I have been studying bonsai since 1994, in an ever-increasing obsessive fashion. In our last 5 years prior to moving from Iowa to Alabama pursuing a career in the foodservice industry, my bonsai collection was limited to a few varieties that could survive brutal winters outside, or winters under dim light in the dank basement of our humble duplex...my wife puts up with a lot. Including the trailer hitch I put on our brown 1983 Chrysler New Yorker to pull a U-Haul full of trees to Nashville for a 3-month stop along the career path that led us to Alabama. 12 years later, we no longer have the New Yorker; and not a single one of those trees remain on my bench, having given the last holdout to a new club member this summer. I prefer collecting native trees and buying the classical species used in Japan, feeding organic, and reading everything I can get my hands on.
When weather cooperates, the fall color can be pretty special. Sunny days, low wind, and plenty of water is a great combination for bright leaves in November here. Last year we had an early freeze, and all the leaves were zapped around 11/1. We’re well past that now, and the colors are getting impressive.
A couple more “formal” displays of fall color:
Have a great Thanksgiving, to our US readers. New posts in a couple weeks.
Here is a shot before the work. I started this as an air-layer about 10 years ago, and it has been mostly container-grown. It has a decent nebari developing under the soil which will have the characteristic ‘arakawa’ bark as it becomes exposed over time.
Branch grown and shaped for thread-grafting
To fill in this space, just under the cut scar and above where it originates from the trunk:
On to the pruning…heavy, long internodes, and those pointing up need to go:
Another example, before:
This one looks pretty good, evenly balanced, tertiary branches emerging in pairs, laterally:
A branch terminating in 3 shoots, prune down to an acute pair, emerging side-by-side:
Crossing branches need to go, especially those which are heavy and pointing straight up. These are the strong shoots that will run long, and overshadow the rest of the tree, and weaken the branches around them.
Finished for now.
A comparison from winter 2019 to late fall 2020, one year of work:
The pot? Older Yozan with the kiln’s iconic red clay.