New (Old) Projects

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New (Old) Projects

Post  Nigel Parke on Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:09 pm

Greetings to all (and Khaimraj),

So in my post on "Tamarind Question" I mentioned some projects I'm looking to get going. These trees were all started either from seed or seedlings obtained from our Forestry Department. They are a Logwood (Haematoxylum campechianum), Guango (Samanea saman), Ponciana (Delonix Regis) and Calliandra (Powder Puff). The Logwood was grown from a seedling, the Guango from seed, the Ponciana was a 'volunteer' I 'repatriated' from the Royal Hope Botanical Gardens in Kingston (for those interested ) and the Calliandra was also from a seedling.

They were planted in a raised bed (in pond baskets) about 3-4 years ago with the intention of raising them every 4 months to prune roots and develop. The raised bed had a top layer of soil (sand and loam), below which were successive layers of grit with increased size as you went had been initially commissioned to grow vegetables and at the outset was bordered by wood planks and looked quite proper...a far cry from how it looks now. So here are the candidates:

From left to right - Logwood, Guango, Ponciana and Calliandra


Logwood and Guango trunks

Ponciana and Calliandra

The trunk girth at the base is as follows:
Logwood - 20"
Guango - 16"
Ponciana - 11"
Calliandra - 81/2"

Calliandra - 5' estimated
Ponciana - 9' (ignore the tall will soon be gone)
Guango & Logwood - touching the sky'

Another view of the trunks

They have all bloomed except for the guango and the ponciana, I think the wood on those two is still too young/trees under-developed for blooming. The Calliandra has been blooming since I got it so there are many 'volunteers' growing in the yard. The Logwood bloomed this year for the first time, so the wood is sufficiently mature which is a goal I have for it in its life as a bonsai. I think within 5 - 8 years I may get the Ponciana to bloom (with constant care etc.). My goal for the Guango is to try and get a smaller tree with correct proportions as it will not be a small bonsai, but hopefully starting with a shorter trunk will help in that regard by dictating the size of the tree. If I ever get it to bloom, then I'll be in a very good place, if it never does I'll be good anyway.

The logwood's trunk has some of the fluting that's really desirable, so it will be cool to see how much more that develops. Some termites also invaded the logwood, so hopefully they created/started to create some 'natural carving' for me, they are from the red trails you see on the trunk. The Guango has started to get that rough, flaking bark that's a signature of the specimen. The Ponciana and Calliandra have fairly smooth barks, though the ponciana may allow for some nice oros as it has the habit of branches dying back to the trunk when cut behind the last node before the trunk. The biggest issue for the guango and the ponciana will be to reduce the length of the branches. A friend of mine has a nice Ponciana that he managed to reduce branch length fairly well, if I find the pics I'll post them.

The plan is to remove them, reduce the roots and place them in grow boxes for the 2nd phase of their development. During this stage I will be looking to sort out the roots as I anticipate having to retain a few heavy roots to ensure the trees survive. I believe I should be ok with all as they appear to have fine roots close to the trunk, or at least enough to survive.

Anyway I go forward in hope.....I'm looking to do it over the Easter weekend, ie, build the boxes, dig out and plant the trees. So more posts to come hopefully.

Comments are always welcome.


Last edited by Nigel Parke on Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:27 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Typo)
Nigel Parke

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Re: New (Old) Projects

Post  Marty Weiser on Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:00 am

Either your plan to lift them every 4 months to trim the roots fell through or the growth rate was through the roof!

With the size of some of the roots you might have a hard time keeping them alive when they are cut back far enough for boxes. You might consider a hard top cut and a good solid root cut back (but perhaps not enough for the box) and then left them in 3-4 months. The idea would be to create more fine roots near the trunk. Of course in my climate the lifting would be done in 2-3 years with a root cut back every year so I am guessing about the tropics.

Marty Weiser

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Re: New (Old) Projects

Post  Nigel Parke on Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:56 am


Both took's called "I'll do it next weekend-itis"

The growth rate has been good though, but for the logwood and the guango they've been kept in shape foliage-wise.

You do make some good points, at one point I felt that the logwood was too large to try and move but I've decided to go for it. I know I'll have to assess them when I start digging them out to see how drastic I can be.

I've seen large guango branches that have been cut off trees start to grow after lying on the soil for some time, so I'm hopeful.  I hope the combination of the right ingredients for survival should do the trick.

I'm less worried for the Ponciana and the Calliandra as they're smaller trees and so should go through less shock than the big boys. The root issues are more relevant for the two big ones as they have some large roots which will make it tricky........bUT Fortune favours the brave!!!

The Plan B is to take out the Ponciana and Calliandra, then do some hard root pruning on the other two while leaving them in place, adding some good soil where the roots have been removed, feed them and if I get enough fine roots then I'll take them out completely.

On the other hand, in a couple months it will be summer and for the past 3 or so years they've been increasingly hotter and drier so I don't want to be removing them in those conditions unless there were sufficient fine roots to support the impulsive imp on the left shoulder says take them out now since we're getting some rain, while the cautious one on the right is saying slow and steady, take your time and do it the safe way. So you know who is going to win!!

Tune in next weekend for the results....

Nigel Parke

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Re: New (Old) Projects

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