A few years ago I started a batch of exposed root pines – black and red. I let them grow for several years without wiring and they now look like this.
Black pine trained in the exposed root style
You’ll notice the trunk is completely straight – the least appropriate form for exposed root bonsai to take. What to do? Cut back to one of the lower branches.
This approach will work when at least one low branch is present. For this tree, I removed the largest sacrifice branches and left several small branches in their place. Once these smaller branches have thickened, I’ll remove the straight section of the trunk down to one of the lower branches.
After removing the sacrifice branches
If I put the tree back on the table without wiring at this point, I’ll end up with straight branches too. To avoid this, I selected a new leader and wired it.
After wiring the new leader
I took a similar approach with the red pine below with one key difference. Realizing that I couldn’t use such a straight trunk last year, I wired a few of the lower branches. This saved me some work this year as I don’t have to start from square one.
Red pine trained in the exposed root style
After removing the straight section of the trunk
Close-up of the lower branches I wired last year
I have yet to decide whether this tree will take an upright form or a cascading form so I’ll leave all of the wired branches in place for now and make the styling decision down the road.
Bay Island Bonsai Annual Exhibit, January 28-29
Save the date – next weekend is BIB’s 18th annual exhibit! The show promises to be a good one and there will be great shopping opportunities too. Saturday features an auction of member trees, and vendors and club sales run both days. I’ll be vending with an assortment of trees, pots tools and supplies. I’m also bringing trees and pots for the auction. See exhibit hours and location information here.