Author Topic: A Muranaka JRP  (Read 2357 times)

Chrisl

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A Muranaka JRP
« on: March 01, 2012, 12:34 PM »
I just lucked upon a JRP today that I bought off G. Muranaka's website.  I rarely look at ebay since most of the trees are not worth the money.  But George's trees have always been pretty good.  Just seems to be mostly shohin.  But this JRP is 14"H, 12" canopy and 1 1/2" trunk.

The only possible problem that I'm not sure about is, does it have just a bit of a reverse taper? If so, it's not much, and figure I can use the gentle hammer technique to fix that. But otherwise, nice movement, branch placement and taper.

Been wanting a JRP for awhile.  I hope I made a good purchase...
 

Adair M

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Re: A Muranaka JRP
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2012, 06:37 PM »
I have a JBP I've been playing with that I got from George.  I've found that it really should have gone back into the ground for further growing.  He does the first chop.  They need to grow out again to develop some taper.

Nevertheless, I hope you'll have some fun with it.

Meanwhile, could you explain the "Gentle Hammer Techinque"?

 

Chrisl

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Re: A Muranaka JRP
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2012, 01:16 AM »
Well now you have me considering when I see in person and see if it needs more in ground development.  Sounds like you think I should?

The "Gentle Hammer Technique" is using the end of a small hammer and gently hit the bark, though not hard enough to break the bark.  Repeat this every wk. or two and the bark will thicken up.  I've read about this, and heard from others that told me it worked.  I'm started this on another tree pine that I got for free to test it on. 
 

Adair M

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Re: A Muranaka JRP
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2012, 02:15 AM »
Here's my JBP.

http://bonsaistudygroup.com/japanese-black-pine-discussion/introduction-and-pics-of-a-jbp-i've-started/

And I said last fall I was thinking of planting it back in the ground.

I now have two pines I got from T-Town.  About the same height, but lots more trunk and taper.  He grew them in the ground longer.

Still considering planting it...
 

Chrisl

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Re: A Muranaka JRP
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2012, 09:55 AM »
I posted my reply in the other thread before realizing it was a different thread.  Sorry about that!  And Adair, boy, up till 3:15am?  Don't you sleep?? LOL!!!

But here's what I wrote, we can continue this discussion on either thread you'd prefer:
Adair,  I thought the way you create taper on branches is to cut the branch back to the first or second bud on that branch, and then let grow?  Cut back and let grow again.  I figured putting it back in the ground will help the crown develop better taper.  I'm still learning too so I could be wrong.


I wish T-Town would post more, he's a plethora of information about in ground training.  Check out his past recent posts and you'll find where he showed me the difference in growth from in ground, vs. colander grown plants heavily fertilized.  No comparison.
You're lucky you were able to get a couple JBPs from him!

 

Adair M

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Re: A Muranaka JRP
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2012, 11:17 AM »
As I understand it, you can create taper two ways:  One is to chop the trunk and let a new apex grow, then chop again a little higher up, and repeat until you're happy with it.  The other is to let sacrifice branches located low on the trunk grow out, and cut them off completely flush to the trunk once their work is done.

Method two requires there to be low branches to allow to grow long.

It's probably possible to combine both methods. 

What I have seen of George's trees (the pines he posts on ebay) is he keeps the low branches trimmed back, developing ramification while in the ground.  And lets the top grow to develop girth.  THen, he does a chop at the second or third branch level up.  So, there's generally not much taper from the nebari to the chop.  The good thing about his trees are the branches that are on the trees are short, and they have needles and buds close to the trunk as opposed to being really leggy with super long internodes.  And he doesn't charge an arm and a leg for them.

I understand that George is in business, he has to have sales to make a living, and from everything I can tell, he's quite successful.  But to make really good bonsai out of this material, I think requires a "phase 2" grow out period, where you get the stock from George, study it to decide which of the low branches can be used as sacrifice branches, then put back into the ground for a few years.  And let those sacrifice branches do their thing.  While maintaining the "keeper" branches short and developing ramification.

Now, the trunks I got from T-Town (one from an ebay seller who said HE got it from T-Town) have the trunks developed, but the branches are leggy.  Foliage is far from the trunk, so I'm hoping to get back budding to rebuild branches, or else I'm going to be learning to graft!

So, it looks like George gets you stock with good branches to choose, but little taper until the first chop, or T-Town can get you a tapered trunk with leggy branching.  (Of course a combination would be ideal... Brussel's will sell you those for a couple of thousand!) 

I have also purchased JBP stock that was container grown, that has some of the benefits and faults of each.  Good girth, but not as much taper, lots of branches, but not ramified and did have some long internodes.  It was grown to be bonsai, so there's good wiggle to the trunk.

All that said, I believe that I  will eventually like my T-Town grown trees best because the trunks will be the best.  I expect I probably will have to graft on branches, and so, the earlier I start down that path, the sooner I'll be getting to the "refinement" stage.

Back in the day, I used to subscribe to Japanese language bonsai magazines, and they had adverts for incredible JBP stock material.  I haven't seen anything close to that here in the US at any price.  Maybe if bonsai ever catches on as a hobby, it will become profitable enough for suppliers to create great stock material for us hobbiests.

I'm also encouraged by the new breed of apprentices going to Japan, learning, and bringing that knowledge and experience back to the US.  Raising the awareness of what is possible will grow the hobby, and the entire food chain supporting it.

Cheers!

Adair
 

Chrisl

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Re: A Muranaka JRP
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2012, 11:39 AM »
Excellent post Adair!  Obv. I'm still learning and trying to retain what I've previously learned lol  I actually just got the Master Pine book the other day.  I've got my reading cut out for me.  I've got candle pruning down, but other basics like taper development I still have tons to learn.

I totally agree with your assessment of George's trees.  I've watched his offerings for awhile now.  Good to great branching, but little to no apical taper since his chop.  Interesting T-Towns is the opposite.  But I can't afford a Brussels tree with perfect everything right now, so I'm using what money i have to get in ground grown trees, and/or saving for yamadori trees.  Spendy yes, but typically something I can afford once a yr hehe

Well, you've now convinced me Adair I should also do the "phase 2" development.  I'm in no rush, esp. with my first and only JRP.  I'd rather get the trunk looking good/good taper.  I can always work on branches later if needed.  Besides, I've bought several species of seedlings that I'm going to put in ground for me to learn on.  No great expectations, but it'll be nice to have something 'in the works' if I live long enough to see it through LOL

 

John Kirby

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Re: A Muranaka JRP
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2012, 09:09 AM »
Fixing Pines like this can be a challenge. I have known George for a long time and really enjoy going to his place to see how he does things. This particular pine is going to be a challenge- but you can learn a lot working on it. The firs issue is the straightness and general uniformity of the lower trunk section ("Tachiagari") and the absence of transition to the surface roots "Nebari". Then the branches that are available are in two whorls. because the trees are pushed in the ground a bit you get good rapid growth which gives you relatively long internodes on the trunk- long spaces between whorls of branches. Because the trunks were covered with needles early in development they may have adventitious buds available for development into new branches.

Key steps for you include, finding and exposing the nebari to see how well developed they are, removing the sand from about 1/2 of the root mass (George grows in nearly pure sand near the coastline) and repot, finding a front and then reducing the numbers of branches at each whorl to 3-4, fertilizing the tree to stimulate growth and then growing at least 1-2 branches at each whorl out long enough to use for approach grafting if buds don't pop where you might be able to use them.

Remember we discussed how it can take longer to develop trees into small to medium sized bonsai by field growing them vs pot growing them?

John
 

Chrisl

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Re: A Muranaka JRP
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2012, 10:45 AM »
First John I wanted to post the other pics, I should've done this at the start.  The first is the front, the one posted above is side, top, nebari (what there is lol), and last is the back.
 

Chrisl

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Re: A Muranaka JRP
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2012, 11:09 AM »
Great information John!  And I learned a new Japanese word "Tachiagari".  And I thought I'd never learn any Japanese :)

The front shows better, but not great, Tachiagari.  When I looked at it, I was wondering if I could use a rebar to bend the trunk sl. more to the right where that second branch is?  Though I know JRPs can be brittle, I wasn't so sure I should try.  Would you?  If I could, I could plant it more of an angle to the left, put more bend towards the right would help alot.  Just not sure it's safe??

As you can see from the additional pics, you're right.  Long internodes, and i see 2 sets of 2 branches coming off the same level, an a whirl at the apex.  Where do you see more for you to say  "reducing the numbers of branches at each whorl to 3-4"?  And George grows in sand?  The media on to looks lava, pumice and bark?  Either way, I'm glad you told me to only remove half the root mass with the first replanting.  I typically remove it all.  I'm just hoping there's 'something' there for nebari.   Any suggestion John as to which branch should be the sacrificial branch to grow out for possible approach graft?

  I knew this was going to be a challenging tree, and I greatly appreciate your suggestions.  Do you agree with Adair that I should do this work, then put back in ground to develop taper and better nebari?  It sounds like you think i should do the rest of this tree's development in a pot?  I absolutely DO remember it takes longer to develop in ground trees to completion.  (I've read that thread numerous times as there was so much useful information!).

Sorry for all the questions ;)