Bonsai Tonight

Decandling – how late is too late?

Posted in Bonsai Development by Jonas Dupuich on October 31, 2014

Getting the timing right when decandling is as much art as science – or so it can seem. While it can be tough to determine the ideal time to decandle a tree upfront, in hindsight it’s usually pretty clear what went right or wrong (see When to Decandle for details).

When the proper time to decandle has come and gone, the options are to put off decandling until the following year or to decandle late and see what happens. As I’m often busy during decandling season, it’s not uncommon for me to decandle pines on the late side, and this year I was more behind than usual. For most of the trees that missed the cutoff, I left the spring growth alone. For a few others, however, I decandled late to see what would happen.

In general, I can decandle healthy young pines in mid-June.

Black pine

Decandled 6/22

Black pine

Summer growth – 10/29

In some cases, I was able to postpone decandling without many consequences. I decandled the pine below two weeks later on July 7.

Young black pine

Decandled 7/6

Black pine - decandled 7/6

Summer growth – 10/29

Possibly giving the tree an extra reason to push, I removed a large, cascading branch when I decandled. The remaining stub is now covered with small buds.

Black pine

Dense growth

With other trees I was less lucky. I decandled the pine below around the same time as the tree above.

Black pine

Summer growth – 10/29

As you can see, no summer shoots appeared. This case is a bit different from the trees above in that it has several large escape branches.

Black pine

Escape branches

Typically, trees with escape branches aren’t decandled as escape branches are designed to encourage vigorous growth and decandling aims to slow down growth. The tree above is a poster child for not decandling trees with escape branches.

Where does the energy that drives summer growth go in these cases? Often it’s diverted into the escape branches.

Young black pine

Decandled July 7

Black pine - decandled 7/6

Summer growth – 10/29

Instead of producing summer shoots where I decandled, the tree produced summer shoots on the escape branch. The branches I cut, meanwhile, set plenty of buds for next year.

Black pine

Little summer growth

Strong buds

Healthy buds for next year

Of course, I decandled the above pine on the late side – July 7. I decandled a similar pine with a large escape branch that is twice its age – 20 years old instead of 10 years old – a month earlier. This tree came out fine.

Black pine - after decandling

Decandled June 7

Black pine - decandled 6/7

Summer growth – 10/29

More from the International Bonsai Arboretum

Posted in Excursions by Jonas Dupuich on October 28, 2014

One of the first trees you spot at William N. Valavanis’ International Bonsai Arboretum is a wisteria planted unconventionally in an unconventional pot.

Wisteria

Wisteria in Tokoname bucket

Beyond it reside trees from the Valavanis Bonsai Collection – an impressive assortment of bonsai cultivated over many years. Below the collection one finds greenhouses and growing grounds with trees for sale ranging from starter material to exhibit ready trees. It takes a long time to wander through it all and when I got to the end I turned around and went through it all again.

Japanese maple

Japanese maple

Hornbeam

Hornbeam

Japanese maple -kotohime

Japanese maple – kotohime

Japanese maple -kotohime

Great roots

Japanese maple -kotohime

Japanese maple – kotohime

Japanese maple - shishigashira

Japanese maple – shishigashira

The day I visited Hiroyoshi Yamaji, in town to participate in the US National Bonsai Exhibition, was giving a workshop. Between visits to the garden, I watched Yamaji help participants get their trees into shape.

Hiroyoshi Yamaji

Hiroyoshi Yamaji

Trident maple

Trident maple

Hornbeam

Hornbeam

Scots pine

Scots pine

Trident maple

Trident maple

Chinese quince

Chinese quince

Scots pine

Scots pine

Trident maple

Trident maple

Screenhouse

Screenhouse

International Bonsaid

The nursery at the International Bonsai Arboretum

Keep up with events and news from the International Bonsai Arboretum at Valavanis’ Bonsai Blog.

The International Bonsai Arboretum

Posted in Excursions by Jonas Dupuich on October 24, 2014

When I was in Rochester, NY, for the 4th US National Bonsai Exhibition, I made sure to visit the best known bonsai garden in the area – the International Bonsai Arboretum, home of the Valavanis Bonsai Collection.

International Bonsai

International Bonsai Arboretum

Within moments of stepping foot inside the Arboretum, several things become very clear. There are many beautiful trees here. The breadth of varieties is impressive. And Valavanis has been at this for a long time. The age and character of the trees in his garden reveal many years in the making – a testament to more than 50 years of hard work.

Chinese quince

Chinese quince

Euonymus

Euonymus – one of my favorite trees in the garden

As we toured the garden, Valavanis pointed out highlights and surprising facts. The corkbark maple landscape tree and the bonsai of the same variety growing beside it are the same age.

Cork bark maple

Corkbark maple

Cork bark maple

Corkbark maple

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the garden or who want to learn more, I strongly recommend a copy of Valavanis’ Classical Bonsai Art – a study of the creation of 100 of his best trees. See a good review at The Bonsai Journal.

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum

Silverberry

Silverberry

Hornbeam

Hornbeam

Trident maple

Trident maple

After walking through the garden for a while I reflected on how much effort must be required to keep so many trees in such good shape. I’m not sure how Valavanis does it, but I’m glad he finds the time for it.

Ginkgo

Ginkgo

On display in the tokonoma

Scots pine

Scots pine

Dwarf Alberta spruce

Dwarf Alberta spruce

Shohin bonsai

Shohin bonsai

Japanese maple

Japanese maple

Japanese maple -kiyohime

Japanese maple – kiyohime

More highlights from the Arboretum next week.

Suiseki at the 4th US National Bonsai Exhibition

Posted in Exhibits by Jonas Dupuich on October 21, 2014

This year’s US National Bonsai Exhibition included a special treat for suiseki enthusiasts – the Invitational Suiseki Exhibition. Fifty stones from around the world were displayed with accents and bonsai.

Suiseki

Suiseki

Suiseki

Suiseki

It was quite a bonus to see such great stones so well displayed.

Suiseki

Three-point suiseki display

Suiseki

The stone

Daiza

Daiza by John Naka

Suiseki

Formal display with scroll

Suiseki

The stone on a pillow

Each stone warranted attention for its shape, color and texture.

Suiseki

Suiseki

Suiseki

Suiseki

Accent

Accent

Suiseki

Suiseki

Suiseki

Figure stone

Crab

Crab accent

Suiseki

Hut stone

Accent

Accent

Suiseki

Suiseki

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