Bonsai Tonight

Japanese maple project

Posted in Before and after by Jonas Dupuich on August 7, 2012

This past weekend, Bay Island Bonsai hosted workshops by visiting Japanese bonsai professional Akio Kondo. Six of us brought a variety of trees that Kondo helped clip, wire, and bend. The shaggiest of the lot was a Japanese maple that belongs to Jeff. It’s an old tree undergoing an extensive makeover. Here’s what it looked like at the start of the workshop.

Japanese maple

Shaggy Japanese maple

Kondo and Jeff made a plan for reducing the old apex. The black line below indicates where the trunk will be cut this winter. Just next to this line is a perfectly prepared wound. Kondo used an electric chisel to gouge out a knuckle just below the new apex. The cut is concave to allow scar tissue to develop without sticking out too much. After cleaning the wound, cut paste was applied.

Carving to help would heal

After cleaning the cut

Along the way, most of the long shoots were removed. The few remaining shoots will continue to grow to help thicken the lowest branches and the new apex. They too will be reduced when they reach the desired size.

After cutback

After reducing long shoots

Japanese maple

The outline of the future tree begins to take shape

On the other side of the room, Boon worked on a coast redwood. Like on the maple, most of the long shoots were removed, but the apex will remain until it reaches the desired size.

Coast redwood


Coast redwood before cutback (photo by Boon Manakitivipart)

Coast redwood

Coast redwood after cutback

Redwood bonsai is fun in that typical specimens don’t evoke the tall giants we’re familiar with on the west coast, but they do evoke a number of other characteristics – deadwood primary among them – that make for interesting bonsai.

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3 Responses

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  1. tmmason10 said, on August 10, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    What? No friday post?! I feel like my Friday isn’t complete, hope all is well Jonas.

  2. aircav1 said, on August 12, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    the trident maple didn’t need that much work,the groth shows that the tree is healthy,likes its placement. very nice tree. just sold my 200 year old elm broke my heart!

  3. 1socialyarnfreak said, on September 4, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Very impressive! I am interested Bonsi, I’ve only gone as far as purchasing a few instructional books, your blog inspires me to take that first big step into actually trying to create

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