Bonsai Tonight

White pine clean-up

Posted in Bonsai Development by Jonas Dupuich on September 30, 2014

Fall is a good time to work on white pine. The spring growth has hardened off, and the old needles are beginning to turn brown.

White pine

White pine in need of clean up

As the specimen pictured above was in need of a clean-up, I removed the old needles and lightly thinned branches in the strongest areas. I also took the opportunity to work on some of the deadwood. A couple of branches had died long ago but the bark had stayed put. To heighten the contrast between live and dead branches, I removed the bark from the dead branches, revealing yellowish brown wood beneath. I’ll let the newly exposed wood dry for the time being and will lime sulfur these areas in winter.

Deadwood

Before

Deadwood

After

Deadwood

Before

Deadwood

After

Deadwood

Before

Deadwood

After

White pine

 

White pine – after clean-up

If time permits, I’ll also wire the tree this winter. For a peek at what the tree looked like last year, see Daisaku Nomoto workshop.

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Dwarf Sawara cypress cutback

Posted in Bonsai Development by Jonas Dupuich on September 26, 2014

I’m now one year into a project to develop a dwarf Sawara cypress bonsai from nursery material. Last year I reduced the silhouette and repotted. Am doing the same this year.

Before cutback

Dwarf Sawara cypress

I removed between one and two inches of foliage.

Before cutback

Shoot before cutback

After reducing branch

Shoot after cutback

And I’ve pretty much decided on a front. To make it easier to appreciate the trunk from the front, a few small branches had to go.

Removing branches in front

Boon holding branches to be removed

A view of the trunk

View of trunk after removing branches

Almost done

Almost done

Cutback complete

Cutback complete

I’d like to get the silhouette even smaller to make the trunk look bigger by comparison, but that’s enough cutback and thinning for this year.

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Fall is for fertilizer

Posted in Bonsai Development by Jonas Dupuich on September 23, 2014

A few weeks ago I was struck by yellow foliage on a number of my young pines. After thinking about it for a moment, I came to the conclusion that I hadn’t been fertilizing enough. Black pines in development require a lot of fertilizer. If they don’t receive enough food they can quickly turn yellow. Fortunately the solution is simple – feed more! I began feeding my trees more frequently – about twice a week with fish emulsion – and applied chelated iron to help the trees green up. As you can see below, some of the trees greened up more quickly than others.

Pines

The tree on the left is still a bit yellow – both trees receive full sun

Feeding this time of year is important for all varieties as it’s the last chance trees get to increase their strength before winter. This is especially important for trees that we may not feed as heavily in the spring like white pines or deciduous varieties.

Depending on the weather, some varieties will continue to grow into December where I live. Others are already slowing down. I’ll continue to feed the trees that are active and slow the feeding schedule as the weather cools.

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Yaupon holly refinement

Posted in Bonsai Development by Jonas Dupuich on September 19, 2014

Once or twice a year, my Yaupon holly gets a haircut. I cut back to the silhouette, remove branches that are growing up down and thin branches in crowded areas. The work is fun and the result is pleasing.

Yaupon holly

Yaupon holly – before cutback

Yaupon holly

After cutback

Depending on the weather, I can expect a new flush of growth ahead of winter. Were I preparing the tree for exhibit, I’d cut back a little earlier to make sure new shoots enough time to fill the silhouette in warm or cold weather.

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