Author Topic: Olive: Refining Taper  (Read 4260 times)

lvillebonsai

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Olive: Refining Taper
« on: June 28, 2012, 08:22 AM »
I got this olive at the Bonsai in the Bluegrass BCI/ABS symposium last June. At that time I did a big cut of the trunk. I've been letting the top grow wild trying to thicken this new part of the trunk so that it blends better with the older trunk. Once thick enough I'll cut it back to refine the top.

TWO QUESTIONS:

1) Does this new top appear to be thick enough or should I continue to leave it alone? Not sure how much actual thickening will take place once I cut back on this top, so I don't want to be premature. On the other hand, I also don't want to let it go so long I end up with no taper.

2) The original cut was lateral, not angled. Is now a good time to go ahead and re-cut at an angle, or is spring next year a better time? (I'm in Kentucky, zone 6b.)

Thanks for any advice. Any other notes you have not related to taper are appreciated, too.
 

Elliott

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Re: Olive: Refining Taper
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2012, 12:41 PM »
hi
 I have allot of experience with olives. First of all, yes, let the top grow out maybe even 10 feet or more till its at 3/4 the size of the trunk. you might have to support the top with a piece of doweling or something so it wont fall over if it gets windy.
 Olives are hot weather trees. you repot and work on them spring till fall, anytime night time temps are above the 50's. (protect from cold winter temps by bringing inside or at least a green house).
 I would get a grinder or dremel to work on the cut. angle the cut down but leave a small step off behind the new leader. If you angle to the back of the new leader, you will get a bulge later as the top thickens. I would decide now how thick you are gonna let the new leader get, then pretend its that big already, and angle your cut to that point or slightly less. (in other words, if the new leader is gonna be 2'' thick, start your cut about 1 3/4'' behind where it is now). that way your new top grows into the cut perfectly. If it were a maple, I would say make the cut when your leader is done, so you know exactly how much to cut, but olives are slow to close wounds, and you will need the energy of that new top growing to bring sap into the area leading to it closing. Definitely seal your cut with your favorite cut paste.
 I'm working on several olives at any time closing wounds and this has been my experience.
When your top grows out to the disired thickness, you will cut the leader shorter than your final apex and start over with another leader and repeat until you have smooth taper going all the way up.
 there are many books and websites thatdescribe this process with pics.
Good luck!
 

cbobgo

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Re: Olive: Refining Taper
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2012, 03:59 PM »
I agree with Elliot's advice on letting it grow . . .

However, if it was my tree, I think I would chop the trunk even lower.  While this would set you back quite alot in development, I think it would lead to a better tree in the long run.  I would go all the way down to about where the first branch comes out.

-bob
 

Larry Gockley

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Re: Olive: Refining Taper
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2012, 08:00 PM »
I agree with Elliott about leaving a step right behind the leader. Not sure about olives, but not leaving a step usually creates a bulge. I also agree with Bob, in that I would have chopped it much shorter. Not sure if you should , though, at this point. The tree may not be strong enough for another chop so soon. It's not all gloom and doom, however, you have a nice thick trunk, and I might, perhaps let it grow to rebuild the root mass, and then go from there on the design. Larry
 

lvillebonsai

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Re: Olive: Refining Taper
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2012, 03:08 PM »
Thanks for the advice, all. I'd never heard of leaving a step with a diagonal cut. I'll remember that.

I have actually agonized over that original choice for chopping it myself since I did it! I cannot remember now my rationale. It's likely there was very little growth below this cut at the time, so I worried about not having branches.

The chop was done June 2011. I transferred to the training pot in March 2012. Assuming it continues to be healthy and grows steadily, how soon might I expect to be able to cut it again, if I decide to do that?

Attached is an image I came across online that struck me as being a good model on which to base my work on this tree. I do think if I wanted the base to have this kind of effect I would have to cut lower. The idea of backtracking though isn't appealing.

I guess I could wait until spring 2013 to either do my diagonal cut with the step or re-cut lower...gives me time to decide.

PS: I found this picture at http://www.absolutebonsai.com/black_olive_bonsai
Apologies if this website is not the original owner of the photo.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 03:14 PM by lvillebonsai »
 

cbobgo

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Re: Olive: Refining Taper
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2012, 05:48 PM »
black olive is a different species than what you have, not that it really matters as the form of that tree is certainly one that would work for yours.

You can be pretty brutal with olives.  You could cut the top of right now and plant it as a cutting, and the bottom would shoot out new growth all over the place.  i don't see any reason to wait a year.

- bob
 

Elliott

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Re: Olive: Refining Taper
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2012, 04:41 PM »
Hi again
 You can cut down allot further if you want. You can even make a fat little sumo. Unfortunately, this type of olive has larger leaves, but after a while, it will sprout smaller leaves if you do your bonsai work diligently. If you cut it again, it will pop out like acne on a teenage pizza chef.
 In fact, save the top and plant it in some pumice. It will grow also! Google dugz bonsai flat cut olives, and you will see a cool easy method of flat cutting olives, planting them on a board to create nice nebari.
works great as long as you have hot weather.
 

lvillebonsai

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Re: Olive: Refining Taper
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2012, 11:54 AM »
No shortage of hot weather this summer!

I think if I cut lower I might revisit which side is the front. I'll see if I can post an image of the other side of the tree. The base looks slightly bigger from that angle.
 

Sulaiman

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Re: Olive: Refining Taper
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2012, 08:54 AM »
Hi

That training pot is to small you should put it in a bucket and let it grow.You have a vision and are definately on the right path you are roughly looking at 5 year project and growing that leader will take about two growing seasons. The Olive take nicely to the clip and grow and ramification is quite easy.

A bit of advice if you look at the growth of the leaves they grow in pairs horizontally and then vertically always when creating pads cut after the horizontal leaves that is your ramification and the upward growing branches will create the shape of the shape of the pad.
 

nathanbs

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Re: Olive: Refining Taper
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2012, 03:38 PM »
Everyone is wrong!! Just kidding. I think the first question that needs to be answered is how tall do you want your finished tree?(Your dream photo pretty much answers that). With the current chop height, the taper projects that the tree will be very tall and skinny appearing. In order to achieve something like the tree in the photo you are right in thinking the chop needs to be lower so the taper can be more dramatic and take place over a shorter distance.
 

lvillebonsai

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Re: Olive: Refining Taper
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2012, 10:02 AM »
OK. I've decided to cut the trunk lower this season. Hopefully we'll have plenty more warm days for new growth to pop out where I've cut it. Here are a couple photos. I included both sides because I'm considering reversing the front.

In the end I think if I didn't cut it I'd always be wondering if I should have.
 

nathanbs

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Re: Olive: Refining Taper
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2012, 12:13 PM »
much better already!
 

lvillebonsai

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Re: Olive: Refining Taper
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2012, 01:04 PM »
Would you recommend some nitrogen-heavy fertilizer to encourage budding around the lip of that cut? If not, anything else I might do to speed up budding right now?

 

Elliott

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Re: Olive: Refining Taper
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2012, 04:42 PM »
Just a little cut paste on the chop to reduce the amout of dieback at the edges will be fine. After you wired one of the buds up to become your future apex, you can carve some taper into the edges. Its an olive, you will get a bazillion buds to work with. Let the bud you pik for the apex grow like 4 feet out to get sone thickness, but when its about pencil thickness and still flexible, carefully wire the first part of it and put some good dramatic bends in it. After a couple of years as it grows, those bends will get less prominent and match the gentle movement you will hopefully put in your branching.