Last year I started working on a Japanese black pine that was developed as a landscape tree (here’s Part 1 and Part 2 of the story). This year’s work was less exciting than last year’s, but it made me much happier. Why? Because I’m now committed to a design direction (i.e. I cut off most of the remaining branches). Here’s a picture of the tree from last year:
April 2012 – new needles are just starting to elongate
Last year’s needles grew in well and the tree regained some vigor. In fall I removed the old needles.
Not long after removing the old needles, I worked on the tree with Daisaku Nomoto. Nomoto and I agreed that a semi-cascade approach would be a good way to develop the tree. Originally I thought about making a full cascade, but the massive base lends itself better to the semi-cascade form. Were the transition from trunk to first branch more interesting and gradual, a cascade approach might have been the better option. With that decided, I sawed off the most of the top two branches.
After removing the top two branches
We left a little growth on the top branch to reduce the shock to the tree and to preserve as much lifeline as possible until it’s time to remove the top part of the trunk and create jin and shari.
To help me identify the front of the tree and planting angle, Nomoto rigged a copper wire and plumb bob. When the tips of the two wires meet, I’ve found my angle. The vertical aluminum wires indicate the selected front.
Nomoto commented that the rootbase could be better developed. To help existing roots thicken and to encourage new roots, Nomoto recommended I cover the roots with soil.
Root base – front
Root base – back
Roots covered with bonsai soil
With that finished, the tree is all set until decandling time.
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