New Trees From TBS Show

As always, after helping to setup, club members get first digs at the sales area. This show, I picked up a pot and two trees. One of the tree is a Korean Hornbeam. I’ve always wanted a Korean Hornbeam in my collection, but it always seems I’m the only one one in the club without one. But that’s not the case anymore! I now have a Korean Hornbeam to call my own. Kevin Yates also sold me on his twisted pomegranate, the name sounds interesting, and the tree has small leaves, so I decided to pick it up as well. The plan is to let these tree grow wild in my colanders and fatten up. The soil that Kevin had them in were too moisture retaining for my watering habits, so I proceeded to repot them both into my bonsai soil mix and colander. The one on the left is the Korean Hornbeam, while the one on the right is the twisted pomegranate.


Japanese Quince Bundle Graft

Year after year, I end up with more and more Japanese Quince cuttings that turned out to be seedlings. Originally I was thinking to start a forest planting, but these Quinces have leaves that are too big to look good in a forest planting. Waiting for them to thicken up is not really an alternative either, as I can have much better use of the bench space that these trees take up. I decided to tie them all together to make one big tree. All together I have 9 tree seedlings. You can see that the trees growing in the colanders (left of the picture) have a much finer root system than the one in the pot (right of the picture).

Just wrapping the trees together wouldn’t produce too big of a trunk, since these are all very thin trees. I’ve built a metal brace for them to wrap around.


If I were to do this again, I would wait for even more trees before doing the wrapping, so that I can wrap a bigger brace. I used some raffia to wrap the trees around the brace. I positioned all the roots to radiate out from the center of the trunk, to ensure they’ll eventually form a good nebari. I then proceeded to plant the tree into big colander with a very fine soil mix. Japanese Quinces grow very vigorously, by next year, this colander will be filled with roots.

Thread Grafting Honeysuckle

This honeysuckle always seems to sprout at the bottom, and at the top, but no where in between. It’s been a few years now, and I’ve given up waiting for it to back-bud at the right places. Last year, I positioned a branch to be thread grafted this spring.

These branches becomes awfully stiff, awfully fast, so I started bending them in position when they were first extending, else they would easily snap if I were to bend them now. I proceeded to drill a hole through the middle of the tree. I took care to drill the hole big enough so that the buds on the branch can be threaded through the hole without being knocked off. I further wrapped the buds with saran wrap such that the buds can slip through the hole.

I then applied cutting paste at both ends of the hole. The hope is that the branch would thicken up, and then merge with the cambium layer at both ends of the hole. The only thing left to do is to feed and water the tree to thicken it up.

Chinese Elm Over Rock

The Chinese Elms have been getting some burnt leaves over the summer. I’m guessing it could be that the soil is too fine, and isn’t providing sufficient aeration to the roots, and the trees weren’t getting enough moisture from the roots. Since Chinese Elms can be treated like tropical trees, I’ve decided to repot them to help with the roots development.

Chinese Elm Ready for Repot

I have a rock lying around for years, I couldn’t find a good tree to put on it, so I’ve decided to put this tree over the rock, to see how well it wraps around the rock. One thing I don’t like about Chinese Elms is that they tend to have one or two thick roots rather than developing a radial nebari around the base of the tree. Even though these are all started from cuttings, they still have one or two fat root(s). Luckily, the orientation of the roots aligns properly to the crevices of the rock. I wrapped the roots around the rock, and then tie the roots in place. The hope is that eventually the roots will develop around the roots and tightly wrap the rock. The larger grain soil and the colander as the pot will help the roots develop much faster than before. Over the next few years, I’ll gradually reduce soil level, forcing the roots to harden as it gets exposed to the sun.

Chinese Elm Over Rock

Wiring Shimpaku Juniper

Earlier this year, I’ve decided to air layer the Shimpaku Juniper. I didn’t do much to the tree other than repotting it into a bigger pot. The Shimpaku has since put out a lot of roots, so I’m pretty sure the tree up top will survive. I’ve decided to work on the bottom tree a bit, such that it’s not too unsightly. Although the branches still maintained some of the form I put in a few years back, it needs some refinement.

Shimpaku Before Wiring

I wired the branches and moved the them into place. The goal is to form foliage pads that allow the viewers eyes to follow the trees movement to the apex.

Shimpaku After Wiring

I’m pretty satisfy with this arrangement. ┬áThe composition has both bones (branches) and meat (foliage pads). Shimpakus branches don’t thicken very fast, so I can leave the wires on the tree for quite a while, probably revisit it again next Spring.

Initial Styling of Apple

This apple tree was acquired from a farm April 2016, after a year in the ground, I’ve now got it in a colander. The new buds on the apple tree are very prone to aphid attacks. So I wanted to reduce the foliage a bit, and to find the actual tree in the bush.

After inspecting the tree in detail, my original plan of having it as a windswept tree won’t work well. This is due to the fact that it has a very straight trunk with no taper. I’ve decided instead to just make it a slanted tree. The trunk will display pretty amazing tapering, and I’ll end up with a big stump. A big stump is good, since I can always grow out the branches, and the branches will be of proportionate size, making it more compelling as an ancient tree.

I first marked up the cut line using chalk, then proceeded to cutting with a reciprocating saw. The saw makes quick work of the pruning, but one would have to be careful not to let the blade run astray.

After some big cuts, I applied cutting paste to the exposed cambium, then just let it sit on the branch to recover. Doing heavy pruning in mid summer is probably not a good idea… but I have a feeling the tree will handle it just fine. Come next spring, I’ll do more pruning to whip it more into shape.

A Proper Spot For The Trees

As I accumulate trees over the past few years, they’ve been just growing off my stone patio. I’ve always had the false assumption that the kids would enjoy playing on the grass rather than on the stone patio. Turns out they like to play the on patio more than the grass. The logical next step would be to move the trees away from the stone patio, and take some room from the grass. Since my backyard is a bit slanted towards to the back of the backyard, I had to level the bench by either adjusting the number of cinder blocks, or digging into the ground. Eventually, I was able to create a bench that’s perfectly leveled. This two step bench is where I’ll be putting my trees on. My goal is to not acquire any new trees unless I’ve sold/give away/thrown out trees to make room for new trees.

Bonsai Bench