Some of you may have noted the evenly spread roots on the trident maples in the previous post. Those of you who have been following for a while or who have been back through earlier posts will already be aware that nebari like that is not just a coincidence.
Here’s the same trident maple from below. The original trunk that was threaded through the hole in the aluminium plate is still visible and functioning. As it grows a little thicker, circulation will be further restricted and it will gradually die off but the new roots above the plate are now strong and healthy enough to support the tree.
More pictures and a full description in the 12-Aug 2017 post – Develop great nebari #2
I often see other bonsai enthusiasts promoting similar methods using different plate materials.
Some use metal washers but I think those are far too small to be effective but if a large washer is all you can get why not try it out.
Others have talked about planting seedlings through the hole in a CD or DVD. These are cheap and easy to obtain now but the central hole is relatively large so it will take some time before the trunk is constricted sufficiently to initiate new roots above. CD plastic is also relatively flimsy so I think the developing roots may actually break the disc. My earliest attempts at this technique used ceramic tiles which were hard to drill without shattering. I also tried cement sheet (building product). After a couple of years both these materials had been reduced to tiny pieces by the force of growing roots and so had not really achieved the best outcomes in terms of nebari.
Although there is lots of advice about using both metal washers and CDs in various places there seems to be very few pictures of the results. Although not all of the trees I grow this way produce perfect nebari I have found this to be the most effective and repeatable method I have used so far.
It has finally got cold enough for the leaves to drop at Shibui Bonsai. That means it is time to start digging the field grown trees and check progress.
These trees have been in the bed for nearly one year. They’ve grown from 3 or 4 mm thick seedlings to this.
The recent workshop with Joe Morgan-Payler has re-inspired me to keep developing these small, contorted junipers.
While not everyone appreciates this style of bonsai, especially here in Australia where our relatively mild climate does not produce such trees in the mountains, they seem to be valued by Japanese bonsai artists. These trees simulate the types of trunks that the severe winters and harsh growing conditions in the Japanese mountains naturally produce.
Today I worked on a Japanese Black pine. It was grown from seed about 10 years ago and I kept it because it has a really good 360 degrees root system that should develop into great pine nebari. Despite having such a great root system the top has not developed particularly well so I have not given it much attention so it is a good candidate to show how I go about making initial styling decisions. Continue reading
The warm weather has gone on way longer than normal in our area this year but many of the deciduous trees at Shibui Bonsai have finally decided it is time to shut down for the winter so we finally have some colour.
Autumn colour is best with cold nights and fine sunny days so this year’s leaf colour is nowhere near as strong as usual but still worth sharing some photos with you. Continue reading
Smaller, regional clubs have limited access to new ideas and expert advice so the AABC visiting tutor program is a great way for clubs to get some outside influences for our members. Our local club has just held a workshop with Joe Morgan-Payler. Continue reading
Most gardeners are aware that some plants are propagated by grafting. There are also many uses in bonsai for grafting techniques. In this post you can read the Shibui Bonsai guide to bonsai grafting.
Bonsai growers can use grafting for a number of purposes. Knowing how can open new options to change and improve your bonsai. Continue reading
Layering is the term used when we grow new roots on the stem of a plant so that we can produce a new plant.
There are 2 main methods: Air layering and Ground layering. There are also many variations of each of these methods.
Layering has many uses in bonsai:
- It can be used to propagate a new plant that you can then train as a bonsai. Because you can layer large branches you can start off with a nice thick trunk.
- It can be used to grow new roots at a point on the trunk that is better than the current root level.
- If a bonsai has poor nebari, a modified version of layering can be used to get new roots to fill in, and improve the nebari.
- When you have a bonsai with a really nice top but poor base you can layer and remove the good upper part as a new tree.
Pines and junipers are quite slow to recover from transplant but this year’s transplants from the Shibui Bonsai grow beds are now looking strong and healthy.
Today is the last day of 2017 which means it is well into summer at Shibui Bonsai and that means it is time for repotting some of the bonsai.
Last week I gave my Callistemon its annual after flowering prune. This one is Callistemon sieberii – River bottlebrush which flowers later than most Callistemon species, normally Early-mid December here.