Saturday, November 24, 2012

Air layer-instant Brush Cherry (Eugenia).

I got this tree in the beginning of this year(about February 2012) as a Lollypop tree. I did not care much for the trunk and crown because the trunk was too straight. I liked it because the tree had a very nice base. When I inspected the crown I did found a trunkline and decided to go for a literati but I realized the tree was going to look a lot like my one of my Privets. I decided to air layer the tree not to waste the crown. I used the pot method with normal soil. I also removed branches to form the trunkline.

The air layer done in Autumn(March/April, I think.):

 A close up with a lighter as size comparison:
To force the layer to form roots quickly pieces of bark were removed on a regular basis. By October I removed the last piece of bark and the tree did not wilt. I removed the layer by using a saw. The tree did not wilt after removing it. Here you can see the screws I screwed into the trunk just below the lower cut to keep the pot upright. There was a hole cut into the bottom of the pot and the one side slit so the pot can be wrapped around the trunk. It was fastened with cable ties to keep everything together.

This is the biggest advantage of using the pot method. After removal the air layered part can be kept in the pot without any disturbance. Normal soil can be used so you dont get that entangled roots as with sphagnum.

 The tree removed from the pot- nice roots has formed:

Potted up into a plastic training pot:

Cleaned up and wired:

The whole process took me only seven months - can't wait to start working on the bottom trunk!

 I almost lost the tree after an overfeeding and poisoning the tree. I struggled for weeks to keep the tree green because I knew I had lost most of the root system. As a last resort I enclosed the pot with aluminum foil to prevent any water loss and to keep out water also from the soil. The foil was also to keep the tree in the pot because I turned the tree upside down and submersed the area of the tree above the soil level for 30 minutes every second day. Don't know if it helped but the tree seemed to respond well to this treatment. The tree beginning January after the treatment:

 From there the tree has recovered well and it seems I have pulled it through. The tree today(March 2013):

 I am going to let it grow wild so that it can grow a strong root system.

Very glad it did survive!

February 2014:

The tree has recovered well and I have planted it in a little bigger pot:

 After removing some unwanted growth and wires:
Slightly from above:

I have not yet decided on the final placement of the branches. I will let it grow freely for another two weeks before I cut back the twigs.

Will update then.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Acacia karroo - leaf stalks as twigs.

Acacia karroo is another tree in this group lending it self nice to the art of bonsai. The big difference for me is the tuft of leaves this tree make before a new shoot/inter node is formed. This tuft of two to four leaves will definitely help making a nice open umbrella or flat crown. The cluster of leaves on a new shoot:

It may be grown from seed which should be soaked in hot water and left overnight. You will see if this has been effective as the seed will swell up. Sow the following morning. Seedling trays with seedling mix can be used, or the seeds could be sown directly into black bags. Cover lightly with sand and do not allow to dry out. Germination usually takes 3 - 12 days. The seedling will transplant well in spite of the long tap root. Wait until they unfurl their second leaves before transplanting.

 In cold and dry areas the tree will be deciduous.

The sweet thorn is very adaptable to soil types and is frost and drought hardy. However, for best performance, water well and deeply (shallow, frequent sprinklings only encourage shallow root growth) until established. Plant with plenty of compost, bonemeal or superphosphates (commercial tree tablets also work well).

The growth rate is fast, up to 1m per year. The growth on this bonsai was obtained in two months time:

November 2009

August 2012

 September 2011

November 2012  before cut back.

 November 2012 after cut back - important to cut back again to last bud on twig.

The tree will be defoliated as soon as the new buds swell. From there it will be pinched regularly. In August 2013 it will be repotted in a bonsai pot.

More or less the vision I have for this tree.
The latest pics(October 2013):