Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

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Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Sat Jul 14, 2012 2:20 am

I've been to quite a few bonsai nurseries and bonsai hobbyists backyards and most of their trees look "pretty". But when you look underneath, one can see immature branches holding up a "pretty" canopy but not telling a convincing image.

Then I look (drool) at pictures of some of the trees of Min Hsuan Lo, Robert Steven, Jun, Budi Sulistyo amongst many others and I can see the nicely tapered branches holding up those canopies and I wonder how those trees were developed.

Were those canopies always kept in check and eventually all the branches thicken and mature properly? Or were those branches allowed to run free to thicken and therefore making the tree look pretty ugly for a while, while it's still in development? Also, while trees are being developed, is that work done in the final bonsai pot or an oversized pot?

I'd like that to be the basis of this discussion. What's the consensus? I've got some pretty ugly trees in my backyard, which are all being developed. My goal is to have trees worthy of being accepted into the National Exhibition and beyond.

Thanks in advance for all your help and have a great weekend!!!!
Sam

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Development of broad-leafed trees

Post  bonsaisr on Sat Jul 14, 2012 2:35 am

First of all, the people you mentioned all live in tropical or sub-tropical climates. That's most of your answer.
Iris

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Sat Jul 14, 2012 3:15 am

bonsaisr wrote:First of all, the people you mentioned all live in tropical or sub-tropical climates. That's most of your answer.
Iris

There must be some techniques that can work whether in the tropics or not. That's another part of my question.

You're right though, and I forgot to mention Walter Pall in that mix of people. The contents on his website and blog have long been a huge inspiration for me.

Thanks
Sam

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  drgonzo on Sat Jul 14, 2012 3:24 am

Sam Ogranaja wrote: were those branches allowed to run free to thicken and therefore making the tree look pretty ugly for a while, while it's still in development?

Yup, grown out until the thickness of the branch was in good proportion to the trunk, then cut back hard to say one or two buds then regrown, same way we develop taper for trunks. I collected a nice wild apple (6 inches thick) this spring, it will now spend probably the next few years growing its leader and side branches before I will cut them all back to maybe a few inches, then re grow.

The way you cheat this process (the quick and dirty way) is to wire a branch into position that has reached desired length for the "finished tree" then defoliate, this produces a new flush of growth. But not any taper. This is done frequently by production tropical bonsai nurseries to create reasonable trees for sale in a short amount of time and is a technique sometimes used by one Bonsai artist we both admire greatly....

Sam Ogranaja wrote:Also, while trees are being developed, is that work done in the final bonsai pot or an oversized pot?

Mine stay in grow boxes while I'm growing the primary branches to thickness, sometimes I just stick stuff in one of my raised beds to grow out for a few years. Things don't get near bonsai pots until we get to at least tertiary branching I'd think. Probably even more developed then that. I'm at that point with only a few things I dug several years ago. Many of my pre-bonsai are in big plastic training pots, mostly so they are easy for me to move around...

The stepped taper process of cutting back hard each spring usually encourages further back budding on the tree, so its ultimately a win-win really...It looks much better when you just take a couple extra years to achieve the branch thickness you need. Following the quick and dirty way will make branch thickening MUCH slower, in time you may wind up chopping back hard to start again as you may find the branching lacks power..so you've wasted several seasons that could have been spend doing it right the first time.

-Jay

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:00 am

Sam,

for what it is worth, if you grow from a seed or small cutting, you can use large pots/grow boxes/ground,and develop the tree evenly.

If you are aiming for what occurs in nature, your trunks will be smaller than is seen in Classical bonsai.

Collected trees tend to use more of the extended branch to [a] heal wounds,[b] help restore vigor and give a sense of balance back to branch/trunk ratio.

Note - when branches are in balance with the trunk, the trunk will feel smaller than it actually is.

For what occurs in nature it helps to select if possible, 10 or so mature examples of what you are working on, draw if can, but choose what feels correct to get the message across.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  marcus watts on Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:27 pm

hi,

the making of a good deciduous tree as you say is in a believable branch structure and more importantly one viewed in the winter - the tropical trees and growers you mention are basically working to a different time scale to the rest of us so it is best to appreciate the trees seperately and not compare them - the trees they are using have one big long growing season and the species used are not actually deciduous in their climate but broad-leaf evergreen, so the development is both easier and very fast - out grow the branches, prune back hard, repeat until main branches are the size you want then lots of defoliating to produce flush after flush of new inner shoots and growth.

Then we come to our trees and climate. Rolling Eyes ......................the methods are the same but you cant achieve the same results in even twice the time unfortunately - and many of our species wont take the level of defoliating needing a far more softly softly approach. The other more important thing to consider is species - the tropical growers dont seem to have much variation and most of the beautifully ramified trees we see are one of just 2 or 3 species.

At a quick guess between my trees and just 2 friends we must have 20 species of deciduous bonsai - not including the acer family which adds 6 or 7 more different varieties to the pot. All these trees must be treated differently - some bud back on a bare branch when you chop it back, others the branch will die, so you cant use the same methods to get the branch size up. If the tree responds to full defoliation by making buds on bare wood it is much easier and quicker to get the results but there is no fixed method that can be followed on all western trees to achieve the final result - Over here an elm is quick and easy, a trident very quick and easy - the acers are a bit slower but respond very well. A beech, hornbeam or oak though could not be treated the same way. Then you have flowering trees - if you want the flowers the pruning timing is often different to normal, so the trees do not develop as quickly because you wait to see the flowers.

so i guess your species will dictate how to proceed.

cheers Marcus

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  Poink88 on Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:42 pm

What everyone said, esp Marcus. Just want to add also that most of those nice trees started as yamadori and the "bones/structure" are already built properly.

Read up a bit also about penjing.

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  Guest on Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:46 pm

hi Sam,

I have answered question in your PM.

...just an addition to it. I keep 4 segregated areas in my garden. The front area is where the "finished trees displayed", in the middle portion is where the trees in development were kept, and in the rear portion is my "jungle" where I placed trees that needs thickening and branch selection, here I keep the trees in a pot placed on the ground and I let the roots penetrate the ground to develop the tree faster, and then a separate area where the newly acquired materials were kept.


regards,
jun Smile









Hi Marcus.
2 to 3 species? hehehehehe Mad ----very far from the truth.


some of the tropical trees in my garden:

Yangya- 2 types

Ficus-
Philippininsis
Chinese Banyan
Red ficus-2 types
Another unidentified specie

Premna nauseosa

Gmelina exotica

and 3 more Vitex specie

Phempis acidula- 2 types

Casuarina- 3 types

Tamarind

Polan/ "Kamuning bilog"

Diospyros blancoi


Vitex parviflora

Ixora- 4 types

Desmodium

Podocarpus

Tripashia trifolia

Streblus asper

Bougainvillea

Hamelia patens

Jasminum sambac

Acasia tree

Chinese elm

Vitex negundo

Maba buxifolia

Erethia microphyla

Murraya sp

Wrightia sp

Habiscus tillaceus

Phithecellebium dulce

juniper

citrus trees


etc.....

I can only speak for myself and the trees I am working on,,,,with at least 50plus species of tropical and semi tropical species for bonsai use.

and I am a just a regular bonsaists here in the Philippines, imagine how much others got. hehehe.

PS. almost all can be refined and ramified very well.


PS2. some trees from Taiwan and China came from here.

regards,
jun Smile














Last edited by jun on Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:56 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  Steven on Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:50 pm

Great topic sam, and all the info is very helpful

Steven
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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  Poink88 on Sat Jul 14, 2012 2:13 pm

jun wrote:hi Sam,

I have answered question in your PM.
Jun,

Can you by any chance post it here? We need education too you know. Wink

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat Jul 14, 2012 2:22 pm

Marcus,

some of our trees are deciduous,but by dry season[no rain], I am working with Fustic [Clorophora t.],and Tamarind, both are deciduous.
I have also added on three other types, but still have to have them identified.
The Tamarind sleeps for about a month and then flowers, the Fustic for about 3 months.

There are many trees on this side that sleep, with the dry season,but are not really suitable Bonsai material.

The West Indian Cherry [ Malphigia] is also dormant for about a month at the end of the dry season as is the Flacourtia[spelling?] a member of the Willow family ? [see the Taiwanese bonsai site for exceptional examples.]
As time goes by, I am sure I will be experimenting with more sleepers.

As an aside, the Fustic resembles an Elm or Hackberry, with it's leaf, but is apparently a member of the Ficus family. Weird huh?
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  marcus watts on Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:57 am

haha - yes Jun of course there are lots of species.........I said that the beautifully and incredibly ramified trees we see (in show & exhibition pictures) as tropical bonsai are just one of two or 3 species - the ones you guys have with big leaves, fern like growth, hanging or sparse foliage etc dont fit into this catagory in the same way hundreds of species are not used here to make decent bonsai either. I take this thread to mean decent high quality deciduous trees so it is 4, 5 or more stages of ramification per branch that sets a tree into this category.

looking at the species entered into the big shows gives an indication - or how about just flicking through Roberts books then.....there are not many species used to make the better trees he documents either:D Very Happy

it is not much different here either- the difference between us having a bonsai growing in the garden for our pleasure and making it into a true specimen is still a big gap.

cheers as always

Marcus

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  Zach Smith on Sun Jul 15, 2012 4:17 pm

Here's an example of how this technique is performed, in this case on a nice little cedar elm. I collected it in January of 2011. By summer it had developed some shoots in the right places, so I wired them so they wouldn't try to grow straight up.



I let the lower two branches grow out wild to thicken. Here's the before and after shots from today:





Now, this is only the first time I'll go through this process. Next year I'll let the branch grow out again to thicken it, then cut it back hard to enhance taper. I want a nice, gradual taper to reflect the taper of the trunk. All in all, I should be able to get this done in another two or three years.

As others have noted, different species behave in their own way as you apply this process. For those that grow all season long, it goes more quickly. Often in summer growth slows, so you have to take that into account as well. I cut the branch on this cedar elm back to a relatively strong sub-branch, so I can hopefully induce a strong bud farther back on the main branch. If this happens, then I'll look to make my next cut farther back, next year.

Zach

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  Guest on Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:54 am

Hi Marcus....

Still not true.
Please revisit Hwa Fong 2011 ( Taiwan National bonsai Style Exhibition and competition).


I counted at least 30 species from tropical and sub tropical species of trees. And they are the best and most ramified trees that can be seen in the world...and they are less than half of the species used here for bonsai.

After revisiting the thread, post again here and tell me please what specie in there has a "fern like growth or sparse foliage"...hehehe Suspect , otherwise, these terms and pointers you made would mislead people specially from your region reading this thread. I can't imagine how an experienced bonsaists like you can think only of just 2 to 3 species that fits for bonsai worthy of "High quality" ramification reaching 4 or 5 stages of ramification. Maybe the lesser experienced folks now would think otherwise.

I think I should invite you someday in one of our Asian bonsai event here, Wink If you are expecting 2 to 3 species in one show,,,you'll be surprise.


regards,
jun Smile

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  Guest on Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:34 am

Hi Again Marcus,

I got a book from last years bonsai show held in Indonesia " Pameran Nasional Bonsai and Suiseki Indonesia 2011", maybe you need to get one too and from the Taiwanese National shows also. Just for you, I counted the number of species- Its between 40 to 50 species (some are sub species/variety) just in one show. remember how crazy Indonesians are when it comes to ramifications.


In one of our recent National shows I counted 34 species on display. and some are reaching more than 6 stages of ramification.

The Malaysian show got more than 30 species, majority of the trees reached 5 stages of ramification and some reaches beyond 7.

Really, I can't understand where you got the idea of just very limited species worthy of 5 to 6 stages of ramification and fern like leaves affraid ...now I am reviewing my Asian Books of national shows from all over Asia just to be sure hehehe....non so far got less than 15 species displayed in one show.


Just a thought, Asia (and the Amazon too) got the most diverse plant specie on the planet, I can't see any reason why your region will have more species suitable for bonsai than ours? scratch I am not competing, just trying to enlighten you my friend. study

regards,
jun Smile

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:48 am

A heartfelt Thank You to all who have participated so far. All this information is very good to have in one place. You're confirming what I thought which is grow and cut.

The species I'm most interested in are Japanese Maples, Trident Maples and Brazilian Raintree. All backbud well, so I can just keep going the way I am.

It seems like the general consensus is that if the tree needs development it is placed in either a large pot or in the ground. I like Jun's technique of the root escape method since that gives more growth than in the pot alone. I'll have to try that next year.

Once your tree reaches a level where ramification is needed, do you change your soil mixture and feeding schedule? As of now I have a very loose substrate, so I water and feed very heavily. This is creating very long internodes in most cases. Not a concern now (not anymore that is) but it has made me wonder how to slow the tree down.

Also, it's been extremely hot here lately. Are you guys concerned if the pots get really hot? Do you protect your pots (and ultimately your roots) from the heat?

Have a great week everyone!!!
Sam

PS - Extra thanks to Jun for my PM as well as for revealing that he keeps segregated areas for his trees. I find this revealing, and I guess I need more trees Twisted Evil

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  drgonzo on Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:14 am

Sam Ogranaja wrote:
it has made me wonder how to slow the tree down.
Also, it's been extremely hot here lately. Are you guys concerned if the pots get really hot? Do you protect your pots (and ultimately your roots) from the heat?

Yes Sam, Fertilizer is either withheld as spring buds break or is given less frequently, or is changed to a little with every watering style like poo poo balls. Also don't underestimate the dwarfing power of a bonsai pot, the root bound condition helps keep growth in check.

In this heat the Maples all get top dressed with Long strand orchid sphagnum as do the Wisterias, the Birch and the Bougey, all the things in my collection that like cool roots. Everything else does OK without it. I go one extra step to try to situate the Wisteria so their pots are in the shade. If they dry out or the roots get too hot die back will happen very quickly (matter of hours)...

Japanese Maples enjoy having their feeder roots near the soil surface so that extra protection and moisture provided by the Mulch of Moss makes a difference, especially if tender new growth is coming in after a defoliation and its hot out, or windy or both.

-Jay

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:11 am

Sam,

with ground growing it helps tremendously to prepare the soil in advance,especially if you are on clay type soils. One friend of mine even had an area of 15 feet [3m] dug out to 3 feet [1m ]and refilled with a coarse soil mix.

To control the faster growth, you have to be more vigilant with regards to pruning. Make up rules of how much branch extension you desire, and cut back. For greater ramification, if the tree type can do it, cut back at shorter lengths of extension.
For example, my ironwood in a large plastic bonsai type pot, has 3 foot [1m] extensions for repair and 6 to 8 inch [15 to 20 cm] extensions for branchlets.

It also helps to fetilize well a month before any type of cutting, if you are planning an all over trim.

Jun,
generally speaking on our side [ Amazon type vegetation is the island's main stay] the bonsai material exists mainly in the scrub and dry lands. However, you do find here and there possibles.
In the tropics it is an open book, lots of room for discovery. affraid
Enjoy to the max. cheers bounce cheers
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:35 pm

Thanks Jay and Khaimraj. I appreciate and respect your input.

I hope we can keep this discussion going.

Have a great weekend!!!
Sam

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  mambo on Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:55 pm

Hi Sam,

I posted this photo on another thread but it is relevant to this discussion.

This is how my Quercus Ilex looked when it won the Spanish National Exhibition a few years ago.



I bought this tree because I loved the long bottom branch. The rest of the tree wasn't too bad either!

Originally the apex was much more pointed and I was only able to reduce it by this much and still have a showable tree for the exhibition. I did reduce it and round the apex much more the following year.

At the time that bottom branch caused a lot of debate with some guys actually coming up to me jokingly with saw in hand...I however felt that cutting it off would turn it into a lampshade, though the design would have possibilities. Anyway the branch died a couple of years later anyway, almost as if the tree agreed with them. I have been growing a new branch to replace it for the last 5 years the base of which is now about 3cm thick with nice bark for the first 10cm or so. In another 5 years it should be done.

This is what it looked like after some hard trimming earlier this week:



My method with this particular tree is to let the branch grow freely. I wire the end up as I believe this makes it more vigorous , I also prune the branches farther back on the branch so that they stay compact as these will eventually stay of the tree. Another method I use is to spray particular branches I want to thicken with organic cannabis fertilizer (it's the only fertilizer I use on all my trees) in heavy doses all year round as this makes those particular branches act like their on steroids!

Just my take on this particular tree.

I know some artists also leave the wire on too long so that it actually really digs into the branches. This makes branches thicken really quickly, but depending on the species, the scars can take a while to disappear. I have one friend who will deliberately do this, then once the wires are removed the following set of wires are placed on the areas of the branch that the wire didn't dig into and it seems to work quite well as we have done tests using two different branches at the same height on the same tree and branches thicken more than twice as quickly using this method This technique works well with cork oaks as because of their gnarly bark they tend to blend scars in two or three years.

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  PeacefulAres on Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:22 pm

Call me crazy, but I actually prefer the "ugliness" of a tree that has been hard pruned with that clip and grow style, to the finished product. I guess I'm weird lol.

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  my nellie on Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:02 pm

mambo wrote:... ...Another method I use is to spray particular branches I want to thicken with organic cannabis fertilizer (it's the only fertilizer I use on all my trees) in heavy doses all year round as this makes those particular branches act like their on steroids!... ...
Could you please specify this?
Is this an organic fertilizer made specifically for cannabis plant or made of cannabis?
Do you use it also while watering your trees or do you fertilize only by foliage spraying?
Thank you.

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Re: Discussion about the development of broadleaf trees. Tropical or Deciduous.

Post  Guest on Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:39 pm

Hi Sam,
I almost forgot about this thread and the response to your question,,because I was waiting here for Marcus response on his naive perception of 2 to 3 species he thought were used in our region for bonsai... Sleep

Anyway to answer your question, Just let the branches run free to thicken, some species were allowed to grow wild for a year or more guiding them lightly before you could work on the initial branches, from more than a meter you would keep only several inches after cutting back, then will let them grow wild again and continue the process, this is the proper way of achieving ramification, The best way ( IMHO) to achieved the best ramification is combination of branch wiring, guy wires, and clip and grow method...but combining this method needs practice and knowledge of species involved.
Some species do not react well to rigid wiring, some would even kill branches if wire were applied, some growth of some species would be even hindered by wires, Clip and grow method were best applied on fast growing trees.

Try to search for Lo Minhsuan's techniques. or avail his books, even with Chinese text you could easily understand and appreciate the method applied thru the clear pictures.
And I do hope he will published an English versions.

regards,
jun Smile

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