2019 Prunus Mume vs Japanese Maple repot

I was taught to go easy on Ume roots, and once the large roots are reduced to the point where the tree can sit comfortably in the pot, look at repotting as a soil change. This s quite the opposite of Japanese Maple repots, where each root should be carefully arranged to create the spreading nebari. How does it look? Here are shots of this year’s Ume repot.

Combed out:

Placed back in the 14″ Sam Miller pot, new soil added, straight akadama:

Watered in.

Here is the Japanese Maple repot.

Prepare the pot, an 18.5″ wide, 2″ deep Yamaaki.

It took 30 minutes to get the soil combed out and the roots exposed to this point:

Once they’re combed out to this point, start to remove roots from the bottom, which are growing down or emerging from the bottom. This is absolutely essential to developing the spreading nebari becoming visible from above. Then, using the root hook, comb all remaining roots outward from the center:

View from above:

Then, trim all the way around the perimeter:

Finally, the heavy roots extending at the 6:00 position are shortened:

The tree is positioned back into the pot carefully, and the planting depth is decreased just a little, around 1/8″ to begin exposing a little more of the widening base. This will be evident by the dark ring showing just above the soil surface when repotting is complete. Over time, I will allow this to show more and more. However, doing this too soon will stall out the desirable widening.

Wired in tightly:

All akadama soil used, working into the roots carefully and thoroughly with a chopstick.

Watered in:

Chopped sphagnum moss added to the soil surface to retain a little moisture:

And a few days later…

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D & E Trees

Just after Christmas, a friend and I took a road trip to Maysville, GA, just northeast of Atlanta, to D & E Trees. Owner Dave Lapeyrouse met us at the gate in his 4-wheeler and drove us back into the beautiful rolling-hilled property to the growing fields.

There we were greeted by Dave’s trees, many planted a quarter-century ago for the purpose of Bonsai. Dave favors trident maples, Japanese black pines, and stewartia, and had a couple thousand to choose from. You tag, he dig.

Here are a few photos of the fields.

Stewartia:

Trident maples:

Japanese black pines:

Dave doesn’t ship, but if you’re looking for big material at a very reasonable price, email him at livingartbonsai@aol.com, or call him at 985-688-3682.

Chinese Quince, 2 years of work

I like the look of Chinese Quince when they’re grown thoughtfully, with lots of movement and taper.  The longer I train them, the more I appreciate the work that is required to make something that likes to grow long, straight, and taperless into something that looks like this:

To get a quince to look that refined requires constant trimming and wiring.  Beginning in spring 2017, I started with pruning branches short, wiring several branches down:


And letting it grow for a few weeks…


Then pruning it back, and wiring the green shoots down in May:

And again in July:



In late September, the wire was biting in, and removed:



A light trimming back, and it can coast for the rest of the year.  It will be pruned again after leaf fall.

Fall color…November 2017.

Here is a leafless shot from December ’17

Light pruning, and wiring a few rogue branches in place:

2018…

By late March 2018 it was leafed out again:

And in mid-April, young shoots were wired to add some wiggle, and the crown was lightly pruned back. Before:

After:

Once the wire starts to hit in and the shoots lignify, the wires will be removed, the branches will be pruned back to one or two leaves, and allowed to grow again. Meanwhile, the shedding bark adds some interest for sure.

Aafter a few weeks of growth, it developed rust, and I ended up having to heavily prune it and unwire it. A bit disappointing, but hard-pruning is really what develops character.

After:

So, in mid-July 2018, it had grown enough to wire again:

Below is early August 2018, and if you’re not keeping track at home, this represents the fourth pruning this season, and I suspect it will produce another flush. It will be good to see this one leafless again.

Before:

After:

Mid-August, and the wires were digging in, so the tree was unwired and lightly pruned again. Before:

After:

If you’re counting, that’s 5 times the tree was pruned back and wired this year.

Fall color was good too:

And when it was leafless, here is the result of the year’s efforts:

Still some rough areas, and I think eventually these secondaries will probably need to be shortened again. For now, just the straight and heavy areas are pruned.

Then every branch is wired.

So here is the side-by-side after 2 years of building branches. Can’t wait to see what the next 2 years brings!

Next spring, a repot and some work on the nebari.