Sumo-Shohin trident maple winter pruning

I’ve been working on this one for about 15 years, in and out of the ground, several heavy chops, plenty of rot and putty, and even a few grafts. Finally, it’s starting to look like a grotesque fat little trident. No good fall color this year, thanks to a quick drop down to 22f just as fall color was coming on. So the leaves were stripped, and here it is:

It was defoliated this summer for a chance to prune it, but still quite a few shoots grew out and away and imbalanced. The goal is to trim back to even-strength branches, bifrucating pairs, and shorter internodes. Starting with this:

Pruned like this:

To finish up like this:

Next spring, the challenge will be to shoehorn it into a proper Shohin pot.

Taking it from the 10″ wide Ino down to about a 6.5″ wide Koyo. I think it can get there, and then it will be suitable for a Shohin display.

A night shot:

…and the likely future planting angle, turned just a bit to the left:

The Ino pot is one of my favorites, so I’ll be eager to find a new pairing…maybe the Chinese Quince…

Happy Thanksgiving to the bonsai folks on this side of the pond, and happy birthday brother!

Alabama Bonsai Society’s Carolina Expo Display

Our club decided to show a Shohin display for this year’s Carolina Bonsai Expo, a great regional invitational show held annually in Asheville, North Carolina at the Arboretum. Over the last couple posts, I shared show prep on a black pine and a Shimpaku juniper; both trees were part of the Shohin display. Our club was invited to participate by submitting trees to be part of the display. Here is what we came up with.

Top: corkbark Japanese Black Pine, Shibakatsu pot

Middle left: Shimpaku Juniper, Chinese pot

Middle Right: azalea in painted pot

Lower left: Japanese Maple in Koyo pot

Lower right: crabapple, ‘sargentii’ in Roy Minarai pot

Accent: mixed planting in Sharaku pot

Outside right: Itoigawa juniper in Bigei pot

And so the cleanup began.

And here are a few photos from the show, from Karin R. and Wayne F.

Fall cleanup of a Shohin Shimpaku

This little air-layer was repotted this year, so I let it grow all year. It grew a bit leggy, because I think it didn’t get enough water! So here it is in late September before any work:

First, unwire and remove old needles:

Next, scrub the trunk to clean it up and remove old bark, then and remove the top layer of old soil:

Close-up, the air-layered base is nice, not always a feature of Shimpakus:

Trim back to bifurcation get shoots. This was challenging on the weaker growth from this growing season:

See some crotch growth and weaker shoots in the mix:

Trimmed:

In fact, lots of growth was removed, but the tree still has plenty to work with.

Wired and branches set:

the pads are a little large, and the apex needs to settle in, but not bad for a 5-year old air-layer.

The pot? Shinobu.