mindGrazing

chewing ideas down to stubble, then moving on…

Posts Tagged ‘trees’

Bonsai Non-Failures!

Posted by Jason on March 18, 2009

Ok friends, spring has sprung and it’s time for me to show you some trees I haven’t killed. I’m so stoked at these trees especially, because I tried some things without the immediate help of any mentors, and they’ve all worked out well so far.

First is a couple pictures of a little elm tree that I dug out of my in-laws’ yard (with permission) and unceremoniously plopped into a pot with some potting soil. I pulled all of the leaves off that were on the thing already and cut it back a bit. It was originally about 3 feet tall with a trunk about as thick as my little finger. So it kinda sat around and didn’t do anything while the weather was cold (ya know like 50’s), but in the last couple weeks, the buds have started to swell and voile! Little baby leaves all over the place!

Full shot

Full shot

 

Buds on the Trunk

Buds on the Trunk

Branch Buds

Branch Buds

The next two trees are California Sycamores and they were both stuck in the same 5-gallon pot. I’ve been working the fatter one, chopping it back and trying to make some sense out of it, but I haven’t worked the skinny one at all really. A month or so ago I decided to dig them out of the 5-gallon pot and separate them both into 1-gallons. I found they were joined at the root system, so I basically butchered everything under the soil to get them to fit into the little pots. I wasn’t sure if they would survive, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting the little red buds popping off from the trunk. They have and now they are turning into little green leaves. Wahoo! I’m so excited that things are actually working the way that I’ve read they’re supposed to work!

 

Tall and skinny

Tall and skinny

Baby Leaves

Baby Leaves

Now for the fat sycamore.

 

This one has potential!

This one has potential!

Sprouts all over!

Sprouts all over!

They all have several years to go but they’re alive for now!

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Xmas UPDATE: Bonsai, Coast Live Oak

Posted by Jason on December 21, 2008

So Christmas will be my two-month anniversary with Oakie. We’ve had some rough times, but it’s all good and he doesn’t resent me for chopping his head off. Here’s some pictures of the progression:

Freshly Butched

Freshly Butched

 

3 weeks later

3 weeks later

 

2monthspostchop

Two Months Post-Chop

I’m stoked that I did something drastic and it’s working! I’m not sure if any of my other major operations have been successful yet. We’ll see come springtime! 

With Oakie I’ll now have to work on getting the lower branches to grow out and thicken up while keeping the top branches small. Trees naturally want to grow the most at the top and outsides: that’s how they compete for light and ensure airflow around the trunk. I’ll interrupt this growth pattern of apical dominance by pinching off new top growth in spring. When you pinch growth on the top and outsides, it sends chemical signals down to the rest of the buds and branches that it’s ok to grow. The same thing happened with the trunk chop, just on a much larger scale. I chopped a huge portion of the foliage off of the top, and this sent the signal down to dormant buds all along the trunk that they could grow. That’s how we got the explosion of new growth from places where there weren’t any leaves of branches before.

Pretty cool, eh?

Posted in Bonsai, California Natives | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Title FAIL!!!

Posted by Jason on November 29, 2008

I was cruising some blogs and I found this post that some guy in Vermont published about putting up his Christmas tree. There’s nothing bad or funny or weird about the post, but the title reads

“Christmas Tree Erection.”

Seriously? I thought it was a joke and so I clicked on it. But it was a completely legit posting… All I could think of was, “What species is your pinus?” Or I just got a picture of the little angel on top and it was a bad picture. There’s so much we can do with this, people. Feel free to put any other jokes that come to mind in the comment box…

Posted in Musings | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Bonsai, Coast Live Oak

Posted by Jason on November 7, 2008

 

So this is my first bonsai post. Here goes…banzai!!! Okay that was a bad joke comparing two oft confused Japanese words. World, meet Oakie. He’s my first “real” bonsai purchase from a “real” bonsai nursery. I got him for cheap because, even though he is in a bonsai pot, he’s still considered pre-bonsai or potensai because of all the work that needs to be done developing his branch structure to produce the impression of age. Oakie started out with way too much foliage that was too high up on the tree, relative to how thick his trunk is:

Fresh from the nursery.

Fresh from the nursery.

So, at the recommendation of the nursery owner, I decided to give Oakie a whack with my handy dandy saw and cutters. This will keep the proportion of height to girth and, after several years, will help Oakie look more like a venerable old oak tree than a mere sapling. Post-chop height is about 15 inches from the top rim of the pot, so he’s not tiny by any means!

Oh the humanity!

Oh, the humanity!

Now you can’t just go around whacking trees down to 1 pair of leaves and expect them all to live. This trunk chop will be successful because I did it just before the growing season AND because this species sprouts well from new buds after trauma. Pine trees can’t take this sort of abuse. While cutting off so much foliage stresses poor Oakie, most of his energy is still stored in the roots this time of year and he’s just now getting ready to push out new leaf buds for the winter growing season. Since I limited the amount of avenues for growth by chopping these avenues off, the areas that remain will grow a ton pretty soon (crosses fingers).

At the time of this post (two weeks post-chop), there are a ton of buds getting ready to bust out into little leaves all over the trunk. Also, a new pair of leaves has developed just below the first pair. I think it’s working! More to follow on Oakie and his kin…

Posted in Bonsai, California Natives | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »