Author Topic: Trying to make it better....a bougainvillea air layer  (Read 9553 times)

Dale Cochoy

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Trying to make it better....a bougainvillea air layer
« on: June 23, 2009, 11:59 AM »
I hope this OK to do and you can bear with me a bit. I started this thread last summer on another talk group which evidently will NEVER be back up again. I finished the job a couple weeks ago, took pictures and now have nothing to do with them! I hate it to go to waste so I thought I'd use them for my first working post here. Unfortunately I need to start from the beginning.
So, here is last years work to those that might have seen it. If not....then it's new! ;D

I had a fairly tall and lanky bougie for a few years and two years ago while over wintering the lower branch died off making the tree pretty much a 'mess' and ugly. So I decided to air layer off the top which had some nice movement. Here are a couple pics of the tree from two sides before showing the dead stump.
 

Dale Cochoy

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Re: Trying to make it better....a bougainvillea air layer
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2009, 12:05 PM »
I found the area on the trunk that I wanted to use as the air layer but I decided I better go a tad shorter than planned to get around an area where a branch had died of or broken off in the past and I thought would ruin my new trunk line. So I peeled and cleaned the bark a bit above it. If you look in the pictures you'l see the area I mean. It looks a bit like butt cheeks! ;D
I cut some small irregular and varying width 'flaps' in the bark and then cut some tips from some barbeque skewers and slid under the flaps to direct the bark and future roots outward at various widths. I applied KLN rooting mixture to the flaps.
 

Dale Cochoy

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Re: Trying to make it better....a bougainvillea air layer
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2009, 12:12 PM »
You'll note the 'razor' blade on the knife I used for this. Very sharp . I use these often for this type work and for slicing bark off before jin work. These are fairly cheap and available anywhere you see knives.

Also, in #8 you can clearly see the butt cheeks I had to work around  ;D
 

Dale Cochoy

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Re: Trying to make it better....a bougainvillea air layer
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2009, 12:17 PM »
I then split a plastic pot, widened the hole in bottom to fit the trunk and filled it with KLN soaked sphagnum moss. I rigged up a couple wires to the pot to hold it up so it wouldn't slide down the trunk. These looped up over branches.
I wrapped the pot with string. It didn't need to last too long.
My first and second branches are pretty nice sized and placed. My first rear branch is a new branch and I'm being very careful with it at this point but it is in a good spot although a bit small. As I always say....you get what you get!
The new front I've picked for the tree with the layer shows these branches pretty well I think.
 

Dale Cochoy

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Re: Trying to make it better....a bougainvillea air layer
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2009, 12:27 PM »
I did this around first week of June here in  NE Ohio. I waited about 7 weeks to remove the layer. I would love to have waited longer for the roots to get larger but I wanted to get the layer off in time to get it potted and to develope some before I needed to take it inside in winter to over winter under lights.
I carefully removed about half the moss and sawed off the air layer. ( I saved the bottom tree for future use). You will note I left the trunk a few inches long under the layer. This is so I didn't jossle the new roots much in removing it and also because I wanted to plant the tree in a pot sitting on the trunk so as not to require too much anchoring around my newly formed roots. I picked this very nice hand made pot by Richard Robinson which I thought was perfect for size/shape. Once the stub is removed it would go in a reficulously low pot but I feel it won't look right. Also, after 31 yrs in bonsai in Ohio, I no longer 'underpot'.
I set the stump on the bottom of the pot and used hold-down wiring from the branches to the pot to hold it sturdy. No pressure on the new roots.
 

Dale Cochoy

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Re: Trying to make it better....a bougainvillea air layer
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2009, 12:28 PM »
Here are a couple shots of the potted tree showing my new front.
 

Dale Cochoy

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Re: Trying to make it better....a bougainvillea air layer
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2009, 12:30 PM »
Here are a couple shots of repotting the bottom part of the tree that I'm saving to re-grow. This will TAKE A WHILE in OHIO. More on this later....much later!
 

Dale Cochoy

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Re: Trying to make it better....a bougainvillea air layer
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2009, 12:46 PM »
OK, NOW JUMP AHEAD TO JUNE 2009

I decided it was time to finish my air layer job. It's been a year now since seperated and spent almost 7 months indoors under lights during that time. After it perked up a bit outside this late spring I decided to finish it up.
 I trimmed it and removed a lot of leaves for this next step.
I removed it from Richards pot and raked out the sphagnum very carefully and checked the roots. Nice! All the way around the circumfrance and plenty of them! varying distances from one another and a couple different heights a few mm apart.
I used some large Masakuni root cutters to remove the stub that was about 21/2" long right down to the new rootbase.
I put a little KLN around the new fresh cut at bottom of root base just in case I might have gotten into the cambium.
 

Dale Cochoy

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Re: Trying to make it better....a bougainvillea air layer
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2009, 12:47 PM »
Here is a shot of the Masakuni cutters I used.
The boards are 5 1/2" across for scale.
A couple car payments there!! ::)
« Last Edit: June 23, 2009, 01:00 PM by Dale Cochoy »
 

Dale Cochoy

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Re: Trying to make it better....a bougainvillea air layer
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2009, 12:57 PM »
As I mentioned before, this would go into a pot about 1 1/2" deep which I thought would look bad and be risky for me so I picked a NICE pot for it!
I used an old hand-made Japanese pot which is worth far more than the tree. I liked the shape and size for the tree. Not TOO shallow but moreso than the first one. I think the color will also look great with the flowers.
I used a similar method to hold the tree into the pot as I did with the air layer. I still don't wish to tighten wires over my rootball yet so I looped them through drainage holes and up over the two main branches. I used aquarium air hose as branch protection. I use this stuff a lot!
I also enclosed a better old picture of the pot which had an azalea in it for years until I moved the tree during a repot this spring.
Later this summer we'll get into some wiring of the branches and new shoots that are coming out. Right now I'm just letting it grow and root up.
I hope you enjoyed my first story here.
Dale
« Last Edit: June 23, 2009, 12:59 PM by Dale Cochoy »
 

Rick Moquin

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Re: Trying to make it better....a bougainvillea air layer
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2009, 02:53 PM »
You gotta love mother nature and its handy work. A far better rendition was possible and a job well done. What colour does she flower?
 

bonsaihunk

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Re: Trying to make it better....a bougainvillea air layer
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2009, 03:16 PM »
Super work!
Thanks for sharing Dale.
Jerry
 

Larry Gockley

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Re: Trying to make it better....a bougainvillea air layer
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2009, 03:19 PM »
Great job Dale. Do you think the BBQ skewers made a big difference, and would you use them again ?  Larry
 

bonsaikc

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Re: Trying to make it better....a bougainvillea air layer
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2009, 07:37 PM »
Great progression, Dale, and may I say that this kind of thing is what I've always thought bonsai forums should be about. "Here's what I did, here's what it looks like, here's the results." All with great photos.

Super Job!
Chris
 

Dale Cochoy

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Re: Trying to make it better....a bougainvillea air layer
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2009, 10:23 PM »
Thanks guys.
Rick, they are bright pink flowers. If I get any this year after all the 'whacking' I'll post it.
Larry, I think the BBQ skewers help in getting the flaps out horizontal to get your new roots going in the right direction. Also, you can use them to vary the angle of the 'flaps' so that the roots vary a bit. Yes, I'd use them again....I have oodles! ;D but, you could use many things. I would stick with something however that will eventually rot away.

Later this summer I'll take a pic of the removed bottom. It's coming along pretty slow here in Ohio.

Dale