Repotting recently grafted young pines is just like repotting non-grafted pines, only additional care is taken to avoid damaging the union.
Grafted cork bark black pine
After removing the pot
Note the white spot – there are signs of root adelgid infestation. For those curious to see how mycorrhiza differs in appearance from adelgid infestation, see below.
Mycorrhiza – and lots of it
Simply coming out the roots cleared away most of the affected area so I didn’t spray pesticides to address the adelgids.
After combing out the roots
I planted the pine in a colander.
Nestling the tree onto a mound of soil.
Once the tree was in place, I tied it in and added more soil. Using chopsticks, I worked the new soil in between the roots.
Before chopstick work
After chopstick work – notice the level of the soil has dropped
I then added soil to fill the pot and tamped it into place.
Now, one year later, it’s time to repeat the process. Both the scions and their hosts grew well last year, so I need to further reduce the regular black pine foliage to encourage the cork bark foliage.
I began by reducing the branches, leaving only one shoot on each tree. I then removed some needles. When there were branches growing above the scion that might shade it, I removed these branches first. The idea is to slow down the host tree and to provide the scion with as much sunshine as possible. Here’s what the process looked like for three young trees.
Cork bark black pine – 2 years after grafting
I left the grafting tape in place when I removed the grafting bag as it can help keep the scion in place while the union strengthens.
After removing one of the original branches
After removing a second branch
With the branches out of the way, I removed all of the old needles and a few new needles from the last remaining original shoot.
After removing needles
Here’s the same process repeated for two more trees.
2-year old cork bark black pine – the host tree is now five years old
After removing branches
After removing needles
Tree number 3
After removing branches and pulling old needles
Once the the cutback and clean-up was done, I repotted the trees – details next time.
It’s fun to see where bonsai come from. The journeys trees make from seed, layer, graft, cutting or point of collection can be subtle or dramatic. Rapid or dramatic changes are exciting, but continued improvement plays no less important a role in the creation of bonsai.
Following a tree’s history can also be informative. People who’ve been at it for a while can see how others approach similar work, and people with less experience may be able to catch a glimpse of what they’re getting into when they bring a tree home.
I’ve posted the mid-point of a project to develop a Yaupon holly and the progress to date below.
Half way there – January 2009
I’ve added additional steps along the way at Ask Bonsai Tonight in hopes that others will do the same. I encourage anyone interested to share their progress to date and provide updates as the progress continues. Thanks to Boon for the suggestion.
Last fall, Boon Manakitivipart brought a student from Thailand to work with him at Shinpukuji Bonsai Museum.
Removing leaves from a Chinese quince
Some of the work involved removing leaves from deciduous varieties including quince and trident maple.
After removing the leaves
Another trident maple with leaves removed
Fall is also a great time for working on black pines.
After removing last year’s needles and wiring
Trunk detail – what bark!
In addition to the museum’s outdoor display is an indoor display that often features seasonal trees like the Stauntonia below.
Stauntonia hexaphylla – “mube” in Japanese
A perennial favorite of Mr. Oomura’s is princess persimmon. Few gardens anywhere have the depth of the princess persimmon collection at Shinpukuji.
Trees not currently on display reside in Mr. Oomura’s garden. In addition to the museum pieces, Mr. Oomura’s collection includes many trees in development like the spruce below.
For those who haven’t had the chance to visit, here are a few shots of the temple grounds.
Stair in front of the main hall
Thanks again to Boon Manakitivipart for the photos.