tree.

Jan 2018

fine root

A Sneak Peek

Like all bonsai enthusiasts in the dead of winter, I’m excited about the potential of the growing season ahead. I’ve a lot catch up on after two years of inactivity in the garden but in some cases this has been a good thing. Some of the field grown material has flourished and thickened considerably and today I decided to check if some projects were progressing as I’d hoped. The following trees were all ground layered two years ago to hopefully produce a better surface root system:

First was a European Hornbeam

It was planted in cat litter in the ground and I found lots of fine root throughout this. Didn’t go down to Nebari level though as I didn’t want to do much damage at this point. I am satisfied though with the new flare at the bottom of the trunk. While I was at it I took care of some top pruning but left the bottom branches. I’ll airlayer the sacrifice branch in spring. Can’t wait to lift this tree when buds fatten up!

Mugo Pine Observations

Another tree relocated from the front garden to the back.  One of my least promising trees at the minute, its suffered from my past indecisiveness and lack of attention while in the growing bed.  I’m learning from it though that with conifers the process of field growing is still hands on.  You can’t just plant and forget about them and expect to have decent bonsai material 5 years later.

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I’ve pruned this in the past to try and encourage back budding but to little avail so far.

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A pretty straight lower trunk and not much taper unfortunately.

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Some inverse taper too as the base does not exhibit the necessary root flare or width to suggest stability.  So what to do?

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Well I thought a 90 degree turn would produce a better front for a start.  I think I’ll keep the two longest trunk lines as sacrifice branches and keep the shortest trunk line facing forward.  Perhaps a literati style is the only viable option but I know Mugo Pines have a propensity for quite long needles.  Time will tell.

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Maybe I can get more buds like these popping.

Japanese Cedar Relocation

The 6ft sacrifice branch on this Japanese Cedar has been impeding the view of my monkey poles from the kitchen window so I recently decided to move it to a better location where it will get more sunlight too.  An overdue thinning out of the tree was performed too. Existing branches are lignifying well on this but its still not ready to put into a training pot.

Black Pine Root Inspection

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I’m in the process of moving bonsai material from my front garden to the back garden where I have more space.  I can then plant some shrubs in the front to fill out naturally and these will look more attractive than small half formed trees with leggy escape branches.This item has been growing in the ground the past few years and I thought it was time to look at the roots and have a direction in mind for the tree anyway.

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I’m very happy with the root base which flares out well.  Not much root pruning was done as the tree was planted on a tile in the ground.  Just one or two thick roots trimmed.

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I’ll start the high nitro feed next month and let the tree establish in the new location before wiring the trunk again.  The sacrifice branch will hopefully continue to do its job and I’ll keep the rest of the shoots short after the first flush of growth in May.

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Field Growing Oak

Now that leaves have mostly dropped and trees are almost dormant, time to do an annual prune of material growing in the beds.  This oak was a seedling planted this year.  It fairly thrived but had too many branches coming from a single point on the trunk, and these had to be thinned out to avoid inverse taper.

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Lower branches left on to allow thickening.  I’d like this to be quite a chunky tree so I’ll keep new growth short next year.