Author Topic: my slightly awkward larch  (Read 9581 times)

Hotaction

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my slightly awkward larch
« on: December 26, 2009, 04:13 PM »
I don't think I've posted this tree here yet, so here goes.  The work I've done to this tree so far has erred on the side of caution.  The health of the tree was in question, therefore only minor shaping changes have been made to set some movement for the future.  The first pic is the tree when I received it October 2008.  The next are current.  I wired it late last winter/early spring, followed by a repot in march.  The wire was removed in summer, and it was again rewired recently.  I will prune back in the spring when the buds begin to push.

Dave
 

JTGJr25

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Re: my slightly awkward larch
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2010, 10:36 AM »
Good start Dave I like your vision for the tree.  One thing I would suggest though with your branches.  All the branches seem to be bent in a way that makes them bow downward.  In other words they curve downward instead of angling downward from the base of the branch.  You try to compensate for this by bending up the trips of the branches but this is not how a larches branches should be placed. 

Scroll down this link of Hans Van Meer's blog and study his larch.  http://blogs.knowledgeofbonsai.org/hans_van_meer/2009/03/
This tree doesn't illustrate what I'm saying in the best way but I'm sure by studying what he does you can take a better approach next time you wire your tree. 

Keep up the good work.

Tom
 

bwaynef

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Re: my slightly awkward larch
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2010, 12:12 PM »
It looks like you have a pretty good idea to proceed with on this tree.  I appreciate that you're concerned with the health of the tree rather than doing too much too fast.  Are you planning to repot it this spring?

I like that you've wired it completely, but be careful that your wire is being used to best advantage.  There's one (comparitively) thick branch that's wired but the wire doesn't seem to be affecting any movement on it.  Another word of caution would be that you need to make sure you space your coils at less acute angles so that the wire will be stronger and able to hold bends better.
 

Hotaction

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Re: my slightly awkward larch
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2010, 02:30 PM »
Thanks fellas,  Your comments and suggestions are most helpful.  Wayne, as this was my first full wiring job, i can see where your tips are going to help in the future.  I can see where alot of things will just become second nature with time and practice.  I stopped bending one branch because I started to crack it off from the trunk, so I backed off. (another hard earned lesson)  Also, I can see where copper will prove very usefull in the years to come.  The Aluminum just doesn't want to hold shape without being extremely conspicuous.  All in all, it was fun and challenging and I look forward to progressing in my wiring skills.

Dave

edit: Should I be thinking of repotting in spring?  It was in bad condition when I got it, and the guy who helpped me repot it last spring, just ripped the dead daugter trunk from the old twin planting off, and then ripped some more roots off before stuffing it in the pot.  (as I looked on in horror) I had never repotted anything before, and so sought help from a more "experienced" member.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2010, 02:35 PM by Hotaction »
 

Jay

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Re: my slightly awkward larch
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2010, 03:37 PM »
Hotaction,
Larch are very particular about having their roots fooled with. The BEST time to re pot Larch is just when their buds are swelling in the spring. That gives you about a 3 to 7 days window. Re potting at other times has been done but of what I know you chances for success is much much better if you follow this schedule.

If you are just lifting the tree and not touching the roots and soil around it that is a different story, but if you will be doing root work wait till this window..... and yes I have several Larch collected in Vermont and have re-potted with no problem following this simple rule.

Jay
 

Hotaction

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Re: my slightly awkward larch
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2010, 09:21 PM »
Jay, thanks for the tips of your experiences.  However, I'm still wondering whether or not you would give the tree another full year to recover after the rough handling the previous spring? Let me hear your thoughts, anyone feel free to chime in.

Dave
 

Jay

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Re: my slightly awkward larch
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2010, 07:15 AM »
A few thoughts on your concern about re-potting this spring:

My feeling is when in doubt wait.
You say you had never re-potted before and asked for help from a club member last time, good idea. Asking and receiving FIRST HAND advise is far far better than getting it online. That of course assumes the person you are receiving the advise from is knowledgeable and not just a friend. Seeing the tree in person is worth much more than pictures.
I would  ask around the club and get someone who has Larches and who is able to give you advise first hand.

But waiting (patience) is not necessarily a bad thing. Oh, the only Larch that I have lost was due to my being over aggressive (I just had to see it in a pot) and re-potting to a Bonsai pot from a training pot an 'almost' healthy tree.

You make the call
Jay
 

bwaynef

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Re: my slightly awkward larch
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2010, 08:28 AM »
I have no larch ...but the soil this one is in looks suspect.  That was why I was wondering if you were planning to repot it.
 

Hotaction

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Re: my slightly awkward larch
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2010, 12:55 PM »
Wayne, the soil is actually a nice coarse mix.  I added some small particle turface to the top to help with moisture retention.  After asking for help last time, and the debocle that ensued, I'm content on doing it myself from now on.  I have boons repotting video and that should help out. 
 
I see alot of threads showing trees that recieve more repots than years in training.  I also hear advice given to let a tree recover at least a year after drastic rootwork.  It just seems a little conflicting to me and wonder what others would do. 

I have a more appropriate sized drum style pot I could put this in, and I imagine i could get away with just lightlypruning some of the longer roots, but I can just as easily wait till next year.  Well, I guess in the end it is up to me, but lets hear it form you guys first.

Dave
 
 

Jay

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Re: my slightly awkward larch
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2010, 01:10 PM »
Dave, Sorry to hear that you had the  debacle last year, but don't give up on local help. As you attend your club's meetings you will learn which members are truly knowledgeable and which ones are full of themselves. You will also learn which of the knowledgeable ones enjoy helping others.  No surprise, there are members of clubs that 'think' they are better than they are or who just will not give your tree the time it deserves. I know there are numerous knowledgeable individuals in the Albany to Rochester corridor, many of which will help you out.

my two cents
Jay
 

Hotaction

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Re: my slightly awkward larch
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2010, 03:05 PM »
Jay, thanks for the replies.  The club in Syracuse isn't "hardcore" so to speak.  Mainly just members who enjoy plants and tending to their little trees.  It is for the most part a begginers club, although there are a few members with 20+ years experience.

I've had the chance to meet Bill V. out in Rochester on several occasions, and heading the other direction, I've been to a workshop out at Pauline Muth's.   Both great bonsai people.  I feel that I've learned alot over the year and 1/2 I've been doing bonsai.  Yet nothing can replace the experience I'll gain once I have more time under my belt. 

All in all, I'm happy with the progress I've made and I'm eager to get the chance to do more "hands on" work with my plants. 

Dave
 

John Kirby

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Re: my slightly awkward larch
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2010, 03:27 PM »
Hi Dave,
If you have watched Boon's video I believe that you have heard one of the key tenets: we repot to make the tree strong and healthy. The premise behind the approach is to keep the roots growing strongly (like the top) and to provide as good an environment as possible. The one year rule is something of an enigma, in some cases you can wire and style a tree (healthy) and if it is the correct season, repot it the next. In other cases, such as your tree, a non aggressive styling can be followed in the next fall/winter with repotting or vice versa, in others- a freshly collected or recovering tree, following a drastic restyle perhaps, you might want to wait at least a  year to repot. This all depends on species, growth habit, condition, etc.

So, while I appreciate all of the caution, I would also suggest that the first thing one should do with a tree is to get it healthy and strong- typically by getting it into a soil mix that can facilitate root health. I often hear about demo trees that die after being worked aggressively, often these trees are in nursery containers and soil or are in very poor root health (freshly collected, etc). You very rarely see a strong, rapidly growing tree have difficulty with the styling process.

Nice Larch,
John
 

Jay

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Re: my slightly awkward larch
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2010, 03:30 PM »
Dave,
When I first got serious about Bonsai I was living in Warwick NY (Orange county by the NJ border). The club I joined was in New Jersey about an hour to an hour and a half away. The Club in Rochester is about that for you. I went to a couple of the Rochester clubs meetings when I was visiting Bill Valavanis' place to look at stock. I can not begin to tell you how helpful, open and reachable he was as well as most of the club members. If (a big if) you can do the drive to Rochester a few times a year to go to a few meetings you will not regret it!

Jay
 

Hotaction

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Re: my slightly awkward larch
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2010, 03:59 PM »
John, nice explanation and that is what my rational made of all the conflicting advice that can be found out there.  JasonG often talks of working collected trees after a few months and others need a year or two.  I guess that's part of the beauty of this hobby, becoming aware of the plants in a way that you never did before.  Listen to the tree, and it shall guide the way.  Thanks again for taking the time to make this a clearer point for everyone.

Jay, I've been to the Rochester club a few times now, and it is well worth the drive.  If bonsai clubs were baseball, they are in the big leagues.  I'll definitely be heading there for the national exhibit again this year.  I hope to be able to make a couple other meetings as well.

Dave
 

Hotaction

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Re: my slightly awkward larch
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2010, 01:05 PM »
Just figure out how to do the panoramic thingy ;D

Oct '08 (when I first got it)-today.

Dave