Saturday, 29 May 2010

Shohin size Chinese Elm Tanuki

Rubbish weather outside and not a lot to do, so thought I have a bit of fun with a piece of old Hawthorn Root and a Chinese Elm cutting. Enjoy!

Group Plantings

My Group plantings have had their first trim of the year and i have posted a video on my YouTube channel showing 4 of the more advanced groups.

Early season Pinching

All my deciduous trees are now growing strongly and the extending shoots now need pinching back to maintain the shape of the trees.  The Chinese Elms, English Elms have been left to extend to 6 leaves and then pinched back to 2 or three leaves, Silver Birches left to extend to 4 leaves then pinched back to one leaf.
My Japanese maples have been cut back to the first short internode on each shoot.

Candles on my Scott's Pines are extending and the smaller ones have been cut back by half.  The longer candles will be pinched back by 2/3 in a week or so.  Two of my pines are now ready to start with needle reduction,, so the shoots on those will be left to extend fully and will then be cut back to their origin later in the summer.  I will document this with a video so check back in late July to see this procedure.

The Chinese Junipers are a bit late starting this year, but they have started to push new growth now and it will be an almost daily task now to keep the growing tips pinched.

The Hornbeams seem to like their new more shadier position and the leaves look healthy and lush.  I am avoiding overhead watering with the Hornbeams as I had a lot of troube with leaf scorch last year.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Watering almost all trees daily now

With the recent spell of sun and wind, I have now moved my maples in to the sheltered part of the garden, where they get dappled shade and protection from the drying wind.
Most of my trees need watering daily now.  The only exceptions to this are the Beeches, which have only just started to leaf out and the Pines which are more happy to have the soil on the dry side.
I am keeping a close eye on my Hornbeams this year, as I had a lot of leaf scorch on them last year after potting them in molar clay based cat litter.  They will need watering morning and evening when it gets really warm.

Sunday, 16 May 2010


I have posted a couple more videos on my YouTube channel.
2 showing some of my pre bonsai material and one showing my large Chinese Elm and the Silver Birch.
I hope you like.


I generally check all my trees that have not been repotted at this time of the year to make sure that any weeds that may have established themselves in the soil are removed.  For the most part, due to the inorganic soil mix I use. this is quite simple and the roots come out easily.

However, there is one plant that seems to love the soil in my pots that is a bit more stubborn.  This is a type of Scotch Moss, which I think was introduced to my garden in a batch of  granite chippings which I used for my soil mix before I started to use Sophisticat pink cat litter.

At first, this weed looks quite nice, forming a lovely green undergrowyh that is in perfect scale for most trees, resembling patches of grass, but it soon becomes invasive, covering every bit of soil.

I can only recommend that you keep a close eye out for this weed, as it is nearly impossible to eradicate once it gets a foothold in your bonsai.

This plant forms a dense matt of roots in the pot, destroying any drainage and robbing the Tree of nutrients.

The only sure way of removal is to bare root your tree and wash every bit of moss root out of the trees rootball.

With pines, where barerooting is not a good idea, that means thorough checks every week to remove any new growth, which will eventually get rid of the weed.

Feeding now in full swing

It's now been more than 3 weeks since the majority of repotting has been finished, but due to the cold weather here, I have held back with feeding my deciduous trees until now.
As most of my trees are potted in an inorganic medium (Sophisticat Pink Cat Litter, Akadama, or a mix of the two), I have started to feed on a weekly basis, as I have found that this medium drains so well that fertiliser seems to leach out very quickly.
For the most part, my trees get a standard weekly feed of a balanced fertiliser (bought from Lidl, NPK 8.5-8.5-8.5).
Exceptions to this are:
specimen Pines - I use biogold for those throughout the year and bonemeal from October onwards
Acers - get a dose of ericacious fertiliser every fourth week instead of the balanced feed
Apples and Crabapples - low nitrogen tomato fertiliser on every second feed
Azaleas - balanced ericacious feed throughout the year.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Hornbeam Spring pruning on YouTube

Having ranted about the weather yesterday, we actually had a nice (if rather cold) morning and I have taken my chance to do some work on one of my European Hornbeams.  I have filmed the process and posted the video on Youtube.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Building a bonsai Bench

I have added an article by Jerry Norbury with detailed instructions and plans for building a bonsai bench to the Article section of this blog. A very useful resource if you need to improve the display space for your trees.
You can also find more photos and bench designs on Jerry's flickr page.

Here is Jerry with the completed bench.

The weather is really not helping..

It's been a while since my last post, mainly because the weather is just not playing ball.
It has been cold wet and windy here, not the type of weather where you want to be out in the garden working on your trees.
I did however make an effort to finally get my cotoneaster cascade into some presentable state. This tree has been sitting around my to do section for a while now and a lucky find of a landscape rock has finally presented me with a bit of inspiration.

I have compiled the photos of the styling into a video which is on my youtube channel.