Sunday, 28 June 2009

BTA show.

Today i popped out to the BTA show. I found out about the show from a local Bonsai club - the Bonsai Group in Enfield. There were quite a few people about and a good number of people exhibiting. There was a nice selection from local nurseries and ceramics studios. Some good Hawthorn and Oaks starter material was available as well.

At the Bryan Albright stand i bought a lovely Scots pine. He had a few gathered examples from England and France available.

I have been wanting a good Scots pine for a while and its not something that the local nurseries in my area keep.

Ive been growing Mugo pines and Japanese Black pines for a while now so i feel I'm equipped to try out the local sort and learn their quirks.

Ive pinched a few candles and I'm going to spend a few days staring at this one now trying to find its shape. I need to do a lot of research into the quirks of the Scots variety of pines.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Oak Training - Part 1

Now that the giant shoot on top of the oak has been trimmed off i waited for the buds near the apex to swell and get growing again. This new side branch is going to be trained into the new apex.

While the new green shoot is nice and soft tie it up to a piece of the old trunk. I use a bit of very soft lead soldering wire for this. Be gentle - don't go straight up immediately - try to feel how stiff the little branch is and get an idea of how much it will yield without buckling.

This plant is very apically dominant . I was hoping that the trunk chop would direct a little growth lower but nothing is going on down below. Maybe defoliation would get the lower buds and branches going again. I have no experience defoliating Oaks - but i may experiment next year on this one as it is young and vigorous. Otherwise the heavy pruning on top and leaving the bottom unchecked should maintain the balance. This will be an interesting battle over the next few growing seasons.

On the bright side - the lower trunk growth is very good.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Field Maples update

The little trees are starting to perk up now. It’s been hard work - but persistence has kept them going. It seems that the misting and keeping them in sealed environments to reduce transpiration has helped.

I really didn't think this little two leafed plant would make it - but the crown is growing quite strongly now.

The larger of the maples is also growing quite strongly now - and there is plenty of summer left to fatten him up for the winter.

This capture is also valuable to me in that i have been wanting a few Field Maples for my collection.

It has also been very valuable practise for going plundering hedges for specimens. I will need to have the perfect soil ready in the shed for when the bigger trees are captured - i have a great solution for this which i will write about in the next few days. I will also look into having some sort of a bubble for the bigger ones to keep them humid while they get over the shock of being transplanted.

I have stopped misting the maples and taken them out from under the bubbles and they don't seem to be suffering for lack of moisture so i assume that they have grown enough of a root system to support them.

I still need to learn a lot about this species. I'm guessing from the the brutal hacking they receive in hedges that they can be pruned back very hard. I also suspect that they can be defoliated in June like Japanese Maples.

The other valuable piece of information is the timeline. I now know that it has taken the trees about 8 weeks to begin growing again after they were captured.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Field Maples

The two captured maples continue making progress. With the warmer weather (!) over the last few weeks I've put a bubble over the larger plant to keep it nice and humid and keep transpiration down to minimise stress on the plant.

Interestingly - the two chilli plants next to the field maple are the complimentary chilli seeds from Wahaca ( Mexican street food in Covent Garden ). I hatched them in the seed propagator along with the tomatoes. I put 2 in and both germinated. They start off growing quite slowly but seem to be accelerating rapidly now.

The smaller maple is looking a bit scrappy. It was captured as a tiny plant and it was quite a struggle to keep it going. The apex now has a fat bud growing - and the top 2 latent buds are under way as well. The little one is still living in the small seed propagator.

Oak Pruning

I decided to chop the trunk on the little Oak - I'd taken off the top but and it began to grow again on the buds near the apex. Hopefully this chop doesn't upset the plant too much.

The cut took away a lot of wood and leaves. I'm hoping it will put some effort into some of the lower branches and less focus on the apex bud. The cut is however placed nicely now for my new apex shoot to be trained.

Bear in mind that the oak throws single opposing leaf nodes unlike the parallel nodes of the maple family.

A lesson learned with the oak is that when its young ( and maybe older as well ) the apex growth is very vigorous so its prudent to pinch the top bud early in the season and retrain the apex shoot when convenient.

The chunk with my hand to show size - about 20cm.

The base of the trunk has shown some very good growth though - its close to doubled in diameter.