Fukien Tea design help

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Fukien Tea design help

Post  Jesse on Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:05 pm

This is a Fukien Tea I picked up for a good deal not long ago from Bill, a local Utah native, that couldn't continue to care for his bonsai because of a new job that requires a great deal of travel. He ordered this a few years back from a shop in Florida who had imported it from China I believe. I know this is typically considered a beginner bonsai which suits me just fine Smile With how long and cold the Utah winters are, I have been wanting a couple of good indoor bonsai to work on and enjoy year round. Most of my bonsai are currently outdoor bonsai and potensai at that.

I would really like to make some adjustments to it and get better taper. I'm not in love with the branches or their positions but I know that they are difficult to bend and shape after they mature on Fukiens. I am really open to some advice both in vision of design and details on how to execute improvements.

Thanks, Jesse




Jesse
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:09 pm

Now that looks like a challenge Jesse,

full canopy natural or tree from a Chinese ink painting ?

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEEEE the lantern ------ Jesse.

Do want dramatic or stability, how do you want to see it?

Fukien tea is a hedging plant, it can do anything.

Can you draw an idea for the group to see ?

If need be just print the front image and take a piece of tracing paper put it over the image and use a thick lead pencil [ 3b to 9b ] or eyebrow pencil or ball point or other and trace the outline, the base and make some changes.
You can re-trace the tracing and put up what you want to show.

I think it might be better if you suggested what you would like to do.
Will be watching.
Khaimraj

Khaimraj Seepersad
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:12 pm

That doesn't look like the typical Chinese import. I would start by thinning out the canopy. Work to grow the lower branches longer and thicker than the higher ones. Do this by allowing those branches to grow unchecked while pruning the upper branches. In warm weather the plant will put on a lot of growth so it will need almost daily attention. The plant also needs to be outside as much as possible, but best in light shade.

Billy M. Rhodes
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Jesse on Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:57 pm

Thanks Khaimraj,

I was really hoping you would help weigh in on this tree since I have been so impressed by your ability to visualize and create a vision. What do you you mean by
or tree from a Chinese ink painting ?

I'm just familiar with what that would be. Do you have a sample?

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEEEE the lantern
Hahaha...the lantern came with it. Don't worry, I'm not a big fan of that kind of thing. I mainly left it in the pics for an easy reference point as I rotated the tree around. It's gone as we speak Smile

If left to my own devices. I would probably make it a thinned out but full canopy tree. To go this direction I would need to tackle the part where the tree was cut off and a new leader trained upwards. The disparity between the leader and the base is one of my least favorite features right now. The lack of taper in the trunk furthers how much this portion stands out in my opinion. This tree is just quite a bit different than anything I have tried to tackle and with its interesting root/base structure, I'm wondering if I should be trying to change the planting angle at all or how to best make use of this trees features.

Right now I'm very, very open to ideas and would love to get a better vision than I currently have in my mind. The following two images are a couple of my favorite fukiens for shape but I'm well aware, that creating that level of trunk movement is impossible given the maturity of this particular fukien I have. I like the canopies in both of the following trees though and I feel like with restart of the apex and some of the branches for better movement...this tree has some potential...doesn't it?

Jesse
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Jesse on Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:08 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:That doesn't look like the typical Chinese import.
That is the story I was given. Any additional insight on this?

Thanks Billy...great tips on growing these--especially the heads up on the daily attention that will be required. Thanks a for the feedback on how to work on getting the right balance on this in it's branches. Most of those lower branches are past the point of being able to be shaped to add some movement correct? If so, would it make sense cut them back some and train new leaders on them or would simply beefing up the lower branches make more sense?

Jesse
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:31 pm

Jesse wrote:
Billy M. Rhodes wrote:That doesn't look like the typical Chinese import.
That is the story I was given. Any additional insight on this?

Thanks Billy...great tips on growing these--especially the heads up on the daily attention that will be required. Thanks a for the feedback on how to work on getting the right balance on this in it's branches. Most of those lower branches are past the point of being able to be shaped to add some movement correct? If so, would it make sense cut them back some and train new leaders on them or would simply beefing up the lower branches make more sense?

I think I would let the lower branches grow wild to get some size, don't worry about shaping yet. Most of the Chinese imports have extreme S curves in the trunk. I do have one Chinese import that lacks the S curves, so I suppose it is possible. Do you know the name of the seller in Florida? Work hard to keep the top thinned out. Many plants will grow the top and ignore the bottom and you have to force the growht down. I wouldn't worry about the lack of taper in the top, work from the bottom up.

Billy M. Rhodes
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:33 pm

Jesse,

the image on the right is more a Chinese Ink Painting tree.

The way I work with someone is to get their opinion on what they want to do. It will happen naturally in the privacy of their studio.

BUT first, tell me about one situation --------- is the tree potbound ?

AND how long have you actually had it ---------- months, weeks ?

As long as you have the patience / time to discuss, I do as well.

To really dramatically change anything on this tree, it will need a large well drained soil / pot. Otherwise it will pack on leaves like a beast, but the trunk or branch will hardly change.
I will send a few images to this forum of a start to getting there so you can see what happens in a tropical climate.

It would also be good to set a sacrificial cutting to determine, if this tree is actually winter tolerant and at what level of temperature. My fukiens, stop growing from around October / November and start around late January / February. I am not sure if it is light or cooler night temperatures.
Would be educational to see if the Fukien tea drops leaves and sleeps as well.

If you intend to really work this tree, it should be stress free.
Apologies, I treat all my trees as though they were the last ones on the earth, might seem wacky to you.
Until you respond.
Khaimraj


Khaimraj Seepersad
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Jesse on Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:39 pm

Thanks Billy. I see why you question the Chinese importation. Now that you say it, I have to concur with the "S" shape observation. I will will check with the original purchaser (Bill) and see if he has that contact info still or remembers through whom he bought the plant. Obviously, a Florida bonsai company would be right down in your neck of the woods. He said it was 6-7 years ago and that it was an online transaction. He told me it was shipped during too cold of weather and that almost all the leaves had fallen off and/or were black--he had to nurse it back to health.

Jesse
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Lee Brindley on Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:46 pm

I would air layer somewhere about this point and get two trees...


Lee Brindley
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Jesse on Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:03 am

Khaimraj,

Thanks for explaining the Chinese Ink Painting tree. It would seem I like those quite a bit, haha.

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:BUT first, tell me about one situation --------- is the tree potbound ?

No, or at least there is about a two inch gap of what seems to be root free dirt running around the outside of where the the roots seem to stop. The previous owner told me that he put it in a new pot not too long ago but I did not get details as to when. It honestly seems like he lifted it out of the prior pot and set in the center of this new one, and then filled in some dirt around the outside. The interior dirt/roots seem like they weren't disturbed in the process at all.

AND how long have you actually had it ---------- months, weeks ?

I have had the tree now for about 3-4 weeks. I have concentrated on getting a feel for its watering needs thus far and tried to let it get acclimated to our home. I have it in our front room where it gets reasonable light. I intended to have it outside for the spring, summer, and fall. I am concerned about the heat tolerance of fukiens though and like your suggestion of taking a cutting to get a feel for during the first really hot summer days.

As long as you have the patience / time to discuss, I do as well.

Sincerely appreciative.

To really dramatically change anything on this tree, it will need a large well drained soil / pot.


Does the pot you see and what I described seem like the right fit for now? I'm guessing I need to get in and get a feel for what is going on around the edges of the prior pots border to see if that area is rootbound?

Apologies, I treat all my trees as though they were the last ones on the earth, might seem wacky to you.

I love it. We are all wacky about something. This is the wacky bonsai lovers forum, haha....and I'm headed that direction or maybe I'm already there. I have woken up repeatedly from dreams about little bonsai trees off and on for the last several months. Yup...I'm on my way or I'm already there with you!

Thanks, Jesse

Jesse
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Jesse on Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:05 am

Lee Brindley wrote:I would air layer somewhere about this point and get two trees...

The thought had crossed my mind, but as I have not chopped up what I consider to be an already, reasonably nice tree before...I wasn't sure if that was just a crazy thought! Thanks for the feedback.

Jesse
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:39 am

Fukien Tea can be very finicky about water and temperature. Keep warm and evenly moist.

Billy M. Rhodes
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:05 am

Jesse,

it would be best to learn how to grow this shrub, before attempting any training for at least a year.

[b] In your climate, determine how sub-tropical the plant is and more closely follow it's life cycle.

[c] Try to do the training in late spring / early summer, and outdoors when hopefully the shrub is aggressively growing, trying to get to the potbound stage in the pot it is presently in.
Check how much sun the plant can handle, winds etc. Or if you can open ground grow.

[d] Experiment on techniques with cuttings from the tree. You can try your hand at rooting say 1 inch cutting now.

The leaves suggest the same type I have, and I found only ground growing really thickens any part of this plant.
Until,
Khaimraj

Khaimraj Seepersad
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:37 pm

Fukien Tea presents, at least, three different leaf sizes from small, medium, to large. I not sure if there is any difference in culture. Based upon my experience the culture seems to be the same. I keep mine in the greenhouse overwinter here in Florida along with the Ficus, etc. The photos seem to show a medium to large leaf variant.

Billy M. Rhodes
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:21 pm

Yes, Billy,

the smallest leaf takes even longer to trunk thicken - chuckle.
I am trying to be cautious with Jesse, as this shrub is important to him.
Khaimraj

Khaimraj Seepersad
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Jesse on Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:41 pm

Thanks guys. Much appreciated and sounds like very sound advice. I will take a cutting or two in the near future to try getting a better feel with. That said. I am well aware that 'risks' and sometimes what seem like drastic measures that will have to be taken to really get the best out of a lot of bonsai. I have read extensively about these plants and I have been helping a friend with (giving advice and helping care for) his fukien tea for several months now so I do feel like I have some feel for fukiens, though I know mastery takes many plants and many years. I guess what I'm trying to say is while yes, I'm being cautious about how to approach this fukien tea, I'm up for taking the steps to making it a better and more pleasing bonsai. I understand and I am all right with the fact that you have to oft times have to take what seems like a step backward to move two steps forward in this living art we call bonsai.

At the minimum, it would seem like I should prune back the crown/apex quite a bit to push more of the growth to the bottom branches?

Jesse
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:08 pm

Jesse,

Billy's advice is sound and he is closer in temperature to you.
Stay Well.
Khaimraj

Khaimraj Seepersad
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:36 pm

Jesse wrote:
At the minimum, it would seem like I should prune back the crown/apex quite a bit to push more of the growth to the bottom branches?

I think that is a good idea, there is a lot more top there than you will ever need.

Billy M. Rhodes
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:43 pm

Okay Jesse,

here we go. Firstly, remember a camera has only one eye, and all I am able to see is a flat image, no 3d.

I usually design with my trees in front of me.

Fukien tea is leaf dense and tends to thicken branchlets very fast, but is not what I would call branch dense. It also tends to just thicken the very end as it keeps adding on leaves. See my defoliated shrub for a good visual explanation.

So, we plan a tree shape that uses the exterior shape, space for the birds to fly though [ negative spaces] and glimses into the tree, with views of branches here and there.
It is more of what in art we would call a mass, and I tend to use the idea of a fully grown mango tree or a younger Julie mango tree. You can google a mango tree to see the domes that form all over the tree.

Now when training a fukien tea, the light direction helps you, in fact this works for most trees, treat them like sculpture -------------- use a light from a 45 deg. angle. This should give you maximum depth with excellent shadows, so you can see the mounds.

I have tried to not cut your tree and work with what is there.
Here you are.
Feel free to ask anything.
Khaimraj

Just in case I lost you the shaded part represents the back of the tree and dome spaces.


Khaimraj Seepersad
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:53 pm

I know this is no help in your design question, but I wanted to show a very large Fukien Tea used for a demonstration in Guangzhou, China this fall.


Billy M. Rhodes
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:18 am

Yes, yes, Billy,

and that looks like the smallest leaf. Did you get the age or how long it took to grow to that size ?

I have a few of the small leaf type in the ground hoping to get to 3 or 5 inch trunks.
Thanks for showing.
Khaimraj

Khaimraj Seepersad
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:57 am

Jesse,

a quick one, for variety. Using the stork's foot and looking at your tree as one in a distance.
I forgot to also suggest that you train using just clip and grow. I believe it would be more in character with the tree as it is.
Enjoy.
Khaimraj


Khaimraj Seepersad
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Jesse on Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:07 am

Thanks Khaimraj!

I love the way the tree looks in your first illustration. The shape is excellent and resonates well with me. I want to make that tree! I'm not sure exactly what the last post means. Is stork's foot referring to the shape of the trunk--and what is the illustration to the left of the tree sketch? I feel stupid asking because it is probably obvious to everyone else. When you talk about clip and grow, that is not to say that the first image you sketched is not attainable is it? I think you are just saying probably not much in the way of wiring? I guess I'm confused since you provided a second sketch that is quite a bit different than the first and wonder if that was to replace the first sketch as a more attainable tree design.

In your first image and somewhat in the second, the branches point downward quite a bit which I think is one of the key things my tree doesn't do as of yet. The first branch you have drawn on the left side of the tree coincides with one on mine that points upward quite a bit. In your experience with fukiens, can I get my branch to drop that much and 'droop with age'. From what I understand the non-green branches become quite difficult to bend and shape on fukiens correct? However, I think that is such a key branch in your design to creating the right look. Without deleting what I have typed, let me reword the question, haha--how would you suggest dealing with that branch? Using wire to pull it downward?

Once again thank you. I appreciate your time and effort.


Billy,

Thanks for sharing the pic. That small leafed fukien is huge....I wish I could see the trunk better. Did you get to watch the demonstration on it? That would have been great to see imho.

Jesse
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:00 am

You're welcome Jesse.

Two situations you need to factor in --- [1] it takes 3 to 5 years to learn to keep a plant alive, and somewhere in there it will go past just keeping alive, and move up to sit up and dance.
Some plants are simpler than others to understand, some with take longer and some will tax your patience.

[b] There is a given amount of design that has to be studied. This will as a basic take about 3 years.

[2] It is a living organism, and even after you achieve the design, it will peak and then grow out of the idea, onto a next.

This is why I gave you two designs, to start you on the road to understanding that adaptability in Bonsai is a must. So you could grow the tree as the first design and then say 5 to 10 years from now change to the other.

The stork's leg, is a main branch with multiple v's held above it. You can use it if you choose to create a tree in the distance.

It is usually best to have about 200 plants to work on, that way you don't kill the few with kindness and too much attention. Hence the suggestion for Fukien tea cuttings.
Growing many cuttings, will teach you the important information you missed, when you purchased a mature tree.
Anyone can TOP DRESS or if you wish have a big trunk and add a green triangle to the top. Unfortunately to someone who grows trees from seed / cutting, it is obvious when the tree is not in harmony.
The cuttings will teach you this, as will the seed.

Fukien tea, as a hedging material, can become anything, and with clip and grow will look very angular at first, but as the tree ages, will smoothen out in a very natural way. You have to be an expert at using wire to achieve the same, plus look carefully at the wire cuts and see how much longer it will take to grow out those marks [ and probably ruin your design.]

Lots of experimenting and learning. Use the library and borrow from the list of books seen in the Off
Topic Forum, started by Billy, this will allow you the ease of purchasing only the ones that you really need [ unlike some of us who have to sample by paying $$$ and then re-selling - e.g me - Laughing ]

You will very quickly understand why Bonsai is a rich man's hobby [ all the paid servants to do the normal stuff - make beds, clean house, raise children,party etc,] or the realm of the retired who have a large, stable pension.

I will be around. Experiment, and come back and tell me how it goes. Just keep adding information to this topic.
Khaimraj

* Study my defoliated tree.


Khaimraj Seepersad
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Fukien Tea design help

Post  Sponsored content Today at 4:28 am


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum