Spring of 2019 gave me the opportunity to find and collect a few new trees each unique in its own way. I collected some deciduous species that I felt that needed to complete my collection. I potted them into the same soil mix that I have already presented some time ago (4-4-2) crushed clay – volcanic tuff – organic soil. The first two have a particle size from 1-4 mm. I use this mix for few years now and it seems to work just fine.
I needed some Fagus Sylvatica and walking into the woods I was surprised to find two awesome trees. The first is a raft and I needed to build a custom wood box as it is quite long while the depth and the width of the container are very satisfactory for bonsai proportions.
Another iconic Fagus that I have found and collected during my trips in the woods is a very nice yamadori thick trunk and very shallow root system and serendipity helped when fitting it in place into a nice ceramic pot.
Going further, I collected a Trident Maple with very nice trunk movement, already established secondary branching and an ideal height compared to the actual leafs of this species.
Because I am lately into having trees that flower and fruit, I collected a Flowering Wild Pear with a feminine trunk movement and a nice secondary established branching.
These are some of the most remarkable trees I collected this spring. It was just to complete some needs in my collection that by now reached over 90 trees in training.
Hope it inspires you!
Thanks for the visit,
The previous post was entirely dedicated to the Carpinus species because I have many Carpinus trees in my collection and some are in very early stage of development, and are not yet published on the blog, others that already prove potential as you were able to see visiting my last article. However, my collection has a variety of species and as follows I will post pictures of their pruning process adding also some comments about decisions that I took.
The Wild Cherry below was collected in Autumn of 2017. It grew well in 2018 but it branched only on one side of the trunk. So, the solution was to prune and wire it to mimic the wind blown bonsai style. I left the branches at about 7-8 cm long to obtain ramification distant from the trunk to be able to continue this style.
Another Wild Cherry with “elephant” style nebari. It grew some branches lower than expected. However, I left them longer to develop ramification. If in 2019 it will not bud for new branches from the main upper trunk, in Autumn of 2019 when pruning I will carve the trunk with an electric carver.
I found in the woods last year a nice slim, tall and feminine moved trunk Wild Cherry. I collected it and left it tall in order to create a literati style tree. It grew nicely long branches from the top that I have wired according to the style’s approach. I will cut back to two after bud-break in order to create dense ramification as pads on the tips of the structural branches.
Another fruiting tree is my Cornus Malus. It has a dead wood part in the middle of the trunk covered by live vein. In the future I will carve the deadwood to increase the character of the tree.
A multi-trunk Cotoneaster collected in fall of 2017. This tree had an awesome progression in 2018.
And a second Cotoneaster, this is more shohin style.
My best Fagus Sylvatica that is in between shohin and medium sized bonsai.
Last year I got a Pyracantha, about 2 m tall and potted in a very large container. I have repotted it and pruned drastically. It grew nice this year and now I pruned it for the first time to start it’s canopy.
A Linden tree that I love just because it keeps creating the branches exactly there I need them. This tree was collected in fall of 2017, and it was nearly parallel to the ground and I had to plant it vertically in order to have a correct position of the trunk. Using wires I already succeeded in creating the structural base of the tree.
To have more flowering trees, I collected a Rambling Rose last year. This grew all 2018 season vigorously. I let it run in order to make sure it will gain a lot of strength to develop strong ramification in 2019. However, all my Rambling Rose trees will be kept over winter in the basement as these are highly susceptible to frost. Using wires I have given drastic movement to the main branches. In spring I will remove the wires as the shape is already established.
The last tree I will post is an European Elm, collected by a friend of mine in spring of 2018. This as well grew vigorously all 2018 season.
Hope these will inspire you in your future work.
Thanks for the visit,
In order to continue presenting the newly collected material in Spring 2018, I will add new photos of several species of trees that I found suitable for bonsai and I found them with quite nice potential. Some of them have already a nice structure, others are only trunk lines that will developed to canopy in the following years. Because I considered that I do not have trees that flower or develop fruits, I have collected species that will do, as soon as they will get established in their new environment.
Some Prunus avium or wild cherry tree. I have collected several cherry tree trunks and they all leafed out by now, vigorously and very healthy.
Two Cotoneasters that were full of fruits during summer of 2017.
A Fagus, very nice ramification and trunk movement.
Some Gleditschia triacanthos with old looking bark on the trunk and nice branching.
A wild apple tree that just started pushing buds from old leaves.
A Pyracantha that was kept in a big flower pot and last year was full of fruits. By now the thick branch also pushed buds that are opening.
A Pyrus Pyraster, or wild pear. In fall, its leaves color turns to red right before dropping them. It gives a quite nice color spectacle as a bonsai.
A Linden that was wired into a feminine movement and seems like “she” is doing just perfect.
I have other several trees that were collected just this year but those need a bit more work to start their branching. Future progression based posts will include pictures about those as well.
Hope you find nice my new collection and thanks for the visit.
In the previous post I presented the process of pruning my Carpinus shohin collection. To continue I chose to prune my Fagus Sylvastica trees. All of these were collected from the wild in Spring 2017. As seen in the Yamadori progression – spring to fall 2017 post, all these had a quite vigorous growth this year and all reached Autumn stabilized in their containers. When I collected these trees, I pruned them just enough to decrease their size, but I left on their branches as many buds as possible. Doing so, I wanted to make sure that when these buds will swell and open, the new leaves will promote new root growth in the pots to replace those lost during collection. Now, after a good growth season, it is time to start pruning hard to create the desired shape by going back closer to the trunk and the thick branches.
When pruning Fagus, or popularly called Beech, it is important to leave on the branch at least one bud to make sure that the branch will not die back. I was lucky with these trees, because even if small, there are many back buds on the thicker branches, so I was able to prune hard the trees.
The first tree had a very dense canopy with many buds on the new branches but too far from the thick wood. Also another problem was that at the point where the main trunk divides into two, in fact it divided into three. So, I pruned it back drastically and I created in fact two levels, one upper one that will be the new apex of the tree, and a lower one that will ensure an equilibrium over the entire structure. In a bird’s eye view it can be seen that the tree has an even distribution of the remaining branches. On their bark there are small buds that will give me next year a startup for a completely new ramification system.
A second Beech yamadori with more or less the same characteristics as the previous one needed a hard pruning to go back closer to the trunk and the thick branches. I simplified a lot its canopy and at the moment it is not so impressive as it was just before pruning. However, I will now be able to guide with wire the new growth from next year on, and by this I will take over the control of the canopy’s shape. Many times, it is needed to give up on a apparently nice design to reach a certain desired one.
The last Beech yamadori that I collected in the Spring had an up informal character or close to broom shape. The trunk-line has a semicircle shape and in my vision, I was thinking to mix the up informal character with the trunk shape, continuing it on one branch that needed to be moved in a proper position. The issue was that the branch was quite thick. Fagus wood is very hard to bent when it is thick and especially when it is dormant like it is already. Using thick wire around it is not a solution. However, I wound around this branch thick wire, but not no bent it with this wire, but to distribute the bending force evenly over the branch’s length. The bending itself was done by a pull-down wire hooked to the tip of the branch. Comparing the before and after pictures, one can see the huge displacement of the branch. If I would not apply that thick wire to distribute the bending force from the tip of the branch, I am absolutely positive that the branch would break. Doing so, I was able to displace it in a wide angle and it was a safe operation.
I kept however the general broom aspect of the branches in the canopy because I want to create the illusion of an umbrella shape apex of the tree.
In spring 2017 I collected an abundance of species from the surrounding of Cluj Napoca. Nearly all the collected material survived and some of them grew quite vigorously through the 2017 season. I have lost an Oak, one Carpinus and one Field Maple. The remaining ones suffered some sunburn in mid August due to extremely high temperatures.
In the pictures below there is a huge Carpinus that I have found on a top of a rocky hill. After pruning it back heavily I was amazed by the structure of the tree. That was the moment when I decided that even if it is a big stub, I have to take it home, against my habit of orienting my developments in the region of shohin style. The pictures were taken just few minutes before starting to dig around it. Collecting the tree was a very time and effort consuming job to save as much root-ball as possible.
After potting the tree, it bud out quite slow. However, after it did, I applied a light dosage of fertilizer and it started to grow extremely fast and vigorously. The picture below was taken few days ago (October 2017). The tree was left to grow wild for the entire year to stabilize a new root-ball. It did and I know that because the drainage tray under it, in mid summer, was already full of feeder roots. I cut them back to motivate the tree to replace those with new ones inside the plastic pot that was placed into.
Another Carpinus collected in Spring 2017 is in the pictures below. This tree proved to be the most vigorous tree of all. Immediately after collecting and potting it, it started growing very vigorously. By end of spring, it had shoots with 5-10 leaves. Only because I realized that the tree is strong, I pushed the limits and pruned back the new shoots to two leaves. Normally, in the first year it is not recommended to do so because the tree needs the leaves to create sugars and carbohydrates to grow new roots and to prepare for winter dormancy. However, I new that this tree will be able to take a new pruning. It did, and now, in fall, it has new growth that is more than enough to prepare the tree for dormancy.
Still in the Carpinus Yamadori universe, I collected in Spring a shohin tree that was already “styled” by the sheep that feed with its leaves year after year. It has a nice short and quite thick trunk, movement in the branches and a dense ramification from thick to thin to thinnest. It grew very nicely over the spring and summer. In August however, it suffered sun burn, still visible in the last pictures. At that moment I thought that only the Sun was responsible for the burn. I know now as a fact that I had 50% of the quilt because I did not reduce the fertilizer quantity in the hot days. This made impossible the uptake of sufficient water by the roots to serve the transpiration at the leaves surface.
Still in Spring 2017, I collected two Fagus (Beech) Yamadori. Both are in the range of shohin stye with nice movement in the trunks and quite dense ramification. One of them (visible in the last picture) has a tendency of reverse taper. This did not stopped me to collect it. The plan is to work on the ramification of the tree for the next one or two years. In this time the tree will stabilize well in the pot and I will perform an airlayering in the area where the reverse taper stars. Using a thick copper wire around the cutting performed for the airlayer, I will promote a nice nebari that will complete the structure of the tree.
I am a fan of Acacia bonsai. I just love the trunks of Acacia trees how they look extremely aged due to the rugged bark. I collected a tree and potted it in a taller container as it had quite long thick roots. From the original structure (first picture) I had a die back of of one branch, and somehow I lost half of the canopy. At the moment I was disappointed. The problem was solved one evening when I tilted the tree and saw a new very nice angle that I was getting in this new position. So, when I will repot the tree, I will fix the new angle by the tree’s new position in shallow pot. I will probably repot this tree in the spring of 2019. The deadwood on the lower side of the trunk comes in addition to the tree’s overall value.
Walking the woods, I found a very nice Fern (Asplenium trichomanes) with small leaves. It already grows now for two years in this pot. I collected it with soil from around it, taking even some rocks and rotting leaves with this soil. It seems to be liking it in this pot. I keep the fern out of direct sunlight and I give it once in a while liquid fertilizer.
Starting spring I will continue such series with progression of these trees and also others that were not included in this post. Pruning, wiring, carving and repotting stories will continue the one I have started today.