The 5th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition is just a few months away. The event will be held on September 10th and 11th in Rochester, New York – home to William N. Valavanis, the force responsible for bringing the event to life.
As always, there will be demonstrators from around the world, a large vendor area, and an exhibition featuring 250 bonsai displays.
Two years ago, I made my first visit to the event. I decided on the spot that I’d return for the next one as it was one of the most fun bonsai events I’ve attended.
This year I’ll be an exhibitor and a vendor. As a vendor, I’ll have a selection of tools, pots and supplies available, plus I’ll be bringing a small batch of black pines I’ve been growing for the past 12 years.
As an exhibitor, I’ll be showing a Korean hornbeam – the same tree that appeared in last year’s Artisans Cup in Portland, Oregon. I repotted the tree into a slightly larger pot this past winter and let it grow freely until I partially defoliated it in May.
Between now and the exhibit, I want to preserve the tree’s silhouette and ensure that light makes it into the tree’s interior. If I let the summer growth elongate and don’t cut again until right before the exhibit, the new leaves will shade the interior branches and cause them to grow weak.
To make sure the tree looks its best at the exhibit, I’ll shorten new shoots as they emerge and thin crowded areas.
Here’s what the tree looked like 8 weeks after partial defoliation.
Korean hornbeam (16″) – July, 2016
After a slight trim, the tree took on a more tidy appearance.
After minor cutback and thinning
I’ll continue to fertilize (moderately) and watch the water (carefully) like I normally do, but I’ll also turn the tree more frequently than normal to make sure the new growth comes out even.
The final step to prepare the tree for exhibit will be to prepare the top dressing, but that will wait until the weather cools a bit.
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