2017 Repotting: Japanese Maple, Chishio

Unlike last week’s azalea, this fella is on an annual Repotting cycle.  It’s been in straight akadama for the last few years, and the root system is doing very well in it.


I take my time on this tree, combing out the roots carefully, and then hosing out the soil between; repeating the steps several times until the old soil is washed out.  It allows me to find and eliminate any of the roots that are growing on the bottom and are trying to get strong.  “Planing” the underside of the trunk keeps it spreading out over time.  


Wired back in, and planted deep enough to keep those roots growing.  One day, it’s going to have a very nice, natural nebari.


This tree has been in a bonsai pot for 13 years now, and while it’s tough to see progress year to year, looking back 10 years shows a different story.

2007:


2017:

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Some late winter pruning

This shohin 6-trunk Japanese Maple clump came to me in leaf last year, and while leafless, it’s a good time to reduce heavy branches to thin, multiples shoots to pairs, and long shoots to a single node.  This is a well-developed clump with lots of movement and nicely dwarfed leaves.  

Before:


Reduce long, unforked shoots back to the shortest internode or fork:


Carnage:


Results:


Officially in the shohin range…


This spring, it gets a new pot, an Ikkou which was a tribute to Tofukuji; mostly by proportions and shape of feet.  

The Cycle Continues: Chishio Japanese Maple

Continuing the 5-7 year cycle for continuously improving “finished” trees, this represents year 5 in the current cycle.  Here is a shot from 2011, when the primary branches were coarser, but the ramification was finer; a few months after it was shown at the 2010 US National Bonsai Exhibition:


Fall color was ok this year, considering the heat and drought we had here, which amounted no measurable rainfall during the time between the US National Bonsai Exhibition in early September, and the Winter Silouette Show in early December.


With the leaves off, it made the winter pruning chore much easier:



After a little light pruning and branch adjustment:


I’ve been growing a long branch at the back in preparation for a thread graft, which will replace the awkwardly-emerging branch at the top of the first left branch.  It will enter the right side of the trunk, and exit the left side of the trunk, in the area which is currently a bit of a void on the left:


A virt to show the vision over the next few years:


I’ll post an update when I perform the thread graft.  For now, Merry Christmas to all!  See you next year.