Author Topic: Buttonwood  (Read 5881 times)

MatsuBonsai

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Buttonwood
« on: June 21, 2009, 08:45 PM »
I noticed the tropical forum getting a workout and thought I would contribute.

I got this buttonwood during a Mary Madison workshop in 2004 when she visited our club.  There wasn't much growth on it at that time, so what is seen here has developed in the last few years.  I haven't done much to it other than feed, water, wire, and repot.  In winter it's quarters are a spare bedroom under fluorescent grow lights.   

I'm told the bark is quite unique on this one, quite rough and rugged without a lot of deadwood.  I like the pot chosen for this one, a big improvement from the bulb pan it came in.

My question to the tropical experts is, what now?  What do you think it needs?
 

andy graham

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Re: Buttonwood
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2009, 07:58 AM »
John,

Sure looks healthy!

I'd defoliate the top section and make a jin, just leaving the lower right branch......I think :-\

Andy
 

dee

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Re: Buttonwood
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2009, 11:04 AM »
John,

An expert in all that is Buttonwood is Mary Madison and if you type in her name all that you would ever want to know about the species is there.  Before defoliation make sure all is well, fed and very healthy.  Defoliation will reduce leaf size.
but do you want this tree to be a bunjin?  Style selected then the finishing details.  Before any cutting, try drawing the new version or do the white towel trick.  Cover various branches to block them out, see what you see.   Working on my own buttonwood at the end of each work day.

Dee
 

MatsuBonsai

  • John Callaway
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Re: Buttonwood
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2009, 11:10 AM »
Dee,

Welcome to the Bonsai Study Group and thanks for your reply.  As I stated, this was from a Mary Madison workshop, and yes, she was great.  I was hoping that our members here would post their thought and ideas.

If you could take a moment to fill out your location and USDA zone, that may help others when discussing care, etc.

Thanks again,
John
 

Larry Gockley

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Re: Buttonwood
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2009, 01:58 PM »
Hi John.  I was thinking along the same line as Dee, " do you really want this to be a bunjin? ".  I was wondering how it would look if the trunk were tilted to the right, maybe 45 degrees, and the two right side branches adjusted more to the horizontal.  Kind of like a slanting / windswept style. The left branch is already much smaller, so it would fit into that style, being on the up wind side. You could also maybe do some dead wood on the left side of the trunk to simulate the forces of nature beating away on that side. Just an idea, for what it's worth, but when people hear buttonwood, they usually expect to see some deadwood.  One more thing, if you are leary about defoliation, for the past few years I have been simply breaking off half to two thirds of the largest leaves.  Seems to help with leaf size and ramification.  Larry
 

clrosner

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Re: Buttonwood
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2009, 09:49 PM »
Hi John:
Buttonwoods are a real challenge for us, up north, but it is a wonderful tree to work on.  You didn't mention how tall your Buttonwood is.

I have used an old technique to develop branches lower on the trunk.  By taking a razor and cutting longitudinal to the trunk. I bring this idea up in case you are willing to try and develop branches lower down and eventually eliminate some of the upper .
branches  Buttonwoods can be developed in about 10 years.  The whole idea is to design your tree based on the trunk and then work toward that design.  Someone did mention that above.

I just went back to my 2000 files and plucked two very bad pictures of my Buttonwood when I first started to train my Mary Madison Buttonwood.  I, also, have a picture of the Buttonwood from 2008.

Warmest regards,

Carl
 

bonsaikc

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Re: Buttonwood
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2009, 11:22 AM »
Hi John:
Buttonwoods are a real challenge for us, up north, but it is a wonderful tree to work on.  You didn't mention how tall your Buttonwood is.

I have used an old technique to develop branches lower on the trunk.  By taking a razor and cutting longitudinal to the trunk. I bring this idea up in case you are willing to try and develop branches lower down and eventually eliminate some of the upper .
branches  Buttonwoods can be developed in about 10 years.  The whole idea is to design your tree based on the trunk and then work toward that design.  Someone did mention that above.

I just went back to my 2000 files and plucked two very bad pictures of my Buttonwood when I first started to train my Mary Madison Buttonwood.  I, also, have a picture of the Buttonwood from 2008.

Warmest regards,

Carl

Carl, when you say longitudinally, are you meaning across the trunk, or along the trunk? I find this bit of information quite intriquing. Wonderful development on your tree, BTW.
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Buttonwood
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2009, 09:09 AM »
The tree is about 2 feet tall.  Though I enjoy the bunjin style for this tree I'm open to suggestions.  However, I'm having trouble picturing this one as a convincing windswept.  Any chance on a virtual?

And, I didn't mean to imply that there was no deadwood.  There is some, it just isn't the major focus for this tree currently.  The rugged bark is a much better feature, imo.
 

clrosner

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Re: Buttonwood
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2009, 06:43 PM »
bonsaikc:
Sorry, if I wasn't specific enough.  I do mean that the cut is made horizontal (across) to the trunk.. In other words you are cutting off the auxin flow.  I have done this several times on this tree, and have been able to develop branches at both locations, where I had made the cut. 
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Buttonwood
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2010, 04:53 PM »
We had a local study group meeting this morning.  I decided to work on this buttonwood again.  It always limps along in winter only to explode during the heat of summer.  I think I might take this one up to Cincinnati later this year for their White Elephant Sale, and let someone else learn to care for it during winter.

Here are the before and after shots.
 

bwaynef

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Re: Buttonwood
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2010, 08:54 AM »
I love the movement in this tree, but suspect an impending cutback to shorten those branches and promote ramification.

Do you know if its feasible to approach graft buttonwood?  It looks like before you shorten those branches (if my prognostication is correct) there are some candidate branches (and locations) that would be prime for approach grafting.

I like the branches where they are (if a little long) except for the apex.  Theres one branch that seems like it is out of place.  Could this branch be moved?  What're the thoughts behind its current placement?
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Buttonwood
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2010, 09:03 AM »
Thanks for the comments, Wayne.  The apex candidate you pointed out actually emerges from the bottom.  There was a section of deadwood beyond it, so one of the study group guys suggested to remove the deadwood so the emergence isn't quite so noticeable.  Buttonwood buds back quite well, so I'm sure it will fill in nicely.

Admittedly the branches are all too long.  I've been growing them out for a while to attempt to induce taper.  If I were to keep it I would likely cut them back hard this year or next and rebuild the structure.

I've not tried grafting buttonwood.  They bud back well, so it's possible something could emerge in those areas you pointed out.  However, with a shortened growing season (well, shorter than south Florida) the branches thicken very slowly, so it could be some time before they (the potential new branches) were in scale with the rest of the tree.  Perhaps that will be the direction a new owner (or me, if I keep it) would take in the future?

All good thoughts. 
 

bonsaihunk

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Re: Buttonwood
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2010, 11:03 AM »
John,
You have a very lovely and simple trunk.
How about simplifying the structure?
Jerry
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Buttonwood
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2010, 07:10 PM »
Jerry,

Thanks so much for the reply.  I think somewhere in between is what I might shoot for.  It for sure needs to be cut back even more and fill in some.  I definitely like the shape of your branch structure more that what's currently on the tree.  Time will tell.
 

bonsaihunk

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Re: Buttonwood
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2010, 11:49 PM »
Keep us posted.
Jerry