The basics of fall work on ume are straightforward: remove the old leaves and prune to silhouette and/or the desired internode length.
Before removing the leaves – no signs of fall color
Fall has been mild this year so the leaves remained healthy into December. By removing the leaves, I could better see what branches had grown since I last pruned the tree in spring.
After removing the leaves
Although it’s hard to see from the photos, I made a lot of cuts to remove dead branches and stubs. I also shortened the relatively small number of branches that extended beyond the desired silhouette.
After cutback – 16″
When I finished the pruning, I applied cut paste to the wounds and returned the tree to the bench.
For a reminder of the progress the tree has made over the years, I dug up a photo from when I first planted it at this angle in 2015.
Establishing the current planting angle in 2015
This, of course, reminded me of how the tree used to look. Here’s a shot from 2003 when the tree was grafted with branches that produced white flowers.
2003 when all three trunks were still alive
Going further back, here’s a photo of the tree after I wired it for the first time.
1994(ish) – initial styling
I was about a year or two into bonsai when I acquired the tree as part of a workshop with Kathy Shaner. The tree was field grown by George Muranaka and sourced for the class by Max Cooperstein.
About a year later, I removed all of the branches and grafted new foliage as I prefer white single flowers to double pinks. I kept the tree that way for several years until two of the three trunks died. That’s when I turned the tree on its side, selected a semi-cascade form for it, and began training the remaining branches.
Over the next few years I’ll aim to improve the branch density on the lower branches in hopes of showing it, when it’s ready, in a winter exhibit.
News & Updates
- Spots are still available for the Shohin School’s Winter Seminar on January 27-28 in Milwaukie, Oregon. Andrew Robson and I created the event to jump start shohin education in the US. Learn shohin display from Gafu-ten judge Daisaku Nomoto, practice creating your own displays, and shop from shohin-themed vendors. Learn more about the event and sign up online at the Shohin School website.
- One of the biggest bonsai events of the year is coming up before you know it. On May 3-5, 2024, the Bonsai Central convention will kick off in St. Louis, Missouri, featuring headliners Bjorn Bjorholm, Andrew Robson, Tyler Sherrod, Young Choe, Marija Hajdic, and Mauro Stemberger – one of the strongest lineups in years! Sign up for worksohps, reserve your place for the demonstrations, and get access to the vendor area by registering at the Bonsai Central website.
- And in Southern California next month, space is still available for an intensive repotting workshop I’m leading at Kimura Bonsai Nursery on January 6th. Learn how to set your trees up for success in 2024 by joining us for a fun day in Castaic. Learn more at the Kimura Bonsai Nursery website.
Subscribe to Bonsai Tonight
New Posts Delivered Every Tuesday and Friday