Category Archives: Posts from other Blogs!

This catagory contains interesting and helpful posts I have found from other posts.

The ‘Helix Root’ Limber Pine Styling-

michael hagedorn

Until a couple of years ago, I’d never worked with Limber Pine, one of our North American white pines. It’s growing on me. Buds back well, nice short needle, strong. Has a nice name, Limber Pine, which comes more trippingly off the tongue than Loblolly Pine, for instance. And it has great deadwood features.

This Limber Pine was styled in a Seasonal Workshop a couple of weeks ago. It was collected by a student of mine, Steve Varland of Backcountry Bonsai, who was able to be in the Seasonal to help style it. Loads of fun!

Photo essay follows our journey with this tree-

DSC_0267 Limber Pine from one side…

DSC_0270 …and from the other side.

DSC_0271 And a couple of shots of the base, with the ‘helix’ roots.

DSC_0273 Other side.

DSC_0300 We discovered that a large area of the trunk was dead. That is, not obviously dead. We might call it ‘pre-shari’…

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Sacrifice branches, black pine Part 2


Nebari Bonsai

Back in March we looked at using sacrifice branches to develop a JBP in the ground. Today, let’s revisit the same JBP and look at how to develop the “final” branches while it’s in the ground. Remember, sacrifice and final branches have very different roles, and are treated very differently.
For a refresher, click here for the article:

Sacrifice branches are allowed to grow long, so long as they don’t:
-Shade out the final branches
-Weaken final branches
-Create bulges or reverse taper

Final branches are developed concurrently and are developed mostly like any branches on a JBP in a pot. Even final branches can be thickened by the use of sacrifice branches.

Here is the JBP in the ground, 4 months later; easier to tell sacrifice from final branches, isn’t it?

Since its candle-cutting time in my area, I use that technique to keep the final branches’ internodes…

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Building ramification

Nebari Bonsai

Trees grow from the tips, gaining mass behind them. In bonsai the goal is to control how the tips grow (shape and balance) and manage how they gain the mass along the way. We use that growth in many ways; building mass to make branches bigger, to make entire parts of the tree bigger, or to put the finishing touches in the form of ramification.

The “clip and grow” term is used to describe letting a branch grow until it has 5 or more leaves, then trimming it back to one or two. This is performed during the growing season. Each node has a dormant bud where the leaf stem attaches to the branch, which can be signaled to grow when the branch is trimmed back. A dormant bud is circled in red below:

Grow the branch to 5 or more nodes (leaves):

Trim it back to 2:

Dormant buds…

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New spin on slabs-

michael hagedorn

A couple years ago I tried a nylon cooking board as a slab for a twin-trunk Mountain Hemlock.

Last year we had some fun here making a Vine Maple Tower, using an internal nylon board framework.

And earlier this spring we took a new spin on that idea, using this time a countertop material called Corian. Here are a few photos of a large Mountain Hemlock that I’ve yet to feature here (eventually…) being placed on a Corian slab:

DSC_0057 Konnor (solids) and Bobby (stripes) bringing the Mountain Hemlock into the studio. It’s been on this plywood board since designing it a couple years back, and this year it was in danger of simply rotting away.

DSC_0064 After sliding it onto the Corian board, Konnor traces the shape of the soil mass.

DSC_0066 Bobby trying out a new idea, cutting the board at a 45% angle.

DSC_0071 Glueing on the feet, just…

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Eight foot tall ficus trunk chop. How low can you go?

Adam's Art and Bonsai Blog

This, my friends……is day three.
It was like seeing the tree from Gondor, of old.
Majestic, ancient, noble.
An eight foot tall bonsai.
It’s name is Bigfoot.
How do you do, Bigfoot sir?
The tree is a ficus microcarpa (some still call it the old name, ficus retusa, or the common name is tiger bark).
I was called in by my friend Darlene, who is this trees caretaker, to help lower it so it could fit through the door.
At eight feet tall it wouldn’t fit anymore.
The tree was suffering from lack of sunshine and fresh, outside air.
It was seriously dropping leaves.
You’re thinking, it’s in a giant window, that isn’t enough light for a ficus?
No, no tree is a houseplant.
This one even had some supplemental, high power lights.
It was just not enough.
Why does lack of light cause a tree to drop its leaves?

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The Moss Myth

michael hagedorn

I remember the days when moss was the enemy. The idea was that moss impeded water penetration, or kept the pot too wet. So it was a surprise when I was an apprentice that Mr. Suzuki encouraged moss to grow on the soil, and I discovered there were some advantages to having it there.

Shredded sphagnum moss on top of volcanic soil (akadama/pumice) at 1/8-1/4″ thickness, with shredded live moss added to inoculate. I often add ink to it so it’s not straw colored while the moss gets established. Be sure you use true sphagnum moss, not peat moss. Peat moss is rotted sphagnum, and tends to be water repellent when dry. The best sphagnum to use is sold often as ‘orchid’ moss, and is straw colored and is like a sponge when sprinkled with water.

If applied in the early spring around repotting time, a carpet of live moss…

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