Root over Rock

I’ve done some previous posts on how to start root over rock trees. Try these links to find a couple of articles on early ROR development Shibui Bonsai style.

Today as I was digging this year’s new ROR tridents from the grow beds I realised I have probably not followed up with subsequent care so this one adds some more second and third year info.

These root over rock tridents have now had a full year in the grow beds. Trunks have thickened well but what about those roots?

Unwrapped to check progress.

The roots on these 3 have a firm grip on the rocks and have thickened well.

There are many things that can go wrong during ROR development. Here are a couple.

The root marked with a blue line goes under the other roots. As it thickens it will lift the upper root away from the rock and leave an unwanted gap.

Here you can see the space that root has already made in just 1 year. I’ve wrapped this in foil again and fingers crossed the roots will fuse and stop pushing away. Much better to ensure that major roots don’t overlap when putting your ROR together right at the start.

This time the roots are not wrapped right round the rock so they don’t hold on well. The rock drops out if I don’t hold it carefully. As the roots thicken they’ll just push the rock out of the roots.

The reverse side of the same ROR. Some of the outer roots are still flexible enough to move so I’ll try to wrap them further round to try to grab the rock tight then wrap it again.

Now for pruning: Root over rock bonsai show a tree that’s grown in adverse circumstances – either on a mountain cliff or where erosion is severe. Trees in such areas are unlikely to grow tall and straight so I’m always looking for places to add bends and taper to the trunks. Here’s one that shows the initial pruning process.

Side 1: The trunk has some nice low curves but then splits into 2 thick trunks above. Roots look OK this side

reverse side: One strong dominant root on this side and look how straight and strong the upper part appears from this side.

I’ve selected the first side and pruned the entire rear part away. The front branch now adds another bend to the trunk as well as taper. That upper section is longer than I’d like. I’m hoping for new side shoots to grow after this pruning. Fingers crossed I will be able to chop back to one next year.

From the back: The cut will take a year or so to heal over. Cutting here may even slow the growth of that thick root and allow some others to catch up.