Autumn pine work

The new shoots on Black pines have matured so it is time to thin out all the new shoots that have grown since decandling.

It is important to know that this is part of the technique used to REFINE MATURE pines. Younger, developing pines should be allowed to grow freely to gain strength and size and cut back hard every couple of years. Decandling is used to ramify the branches on trees that are closer to being mature bonsai. Continue reading

Twisted trunks

The first junipers I put into the grow beds were just allowed to grow freely. The result was stiff, straight branches that provided little inspiration, or opportunity, to create the sort of dynamic ‘wild’ junipers we see in Japanese literature.

About the same time Joe, nichigobonsai was talking about his experiences working in a Japanese bonsai nursery where they wired and bent large numbers of small junipers to start another batch of shohin twisted junipers. His comments showed me that junipers need to be treated differently to the other species I grow in order to produce inspirational bonsai stock. Continue reading

Reduction pruning for Black Pines

Some time ago I promised to talk about how to find a bonsai in the mess of a field grown pine. A reader from South Australia has recently reminded me of this so here are a couple of pics for you Mark.

The first shows the tree before pruning. Nice nebari and a reasonably mature trunk but branches everywhere.

before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second pic shows the same tree after reduction pruning. Although it is a long way from finished it now has enhanced trunk movement and taper and should develop into a nice smaller black pine. Time will tell whether the jin remains and most of the thinner, low branches will be removed eventually, in the meantime they feed the tree.

after pruning

re-potting Callistemon ‘waterswept’

December is summer in Australia so here at Shibui Bonsai it is time to re-pot some of my native bonsai and potensai.

I started the day with my Callistemon ‘ waterswept’ bonsai. This one was slip potted into the current pot a few years ago but has not had a proper re-pot for quite a few years. It has finished flowering so it was time to stop procrastinating and get on with it.

before

 

Here is the tree before. The design is based on trees that grow in the bed of the nearby Ovens river with roots clambering over the rocks in midstream and all the growth battered downstream by frequent floods.

 

 

 

 

spent flowers

 

This one only produced a few flowers at the top of the tree this year. All the flowers have finished so it is a good time to re-pot.

rootball

after re-potting

After root pruning it was re-potted back into the same pot.
Potting mix is my standard mix with standard osmocote added.
I forgot to take a picture of the rootball after root pruning but the pile of old mix and roots I cut off will give you an idea how much the root ball has been reduced.

after pruning

After potting the tree back into its pot it has been given a final trim to remove the old flowers and any excess branches.
To get flowers next summer I must now leave the new shoots to grow and mature because Callistemon flower only on the shoots that grew the previous season.
Finally the tree is given a good soak in water then put back on its stand which is in full sun most of the day.