Friday, March 6, 2015

Take time to make time

Why is time always such a big deal?......I often hear people complaining they don't have time to care for their trees.  Or as an excuse to shortcut a task and perform it incorrectly.  We've all done both. This post is to encourage you to make time and to take your time.  I'm up this morning before work..daily at 4:30am most days.  But specifically today to remove wire from this nice old Black pine.  It's taking an hour per branch.  Why you ask?!  Because someone wired it quickly and carelessly years ago. Take the time now or spend it later.   As time goes on, it grows in value.  Spend it wisely now or pay the price for it later.  Another time related discipline I try to observe is to work only necessary tasks and then for the higher quality trees first, and work my way down the ladder so to speak.  Subject for another day. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Out of season, but a good reference for decandling's winter I know.  But this just seemed like good info.  


People are often perexed by how to properly decandle a Japanese Black Pine.  Below is the technique I have been using for several years with great success.  It was put together by a friend of mine who no longer does bonsai but was formerly a graduate of Boons intensive programs.  Year over year proper application produces results.  It must be practiced consistently though.
Healthy pine foliage:

 Use the tip of the shear not the entire blade and make the cut level and clean at the neck above last years needles.
Timing for this work is important.  Growing season length and the size of the tree are key variables.  Do it earlier in cooler climates and for larger it later for shohin or for warmer climates.  In indianapolis for shohin I usually decandle in early to mid June.  Although this past years cold cloudy and rainy summer left me with runty needles.  

Leave a little stub of this years shoot for strong areas....cut flush in the rest of the areas.  This tricks the tree into thinking the shoot is sti there and buds will form a little later in the strong areas.  They will form faster in the weak/medium areas in response to having te entire shoot removed.

I usually pluck in mid to late winter...simply because I have more time available for this task.  But really it can be done anytime.  Below is the technique.

Here's a before and after using this technique for about 4.5 years.

The lower branch needs pluck but overall not a bad bit of progress for what is supposed to be a "difficult" species. Hogwash.