Last fall a friend dug up an olive tree growing as a weed in his backyard. He figured someone might be interested in it. I figured it would make a fun bonsai project.
The tree was tall and rangy but there was some taper at the base of the trunk.
Shoots emerging from the base of the trunk
Not needing the top of the tree, I cut it off and reduced the shoots growing from the trunk.
After removing most of the foliage
I bare-rooted the tree and removed almost all of the roots when I repotted in winter. Since then the tree has been growing well. You can see in the photos below how much it has grown in the past month.
New foliage – 4/28/12
Not all of the new growth is desired. Shoots keep emerging from the base of the trunk – a characteristic common to olives.
More shoots emerging from the base of the trunk
From these beginnings it’s easy to chart the tree’s journey towards becoming a bonsai. To offer an idea of how I hope to develop the branches, I included a photo of an olive bonsai displayed at this year’s Bay Island Bonsai exhibit.
Small olive bonsai
The tree has a great rootbase, but the branches are only a few years old. While my tree will not have the dramatic taper of this olive, the general silhouette will be similar.
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