Friday, April 19, 2013

Olea europaea spp. africana(Olienhout) - Take your time!

This small fruited variety of Olea is common here in South- Africa. They are frost hardy and prefer full sun. They are slow growing and they get very old with very hard wood.

For bonsai they are in general not grown from seed but grown from yamadori. Here is the typical habitat they grow in Rustenburg, South Africa:

This is the type of yamadori that you may find:
If you look hard enough you may find a once in a lifetime yamadori like this dug by Org Exley:
The best time to dig yamadori here is in early spring or early autumn but the trees can be dug any time of the year in temperate climates. The trees don't need many roots to survive the dig. Here is a extreme example of how little roots you need:
(Notice in the above pic- the trees grow here in clay soil.)

If the trees are dug in a dry season it does help if you keep the trunk overnight in a bath of water. The trunks can be planted in a normal good garden soil. Budding out of the yamadori differs tremendously with different trees- it can take up to one year for buds to show but most trees bud out within two months time.

Here are some trunks dug by Costa:

Once budding out the new growth grow very fast - but don't let that fool you! This is three months after this trunk was dug:

To get new branches to thicken up it may take years. Olive bonsai with nice thick trunks and nice nebari can be seen everywhere, but branches to fit the thick trunks are very rare! Best would be to plant the yamadori in the ground or big containers for the first few  years to grow out nice thick branches.

Here is a nice example of a bonsai grown from Olea europaea spp. africana

Here are two very beautiful forest settings made by Oom Theuns Roos from South Africa:

The trees react good to normal practices of bonsai. Twiggy growth is easy to obtain and the leaves reduce tremendously.

Because the wood is very hard carving is an option - but do wait with your refinement carving until the top growth have caught  up.

(Will post more pics soon.)