Layering for bonsai

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:

  1. 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.
  2. It can be used to grow new roots at a point on the trunk that is better than the current root level.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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Repotting Callistemon

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.

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More pine cuttings

Some say it cannot be done…..

Here at Shibui Bonsai I’ve often found that much of what ‘they’ tell us is not completely true so I’m often putting aspects of bonsai wisdom to the test.

Pine seed is currently very difficult to obtain here in Australia so many growers are looking for alternative ways to propagate pines for bonsai so even though the ‘experts’ tell us it cannot be done I’m trying to grow more pines as cuttings. Continue reading

Pot up some pines

Most of the trident maples now have tiny pink buds where new leaves are emerging to show that spring has arrived at Shibui Bonsai.

I’ve repotted most of the deciduous trees that need doing this year so it is time to move on to the evergreens. Some growers now repot pines in autumn but I’m still doing most of mine at the traditional spring repot time.

Today it was time to get a few pines into their first bonsai pots.

This twin trunk Japanese Black Pine has been developing slowly over the past 15 years or so. It has an impressive nebari and some well placed branches and now it is time to start developing better ramification. I think the restricted space in the smaller pot should help control the new growth and help the process.

Black pine after root pruning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nebari

 

 

 

 

 

Among the roots lies a clue to the origins of this tree.

This is one of the pines mentioned in the previous post. Seedlings were threaded through a hole in stainless steel disks to see if pines could be developed in a similar way to the maples as outlined in previous posts. Pines do not root quite as well as maples and only 2 out of 5 survived the process but the experiment did prove that it can be done.

In this case I put 2 seedlings through the same hole. In the process of growing new roots they have fused into a single twin trunk tree.

the steel disc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve selected a round drum pot which has adequate size for a developing tree but still a reasonable match to the tree.

Now we wait until December for the first round of candle pruning to start the process of developing branches with full ramification.