Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Summer Lammas growth

Ive been enjoying a few more days away from work - a well timed gap between projects as I am able to water more often during this spell of hot weather we are having. The weather seems to have kicked off an unusual spurt of growth in some species - specifically the Beeches and Oaks.

I have written before about the Lammas growth - but this year it is very pronounced. I’m guessing that the nice weather has helped the trees to achieved their energy targets for the next winter and they have surplus so they spend it on new growth.

These Lammas leaves in the second flush seem to have come out very quickly and aren’t as nicely formed as the spring leaves. The Beech leaves are a strange colour and the Oak leaves can be slightly deformed having fewer lobes and unusual veins in the leaves.


My small first generation Beech which I potted for fun is coming along really nicely. It is by far the most vigorous of the current generation of Beeches I have. Almost every branch tip is giving growth. I’m nibbling away at the apex buds to keep its apical dominance at bay. These seems to be leading to the lower branches getting some growth as well.

On larger pot grown beeches I’ve nibbled back everything on the crowns to keep them in check. They will grow very thick branches up top if allowed - which leads to an ugly knob forming and no taper. The plan is to allow unrestricted growth on the side branches - especially the lower ones - to allow a good taper for form. Wild Beeches don’t have a great deal of taper but it will look nice - and nice even side branches are easy on the eyes.

In theory I am interrupting the apical mechanism by nibbling off these apex shoots which generate the Auxins hormone which is inhibiting the lower buds from growing - which should give me good sideways growth.

The Oaks are also doing the Lamas thing. I’ve allowed one of the Oaks to grow unchecked and its growing at a massive rate - this one is due for some strategic pruning soon. For taper I am also trying to keep the top end of the oaks in check and get the side branches working.

This Oak wanted nothing to do with hormones and simultaneously elongated everything.

These are my first generation of field / large container grown trees. They contain many mistakes and I see them purely as a learning exercise. Useful for acquiring technique - something large and cheap to try stuff out on. I don't expect and good bonsai material out of these - although the little beach is looking nice. 

I planted what I would call second generation trees at the beginning of this year. I’ve allowed them to establish roots and will do some early wiring to the trunks to get something interesting happening there - none of that hyper contorted leaping dragon nonsense - just a bit of interest.

As usual the cat has been overseeing matters.  

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Pine musings

With summer arriving for a few days in southern England I have been paying close attention to my watering and fertilising - watering sometimes 3 times on the very hot days. I have been looking at the trees a lot but not doing much to them. The two large pines are interesting to watch as they are next to each other on the benches and on the same watering and food regime and yet the larger one is about 6 weeks behind in its growth cycle.

Today I noticed that the late winter wiring on some inner branches had already bitten in very severely and needed to be taken off before it was lost under the new growth. 

I had also nibbled off all the long candles a while ago and the shorter ones have come out nicely - so they are pleasingly balanced for growth. They are now all evenly cut back to a minimum of maybe 12 pairs of needles and longer where needed. So both of the larger pines are now trimmed up and without wire. I will have a think about when I will apply the wire again. Certainly not soon as they are gaining weight so quickly I would need to redo it every few weeks. 

Quite a lot of material was removed from the larger pine and a fine trimming of the smaller one was done. I won't cut again this year as I want the buds to form for next years growth. I may remove some buds. Last year I made the mistake of cutting back some branches in winter and they didn’t grow at all this year.

The larger pine is now cut for the summer and looking quite nice. Needs wire to bring a bit of order. I removed a large branch about halfway up a few weeks ago. I am trying to leave a lot of the branches I remove so that I can leave some deadwood - without creating a deadwood monster - as the wild trees I see often have some dead branches on the way up and that is the effect I want. I want the right side a bit lower to separate the foliage pads a bit better so I may do a guy-wire to get it down.

Also going to need a new pot - something a bit bigger as its starting to look very unbalanced to my eye. Probably a similar Jixing - but a little bigger. The pot for the other one is more complicated. I seem to be doing some sort of a semi-cascade thing.