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

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.

DSC_0181 (2)

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.

A Larch lifted…and then returned.


autumn 2015

I bought this Japanese Larch as a seedling four years ago and when moving here I planted it in a flower bed and planned to leave it to bulk up.  It’s grown pretty well and reached 5ft last year before I chopped the trunk down to about 2-3 ft in the autumn.  I decided to lift it and look at the roots.  It had been planted on a tile so the rootball was pretty flat.


Before work


After hosing

Unfortunately the nebari is not great and consists of two thick roots which I hadn’t anticipated.  In hindsight, I should have inspect the roots before now.


I decided, rather than settling for this, to try and develop a new set of roots using a tourniquet of wire.  I placed it just below the lowest branch at an angle.  After some significant pruning, A twin trunk image is starting to form.  I’ll let the thin trunk grow unhindered while developing the ramification of branches on the main trunk.  It might be cut down further in future, I’ll wait and see what happens with the roots.  The lowest branch is very thick so I’ll keep it tightly pinched.  Anybody had any luck with developing new roots on a larch before?


pruned and tourniquet on


Work almost finished

Just before putting it back in the ground I used wire to bring the minor trunk up so that it competes with the major trunk for light.  Hopefully it should increase in girth considerably this season.  I didn’t do much work on the roots – they will only be cut off if the tourniquet produces a new set in the ground.  We’ll wait and see!


Back in the bed





Winter Larch

I recently had a look at my chuhin Japanese Larch now that all the needles have dropped.  Any remaining ones on the tree were cleared and I then carried out some very light pruning of this year’s extension growth to maintain the outline of the tree and also to avoid any long straight branches.  While I was at it I then removed surplus buds growing in undesirable places.  The tree had a slow year due to the repot in March but should come back strong next year I hope.  It’s staying in the open greenhouse.  Next year I plan to work on the deadwood, increase foliage density in some areas and also improve branch structure by pruning undesirable secondary branches.


From above


Foliage to be increased on the left and apex.


Three branches at one junction. One shall go next year.


Ramification starting to improve.

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Japanese Larch progression

After my previous post that had negative overtones of my travails in the world of bonsai, I thought I would create a post showing a relatively successful project so far.  This Japanese Larch (Larix Kaempferi) was bought as raw material three years ago from Willowbog Bonsai (Peter Snart had visited for the launch of the NIBS Bonsai School). I wasn’t long as a member of the NIBS and wanted a cheap piece of raw material to work on straight away to get my future bonsai collection started.

1 apr 11


It was first styled with a lot of help back in April 2011. All branching was wired.

2 first style apr 11

That year all new growth was closely pinched to start to build up ramification of the branches.  It was very well fed.

6 aut 11

Autumn image

The following Spring I rootpruned and repotted into a mica training pot.

8 may 12

May 2012 – recovering from repot

13 sep 13

September 2013

Last Autumn it was ready for a second styling.  Wire was applied from base to tip of each branch. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo. But I was much happier with a dramatic increase in foliage and ramification over the previous year and a half.  Spring this year and I repotted the tree into a round and rough textured pot that complemented the bark.

19 mar 14

March 2014

Growth was slow this year due to substantial pruning of thick surface roots in particular but it still pushed out some new shoots which were pinched in the usual manner.  Below is the most recent image taken at the weekend with moss applied and foliage tidied up.  Following advice, the apex shall be further developed, natural moss will be developed on the soil surface and I hope to finally work on the jins/shari next year.

20 may 14

May 2014


September 2014