What shall I do with this?

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What shall I do with this?

Post  IanES on Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:11 pm

Around 3 years ago I was digging a narrow trench the length of my garden for a water pipe. At one point I had to cut out an 8 inch section of root from an old plum tree. The root was quite close to the surface and from the middle of the section of root there was a green bud heading for the surface. I'm in the habit of planting anything and everything in pots just to see what comes so jammed this old root one end down into a bucket of soil and basically forgot about it till a couple of months ago.

Just a couple of months ago I decided to do something with it. The old root section now looked like an old gnarled 'tree trunk' and one side of it was quite rotten - bucket didn't have very good drainage but the 'bud' had branched out in a 'V' and was around 3 feet tall. I chopped off most of the branch and sawed off the top 3 inches off the 'truck' at an angle and level with the side shoot.

Today I went at it with a file rounding off the top of the trunk so it doesn't look too much like I took a saw to it.

But I'm kind of stuck. Can a 'Plum' be a bonsai? Should I let those branches grow taller or cut them down further?

The left side of the trunk seems to be trying to heal over the rotten side. I've rubbed off most of the rotten flaky wood but is there some paint or treatment I could (should/should not) apply to the rotten wood to prevent further rot?

I'm not into bonsai. I once had a little tea tree that died so I don't know much about bonsai but kind of think this is an interesting project I could enjoy. Good old English plum that even I couldn't kill.

Any ideas where to go from here.



Last edited by IanES on Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:27 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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Another angle

Post  IanES on Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:19 pm


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Another view

Post  IanES on Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:23 pm




I drew lines on this picture to show roughly the size of the original root section that I cut out of the  ground and stuck in a bucket 3 years ago.

Most of the right side was rotten and the rest was sawed and filed to what you see now.

Sorry about the 'pot' It's just the bottom 3 inches of old bucket - that's all the soil it ever had.

I layed moss over the soil because I read somewhere it helps retain moisture without keeping things too wet but I really haven't got any idea what I'm doing.

Thank you for any suggestions.

scratch


Last edited by IanES on Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:32 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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Other side

Post  IanES on Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:37 pm



That lighter colored wood at the top of the truck is the area I rounded off with a file today. I expect that'll weather and look more natural soon.

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To IanES

Post  john blanchard on Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:48 pm

If you're not into bonsai then sell it on eBay. You'll easily get £50 for it.
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Re: What shall I do with this?

Post  IanES on Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:50 am

john blanchard wrote:If you're not into bonsai then sell it on eBay. You'll easily get £50 for it.

Not looking to part with it. I've never been into bonsai but I think this tree is something I think could enjoy working on so I've decided to keep it.

I hope that my cutting off and shaping the excess 'trunk' was the right thing to do. But now I'm hoping for styling ideas.

Is there some treatment for the rotten wood? Or do I just leave that to nature?

Do I shorten the branches to start/keep foliage near to the trunk keeping the tree white short or do I let the branches grow longer?

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What shall I do with this?

Post  john blanchard on Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:15 pm

If the carving is to your liking you can use Ronseal wet rot wood hardener to preserve it. If you want it more detailed you could leave it rot more then carve it out with craft knives. As for the branching you need to develop better primary and secondary and tertiary branch growth. Leave it to grow out and hedge prune it all over to the silhouette you want twice per year, mid May to June and then the beginning of August, to build up it's strength and develop it for styling.
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Re: What shall I do with this?

Post  IanES on Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:25 pm

john blanchard wrote:If the carving is to your liking you can use Ronseal wet rot wood hardener to preserve it. If you want it more detailed you could leave it rot more then carve it out with craft knives. As for the branching you need to develop better primary and secondary and tertiary branch growth. Leave it to grow out and hedge prune it all over to the silhouette you want twice per year, mid May to June and then the beginning of August, to build up it's strength and develop it for styling.

So I need to let it grow out for a while, build up strength, before thinking too much about styling?

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What shall I do with this?

Post  john blanchard on Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:48 pm

I would. If you prune and grow the way I've described along with a good fertilization regime the health of the tree should increase and when it is stronger the time between autumn and spring can be used to evaluate which branches you want to keep and where to prune to increase taper in the branches.
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shohin

Post  rontam on Wed Jul 18, 2018 12:22 pm

I would remove short fat branch going up, and long branch cut back to lowest leaf. Let develop. If bud develops below cut back to it.

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Re: What shall I do with this?

Post  IanES on Wed Jul 18, 2018 12:43 pm

rontam wrote:I would remove short fat branch going up, and long branch cut back to lowest leaf. Let develop. If bud develops below cut back to it.

A few days ago I cut the long branch back to that bud below the lowest leaf. So now both branches are the same size. I fully expect growth from that bud and from the small one below it.

But you're suggesting to remove it completely down the the base? I need to think about that for a while to imagine what it would look like.

I hadn't yet considered removing that short fat branch but it may be necessary anyway if both branches are sending out side shoots at the same height crossing each other in the middle.

In any case I'll need to see how that freshly cut branch develops before cutting the fat one.

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shohin

Post  rontam on Wed Jul 18, 2018 12:47 pm

If you don't remove it you will get too much fattening in that area. Also that forked look "slingshot" will always be a problem.

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Re: What shall I do with this?

Post  BrendanR on Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:11 pm

In time you could have a "proper bonsai". That's a really nice piece of raw material.

John Blanchard's advice is is exactly what I was thinking.

But reading on in the rest of the thread I fear you are going to set this tree back because you want to work on it to get it right.

The hardest thing about bonsai is patience. That tree is 5 years minimum of work, one season at at time, before it begins to look like a bonsai tree.

It must be left to recover now and gather strength for the winter. No more cutting, bending etc.

Just keep it fed and watered and let it grow some leaves.

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Re: What shall I do with this?

Post  Leo Schordje on Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:21 pm

For not being ''into bonsai'' you have an excellent eye, in picking out and saving this plum. It is a very good start.
As the others have said, you need to let it recover this year. No more pruning 2018.

Find a local bonsai club, or a bonsai supply store. Even if you don't want to learn bonsai, ask about proper bonsai soil. The medium you plum is currently in looks very wet, and looks to not allow good air penetration. Good bonsai soils hold water and at the same time allow air to penetrate all the way through the pot. A better potting media than the one the plum is in will help ensure a long life.

You have been given good advice about developing the branching. First get it bushy, then you will have choices to design a tree.

But a nice piece of material.
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Re: What shall I do with this?

Post  IanES on Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:32 pm

So you guys would suggest I 'do not' remove that short fatter branch as was suggested by Shohin. Well, not this year anyway. (or should I?)

I can see where Shohin was going - getting rid of the short fat branch and shortening the long one would get the 'bushiness' (when it comes) more over the center of the tree which I think might be better balanced look. But I guess you're saying that building up some foliage at this stage is more important.

Thanks guys.

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Re: What shall I do with this?

Post  BrendanR on Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:51 am

Do no more this season, and possibly all of next, depending on how many leaves it put out this season.

But seriously, let it rest and recover.

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Re: What shall I do with this?

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