April 2011 meeting update
Posted on April 25th, 2011 at 11:21 am by admin

We had a pretty good turnout with several visitors this month.  As mentioned in the email, I demonstrated Air Layering on a Trident Maple.  I ended up doing 2 of these.  Hopefully we’ll be able to separate them by late Summer.

The first tree (pics 1 & 2) was airlayered JUST above the first branches.

The 2nd tree (3, 4, & 5) shows a trident that was chopped as it was being approach grafted.  I pulled a branch around, cut a channel for that branch to lay in, and sliced off the bark that would fit inside the channel.  Then it was wrapped tightly so that there was NO movement of the branch.  I’m not certain I’ve got good contact on that branch so we’ll have to see whether this one takes.

The 3rd tree (last 2 pics) was the result of pretty severe cutting back of a much more involved tree.  You can see where the 2 major cuts were made.  I airlayered JUST below the bottom cut (right as the inverse taper and bad roots begins).

March 2011 meeting update
Posted on April 25th, 2011 at 10:59 am by admin

A member, Will, recently came to have several collected trident maples, some of them QUITE large.  This one in particular required 3 of us to move it to our makeshift work area.  We had some discussion as to front, taper, branch selection …and ultimately what would make for the best tree.  The pictures speak for themselves …although they don’t tell how many Sawzall blades were used, or how tiring/numbing it can be to saw all the way through some of those large branches.

Advanced Study Group
Posted on March 11th, 2011 at 10:30 am by admin

We’ve been lucky enough to find an instructor for those of us wanting to improve our bonsai quickly.  Tim Gardner out of the Charlotte area is working with us 4 times a year.  February 26, 2011 we met and repotted several trees.  Some challenges were met with some pretty innovative thinking when a Ponderosa came out of the pot with a rootball that couldn’t (physically) support the tree.  After locating some large screws/bolts, some lumber, and a mica pot, the tree was firmly in place with its best chance of thriving.  I look forward to the progress.
There was a Japanese Beech forest repotted that ended up looking pretty impressive, and a trident chunk (lowest 2-3″ of a thick trunk) was repotted and Tim led a demonstration on root grafting.  A more thorough account of the root grafting can be seen @ http://bonsaistudygroup.com/advanced-grafting-discussion/root-grafting-on-trident/

Looking up @ the first root graft

Looking up @ the first root graft

Looking up @ the first root graft

For more info, get in touch.  We currently have space for a few more people, and you’re sure to learn something.

An update (a long time coming)
Posted on March 25th, 2010 at 10:17 am by admin

I haven’t given any updates in a while.  We’ve still be pretty active and have several new members.

We displayed bonsai at the 13th Annual Carolina Bonsai Expo.  You can see pictures of every tree displayed (inside and out) here:  13th Annual Carolina Bonsai Expo

The past several months we’ve been getting ready for repotting season.  If any of you haven’t seen the Bonsai Boon Repotting DVD I highly recommend it.  So far we’ve watched it twice.  A few posts detailing (and expanding on) the methods shown on the DVD:

To that end, we’ll be doing a little more repotting this weekend.  We have some pretty nice Juniperus procumbens that we’ll repot and do a rough-styling of. Check out Procumbens Juniper to repot & style for a teaser of what’s to come.

Meeting photos from June 28, 2008
Posted on July 8th, 2008 at 9:00 am by admin

As I’d requested, we got some good pictures of what all was going on at last month’s meeting.  It looks like we had some new faces and some old faces to go along with a few of the regulars.  Its good to have a crowd.   I detect a notable penjing theme as the subject of this month’s meeting.

Here are the images taken by Carolina …presented forthwith:

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Anyone with more info about the pictures, feel free to post a response in the comments section.

Threadgrafting to improve stock
Posted on June 3rd, 2008 at 10:19 pm by admin

We’ve all got some trees we’ve neglected or somehow could be improved.  I found some Trident stock that had truly stunning nebari and really impressive taper.  Instead of chopping them back as hard as they’d need to be in one-fell swoop, and possibly  shocking the trees, I decided to threadgraft a seedling that will develop into the new leader allowing me to reduce the tree in stages, all the while developing the leader from the very beginning exactly where I wanted it to begin with.

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The above shows what I’m working towards.  You see the root structure and impressive buttress that has developed but the trunk really seems too uninteresting and straight for what has already developed into potentially a very dynamic tree.  Theres also a close-up that shows how the seedling was inserted through the trunk of the larger trunk.

The following pictures show the process:

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Locate the front displaying attributes you want to highlight.

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Drill a hole at the appropriate angle and clean up the entry and exit points.

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Insert seedling through the hole you drilled.

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I wasn’t sure if this step was necessary, but I don’t think there was any harm in sealing both sides of the graft.

All that there is to do now is to let the seedling grow as long and strong as it will to speed up the grafting process.  After the seedling  has shown strong growth for a few weeks, beginning to reduce the top will direct more energy and growth to the seedling and will speed the development up.

I’ll update this story as the trees develop.  Until then, keep an eye out for stock that can be improved by this simple and quick procedure.

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