Author Topic: Transforming a JBP bush to a bonsai  (Read 7580 times)

Adair M

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Transforming a JBP bush to a bonsai
« on: January 30, 2012, 11:22 AM »
Sorry I don't have a photo of the original "bush" in a 3 gallon nursery pot right now... I might have one, and I'll post it if/when I  find it. 

Anyway, had this one about a year and a half.  When I first brought it home, I reduced the height about 1/2, and removed a lot of the long internode branching.  Probably removed 60% of the folliage.

Then, last spring (2011) potted into this oversized bonsai container just to start working on root reduction, and make it easier to work on.

Last summer, decandled.  Some tip moths aided me in that effort!  (Gotta prevent that this year!)

Did the fall cleanup last fall.  Plucked needles.

I've been studying it for a while, and finally worked up the nerve to do the pruning. 

The wiring is tbe easy part.
 

John Kirby

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Re: Transforming a JBP bush to a bonsai
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2012, 07:53 PM »
Nice start
 

Adair M

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Re: Transforming a JBP bush to a bonsai
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2012, 10:32 AM »
Thanks, John!

I expect to see significant improvement over the "plucked chicken" look over the next year.  I'm seeing lots of buds forming back on old wood and by wiring to get the branches exposed to the sun, I expect to see even more.

I significanty reduced the root ball last spring.  Would you suggest I repot again this spring to get it repositioned to the new angle?

And, by the way, I did that before I found this forum, and since then, I've aquired and studied Boon's JBP video series, and learned about Boon's soil mix, which is NOT what it's in now.  By repotting, I'd get it in Boon's mix, and I suspect it would be even healthier.
 

John Kirby

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Re: Transforming a JBP bush to a bonsai
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2012, 06:44 PM »
I would probably leave it alone this year, every other year to get the roots established and get the old junky soil out from around the core of the roots, now would just be another stressor.
 

Adair M

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Re: Transforming a JBP bush to a bonsai
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2012, 07:11 PM »
Sounds like a plan!

Thanks!
 

GastroGnome

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Re: Transforming a JBP bush to a bonsai
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2012, 06:39 PM »
Wouldn't hurt to let a branch at that lowest node grow for a few years to improve taper and thicken the base.
 

Adair M

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Re: Transforming a JBP bush to a bonsai
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2012, 08:59 PM »
There was a very bushy bottom branch I was letting grow.  It did improve taper.  Towards the back.  So I cut it off.

I had this delimma:  I had three branches at both the Number 1 branch level, and Number 2 branch level.  I could just let the extra branches grow.  Or, cut them off, and have something that I could begin to style that would be pleasing, but not great, in a couple of years.

I opted to begin styling rather than "growing".

I have a couple of other trees with trunks, so since I'm doing this for fun, I thought I'd have more fun styling.
 

scottroxburgh

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Re: Transforming a JBP bush to a bonsai
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2012, 11:33 PM »
...I opted to begin styling rather than "growing".

I have a couple of other trees with trunks, so since I'm doing this for fun, I thought I'd have more fun styling.

This tree will be great to try techniques out on, before applying them to other better trees.

One that I'd try out on this tree is grafting a seedling down low at the 'back' of the tree, let it grow long to try to get a bit more thickness at the base. It'll avoid the over thickening at the branch level.
 

Adair M

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Re: Transforming a JBP bush to a bonsai
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2012, 12:08 AM »
Scott, there was a low branch on the back of the tree.  And it was indeed thickening the trunk.  On the back of the tree!  It was making it deeper, but not wider.  It was becomng oval shaped (if I cut the trunk  in cross section).

I'm becoming more convinced that the best way to build dramatic taper is the "Grow and Cut" method, where the growth is at the apex.  Then cut back, and grow a new apex.  Repeat as many times as needed.  This nursery stock was not developed that way.  They wound a whip around a bamboo stake, and then repeatedly topped it.  Developed a lot of low branches, but with long internodes.  I picked through 8 trees (bushes) and decided this one had the best potential

I will also say this:  the bark on this tree is just begining to develop.  As stock material, it was pruned for height, and the folliage was very thick.  The trunk was shaded.  Now that the folliage is opened up, the trunk will be exposed to the sun, and should start to bark up.  Which should make it look thicker.

Alas!  I have yet to find the perfect stock material!

Now that the initial styling and wiring was done, the branches are exposed to the sun, and I'm seeing good back budding.  I believe it will start to look better as the branches begin to develop and I can shorten them.
 

John Kirby

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Re: Transforming a JBP bush to a bonsai
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2012, 10:29 AM »
Best way to make a trunk look thicker:
1. Shorten tree
2. Smaller pot

So, when you are developing this tree, remember, you will want a smaller pot once you get the key growing steps done.

Live from New York (soon to be shooting north on AMTRACK.

John
 

Adair M

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Re: Transforming a JBP bush to a bonsai
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2012, 05:56 PM »
Thanks, John!

This is the first bonsai pot for this guy. Down from a five gallon growing pot.
One of the primary reasons for downsizing was my wife complaining about the big plastic pot.

Sometimes life is a compromise. 
 

John Kirby

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Re: Transforming a JBP bush to a bonsai
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2012, 07:17 PM »
It is a process. One step at a time.
 

Adair M

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Re: Transforming a JBP bush to a bonsai
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2012, 12:07 PM »
It's spring, and the candles are beginning to move.  Even better, it's starting to back-bud.  I have Boon's JBP series, and in it he states that one of the benefits to wiring is not just to position the branches, but also open up the tree so that sunlight can penetrate into the interior of the tree, and stimulate dormant adventitious buds, and needle buds.

I believe it.

I'm attaching a couple of pics of the primary branches, and there are tiny back-buds forming all over. 

I'm really encouraged.  I was hoping I'd get some so I can eventually shorten the branches, and it looks like it's beginning to happen.  Last summer, I de-candled on July 4th.  Judging from the length of the needles that grew from the adventitious buds, that might have been a little early.  But, I'm really not after needles length reduction at this time, I'm wanting ramification.

Last fall, I did the "fall cleanup" and pulled needles.  First time for me to use that technique.  Frankly, I was skeptical, but did it.  And, what do you know!  It appears to work!

Thanks to all on this Board!  And thanks to Boon for making an excellent video series on JBP!

 

John Kirby

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Re: Transforming a JBP bush to a bonsai
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2012, 02:21 PM »
Probably not too early (July 4th), do it a few years and see how much things shorten up when the tree gets in the rhythm of decandling. Did you pull the fertilizer off for 4-8 weeks or so after decandling? That can really shortening the neck of the new summer candle and the needles. But that may be something for when the tree is farther along.

John
 

Adair M

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Re: Transforming a JBP bush to a bonsai
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2012, 02:53 PM »
Hmmm, I'm trying to remember if I withheld fertilizer...  I really don't know.  I've been fertilizing with granulated 10-10-10, and that may have had a residual effect.  It is overpotted, so plenty of room for roots to grow.  I just went and checked my two JBPs that I decandled last summer.  Both have short "necks", the one that is the subject of this thread is overpotted, and the needles are twice the length of the other.  The two were fertilized the same.  So, I will put it down to the oversize pot.

In the past, I used to cut the needles in half, thinking that by reducing the food source, it would lessen the needle growth.  I'm not doing that anymore.  I'm also fertilizing more than I used to.

But, as I said, at this point I'm not worried about needle length.  I'm sure they'll reduce as ramification increases and the pot decreases! ;D

Thanks for the comments, John!

We've had 80 degree days for a week!  It's a record for March.