Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

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Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

Post  Adam_San on Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:54 am

First off, you may have noticed the weird pattern on the trunk of the plant. That may be due to the spiral curve, moss growth, single source lighting, and a crappy camera. On the left side at the base of the trunk, there is an exposed root that I think has the potential to look very nice and create some asymmetry. On the right side at the base of the trunk, I have mounded up some soil by the tree to allow some "side-roots" sprouting out from damaged bark (notice the reverse taper) to take root and grow larger. This, I hope, will stabilize the tree trunk and improve its health/looks, especially when I remove some of the soil later and uncover some (hopefully) nice aerial roots.

As is, I feel that it looks a bit off center to the left. At some point, I plan on correcting that. And so, I ask - does anyone have any suggestions on what to do with this tree (drastic or minute)? Which branches should I consider pruning, down the road? I'm looking at that branch that sticks way out and veers off to the left, and would like to see that propagated as a separate tree.

Here is a set of pictures of my tree, rotating clockwise:








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Re: Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

Post  JimLewis on Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:20 pm

Well, start by cutting this branch off flush with the trunk. Then study the tree and decide what shape you want. It's already a nice tree.

Use the branch you removed as a cutting and you will have 2 (or more) Serissa.


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Re: Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

Post  John Lee on Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:02 pm

Definitely remove the cross branch. It is hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like there may be two apexes, decide which one you like best and remove the other one. Wire the side vertical branches out so that they are at least horizontal and bed some movement into them, be careful, while the small branches are pretty flexible, it is easy to peel them off the tree where they join on the trunk. After that let it grow and trim as needed for shape.

I have one similar, no curve like yours, but it will show what I mean about the branches. If I get home in time from work, I will post a picture.

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Re: Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

Post  John Lee on Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:08 pm

Check out this post. It is one of my serissa, not my best one, and certainly not much like yours, but it will hopefull give you and idea of what I started with and what I ended up with.

http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t11099-serissa-kyoto-mountain


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Re: Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

Post  -Daniel- on Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:38 pm

First, to eliminate the transverse branch, it is very ugly. Then study well the plant posibile style.




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Re: Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

Post  PeacefulAres on Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:45 pm

John Lee wrote:Definitely remove the cross branch. It is hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like there may be two apexes, decide which one you like best and remove the other one. Wire the side vertical branches out so that they are at least horizontal and bed some movement into them, be careful, while the small branches are pretty flexible, it is easy to peel them off the tree where they join on the trunk. After that let it grow and trim as needed for shape.

I have one similar, no curve like yours, but it will show what I mean about the branches. If I get home in time from work, I will post a picture.

I don't really understand why you'd want to remove on of the apexes. Multiple trunks adds a natural, three dimensional aspect to a tree, that is harder to accomplish with a single apex.

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Re: Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

Post  -Daniel- on Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:56 pm

The trees by their nature have only one apexe , every tree has the very own personal apexe . Two trunks you can do two quotes.

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Re: Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

Post  JimLewis on Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:00 pm

Well I suppose we'd all think better with two heads <G>.

I don't really see two apexes here, but it is a single-trunk tree. They may be referring to the fact that those uppermost branches are a bit too large for being that high on the tree. In fact, if this were mine (and I've HAD my days with Serissa, thank you!), I'd cut off the upper left hand branch and that part of the upper trunk it sprouts from down to the right-hand branch. That way you can eliminate some of the apparent reverse taper (swelling) of the trunk up there.

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Re: Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:34 am

message comes from the Tropics.okay.

Might I suggest you do nothing save get this shrub bushy and ready for training in late spring.

Then around late spring get it into a larger, but not deeper pot.

It needs to have the first branch grown on and shaped.

What seems to happening on your side [ The US as a whole ] is over wet soil. This shrub can be over wintered outside in zone 7, and perhaps a room / garage that does not go past 40 deg.F, would be best for the winter.
You may need bright light as would occur outdoors during winter.

If you remove the branches, you may not have enough foliage to keep the soil in balance.

If you wait a few days I can show you what I am doing, and how a bushy serissa controls it's soil, even the rainfall is heavy and nearly every hour, every day.
Khaimraj

As an example of allowing to go bushy to control the soil's moisture.

http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t12289-for-moyogi-john-the-serissa-update

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Re: Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

Post  Adam_San on Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:02 am

JimLewis:
Thank you. I've already grown to be quite fond of it. It looks like its past owner was trying to balance the tree by wiring the transverse branch that you pointed out to grow left/horizontal. If you look at my 360, you may be able to see that there is a comparably sized branch growing opposite this one, behind the "front" of the bonsai. It is currently growing away from the viewer and slightly to the left. Above these two branches, are two much younger branches that seem much more suitable for growing out. I'm thinking that these larger, lower two branches need to go - the trimmings could be put to use to grow two new Serissas. Would you agree so far?



JimLewis wrote:... I'd cut off the upper left hand branch and that part of the upper trunk it sprouts from down to the right-hand branch. That way you can eliminate some of the apparent reverse taper (swelling) of the trunk up there.
I'm not sure what you mean by the upper trunk that sprouts down to the right-hand branch. Could you please explain?


JohnLee:
I'm also not sure what you mean by the two apexes. Are you referring to two of the highest apical meristems? I like the leaves of your kyoto mountain. So, like your plant you think that I should develop levels of alternating branches? (left, right, left right) Maybe you could take a look at my virt and say if I am on the right track.



Also, Onybonsai-Daniel what do you think of this idea?

Khamraij Seepersad:
Of course I'll wait - I'm looking forward to seeing it. I keep my plant by one of my house's brightest windows and supplement it with a 60W grow bulb till I go to bed at night. I don't plan on pruning soon, just thinking for the future. Would it be okay to start training some of the branches with wires? I was going to repot into a somewhat wider bonsai pot, and use 60% lava or turface, 40% crushed pine bark. How much wider a pot would you recommend? Also, what soil do you use for your Serissa in the tropics? That's interesting, so you're saying that a bushy Serissa regulates soil wetness better? Is that because it has more leaves, which would lose more water to transpiration? Thank you for your help Khamraij.

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Re: Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

Post  John Lee on Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:34 am

Adam,

Yes, I was referring to the two highest apical meristems, or just apex or branches as we call them around here. You need to choose one for the apex, as it grows, it will fill in and take up the space that the other one you cut off took up. You willl find that in the warmer months these trees grow like weeds.

And yes, alternating pads and branches. I suggest that you get a good book on bonsai and check out some of the images on the net. You can also go to my father's site, www.bnjl.com, and check out some pictures of his serissas. Tomorrow I will photograph some of mine and try to explain more. Also, if you find that you like serissa, I will mail you some cuttings, I have five different varieties.

Bending the branches now is ok, I find that bending them when they are very small is best. Larger branches will not hold their shape, even after leaving the wire on for a year. I am no expert, but my dad and I have been playing wirh serissas for quite a while.

Of course, Khamraij, had some good advice, After wiring the branches in place, just let it grow. It will probably not grow much until summer anyway.

Check out my web site, www.thebrassdragon.com, under the "bonsai" like there is a picture of one of my serissas. Also if you look in the flowers section there are some pictures of some of the different flowers that serissa has.

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Re: Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:44 am

Adam,

on my side the Chinese type Serissa [ what you have ] grows too fast to need wire, I use clip and grow, so I can't offer any advice there. I use the wire ties to move branches around, but that's about all I need wire for.

The plastic pot you are using comes in several sizes, you could move onto the next size, and just keep on going. The maximum I believe is around 14" in length.

My soil uses, compost for the organic and crushed sifted earthenware red brick [ it's our hollow clay building block, just broken ones that are being processed back into grog for mixing back in with clay for refiring as a new hollow clay block -http://abelbestcrete.com/products/blocks/ ]

The broken brick is probably the equivalent to your red lava.
I also mix in some builders silca gravel, sifted as well.

The more leaves the more the uptake of water, the less chance of wet feet, and rotting.
But remember, this shrub handles zone 7, so it can also rest and handle winter.
Folk seem to want to confuse the plant.

My serissas are out in full sun and heavy rain, they are pot bound and can dry out easily as the rain lightens and the sun effects take over, plus wind factor.
------------Yet the serissas can rest for winter as well.--------------------
So next year you may wish to take some cuttings and test them in an unheated garage or other, and see how light is really needed for winter on your side.

Are you colder than zone 7 ?
Anyhow best to you and do show again as the shrub grows.

Have you seen this -
http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t11614-world-s-tallest-serissa?highlight=serissa

It's my laugh and attempt to see how tall this shrub can grow.
I have seen 2" and 3" trunks on these plants, so you know you can at least go to 15" and get good proportions if you want. So you can change the shape of your tree by just building the trunk size.
You will probably find that those curves were probably set in China for a larger specimen, as time and growing on took over. That's why most Serissas look so strange.
Until.
Khaimraj

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Re: Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:59 am

John,

the Internet gave your address for your dad as - http://www.bnjl.com/
Not sure why, as both addresses look the same.

Enjoyed the look around and will return to look again later today. Thank you.

Went to your site, how similar your serissa is to mine, but way more lush.
A while ago we had all those colours as the flowers go, but now we are down to flora plena and a variegata as leaves go.
Great sketch!
Beautiful Iris !

Enjoyed the food and will have to return to your page later today as well.
Thank you.
Khaimraj

* Hopefully you can continue to guide Adam as I don't have anything else to offer, save maybe another image later today.

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Re: Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

Post  John Lee on Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:15 pm

My dad and I have the same name, only different by middle initial.

His site is www.bnjl.com

My site is www.thebrassdragon.com

Both have pictures of serissa on them.

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Re: Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

Post  Adam_San on Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:15 am

John, you and your dad do have quite the Serissa collection. Thanks very much, if you don't mind I would love to try some other varieties. I'll message you my address. I did manage to get a book on bonsai and japanese gardening. Kaimraj, I live in Indiana, zone 5b/6a. Not the coldest, not the warmest. Maybe I'll try some wiring and some cut/grow. That's a good idea, to test the cuttings in different places.

An update on the soil. As you know, the plant is currently placed in soil that has too much humus matter. It is not very good at draining. I've been looking around, and should be able to get some lava rock. I was planning on a 60% lava, 40% pine bark mixture. However, I haven't been able to locate some pine bark, so this orchid mix will have to do - mostly fir chips, supplemented with a bit of charcoal and perlite. So in the end, I will have a 60% lava, 40% fir bark. Charcoal seems to be favored by other bonsai-ers, so I think I'll keep that. Not to mention the fertilizer I'll add. Khaimraj, that's good to hear about your soil, your mix sounds similar.

So... I'm thinking that the soil is bad enough that I might want to repot now. Would anyone agree? Its taken all this week for the soil to dry out, and I don't know the last time it was watered (I bought it on Sunday). After that, I'll let it recover then do some wiring. Maybe some pruning in the spring. Sound good?

I'd like to take a moment and thank everyone for your patience, wisdom, and willingness to help. It has helped me immensely in learning to care for this Serissa. Its also exciting to see people both skilled and passionate about bonsai, as are found on this site.

Cheers Smile


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Re: Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

Post  leatherback on Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:09 am

Although I have NO experience with this species, I think the cross-branch *could* stay for a little whil. As it fattens, the trunk bleow the attachment point will fatten up, adding a bit of taper: The whole main trunkline is mostly of even thickness. Leaving the odd branch there for a [few] season[s] more would add some much needed character to the trunkline, imho.

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Re: Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:48 pm

Maybe in a few years ?-
Khaimraj



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Re: Serissa foetida: how should I begin to prune it?

Post  MrFancyPlants on Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:15 pm

I would recommend holding off on the repot until late spring after it has spent sometime outside and shows signs of new growth. The soil it is in is not ideal, but it is not too bad either, just be careful with your watering.

Full disclosure, I do repot some of my tropicals in the fall/winter, but that is more of a space issue when I have to bring them indoors. Before I set my plants up in an aquarium to lock in some heat and humidity, it was nearly a death sentence to repot a tropical off season.

Thanks,
David


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