Sunday, July 28, 2013

Celtis africana 3 tree 5 trunk clump style.

I have bought this Yamadori (from a guy who was selling his collection)  in June 2009. It was planted in a black plastic nursery growth bag:

The trunks are about 70cm high and the base of the trees together is about 30-40 cm wide.

 In spring 2009 I replanted it in a plastic basin after removing some roots to lower the plant in the pot.  The four biggest mistakes I made, right from the beginning, were that I did not sprayed the tree insecticide, fungicide , did not seal the chops and I damaged the tree further more to make a deadwood feature on the biggest trunk.

Beginning 2010 I cut it back heavily and and smoothed of the chops done by the previous owner.

When replanting I noticed that there are 3 separate trees. I did not separate the trees because I did not want another single tree yamadori - I rather like the feel of the trunks together. Giving the grouping a name I think it can be called a clump- or sprout style.

This would probably be the front of the tree because all the trunks are visible and looking into the gap brings some depth to the planting:

I was thinking of styling the setting "into a dark fairytale forest thing. To work, it would probably has to have a lot of its trunks visible and strange, gnarling branches and somewhat abstract foliage pads... And it should have dead moss (ochre-ish brown) between the trunks."

Some virts by friends:

The scars of the chops presents a problem - I could either hide them with the foliage or make the scars part of the setting: a 5 trunk strike by lightning clump-style group :D . The biggest trunk has a sunburned area and then I was  not sure if the bark had died there. It felt hollow when I scratch that area. Later on another trunk got sun burnt - learned my lesson well!

The sun burnt area:
  I removed the dead bark to prevent insecy from hiding in there and to prevent the root from rotting.

This is one of my Celtis that I wire this time(spring) of the year. With the bare branches it is easier to wire - although it took me the whole week working on the tree at least one hour a day. Luckily I had a lot of used wire lying around so I did not cost me much.

Although this tree have a lot of problems I do love working with it....and I think I have rid the tree finally of scale after three years of spraying! I have also sprayed fungicide because I got some mildew in June. Will repeat the spraying tomorrow to play safe - the buds are swelling very fast!

I have also repotted the tree in a wider basin and tilted it about 20 degrees to the front - the main reason for all the rewiring.

I think my main love for this tree is it's unsure future - I must keep the veins healthy to fight the deadwood decay. This is also the reason I have sealed of all deadwood. I believe the dying bark was caused by moisture entering the top cracks in the deadwood and when the trunk got baked in the sun the vapor moved in between the deadwood and cambium cooking the cambium. I have also noticed it on some other trees and now I seal everything! I also remember, as a child, that we whitewashed all the lower trunks of fruit trees to prevent them from getting sunburn after they were pruned.

My main aim this season is to fatten up the lower trunks using sacrifice twigs. I will have to make sure that the top growth is also kept healthy to protect the veins running up to there. Because the deadwood is sealed of I don't think I will have any problems in that department any more.

"I would suggest Robert Stevens "transformation" approach, based on the  concept that the upper quarter or half of the trees died, by fire/ snowstorm/ crashing airplane etc. and they have since returned to health, which is what you will then depict (design)." - Brent
 November 2010:
February 2012:

July 2013:

And yes, I am keeping the "watszat":

The tree November 2013:

January 2014:
From the time  posted the last pic I pinched the growth in the upper part the crown heavily to force growth into the lower branches.

This is the tree now in March 2014:

The tree will be potted up in a nicer, but big pot in late winter.

In November I am going to remove the sealant and start working on the deadwood. I am not going to hollow it out too much and I am going to seal it up using a waterproof woodglue that will be colored using oxides.

I could use lime sulfur, which I also tint with oxides, to get some color into deadwood. I paint the deepest carved areas darker etc.

The problem with using lime sulfur is that it reacts with the waterproof woodglue (FB10 sealer) and then the woodglue becomes white and does not stay transparent.

At this stage it is more important to keep the deadwood healthy and dry - this is why I am going to paint in the texture on the deadwood like in a painting. The only reason why I want to do it is to make the tree looking better than it is now - the black sealant I used is a real eyesore.

I am going to let the lowest twigs grow out as much as possible - this species grows up to end of April, so I will get some thickness added to the lower branches. As you can see the growth is pinched heavily.

I will be wiring the upper branches a little bit upward. This tree was styled in my bonsai beginnings and I only thought about flat pads then.

I will probably wire the whole tree in late winter again - it is going to take meters of wire and hours of work - but that is the only way to get some structure/integrity to the design, into a tree.

I am trying my best to let branches cut the trunks so the taper problems can be hidden away.

The tree looks okay from a few sides - a round pot would probably be the best. I do love blue pots.
Repotting into a shallower plastic container:


 The tree today(December 2014):