The cycle continues: Hawthorn part 1

Here is post I’ve been reluctant to share, and work I’ve been reluctant to do. In fact, I started writing this post around December 2014, updating it now in September 2015, and I’m still not fully ready to share the work.

Consistent with the 5-7 year finished tree cycle, the hawthorn was collected in 2000, and developed over 12 years, until it was awarded the John Naka award, featured on the cover of the Journal of the American a Bonsai Society, accepted into the 2014 US National Bonsai Exhibition, and also appeared in an issue of the 2015 International Bonsai Magazine. Now it was time to spend a few years taking the tree to a higher level of refinement.
Unlike the maple, I’m rather proud of the hawthorn’s appearance in the USNBE.

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During Sunday morning’s critique, Kathy and Boon were kind enough to take a moment to offer their critique of my entry. Here are their comments:

Kathy:
•Color of pot is good.
•Leaves have a lot of detail, but the stand is plain.
•Use a more ornate stand if using this pot.
•Edge of stand, edge of pot, and upper branches show too much repetition.
•Not much taper in upper primary branches. Normal for deciduous trees, but it does catch your eye, and the edge of the stand and rim of pot highlighted it.

Boon:
•Trunk goes right, top goes left;
•Straighten trunk in pot, fix branches.
•Too far left in pot.
•Grow center branch out to thicken it.
•Shorten left branch; too long and straight.
•Middle branches pointing down, lower branches pointing up;
•Low branches point down, middle branches point out, high branches point up.
•Open area exposes 3 branches at same height.
•Balance foliage; upper left and lower right are strong, upper right and lower left are thin.

Well…I asked for it, I got it. Do something with it! When I got home, September 2014, I hosed away all the moss and top soil, slip-potted it out of its 1st generation Yamaaki show pot, and into the 3rd generation Yamaaki pot for the winter, and contemplated the work to be done.
December 2014:

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Here are the 3 primary areas to be addressed:

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Branch 1 was a no-brainer. It had become an issue for me too, and offered two secondary branches to cut back to.

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Branch 2 was also pretty simple. It was a back branch, but someday, the back could become the front, so removal was done with this option in mind.

Branch 3 was removed at the trunk. Looking closely, it makes sense to remove it. It was the middle one of three branches emerging directly from the trunk in that area. The challenge was, to move other branches into the space involved still using fairly heavy branches…problem not completely solved…but we’re off to a good start and headed in the right direction.

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Here it was after the round of work…

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In the spring of 2015, it was root-pruned, and repotted; more to the center, into a much deeper container, with the plan to leave it for 2 years while encouraging the top growth to run wild.

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In early May 2015, it was pretty shaggy, and was cut back. Wires were not scarring the bark yet, but are getting close. Before:

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After:

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It was allowed to grow for the remainder of the year. Here it is again in August 2015:

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7 thoughts on “The cycle continues: Hawthorn part 1

  1. This was necessary but I bet gut wrenching too. Cutting off the branches that you’d spent years growing out and then having to sacrifice them to move it on is a very big step and probably quite nerve wracking.

  2. Good post, a critique is always a chance to improve a tree, thank you for showing the faults and the corrections. I will be looking at my decidous trees with the comments in mind.

  3. Wow! What a tough decision and work to be done, going from a fine show quality tree to a start to rebuild it to make it better. I am afraid I wouldn’t have the courage to do it, but I don’t have the expert critique to help make the decisions either. Thanks for sharing

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