Sunday, August 5, 2012

Formal upright Buddleja saligna.

I got this Buddleja saligna yamadori in 2009:

What drew me to the tree was the nebari: it looked good from a few sides. I did not have a formal upright tree so I decided to style this one as an old formal upright lightning struck tree with sweeping downward branches.
The species is an ideal bonsai candidate for the style because the leaves reduce very well and the wood is quite hard - a tree this size is probably more than 50 years old!

The biggest problem with this species, especially on older trees, is that the roots are directly connected to certain branches. When digging the yamadori, it is not normally a problem, but when working on a tree a cut root can mean a dead branch. It can also mean that the "vein", connecting the two may die leaving you with dead bark and later a deadwood strip.

The tree also bud out on these veins, so the branches on a vein must be balanced to keep each branch on the vein an equal chance to survive- if the lowest branch on a vein is left unchecked, higher up branches may die.

Because the tree is basal dominant it was important to me to get the highest growths as strongly growing as possible.

I carved back the top of the trunk to the last living buds to create some taper. This would be refined later on. The biggest reason for the carving at that stage was to see which buds/growths would survive.
The tree after the carving:
The new apex was picked up and wired to the deadwood. I was crucial that I get it as healthy as possible and with so much growth as possible so I decided to grow a little trunk line with branches there. Here is the apex picked up:
The tree June 2010:

As the tree was budding out I bend the twigs downwards as soon as possible to prevent them from being torn off the trunk later on. At that time I still need a lot of branches so I nurtured every bud showing by cutting back older branches.

By October 2010 the tree was coming along nicely:
Much needed higher and lower branches has budded out.

By December 2010 I decided to extent the carving to where the bark has died naturally:
February 2012 I extended the deadwood to the base of the tree:
In April 2012 I decided to thin out the foliage a bit because the inner leaves began to go brown - they were not getting enough sunlight.
Big mistake!
After the thinning we had a cold spell and the tree suffered through winter. Winter here is May-July. Early July I slip potted the tree into a bigger container because it showed new growth. It has recovered well and I did some refining carving.

Will update with the newest pictures in the next week.