DEADWOOD AND WIRING WORK ON MY OLD YAMADORI PRUNUS MAHALEB FROM SLOVENIA.

Hi, everybody,

two weeks ago we had some record-breakingly warm weather so it was a great opportunity to do some wiring and deadwood work on one of my favourite Prunus Mahaleb Yamadori’s from Slovenia. This pre-Bonsai is full of naturally burned and sun-bleached deadwood and I want to recreate that in the Jin and Shari where I am going to work on. Almost all of the branches of this tree are newly grown by me and need more fine branching and ageing, but I am not in a hurry! I was a bit laid with wiring it almost completely and had to take great care not to break off any of the new growth that was emerging fast because of the sudden warm weather of the last few days! We went from frost in the night to almost 30 degrees during the daytime in one week time…really crazy weather!!! After I finished the wiring and styling it, for now, I started to work on the front Jin and Shari with a power tool. The main focus was on reducing the Jin and Shari because there is a reverse taper and bulging section on it that needs to be reduced and shaped as natural as possible so that it will fit in with the rest of all the natural deadwood on the tree!

Below: The Prunus Mahaleb after I just finished the wiring. Height 67 cm. I kept it as natural looking as possible and preserved the second small trunk on the left bottom side of my design! I allowed it to grow freely to create a for now still young looking small secondary tree to accompany the larger tree on the right! I guess you could call it a Mother and child design?!

Below; the red arrow points at the deadwood part that is thicker than the section below it. The Jin is to thick and the section below it is somewhat bulging and forms a reverse taper!

Below: Taking my time and enjoying it while I am tacking away excess wood and shaping at the same time. I love this faster creating and result part of doing Bonsai!

Below: The result is that the Jin is less bulky now and looks like the remainings of a large branch/trunk that has been torn off by a storm that created a long wound that runs down through the bark below it. In that way, the reverse taper or bulge is less obvious! Now the fresh deadwood needs to be scorched with a small burner to mimic the crackly image of the originally burned deadwood on this tree.

Below: after carefully burning the fresh deadwood it looks just like the original deadwood of this tree. I will not brush it to preserve the cracks that look just like the ones on the natural deadwood on the right side of it! There is a forecast of rain for the next couple of days so I will bleach it with diluted Lime sulfur to mimic the original lightly bleached deadwood! I will post pictures of it later.

Hope you enjoyed this little story?!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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LINK TO: Decandling black pine bonsai – an in-depth guide by JONAS DUPUICH.

Hi everybody,

I just finished reading a great article on the BONSAI TONIGHT FORUM by Jonas Dupuich about “DECANDLING BLACK PINE BONSAI” and it is so well written, easy to understand and all you need to know that I would like to share it with you all! HERE is the link and thanks to Jonas Dupuich for writing this very helpful article!!!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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SAWING ONE SABINA YAMADORI IN HALF TO CREATE TWO SEPERATE PRE-BONSAI!

Hi everybody,

this is the story about the repotting of one Yamadori Sabina that will end up with two?! I bought this nice mid-sized Yamadori a year ago and let it untouched all this time to make sure that it was enough settled and strong enough to repot safely. I acquired it because of its stunning movement with a lot of deadwood and because there was (maybe) the possibility to separate it into two beautiful small trees! Buth early this year I started to see a decline in this little tree health and I decided that I would take it out of its plastic container because I wanted to see what caused this?! And now looking back, I am glad that I did because it was planted after collecting in some sort of very compact sticky muddy soil with not much-draining capability?! So with a lot of frightened anticipation, I took it out of its container to find what I was afraid of…poor soil! So even though it was not in a good condition I had to act before the tree would suffer even more, so I decided to free it from all this bad soil and plant it in a proper Bonsai soil mixture in which it could recuperate to become healthy and happy again!

Below: the two trunks Sabina Yamadori.

Below: close up of two separate trunks. One all twisted and turned with a long twisted Jin and the other one slanting more straight and gently twisting with a foliage crown at the end.

Below: viewed from another angle.

Below: released from its plastic container.

Below: Carefully and anxiously combing out the roots hoping for plenty healthy roots and for roots on both trunks so that they could be separated from each other without any danger or problems?!

Below: looks promising with plenty roots!

Below: look at all those roots on the left and the right trunk…but is it enough so that the two trunks can be separated?!

Below: red arrow points to roots growing from the curly trunk. Green arrow points at a thick root that grows to the right from the curly trunk. Blue arrow points to roots that grow from this thick root…so there are more than enough roots to keep the curly trunk alive and healthy when it could be separated from the second straight trunk! The white arrows point at the root mass that grows from that second straight trunk! The yellow line in the middle of the picture shows the spot where the two trunks could be separated from each other!

Below: seen from the other side. Red arrow point at the roots that grow from the end of that thick root that grows from the curly trunk. The yellow line shows the spot where the two trunks will be separated.

Below: the cut will be made from this side right across that yellow line.

Below: carefully cutting with the help of a power saw.

Below: mission accomplished! The two trunks are separated successfully! The straight trunk on the left has more than enough roots. And the right side curly trunks roots are spread out on the plastic green surface and look more than enough…so I am relieved and very happy! Now I have to keep the exposed roots moist of one of them while I plant the other into its new home away from his brother or sister?!

Below: this repotting and separation even reviled an more than welcome unexpected wide rootbase on the curly tree!!! Making it even better than it already was!!! And this provided a better anchor point to secure it to the pot with wires!

Below: with the help of a chopstick the soil mixture containing Akadama, Kiryu and Bims is pushed in between all the roots, making sure that now are pockets are left!

Below: then the tree is watered thoroughly until the water that runs out of the pot is clear of any dust!

Below: next the straight trunk is prepared to go in its new home. Here a long thick death root is cut off so that it will fit easier in its pot.

Below: the tree placed on the bottom layer of large particles soil for extra drainage. Just look at all those roots that fill almost the whole pot!

Below: two wooden blocks are placed under the right side to support the tree into its new desired position and then it is firmly anchored to the pot with thick wires.

Below: carefully bringing in the soil.

Below: then watering it like before. In the next couple of weeks, the trees will be kept in a warm spot with filtered sunlight and their foliage will be misted a couple of times a day to help them safely through this period

Below: separated but still together they stand here at their start as two future Bonsai.

I hope you enjoyed this little story of one Sabina Yamadori that became two pre-Bonsai with hopefully a bright future ahead of them?!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com.

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A short “Crataegus” story.

 

Hi, everybody,

in November 2006, my dear friend Tony Tickle invited me to come to England to do the (now famous) all weekend “BURRS” workshop. I arrived a few days before all that fun would start because Tony would take me and Morten into the beautiful “Wells” mountains for a walk and to try to find some collectable “Crataegus” yamadori. Well, I got very lucky when I discovered a small one with a lot of potential! I have no pictures of the actual collecting of the tree, but this is the view from that same place where the “Hawthorn” of this story was found and without much trouble collected by me.

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She grew on a steep mountainside in soil, consisting of almost nothing else than small rocks and gravel, from which I could almost entirely collect her with nothing more than my bare hands (that looked and felt like they had been looking for a pin in a pin stack)! Never the less, she had managed to grow surprisingly good roots, with a lot of small feeder roots growing close the base of the trunk. So I could cut the to larch roots back without causing to much harm to the health of the tree. From experience, I know that next Spring the tree will react to this hard root and branch cut back, with much growth of small feeder roots, that will secure the health of the tree, during this time it is recovering from the stress caused by collecting it and potting it. As soon as the tree was lifted from the ground the bare roots were wrapped in wet sphagnum moss and then put into a plastic bin bag that was tightly wrapped with plastic tape. Early next day at the venue in “BURRS” my good friend Terry Foster helped me to plant the tree in a plastic training pot, making sure that the tree was firmly secured to the bottom with aluminium wires. The Hawthorn stayed in Tony’s care during that winter. He placed the tree in his greenhouse on a heating bed. In February the following year, Tony came, just like me and many others, to the “Noelanders trophy” in Belgium to show his Bonsai and to meet up with all our bonsai friends from all over Europe that come there every year as well. He kindly brought along my Hawthorns I collected and so after the show they finally came home with me to my little garden in Holland. The Hawthorns ( I collected two) were placed in my greenhouse for protection during the rest of that Winter. In Spring I was delighted to see that the trees literally burst out with new buds all over. I removed all the buds that were unnecessary for my design from the trunk, simply by rubbing them off with my fingers. Leaving unwanted buds to grow will take the strength away from other more important buds and will leave unwanted scares in your trunk. The tree was allowed to grow freely the next growing season, in a semi-shaded place in my garden. In the next picture from August that year, you can see that she was doing really well and I knew then that I could safely give it here first styling at the end of the winter before the buds start swelling.

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    And this is how the tree looked in February 2008 before the work started.

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OK, before I start to work: have a look at the next two pictures of the front and back of the tree and try to discover the future  design I discovered in this little “Hawthorn”

                                Have you found it? This is what I have in mind:

To reach this ideal profile or frame, I had to do some major branch cutting! Always trying to leave as little wounds as possible, where there was no room for some deadwood/Shari on the trunk.  

As you can see in the pictures below, the yellow cuts were not much of a problem to do, but the red cut was a bit harder to reach with cutters or normal saw!  

 

First, all the excess branches were cut off, so I could get a  good firm hold on the tree, while I was sawing away, without pricking myself a thousand times! Then, with the help of a very sharp small bladed woodcutters knife, that is used by foresters, I was able to remove the thick branch in one go.

 Then one by one and bit by bit all the other useless branches were cut back.

A  large branch cutter, like  I use here, is a priceless tool for this kind of work! It makes a clean cut in one go, without placing to much sideways force on the tree and roots, like a saw or power tool does. No matter how good you think you hold the tree in place!

Slowly, with every cut, the new shape of this tree is revealed! All wounds are worked over with concave cutters to promote better wound healing. So that in a few years,  the tree is left with large, but natural looking scares, that can be seen on every Hawthorn here on the coastline.

After all the wounds were cut back sufficiently, they were sealed with cut paste. The large wound on the left of the tree (middle picture) is cut back to about 2,5 cm/1 inch of the truck. In the future, this stump will be worked into a small Jin + Shari or maybe only a   Shari? But this work is left for the future! Because doing it now and then leaving such a large open scare, right on the trunk line, could cause die back in the trunk! Every large wound that is left exposed to the elements; will dry/die back,    interrupting the sap flow between roots and branches! Which could kill your branches and roots or even your whole tree! Because I left the bark on this little stump, it will stay alive for a long time, preventing the possibility of trunk die/dry back!  The tree will probably even throw out a bunch of strong shouts along the rim of the wound, the tree’s own bandage! A sign the tree’s sap stream is pumping along the wound. Only after the tree has shown these signs of full recovery, will I start to take that stump away, bit by bit.

Below: Now only the top needs to be shortened right above the second right                              small branch leaving some room for the die/dry back! 

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For now, I’m really pleased with the outcome of this little Hawthorn, I love it’s movement and bark texture. I am really looking forward, to next season to see where all the buds will appear! If I’m lucky they will grow just about where I need them.  And if not….who cares? Together, we will think of something.

I hope you liked what I did so far? And I will keep you all posted on this little tree’s progress.

Regards,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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“MOM’S YEW” DESIGN VIEWS. PART 2

So let’s look at another design option for Irene’s Yew. Again I start with the same drawing of the frame of the tree, without the branches.  

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So now I want to try and see if I can get any movement in this straight tree. I plane to use the right branch, it grows at a nice angle from the trunk and has a nice secondary branch growing on an interesting place. So now I will virtual tilt the tree to the left to create some movement and angles to the tree trunk.

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It’s a start, but still not enough movement for my liking!

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Now we are talking! I like to create angles in my designs, and I like to have branches, foliage or Jin’s emphasising the movement these angles create. Let me try to explain: the arrow on the left points at the future corner in my trunk design. This is a point were your eye, when you follow the line of the trunk upwards, turns from going left, to going right. If you emphasize this important point with a branch,  foliage or Jin, you will create a place for the eye to stop at, before it travels further upwards. (second arrow)

Those two thick trunks on the left are too straight and without any interest (in this design!). So they must be converted into deadwood,  so they are used to benefit the design.

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Here you can see how I might shape the Shari and Jins to emphasize that part where the tree changes direction. I also converted the back branches into Jins. Now I’m going to place the foliage in such a way that brings balance to the overall design. But also in a way that again enhances the movements of the tree!

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It is not easy to draw a picture with my mouse, but something like this is what I mean. Now the same tree is transformed in a typical bonsai style. That evokes a completely different feeling than the early-er formal broom style I made.

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First, the movement of the tree goes to the left and then where it changes to the right, I created an eye catcher in the form of that Jin. A place for the eyes to stop on there way up the tree and to enhance the change in trunk direction. It also divides the, otherwise to big,    empty space on the left side of the tree, preventing that the tree is being pushed too much to the right and looking unbalanced.

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The first branch on the right leans nicely on the empty space that is trapped under-need it (dotted line).  Supporting the tree imaginary, holding it up, and therefore keeping the tree in balance. Empty spaces are one of the most important features for a successful design but are often neglected or misunderstood.

So there you have it, another vision and possibility for “Mom’s Yew”. I will have another idea ready in a few days. We have a lot to think about and a lot of decisions to make! But that is the fun in designing a bonsai.

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com    

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