Summertime Fun – Developing a Tanuki

I have not written much but that doesn’t mean it has been a quiet time. Along the way there have been many trees re-potted and styled. I have to document some of that journey for the site soon.

This week I am on a very specific journey. I am preparing for a demonstration for SBBK in San Mateo, CA. They requested someone demonstrate the creation of the the Phoenix graft or Tanuki. This is not a demo we see much here. I completed all the researching on past and present philosophy of its creation and whether your are of the school that they are not true bonsai or not some can be created very  convincingly.  I wrote on article on the philosophy in the most recent release of GSBF Golden Statements, Nebari Net, that takes on the controversy.

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Marking a clear path to follow for the carving tools. This image shows the termination at the top of the wood.

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Marking the entry point of the tree a the base of the wood. This area must be channeled wider to accommodate the trunk of the whip that will be used.

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Marking the movement mid-way in on the wood. Here the tree will disappear behind the wood only to reemerge at the top most portion.

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Carving begins with a deep channel that the tree will sit inside of; make sure the channel is deep and smooth.

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Deadwood is staged in the pot after channel is cut. This deadwood will be placed on a small piece of wood nailed to the bottom to keep it flat to the pot bottom. The bottom structure will then be tied down inside the pot.

I have enjoyed working and styling many of these phoenix graft trees over the years. Some of the most convincing trees start with a trunk with great twisting movement, such as a California Juniper stump, and is designed where you can see the live material originating in the front of the tree. It can then disappear and reappear along the movement of the the tree. Finding the wood is the first effort. Mapping out the path with a sharpie following a natural waterline of the material is second. Using good tools to create a big enough channel for the living material to sit inside of it is most important. A shallow channel or too narrow and the living material will not be as integrated into the deadwood and look nailed-on.

Update: 8/21/2016 –

Today was time to use PC Petrifier to harden the deadwood that is wanted in the final design and at the base. Today We will drill wood blocks to the base for the deadwood so that it will stand higher in the pot. Those blocks will be tied into the pot with copper wire just before the tree is run in the channel. Blocks are drilled into the bottom of the deadwood to complete the standing trunk at the height desired for the design.

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Tanuki material is a blue shimpaku whip. This is a view of the completed staging for the demo.

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Deadwood is screwed into the block to keep it in place. I am using two wood blocked screwed together to provide the correct height of the piece. The screw heads will be used to help anchor the block to the pot.

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Close up of the wood blocks and their placement in the pot. I will use copper wire from under the pot to secure the blocks.

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The stump has been treated with PC Petrifier to preserve the deadwood in the final design.

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Tools of the trade are often a Dremel. In this case the job is made much more easy by using the high powered Dewalt grinder with various sized grinder bit. My thanks to David M for letting me use his tools. I would have take hours to do the same job with the standard dremel tool set.

March 27 – Workday, Olives and Special Trees

Today I needed to be a re-potting crazy man and managed to get all of this year’s re-potting done minus one tree!  I had not re-potted some of the olives for over 5 years as I was more concerned with creating good roots and styling foliage. This could not last another year. With the great temperatures all the olives have been pushing aggressive new growth. Along with the olives I had trees in grow pots or containers that need to move to office bonsai pots, tropical trees that needed refinement before I could to my special exhibit at our club show in May, and some overdue trees. I worked on 2 Schefflera that is coming along nicely, a western fig that received its (every 4 years) hair cut, a dwarf bottle brush that finally need to go into a bonsai grow pot.

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Western Fig before trimming.

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Bottlebrush after re-potting in bonsai grow pot.

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Western Fig after branch reduction.

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Bottlebrush staging for tie-down. Chopsticks used to protect roots.

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Bottlebrush from nursery. It has been growing a few years to develop branches.

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Schefflera branch work. Foliage reduction had gone well.

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Another little Schefflera cut back in demonstration last fall is developing nicely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then began my work on the olives. Some of the olives required considerable root work. They had developed excellent root and now needed to be lowered down into new pots. Sometimes larger hard wood areas had to be removed and chiseled away. I staged each tree with several new pots to find the ones that will work the best.

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Olive clump in new pot. The pot is a Jim Barret award port from GSBF and shows off this tree nicely.

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Olive after re-potting. It remained in its original pot. Now it will need to grow and recover some nice foliage.

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Staging clump with its new pot.

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Olive clump during re-potting.

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Olive clump used to be 6 feet tall!. It has reduced this this and is now in a new pot. Time to develop a new canopy.

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Staging olive clump in new pot.

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Olive clump in original pot. It had been in this pot for 5 years and needed a change.

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Olive clump root mass was healthy and tight.

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Olive clump after root pruning.

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The tall clump required considerable hardwood removal to seat in the pot at the correct height.

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Small olive clump after re-potting and branch reduction.

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Staging small olive clump with new pot.

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Little olive clump had developed great roots over the years.

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The little olive clump also required considerable hardwood removal to seat in the pot.

 

 

 

 

Lovely Day in March

Today I set out to repot a few trees. This year our seasons are advancing very quickly and trees are putting on a great amount of new growth. It has been above 50 degrees at night on my terrace and tropical trees are continuously moving with new buds so I have begun working on Silverberry, creeping figs, boxwood trees and many more standard trees such as junipers. Some trees are moving to new pots because the have been developing much better and can be enjoyed in smaller ornate pots.  The boxwood had not been re-potted for at least 5 years and had developed a very thick root ball. I removed most of that  root ball so I could place it lower in the pot. The juniper re-potting was to move it up in refinement; it had been raw material 3 years ago and it is now in a pot that it can remain in for many years. The Silverberry had been in a development pot for 5 years as well and now get a new home in a Jim Gremel pot that highlights the strength of the tree. The creeping fig has been thickening up the nebari and trunk in and growing as a slant; however, since it has developed some new lower branches, I thought it time to raise it up and redevelop the tree. Tomorrow, I will start on the olives.

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President’s Day 2016

You know it is a great day when you pop out of bed on a holiday and run for the woods, well, in this case the trees on the patio.  Today, I needed to accomplish the re-potting of the my Sierra Juniper. I have had this tree for about 6 years and it began as not a very interesting stick. I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Master Mitsuya on its initial styling into a weeping design. It has been maintained that way every sense. Back budding has not been very successful so I tend to allow foliage to develop in the upper branches and then bend them down over the older branches . On a few occasions I have been able to replace bare branches with new dense foliage ones. This year I was also able to get rid of a heavy underground root because I have managed to develop a great deal of small feeder roots. That made me happy.

Sierra Juniper after re=potting

Sierra Juniper after re=potting

Sierra Juniper before re-potting.

Sierra Juniper before re-potting.

February 2016

Today I toured through my trees looking for growth progress. I was surprised by what I saw. The weather the past few weeks have seen temps in the 70’s and night time temps in the 50’s so trees are showing unexpected signs of movement. I also a seeing the first ever blossoms on my Chinese quince. After so many years of only green leaves this is a great sign of a happy tree. Maples are in leaf already (so I can not re-pot them), pines are showing movement and even the western fig is moving buds. All too early but the climate had changed so much.  Great news on my Brazilian Raintree as well, the new grow light has made it flourish.

Brazilian Raintree under grow light.

Brazilian Raintree under grow light.

Chinese Quince with first ever blossoms.

Chinese Quince with first ever blossoms.

Acer in early season leaf.

Acer in early season leaf.

Western Fig pushing buds.

Western Fig pushing buds.

Silverberry must think it is summer.

Silverberry must think it is summer.

Pines pushing buds.

Pines pushing buds.

Early Spring 2016

The re-potting madness has set in. I am busy cleaning up trees, re-potting and generally getting rid of winter mosses and weeds. This year we have been blessed by rain in California but as I was re-potting trees I was reminded why we must water our plants anyway. Some of the root mass was too dry. These drier roots got a bath of VF-11 and water while they awaited a new pot. I managed to make it through a number of shimpaku that are still somewhat dormant but beginning to green up. Cleaning and taking wire off trees was a big focus. I was surprised to see that my maples are already starting to leaf!  Way to early for those.  One of my Shimpaku trees was a convention tree for GSBF Modesto and was originally style in a workshop with Jim Gremel. Nice to see it flushing.WP_20160207_12_39_05_Rich_LI WP_20160207_12_39_22_Rich_LI

Summertime Peruvian Pepper Re-potting

In my collection of trees I have tropical and subtropical trees along with the standard California mix. The Peruvian Pepper is one of those special trees. I have been working on a little stump I found at the Sumagawa Nursery near Santa Rosa, CA. It was in a large container in a forsaken section of the the nursery grounds. I live around them and was interested in finding a tree I could attempt to train as a bonsai. Over the years I have found that it develops heavy tubular roots with very will on them. So cutting the roots had to be done carefully as to not lose a section of branches in the canopy.

The pepper is re-potted in the summer like most of the rest of the subtropical species I have. Today, was the day. I am always surprised by the amount of roots it creates. There were lots of fine roots this time so I could cut away some of the larger tubular roots. I cut back the foliage and started the process. The trunk itself is very wide but not very tall and this presents a design challenge. I am working to create branch ramification but that is a very slow process. I am having some success. I have left a longer growing apex branch to attempt a stronger central line for the tree. However in a month or so I will reduce it again and try for some branching. I have had to use a great number of sacrifice branches over the years.

Peruvian Pepper bonsai:  After re-potting

Peruvian Pepper bonsai: After re-potting

Peruvian Pepper bonsai:  out of the pot.

Peruvian Pepper bonsai: out of the pot.

Peruvian Pepper bonsai: Soil mix contains the deciduous mix.

Peruvian Pepper bonsai: Soil mix contains the deciduous mix.

Peruvian Pepper bonsai:  taken out of the pot and beginning root work.

Peruvian Pepper bonsai: taken out of the pot and beginning root work.

Peruvian Pepper bonsai:  tubular root removed now that find roots are developed

Peruvian Pepper bonsai: tubular root removed now that find roots are developed

Peruvian Pepper bonsai: Root mass of fine roots finally developing.

Peruvian Pepper bonsai: Root mass of fine roots finally developing.

The End of Turface as Planting Medium

Today ends my 2 year journey to test the viability of turface as a substitute for akadama growing medium for sample bonsai in my collection. It has been recommended in club meetings and by cost conscious bonsai artists over the past few years as the price of Japanese Akadama has increased. Over the past year I have lost a small pine completely and weakened some tropical trees and young plants.  Today, however, I took the last tree in the experimental mix to check the results. Over the two year period I had noticed the struggling foliage on the juniper procumbins with concern. I had fertilized and watered like all the rest of the juniper but this one was not growing much at all. The mix was 70% turface, 10% pumice, 10% lava, 10% fur bark.  The fur bark had completely decomposed.  I hydrated my trees as usual before the re-potting process.

I found that the turface held a lot of water and the juniper was not draining well. The turface was breaking down into power holding even more water. What was most disturbing was the lack of root growth. Normally when potting a tree after two years I would be cutting off roots. Not in this case. There was evidence of negative root growth so I did not trim roots at all. The juniper is now re-potted in the standard 70% akadama, with mixture of pumice, lava, kiryu. I am looking forward to better root development and thus a better foliage mass.

So my end results are that turface, holds a lot of water, breaks down to powder quickly and fails to hold nutrients that feed the tree. It can discourage root development and weaken the plant. I have also been doing soil temperature testing an found the turface medium had a slower rate of heat retention from the akadama mixes and dissipated heat much faster. After having several species either fail or weaken I will never recommend turface as an akadama replacement. I have read this from many bonsai purists but wanted to test it for myself. Even though turface is an inexpensive medium alternative, akadama proves it offers much better nutrient holding because of its surface structure and inherent nutritional benefits. I would rather pay the extra for healthy plants.

The root mass show negative root development in turface medium.

The root mass show negative root development in turface medium.

Tree has weakened substantially.

Tree has weakened substantially.

The turface material has broken down considerably in 2 years.

The turface material has broken down considerably in 2 years.

The foliage mass of the juniper is suffering.

The foliage mass of the juniper is suffering.

Main show completed but not a time to rest…

Bonsai show time is a great experience. It is an opportunity to display the results of all the work you put in on your trees.  We spend countless hours every year perfecting the placement of branches, feeding, protecting, watering and then it is story time. Time to tell a story with a tree of hard times or times of plenty. This year I displayed 4 main trees. Three were my own and one juniper not pictured here was from a client whose trees I regularly care for and redesign. I had four other small shohin trees added to the in progress area to inform the pubic of the kinds of things that can be done with tropical bonsai.  The Diamyo Oak is always a crowd favorite because it is not common to see. This years display featured a full tribute to “Boy’s Day” in Japan because of the timing of the show. It consisted of the tree, scroll about the holiday, a warrior doll and even the mochi wrapped in diamyo oak leaves. Yes, you can eat the leaves off my tree, but please don’t🙂

The Olive saikei is another favorite and it has grown well and evolved this year to a better tree. The boxwood was an in progress display because it was inspired by a demonstration this past year where it was wired and shaped as an oak tree. It is far from that at the moment has changed so much since the last time I showed it that it had return for the education of it.

Just because show this show is over it is  not a time of rest. So many more trees need their turn on development.

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Kusamura Bonsai Show (5/3-3/2015)

Be sure to check out our trees at the Kusamura Bonsai Show in Palo Alto, California this weekend. I will have several trees on display and one special one featuring the redesigned Diamyo Oak, boxwood in-progress, and my Olive saikei.  I will also display a client tree that I have been working for several years and some small shohin ficus, black pine, and a schefflera.  The tropical are not often seen in our areas but it is time we change that.

 

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Diamyo Oak Re-potting – Spring 2015

It is February and buds of many trees are starting to push already here in California. Roots are moving and buds pushing so that means it is time to re-pot many trees. The Diamyo Oak is a prize in the collection and is over 55 years old. It was last re-potted 5 years ago in the round drum pot. My sensei has worked with me to restyle to tree last year and indicated that the orientation of the tree in the pot needed to change for the new apex and to highlight the movement in the trunk. Watch in the pictures how the process is done and the new position in the pot.

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Nebari of the oak is being cleaned to remove any moss or mud from around the root base.

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I continue to clean the soil from around the nebari

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The clean up is essential for preparation. I need to make sure all the weeds and much of the old soil is removed from the root crown.

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This a formal shot of the original front. The tree leaned far to one side to allow the leaf canopy to hang over that direction. The new apex is the branch leading upward and is a considerable redesign of the tree.

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Original front and angle before potting.

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Next step was to use the edger to loosen the soil and roots from the pot edge. The Tie-in wires and screen wire have been cut from the bottom of the pot as well as any visible wires on the top of the soil.

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Pot prep is essential to get done before root work is started. This will lessen the time the roots are in the air and drying. Prepare pot with screen, tie-wires and drainage layer. I then add soil amendments like this microryza fungi which will support root growth.

 

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The oak is out of the pot and there is a good root mass under the tree. Soil removal begins with loosing the root mass and clearing soil from under the trunk. Once the bottom is moving then we begin on the top soil.

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With a root hook I begin working on removing soil from the top the tree taking time to free roots and loosen hardened soil areas.

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Inspect roots carefully, removing rot and heavy roots to allow new root development. I cut off excess roots and clean the root ball. Barer rooting is not done but at each re-potting I remove more and more of the old material.

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Now the hard part. Placing the tree in the pot with the new front and orientation. Before wiring in, I place the tree, make sure it is positioned correctly between the feet of the pot and the trunk is at desired angle. Once this is done I place chopsticks over the root mass to protect the from the wire.

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Chops are in and tie-in begins. I find this a problematic time because the tree may slip and the angle change so I an constantly looking to be sure the orientation is maintained.

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Tree is tied in and the soil is added. I first chop stick in the soil to remove any air pockets. This is done around the entire tree and more soil is added to finally the height desired. I am patting the soil down from the top to ensure it settles well.

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Newly re-potted at new angle. It shows the movement of the trunk and positions the apex.

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Newly re-potted at new angle. It shows the movement of the trunk and positions the apex. This is the formal shot. Next is to water in the tree and let it grow. The leaf buts are looking good and I expect to have good development in the next few weeks.

 

Winter Silverberry Appreciation

2015 Winter viewing

2015 Winter viewing

Silverberry 2015. It is cold outside with some near freezing temperatures so all the sensitive material moves indoors. It is a great opportunity to ponder tree styles and appreciate the years work. This tree has developed considerably over the past 4 years. The leaf size has been greatly reduced. I am still trying to figure out what to do with the strong center trunk line.

My latest painting, Juicy, inspired by fall fruits. More on the process of creation coming soon.

2014 Paintings

This year I slowed down the number of paintings to concentrate on a few distinctive pieces. All are original compositions that spoke to me. My latest painting is a Fall fruit inspired composition. I staged it with high intense lighting in studio and and photographed may arrangements. The final one created was the best composition but there will be some more to follow. These paintings this year are all full sheet Arches watercolor creations.

My latest painting, Juicy, inspired by fall fruits. More on the process of creation coming soon.

My latest painting, Juicy, inspired by fall fruits. More on the process of creation coming soon.

2014 still life where I worked with an old them and recreated the painting after years more painting experience.

2014 still life where I worked with an old them and recreated the painting after years more painting experience.

2014 Bonsai

2014 was a year of letting trees grow and develop. I did get to show in two area shows. I have also enjoyed teaching/leading several workshops in my area.  Here are some of the trees that showed this year.

At the design competition with teammates. This is the raw material we started with.

At the design competition with teammates. This is the raw material we started with.

Olive with lace rock, this is actually two trees behind the rock to create the affect of a large trunk.

Olive with lace rock, this is actually two trees behind the rock to create the affect of a large trunk.

Ficus Shohin at show.

Ficus Shohin at show.

Olive clump in design. It started as a nearly 6 foot tall tree and is reducing down nicely.

Olive clump in design. It started as a nearly 6 foot tall tree and is reducing down nicely.

Olive in design. It was a multi-trunk tree that is being reduced and developing new horizontal branches.

Olive in design. It was a multi-trunk tree that is being reduced and developing new horizontal branches.

Daimyo Oak before redesign. Look for the story coming soon. Tree is over 50 years old.

Daimyo Oak before redesign. Look for the story coming soon. Tree is over 50 years old.

Working with raw material at a local design competition our team created this cedar.

Working with raw material at a local design competition our team created this cedar.

New Look, New Year

Welcome to my new look. In 2015, join me to follow the development of bonsai, watercolor painting projects and more. Winter is here now and my trees have been all cleaned up. I am moving into repotting season so there will be pictures of trees at various stages of winter prep posted soon. I have also just posted some new art at: http://gerald-carpenter.artistwebsites.com/  Be sure to drop by and see the new images for cards, phone cases, and prints.

SBBK Demo Ficus After Re-potting

SBBK Demo Ficus After Re-potting

The proud owner of the SBBK raffled Ficus and I got to spend some time re-potting her new tree. Donna F. won the tree with a promise of my assistance for the transplanting. We found that the root mass was a beautiful fine mass with no large heavy roots. The pot we chose will be a temporary home as we need a deeper oval for the tree but this will keep the tree for the coming year. Moss was added to the top soil to hold moisture after this re-potting. It is sitting above a tub of water for humidity. This will be a fantastic tree in a year. We also made some more adjustments to the branches and opened the tree up for new finer foliage.

Ficus Projects Summer 2013

This year I have been working these ficus trees a great deal. They have been cut back, up-potted, defoliated, and wired. Now it is time to reap the rewards. These trees all still need considerable work. Growing them in California can be challenging because of low humidity, dry burning sun, hard water. This year our water supply in the San Francisco south bay area has been extremely high in salts due to the lack of rain.  This mean leaf damage in some cases and high stress for many trees.

This month I am preparing for a ficus demonstration at SBKK of San Mateo and one the trees pictured here will be raffled to a club member. The large ficus has been cut back many time to begin limb development since Feb of this year and is featured in the blog several times. Now it is full of foliage again preparing for its next debut.  This large tree will be raffled off to members of the club August 28, 2013.

Ficus  Microcarpa, August 2013 Pre Demo

Ficus Microcarpa, August 2013 Pre Demo

The galary of ficus trees to be shown and demonstrated will be:

FIcus Microcarpa, dwarf Shohin style

FIcus Microcarpa, dwarf Shohin style

Ficus Pumila, Shohin Style. This will be trimmed and wired this fall.

Ficus Pumila, Shohin Style. This will be trimmed and wired this fall.

Common Western Fig, grows all over California and typically had huge leaves and fruit. This tree has been reduced to Shohin over the past 4 years.

Common Western Fig, grows all over California and typically had huge leaves and fruit. This tree has been reduced to Shohin over the past 4 years.

Schefflera, reduced leaf size to dwarf. This was a commercial stock cutting and is developing into an interesting dwarf. Tree will be wired this winter again to bring branches down.

Schefflera, reduced leaf size to dwarf. This was a commercial stock cutting and is developing into an interesting dwarf. Tree will be wired this winter again to bring branches down.

Peruvian Pepper. Schinus molle. This is tree grows all over parts of mid and southern California but is a native to the Peruvian Andean deserts. It bleeds latex and presents itself as tropical in nature and responds well to summer re-potting.

Peruvian Pepper. Schinus molle. This is tree grows all over parts of mid and southern California but is a native to the Peruvian Andean deserts. It bleeds latex and presents itself as tropical in nature and responds well to summer re-potting.

Ficus Pumila, No leaf reduction is needed on this tree. It has been up-potted to strengthen it. It is in Fruit now. I have not let this tree develop weeping branches.

Ficus Pumila, No leaf reduction is needed on this tree. It has been up-potted to strengthen it. It is in Fruit now. I have not let this tree develop weeping branches.

Shohin Trident Maple, Summer 2013

Shohin Trident Maple – 2013

This little gem is a Trident Maple Shohin that has been in training for over 15 years. It has a powerful trunk and some nice roots that I am still working to develop. I could not resist taking this picture after a summer defoliation. The leaves are twice as small as they were during our April show and the branching is very delicate.  It is about 1 month after that defoliation.

Shohin Trident Maple, Summer 2013

Shohin Trident Maple, Summer 2013

Shohin Ficus growing strong after the April show.

Another Ficus – Before and After

Today was a Ficus trimming day. Many of my trees have been grow mode since the April show and were full of foliage and getting stronger. Once they reach that state and the temperatures are stable in the 80’s and 90’s I can trim them back substantially to improve branch development and smaller foliage. One of my favorite show ficus is a shohin version. It had tripled in size since the show and needed to be trimmed.  The first picture show the tree in full foliage. The second picture is a massive reduction of foliage and the removal of some heavy branches. To maintain this tree as a shohin I need to make sure the branches do not get too heavy and the foliage remains small. This will will now flourish again in the high heat and added humidity of the summer and will be in prime shape again in a few months.

The same process is used for another little ficus as seen below. Remember, you can only cut this hard when you know t

Another Shohin ficus was reduced severely to create smaller leaves and better bracnches

Another Shohin ficus was reduced severely to create smaller leaves and better bracnches

he tree is very strong.

Shohin Ficus growing strong after the April show.

Shohin Ficus growing strong after the April show.

The same Ficus after a massive reduction. This can only be done when temperatures have reached the 80's and the tree is very strong.

The same Ficus after a massive reduction. This can only be done when temperatures have reached the 80’s and the tree is very strong.

Original view of the redwood after potting in the low profile pot.

The development of a redwood bonsai

It is now summer of 2013 and our redwood is growing nicely. I must, during this time of year, pinch the fine light green leaves to keep the inter nodes short and the foliage compact. Below you can see how the tree has grown and some initial summer pruning.

2013 Redwood growth.

2013 Redwood growth.

Daimyo Oak from the Kusamura Bonsai Club Show

Diamyo Oak 2013

Diamyo Oak 2013

My Diamyo Oak as presented at the 53rd Kusamura Bonsai Club Annual Show in April 2013. This is a legacy tree, meaning that it was
purchased at auction in 2009 from the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt (BGLM). The tree was started by acorn carried from Japan by a
Pete Sugawara who was a member of Kusamura Bonsai Club in Palo Alto, CA. The tree is over 50 years old and has been on display at
the BGLM, Kusamura Bonsai Club shows and SBKK show in San Mateo. It is always a crowd favorite since it is so unique. It leaves have
a large lobe but the tree can be defoliated once a year to create a smaller leaf. It displays incredible fall color.

Ficus Demo Tree Preparation

This past weekend I purchased a Ficus tree that will be used in a demonstration in August. It is old stock Ficus Benjamina that has been growing in a box for many years. The trunk has some great natural movement in it and the branches are mostly thin and leggy but excellent material to work with here.  In northern California, I have not seen many serious ficus bonsai. On the east coast we used this type of tree a great deal and were able to continue growing them in doors during the colder months. Here in San Jose, this tree has mainly stayed outside even in the winter and used to our climate. Its previous owner indicates that it was sheltered in a hot house with a light bulb when temperature stayed below freezing for extended periods.

My first task with this tree was to cut it back considerably before the main grow season begins. This will allow the creation of new branches, foliage closer to the trunk, and smaller leaves. In the past I have been able to reduce leaf size by more than half with these trees.  The first picture shows the tree before trimming. An example of current leave size, measuring nearly 3″, is take for reference. The second picture shows the tree after basic trimming.

I will allow the tree to grow steady through the Spring push and will cut back again before summer. This will allow a fully healthy and well developed tree for the August Demo with SBBK in San Mateo. I will keep you posted on the development of the tree.

 

Ficus Before first cut

Ficus Before first cut

Ficus after first cut

Ficus after first cut

Ficus original leaf size

Ficus original leaf size

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In March 2013 I did my first cut on this demo tree. It was full of large leaves and poor ramification. Today, Jun 1, 2013 the tree needed cut again. The Spring growth period went along well and the tree put out vigorous growth. I waited until all the branches had several pair of leaves and I noticed to day that some inter-nodes were getting too long. Needing ramification means that I must cut back the branches to one leave of new growth this Spring but I did not want to rob the demonstration planned in August so I cut back carefully decreasing inter-nodes to a couple pair of leaves on each branch. The growth was so aggressive that many new branches were beginning to form and some in place not too desirable. Some of the new branches were removed to clean up the tree.  Below you will see the condition of the tree prior to cutting and after. What the pictures do not reveal well is the size of the trunk. With considerable humidity and heat the trunk has begin to expand considerably.

Before 2nd trimming

Before 2nd trimming

After second trimming

After second trimming