Not a wonderful success story yet, and it still has the potential to have a horrible ending, but here is a cherry volunteer that popped up in my yard 7-8 years ago, that I adopted and began to grow out for bonsai training. I made some mistakes along the way, so let’s take a look:
It had a great radial nebari from the jump. Here it is in 07 in the pot on the right. Notice the shoot I wired to get some movement…mistake #1:
In spring ’08 it went in the ground to bulk up, and by the fall, it had doubled in size. Notice how much stronger the upright shoot is compared to the one I wired to get some movement. Guess which one I kept!
By the summer of ’09 it was growing nicely. It should have been root-pruned in spring ’09 when they weren’t as big, but I left it in the ground, mistake #2. Here is the point where it peaked, it declined from here:
It’s been in the ground since, and while the trunk taper is really nice from a couple of angles, I’m losing the nebari, it’s creeping up into the trunk, and the back side of the trunk chop is rotting out too.
So, it’s either destined for the scrap heap, or a training pot in the spring, or maybe it will just stay in the ground in an attempt to heal over the dead areas…mistake #4 ahead? If I can control the rot, find a front that shows the taper, and accentuates the deadwood, it might have a future as a gnarly old bonsai. If not, notice the cutting just to the right in that last photo? It could be cherry redux…son of yoshino!
Thanks to the wonders of blogging, you can skip down two spaces, and advance 3 weeks to today… When I popped it out of the ground and decided to plant it. The roots are healthy, but the trunk is about halfway rotted out. I painted it with some PC Pertifier and potted it up. Not bad:
Another 2 weeks later, and the tree is budding out. I cleaned the trunk, cleaned up the old cuts, and sealed them. While nearly hollow, it still has good flare. The primary branches were wired down a little, and it should be set for a strong growing season.