Dragon Tree Bonsai

Dragon Tree Bonsai

Styling a Podocarpus

By Robert Pinder

I’m presenting a photograph essay of styling a podocarpus macrophylla ‘maki’, frequent identify Japanese Hew. That is one in every of 4 specimens that I’ve been rising because the early 80s from seedlings. They’ve at all times been rising in containers as much as a 25 gallon nursery pot. In 2001 they have been topped to encourage base branching and subsequently the soil ball was diminished to about 1/3.

It is a joint (advert)enterprise with my good pal Pat Giacobbe, who at all times enjoys sharing his creative insights, and myself.

Since an image is price a thousand phrases, and this can be a photograph essay, any commentary can be transient.

Start December 2008:

We selected a bushy, wholesome and vigorously rising plant. It is a good time of the yr in Florida to work on podocarpus.

Pat was in search of a finest view for the ultimate tree.

We took an in depth have a look at the foundation formation and distribution and began formulating our plan.

Our plan was finalized and we made our first reduce to reveal the primary trunk.

We made the second reduce and obtained an excellent have a look at this excellent base of the trunk and roots.

We made main department choice.

The appropriate facet of the tree was now uncovered.
The choice was made to develop a dwell apex, so a big portion of useless wooden was eliminated.

Department choice was made for the left facet of the tree and a few wiring was completed.The tree was positioned to take full benefit of the brand new apex.

Preliminary styling is full and we get an excellent have a look at the longer term tree.

Subsequent step is to take away previous soil. The fibrous roots are textbook!

A deep pot was chosen to permit for future development. half of inch of turface was placed on the underside. The potting medium is 50% turface and 50% nursery combine that has plenty of pine bark.

Proper facet
Discover giant reduce and odd development of apex.






Left facet
Information wire is used to place branches

Podocarpus Macrophylla ‘maki’

(frequent identify Japanese Hew)
Is native to China and Japan. It likes direct daylight. Too little mild will end in giant, elongated needles. In very sun-intense areas, Podocarpus might undergo leaf-burn if not given shade in the course of the hottest a part of the day. Thrives in temperature zones 7 via 11. Likes barely moist soil, however make sure you present sufficient drainage. Grey needles are an indication of overwatering. Each day misting is appreciated. Podocarpus take some time to re-establish a powerful root system, due to this fact be affected person between repottings. Additionally, repottings and root pruning must be completed within the cooler months, November to March. Remember that aphids are sometimes an issue on new development.

Right here we’ve got the proud designers with the newly styled and potted podocarpus.

“We’re smiling!”

September 2009…

Solely lengthy sprouts have been eliminated to encourage again branching. Jins and shari stay to be completed.

Nonetheless, the plan is to permit the tree to develop for one more yr earlier than any main work is

completed. Presently there may be nothing dramatic about this tree from a styling perspective. Nonetheless, its magnificence lies in its refined show of energy (large root base and huge trunk) and proportion.

Summer season 2012




By Patrick Giacobbe

Right here is an ideal instance of creativity and craftsmanship coming collectively. The general composition was determined earlier than any cuts have been made. The fundamental guidelines weren’t capable of be adhered to and that’s when creativity kicks in and the principles/pointers need to be muted.

A newbie’s information to root-grafting ficus

Root Grafting
A “What for? and “” Information

by Robert Pinder,
Dragon Tree Bonsai

Do you ever have a look at one in every of your timber and understand that it has all of the credentials to develop into a masterpiece? The branches are in the appropriate locations, the apex traces up and there may be motion and taper up the trunk and thru the branches. You assume, “I’m going to place this magnificence right into a high-quality bonsai pot.” So that you begin checking the foundation construction and base taper. “Darn! That is one ugly nebari (root construction) and it seems to be like a little bit (or quite a bit) of reverse taper on the decrease trunk. What can I do to repair this?”

Left to proper: Instruments and provides for profitable grafting. Root inventory ready for grafting displaying the angle that has been reduce to connect the foundation to the trunk. A succesful graft that may thicken with the passing of time.

An unsightly nebari is one which has one or two giant roots coming proper out of the entrance or the again of the tree. There are different standards however for this text this one will suffice. Due to the poor root placement there may be little or no aptitude on the base of the trunk if you end up trying on the entrance of the tree. This must be fastened to make the masterpiece full.

You’ll be able to improve the foundation construction (nebari, placement, and many others.) and in addition create extra taper on the base of the tree trunk by root grafting. The precept of grafting plant elements is identical – matching cambium with cambium. Learn up on it in case you are not acquainted and follow chopping and becoming a member of on discarded branches. Now that we’ve got practiced, our approach is ideal and our confidence is sky excessive, let’s go to it.

Your tree must be wholesome and ideally it’s the start of the rising season. Don’t prune again your tree. You need to maintain the circulation of sap from roots to trunk to branches to leaves at its optimum. Choose a bit of root of the identical selection because the tree onto which you’re going to graft, e.g. Nerifolia on Nerifolia, Inexperienced Island on Inexperienced Island, Retusa on Retusa, and many others. Identical to the bark is completely different on these sorts of Ficus so is the foundation coloration and texture when uncovered and weathered. The thickness and size will fluctuate in accordance with what you’re working with and what you wish to accomplish (that’s fixing nebari or including taper). Nonetheless, attempt to get as many high-quality roots as potential. Hold your root items wrapped in a moist towel in order that they don’t dry out.

Now we’re prepared for the surgical half. Palms regular!! I like to make use of a field cutter or a carpet knife that has a protracted deal with for an excellent grip and a brief, sturdy, sharp blade for a clear reduce. At a degree on the trunk the place the foundation graft angles from the trunk to a little bit under the soil make a reduce within the bark a little bit smaller than the diameter of the foundation. Take away the piece of bark. Form the top of the foundation graft in order that it matches the angle of the trunk. Now put the 2 collectively. It’s crucial that the highest and backside of the foundation graft match tightly with the trunk. This enables the continuation of the upward circulation of sap. Which means success and vigorous development – and that masterpiece you’re after.

After you have the appropriate match on the graft union, you’ll want to fasten them collectively so that they keep that method. First I put tree sealer (smooth sort) across the wound to maintain water out and in addition to forestall the bark (cambium) of each root and tree from drying out. Relying on the thickness of the foundation, its flexibility and placement on the trunk, I take advantage of wire with a bit of tubing, elastic or a nail. In case you use a nail get one that’s lengthy and slender with a head on it. Don’t use copper or aluminum nails. Now that the whole lot is safe add some extra tree sealer across the whole wound. Make certain the high-quality roots are coated with soil. Cowl your entire root graft with a moist towel. Tomorrow you possibly can water completely making an effort to not get water within the graft union.

Since your bonsai get higher with time, time is in your favor, so don’t be in a rush to poke and prod at your new graft. Two, 4, six months or a yr can move. Care for your tree. When the graft union begins to swell and the foundation begins to thicken then you possibly can smile and brag about your success.


bald cypress

Bald Cypress

Bald cypress is an all-time favourite for bonsai lovers in Florida and rightly so since they develop from the south mainland via our northern border. Though is grows far south in our wetlands, it isn’t a tropical tree.

The temperate genetics of the cypress require that it undergo a relaxation interval and it goes deciduous within the winter. It has a unique metabolism, if you’ll, than that of tropical timber. Throughout dormancy and the primary few weeks of re-foliating, it’s dependent completely on meals reserves saved in its trunk and huge roots.

Now enter the collectors and/or lovers. We hack away most, if not all, of the feeder roots and remove all however a brief stump for the trunk. Take into consideration what this does to the meals reserves. For long run success, your first precedence is to re-grow your tree and rebuild its meals reserves.

To this finish a newly collected or closely root pruned tree, particularly older specimens, must be allowed to develop unchecked for 2 or three full cycles of the seasons (2+ or 3+ years). A great indication that every one is properly is that you should have one or two vigorously rising leaders. This means that there’s a good circulation throughout the tree from apex to feeder roots.

Don’t over-prune your tree when styling. That is notably crucial within the early levels. Keep in mind, the foliage makes the meals. Nonetheless, have a plan. If for some purpose you must do a heavy pruning (restyling, and many others.) permit the tree a few seasons to re-establish it meals reserves.

When repotting, don’t indiscriminately reduce away giant roots. These are the roots for spring development wherein the plant’s meals reserves are saved. Preserve a stability between feeder roots and storage roots. Go sluggish. I permit one full season for development (minimal pruning) earlier than repotting.

For the reason that early 80s (say 1982 for the maths) I’ve been rising six bald cypress seedlings – 5 as bonsai and one within the pond. The one within the pond has a trunk diameter of 5+ ft. The cypress bonsai fluctuate from 5 inches to eight inches in diameter.

I hope this text has supplied some insights that can be useful in holding your bald cypress wholesome to your enjoyment into the distant future.


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