The challenge with ume is that the work can only be done at certain times, meaning that progress on branch development and especially ramification is rather slow. Pruning during the growing season doesn’t guarantee back budding, but virtually guarantees no blooms that winter. Wiring in the fall knocks off the flower buds, so that has to wait until winter or early summer.
Some constructive feedback offered by some trusted bonsai friends included addressing the following items:
1. Continue developing the ramification.
2. Add more movement in the branches close to the trunk.
3. Stop painting the Shari white and let it rot a bit naturally.
So, recently I had a few hours to work on the tree a bit. It included pruning it back and wiring everything. Before the work:
Some of the coarse areas to address:
First right branch and straight-up branches:
How to address the peg-like stiff branch? Rip it out:
First left branch:
Scrubbing much of the lime sulfur off the Jin and Shari…have to admit it was a bit over the top, but I liked how the stark white played with the blooms…it will weather well in the coming year, and I’ll leave it alone…
It still has a way to go to get the branches visually balanced, but it’s made a good step in the right direction each of the last 3 seasons its been on the bench. What’s next? It will be repotted in a more retentive mix; 70/30 akadama and lava. The heavy root jutting out at the 8:00 position will be removed if possible. Then, tons of sun, water, and feed and hopefully a more orderly bloom for next year.