Styled by: Benjamin Lorber and Ben Agresta
Tree bought from: Mike Rogers
Styled on 6/10/17
I was over at my new Bonsai friend Ben's house exploring his growing collection of trees. I was there to help him with some trees, teach him some Bonsai technique, and have some laughs. We were walking through his trees and this Burtt davyii nana was a tree that caught my eye.
This tree was bought from my good friend Mike Rogers. It was bought because it's a ficus and hard to kill. This tree was begging for some love so I told Ben this tree would be a great way to start the day and teach him a few things. So we got to defoliating and trimming
Some ask why defoliate trees. The reason is to be able to see into the tree and make it easier to wire, but to also reduce the size of the leaf. Now it is time for wire and placing branches.
Something I was always taught and I told Ben this, is to do all the tree work in the current pot because if you take the tree out and put it in a new pot then try to move branches... The tree isn't secure in the pot so you will be shaking the tree which isn't good for the tree's roots.
Now that all of the tree work is done, lets take the tree out and look at the roots.
This tree looks like it hasn't been repotted in a few years. The soil is very broken down and is in need of new soil. Lets go to the hose to see what roots we really do have.
That big tap root needs to go! Then those circling roots. Lets get to cutting! Here is the result
Now it is time to choose a pot.
I found this pot. Ben said the pot is by Tani Ranzan and we both agreed that the tree would look great in the pot! Here is the pot.
So then I showed him how to tie the tree into this cool pot.
Here is how the tree turned out.
The top of the tree needs to be moved right but I didn't because the tree was cracking. This would give me nice movement. Mike the original owner thought the tree came out nice. Ben and I both were very happy with the result and can't wait to see what it looks like in a few years!
Happy 2017!! Lets make this a great year!
A few weeks ago my local Bonsai club had it's annual winter picnic. At this winter picnic, there was a new species of tree I had never tried to grow before. At first I thought it was a different kind of cypress but after asking around the club I found out it was a Dawn Redwood.
I found out this tree was donated by Adam of AdamAskWhy.com and has been growing it for a few years. As you will see later in the post it looks airlayered but Adam informed me it isn't. He told me his friend Nick Alpin got the seeds online and planted them. At the time Nick was playing around with a bunch of seeds and became too successful with them so he ended up giving a bunch to Adam.
Here is some info about the Dawn Redwood. This species of tree is deciduous, meaning it goes to sleep for the winter. This is one of 3 kinds of Redwoods. This particular one (Dawn) is native to China. Dawn Redwoods are fast growing trees.
First things first, time to defoliate the tree to make it go to sleep for the winter so I can successfully repot it without it dying.
When repotting a Dawn Redwood and it hasn't dropped it's leaves yet, you have to cut the whole compound leaf off. Here is the bare tree without any leaves
Now it's time to take the tree out of the pot.
The soil is so bad I have to hose it all off.
Now lets see what those roots look like
Wow! Look at those roots!
Remember at the beginning when I said it looked like an airlayer and we would talk about it later? Well here is the later. If you can see, there is 2 sections of roots. From the inbetween area to the bottom is where there could have been the airlayer materials. The tree doesn't appear to have a tap root either.
Now I'll clean up the roots
Ahhh, a lot better. But what is that I see? An interesting base?
Look at that! That makes a straight trunk more interesting!
Time to pot it!
I am going to put it in an even bigger pot to really let it grow wild. I will put it in a 3 gallon pot.
I put it in the pot with 50/50 potting soil and perlite mix.
Here is the final tree
I left it tall for it to grow and I straightened it in the pot because of the nice base. I will watch this tree in the coming weeks to see when it pops out and post an update when that happens.
See everyone next time!
I was at my local club workshop and I brought a buttonwood that was purchased from the buttonwood queen, Mary Madison. I have been growing it and wondering what to do with it. Adam of AdamAskWhy.com had a vision of what to do with the tree.
Here is the front I walked into the workshop with:
But we decided to change the front to this:
We talked about what to do with it and decided to jin the top of the tree because of how straight it is. So first he took all the branches off
then we took everything off the top, the bark, the wood, and the cambiam. We also changed the front in the pot
Adam then took the torch and bent the deadwood to make it all old and twisty
After moving the wood and adding wire, he bent the branches in a gnarly way.
Here is the before:
The awesome after:
Thank you so much Adam! Can't wait to see this tree in 5 years!
On World Bonsai Day Weekend (May 13-15), I was at my friend Randy Clarks house. We went to a World Bonsai Day celebration at a local nursery and the day after he let me work on some trees.
I told Randy that later in may at the Bonsai Convention I am attending, I am doing a styling competition. The species I was going to style is a Procumbens nana Juniper. Since I don't have any juniper I can practice on at home, I asked if I could work on one of his.
He picked this one out:
Randy said trim the juniper. So we brought it inside to his studio and I started to trim.
He said start at this pad. He showed me how to trim a juniper since I wasn't 100% sure.
He said cut between the little needles shown below. Notice I did not say pinch. Always cut the junipers
So I trimmed the pad this way also cutting off everything growing straight down.
This is how the pad turned out:
So I trimmed the rest of the tree defining each pad and here is the after:
Working on this tree did prepare me for the styling competition later in May.
Here is what was given to me to style for the competition:
It is always hard figuring out which branches to use when the tree is super full and never been styled before but I think I picked the right branches and padded the tree out nicely.
Here is the after:
I feel like I did a really good job on the tree. I even used a friends dremel and took a shot at carving for the first time.
Here is a close up of both dead wood features:
I asked Bjorn Bjorholm to critique the tree and he said I did a very good job. He said I should have left a little more foliage on the tree but otherwise I did very good! Bjorn said my wiring skills are at a B- level, which to me is a big complement!
In case you dont know who Bjorn is, here is Bjorn working on a hackberry.
Here is the afters of both Procumbens nana Junipers I worked on in the month of May:
See you next time!
After reading the title, you are wondering a pine!? I've never done a post on a pine. This pine is from one of my great bonsai friends Mike Rogers. We were going through his nursery and I found this little guy.
I had the idea to put a piece of wire on it and put some movement into it. I asked Mike to help me since I did not want to break the tree in half
So when I did this, it was February 16. I took the pine home and it has been living on my bench for a few weeks.
After taking it home, I wanted to find out why it was called a Mikawa Black Pine and not just a regular Black Pine. I found out that Mikawa is a place in Japan where these pines are found. I found this out from Peter Tea's website. This particular Pine was grown from a seed.
So on February 28, I repotted the Pine into a colander. The reason you repot into a colander is on this website. So now it's time to take the tree out of the pot.
Wow! Look at those roots!! I did not expect that many roots!!
Now if you notice the white stuff, many may think it is a bad thing to have in the soil. But it is actually very good for the tree. Some plants rely on this stuff for survival. The white stuff is called Mycorrhiza which is very good for the roots and the tree! Mycorrhiza is a symbiotic relationship between the roots of a plant and a fungus. According to Wikipedia, at least 80% of the land plant species have mycorrhiza.
Now it's time to rake the soil off the tree. I usually bare-root the tree with the hose but you should really try not to bare-root conifers. So for this tree, I will use my trusty root rake.
The soil came off a lot easier than I expected! After getting rid of the soil, it seems there is more trunk then originally thought. This will make it an even better tree! If you notice in the picture there is luckily some extra wire that was used for the original styling that can be used. Now, time to make this tree even more interesting!
Before I show you the finished tree, here is the before picture.
And the after
Wow, what a transformation!! I can not wait to see what this tree looks like in a few years!!
Hope you learned a lot about pines and will see you next time!!
Recently, I was learning about forrest planting. Then apply what was learned to a forrest planting using cypress. Me and 2 other people created a 5 cypress forrest planting. We picked out a nice yellow looking pot for all of the cypress to go in.
The first thing to do to the cypress is prepair them to be put in the pot. After being prepaired, then we had to figure out how we wanted the cypress arranged... When arranging a forrest planting, you do not want what they call a "picket fense", you want to make it interesting and most importantly... NATURAL
As you can see, we have the smaller lookng trunks torwards the front. The reason for this was to make it controversal. We wanted to get people talking!
Now postitioned how we wanted it, it's time to chop the cypress to different hights. You do this to make it more interesting. If you go outside and look at a forrest, not every tree is the same size and thickness. That's why you use skinnier and thicker trees, and taller and shortet trees.
Off it goes!
And that's it! I'm going to show you the after picture but first from the sides... When you do a forrest planting, you need to be able to see each part of each trees trunk. Take a look and see if you can spot all 5!
And here is the front. I love the way it turned out and can't wait to see what it looks like all full and grown out!
Who remembers this Hackberry root?
If you don't remember this Hackberry root, take a look at this post. This was one of the Hackberry roots my friend Adam gave me from his big Hackberry tree.
Below is the big Hackberry my root came from. Check out his post on his tree here.
The tree turned out great!! I gave Adam my opinion in the post, you will have to check the post out!
I bet it is growing wild right now just like mine are!
Alright, to my Hackberry... This Hackberry was one of the survivors of what I got from Adam. It is growing great... Want to see?
It's grown a lot since January! I have not trimmed on it at all, it has just been left to grow.
The trunk is going to be really nice one day...
Look at those roots!! Most of those are new since I have put it in it's current pot in January.
This Hackberry looks great right now!! I am not going to work on it for a while because I do want the trunk to thicken and I want more branches to pop and grow.
The other Hackberry roots are alive but the cutting unfortunately did not make it... I recently pulled the cutting out of the pot and it had no roots. It had dropped it's leaves about a month earlier. The other Hackberry trees are growing a lot but have not grown like this one. That's why I choose this Hackberry to update on.
In the future I will update on the others.
Until next time...
I haven't decided what tree to post next, so you will have to check back and see!
Happy May and Happy World Bonsai Day!! May 9 is World Bonsai day, so get outside and do some bonsai!!
Enjoy Your Day and Work on Your Bonsai!!
On Friday the 20th, I was at a bonsai club meeting. While I was there, I found out that my friend Dustin had gotten hurt a little while back and could not work on his tree that he brought along with him. So he asked me for help!
Below is an old picture of the tree I will be working on:
I unfortunately did not get a before picture... I had Dustin send me a picture of his tree and this is what he could find. When I worked on his tree, it was a lot more flushed out and had a ton of growth on it.
I trimmed and wired the tree. It was a ton of fun to work on this tree! Thank you Dustin for letting me help you work on this tree!
Below is the result:
And here is the top of the tree:
The tree has a good pin wheel look to it from the top!
If you would like to learn more about the Tiger Bark Ficus and just ficus in general, click here.
I hope you have enjoyed and learned about the Tiger Bark Ficus! (by clicking the link)
Ben jamin Lorber
I LOVE Bonsai!! I have participated in many styling competitions and have even won! I have also displayed many trees in many exhibits!
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