Trunk maturity (Question)

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  Bonsai_jay on Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:40 pm

Hi everyone

I just have a question which i'm really struggling to find an answer for.

Basically I just want to know how the Bonsai trunk matures, giving that fully grown tree look.

Obviously planting in a small pot will restrict the growth of a plant, however what puzzles me is, do I need to plant an
already matured trunk as a Bonsai, OR can I plant say a seedling or grow from seed in a small pot and get
the same matured effect.....?? (obviously the latter would take years) I just cant see how the trunk would mature this way.

Bonsai_jay
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  Bonsai_jay on Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:20 pm

Anybody??....

Bonsai_jay
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  JimLewis on Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:27 pm

By "mature" I assume you mean the development of rough, scaly-flaky bark.

If so, you are correct, it does take years, especially when the tree is in a pot. It still will take time if the tree is planted in the ground.

If you have access to Colin Lewis' excellent "The Art of Bonsai Design," he discusses the development of mature bark there -- and, it seems to me, may contradict himself while doing so. At the back of the book he discusses the physiology of bark growth and suggests planting it in the ground for several years to thicken the trunk and then "let(ing) it stay in the ground for a few more years. Feed heavily to build up as much weight of foliage as possible. Prune the long vigorous leaders regularly to encourage even denser foliage. When you finally pot up you'll have material that has mature bark character that would take decades to develop in the pot." (page 157 - emphasis added).

Earlier (p. 19), he describes a method that seem to imply there is a workable shortcut with an otherwise finished tree. 1. Lightly sand the bark with sandpaper. 2 Wrap the sanded trunk with moist sphagnum. 3. Keep it wet, but examine it occasionally to ensure you're not layering the plant instead. If you see roots, break 'em off, let the trunk dry out, then rewrap. Again, allow the tree to build a heavy canopy. He notes that the time required varies for a number of reason, "but be prepared to keep the sphagnum wrap in place for up to two years, possibly longer." So, as you see there's some fudge room as to whether this is or is not a shortcut.

I've not tried this technique, and the one person I know who has (an experienced grower of bonsai) was very disappointed in his slim-to-no results. It certainly would not work with the seedling you discuss. Seedlings -- in a pot or not -- take whatever time they need to develop mature bark.

But the basic answer to the development of mature bark is that you have to wait.

Pay no attention to beginner recommendations about poking bark with a pin, or slicing at it with a knife, or bending the trunk back and forth every day. All you'll get with those techniques is VERY ugly bark -- and with the bending technique, possibly a Very Dead tree.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

JimLewis
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  Poink88 on Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:34 pm

My advise is to start with the best raw material (bonsai stock) you can find. Even large trees can be cut back shorter (depending on species) and get you there faster (might save you years or decades). Better yet, search the board for "yamadori" where people collect premium quality plants growing in the wild to be trained as bonsai.

I am also new like you and it is nice to have a variety of trees in different stages. I have seedlings, cuttings, nursery plants, and collected (yamadori used lightly) plants (or more appropriately tree stumps).

Good luck!!!

Poink88
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  Bonsai_jay on Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:37 pm

Pay no attention to beginner recommendations about poking bark with a pin, or slicing at it with a knife, or bending the trunk back and forth every day. All you'll get with those techniques is VERY ugly bark -- and with the bending technique, possibly a Very Dead tree.

Agree completly.

Thanks for the reply.

I'm not too concerned with the cosmetics of the bark as I am with getting the Thick - 'fully grown look'. Just wondering if I grow from seedlings, whippets etc, will the trunk eventually grow thick and strong... (because its be limited by the pot)

Bonsai_jay
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  Bonsai_jay on Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:38 pm

Thanks poink

Bonsai_jay
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  RKatzin on Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:35 pm

Hi jay, all varying circumstances aside, it's the age of a tree that develops mature bark, so yes, if you keep them alive long enough they will develop mature bark.

RKatzin
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  Bob Pressler on Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:21 pm

Time is the answer- either you put it in, or you start with an older tree but it simply takes time for bark to mature.

Bob Pressler
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:41 am

There are some "techniques" to speed up the process. Planting in the ground or larger pots speeds up growth. Some plants will take a VERY long time to develop if kept in smaller pots.I am going to look in John Naka's books.

Billy M. Rhodes
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  RKatzin on Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:44 am

You can speed up the growth as far as the size of the trunk goes, but you won't see the bark develop until the tree is old enough, large or small.

RKatzin
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  fiona on Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:10 am

Bonsai-jay, what you're asking is really not so much a bonsai question as a basic tree biology one. I don't know how new you are to bonsai or what horticultural knowledge you have but this is a classic example of why having even a basic understanding of how trees grow can significantly help you in bonsai. I see you are in NI so if you can, get hold of a book called (funnily enough) Trees by Roland Ennos (ISBN 0-565-09160-3) as it gives a nice easy background into a load of tree growth processes which I found very helpful in understanding bonsai processes.

The short and very simplified answer to your question is trees grow both upwards and outwards - with the latter being your thickened trunk. Think of those rings you see on a cross-section of a trunk - those are the annual growth rings and are the outward growth. The minute you restrict root growth (as we do in a bonsai pot) you slow down (but don't stop) the growth processes. So, yes, you can thicken a trunk while the tree is in a bonsai pot but because its normal growth process is slowed down so much, it will take a huge amount of time. BUT, if you read through previous posts on the topic of "how do I get the trunk to thicken on my (name any tree)" on this forum you will find us trotting out as a standard answer the response of stick it in the open ground for a few years. What we are doing here is letting the roots grow as normal and therefore not slowing down the upward and outward growth processes.


As an adjunct to that, what many of us would do while the tree is thickening up in the ground is some branch pruning and possibly even getting some movement into the trunk to get a basic shape (style) into the tree while it is young enough to bend and shape.

Hope this helps.

Regards

Fiona

_________________
"Espouse elucidation"
_____________________________________

my website

fiona
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  fiona on Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:17 am

And I should also point out that because of our climate over here (yours and mine are very similar) the growth processes are slower because we have a proper winter and a dormant period for trees. I mention this because all of the previous posters have been from across the pond and the bulk of them are from significantly warmer climates than ours where growth rates can be considerably faster. This climate factor is actually very important.



_________________
"Espouse elucidation"
_____________________________________

my website

fiona
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  RKatzin on Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:12 pm

A case in point, I have two English Elms, both grown from seedlings. The first I gathered from landscaping and planted into a bonsai training pot, 3x5. As it grew I increased the size of the training pots up to a 6x10. It grew tall and lanky, but with nice bark. After about four years the bark began to split and fissure. In six years+ it got to about an inch in the trunk, very elegant, but not much size. The other is three years younger, also gathered from landscape, but this one was grown in nursery pots, graduating up as the tree grew. This one is twice the size of the other, but its bark is smooth as a baby's butt, just beginning to show some signs of maturity around the base of the trunk. Both trees were planted into the garden this past spring and both went totally bonkers, tripling their size, but the younger still has not developed out of the smooth bark stage. Because I never restricted its growth it really took off when it hit the ground, while the one that had been cramped showed growth, but definitely not as exuberant as the free growing one, and I doubt it will ever catch up, simply because its growth will slow as it ages. Point is you have to take advantage of the juvinile growth if you want to get the size up. I've planted out some older stock and really don't see the growth benefit as far as trunk size with older trees, to wit, the bigger and older the trees were, the less change I saw. Again, time is the tallyman!

RKatzin
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  Poink88 on Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:14 pm

RKatzin wrote:Point is you have to take advantage of the juvinile growth if you want to get the size up. I've planted out some older stock and really don't see the growth benefit as far as trunk size with older trees, to wit, the bigger and older the trees were, the less change I saw. Again, time is the tallyman!
Interesting.

Is this the reason why some air layered branches do not thicken as fast as those grown from seed? (from a point where they are same size of course)

Poink88
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  Bonsai_jay on Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:25 pm

@ Fiona

Thanks, i'll get the book. I'm actually a student in horticulture (probably shouldnt admit that, asking elementary questions) though i'm only in my first year. Just couldnt get my head round the 'question in question'. Understand now. May I suggest a way to speed up you're 'bonsai projects' then.. Not sure if you know of this, but there's a fungi called mycorrhizae, which is basically a fungi that creates (grows) a root system on your plants - doubling the rate at which they grow. (as the extended roots gather more nutrients from the soil, going deeper and further).

P.s i use to live in scotland! :p

@ RKatzin

Thanks

Bonsai_jay
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  fiona on Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:54 pm

Hi.

You can check out previous threads on this topic HERE. It is interesting reading.


_________________
"Espouse elucidation"
_____________________________________

my website

fiona
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  Guest on Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:41 am

I found this interesting chapter. So I asked the author of the book if it is ok to share the pages of his books and post them in this discussion. and he said yes...so here it is.

...having a fat and huge trunk doesn't automatically mean the tree looks matured enough.
In nature, the trunk of a tree is very nice to look at because its beauty lies in its "ugliness".
Uneven bark formations, holes, scratches marks even decay that healed were marks of the trees struggle with the natural environment. and if we follow this logic. Bonsai trunks to look natural should have at least some marks similar to the trees in its natural environment.



....Young looking branches growing in a matured looking trunk would also benefit from the procedure







...A couple of the "nearly finished" works.




Techniques performed by professionals. these techniques were done in China and by people with very high bonsai credibility such as the author of this book.



I am using the same procedure with some of my trees, this technique were applied last year on the tree below. Though I am still in the learning stage, I am gaining some knowledge and some good results too.


The tree got a huge ugly cut, and when the wound heals in the rather huge smooth looking trunk it would not match the characters added by the cut marks.
The procedure were done last year to rectify this future problem and imbalance , I wanted to have a very rugged trunk for this tree with huge holes.


Huge trunk, without character. When the branches and foliage were complete this tree would look huge but not "matured"








...Word of cautions: The procedure above were advisable only for trees not prone to rotting. and mostly done on deciduous trees.


Images courtesy of Robert Steven's book-" Mission of Transformation"

regards,
jun Smile





Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  JimLewis on Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:11 pm

Well, they're your trees. Have at it.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

JimLewis
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  Guest on Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:51 am

Yup!
..and let us not discourage people from exploring other other options in creating bonsai by saying that "...pay no attention to BEGINNER recommendation...."
Which is not all true (and offensive to some people using such other methods), since these techniques were performed by "non beginners". in fact these techniques require higher level of experience and foresight and may requires lot (years) of practice and knowledge on the physiology of the particular trees involved, even the timing of the procedure should also be considered.

... don't do it in your valuable trees unless you know what you are doing.

regards,
jun Smile

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  Bonsai_jay on Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:38 am

Some of them look very harsh.. although this one looks like it's been done well..



Not that I'm particularly experienced to say. Maybe when you take alot of care.


Last edited by Bonsai_jay on Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:39 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Tidying up message.)

Bonsai_jay
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  JimLewis on Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:01 pm



..and let us not discourage people from exploring other other options in creating bonsai by saying that "...pay no attention to BEGINNER recommendation...."
Which is not all true (and offensive to some people using such other methods), since these techniques were performed by "non beginners". in fact these techniques require higher level of experience and foresight and may requires lot (years) of practice and knowledge on the physiology of the particular trees involved, even the timing of the procedure should also be considered.

Well, Jun, I will continue recommending that folks who may not have your "higher level of experience and foresight and . . . (years) of practice and knowledge on the physiology of the particular trees involved," not damage the trunks of their trees. I hope that's OK.

Perhaps -- just perhaps -- the technique could have a better chance of producing a nice tree where the plant has a 365-day growing season, but most of us don't have that. Alas.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

JimLewis
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  fiona on Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:16 pm

JimLewis wrote: Perhaps -- just perhaps -- the technique could have a better chance of producing a nice tree where the plant has a 365-day growing season, but most of us don't have that. Alas.
I'm not at all against trying different techniques but it rather does go back to the point I made already as summed up by Jim. Jay and I inhabit climates that have four distinct seasons - and as I write we seem to have had them all within the space of the past 24 hours. Sad

Jay, lots of things to get to grips with now and even more stuff to look forward to in some years time.

_________________
"Espouse elucidation"
_____________________________________

my website

fiona
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  Guest on Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:14 am

[quote="JimLewis"]

..and let us not discourage people from exploring other other options in creating bonsai by saying that "...pay no attention to BEGINNER recommendation...."

Well, Jun, I will continue recommending that folks who may not have your "higher level of experience and foresight and . . . (years) of practice and knowledge on the physiology of the particular trees involved,"....Alas.


What is the point of the sarcasm Jim? Will it contribute to our advancement of bonsai knowledge and achieved your degree of wisdom?

...please read my post, I said- I am in the "LEARNING STAGE..."...Did I ever said I am an expert?. and that goes with all my post here in IBC!
It is for the same reason I always tried to post an image of the process which I am working with or trees and my PERSONAL works as well when I am trying to explain a point. and not just TALKED about it. I hope people giving an "expert" advice would try the same and see what was achieved in the process or with teachings they are trying to impart. Like this thread in particular. If the work turns out ugly, people will still learn from it, and if it turns out nice, it is an extra bonus and people still learn a lot from it.

If some body gives different advice, please don't insult them.

The very title of this thread is about trunk maturity. followed by question on how to achieve this....I believe I shared a decent opinion.


I hope it is also Ok with you too to express an entirely different opinion, even though it is against your own. I personally respect your point of view, There's no question about that. All I wanted to say is that there are other alternatives being practiced...that may not be advisable to a particular climate but very achievable to some.
This forum is read from all over the globe, my response most of the time is not limited to the question raised by a particular person living in a particular climate. I can personally attest that this forum is being read by lurkers even in the remote places here in south east Asia... and I am making some effort to reach out to them as well, even with my little humblest beginner's way.


respectfully yours,
jun







Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  marcus watts on Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:48 am

Hi,
An interesting thread that has an underlying message trying to break through I think....

Basically the true maturity of a tree species is seen in the bark when it has naturally aged and weathered. So many bonsai hobbyists (usually newer people with 10 years or less doing the hobby) are in a hurry to get their trees looking old and mature. Once you have been doing the hobby longer you will have observed your own tree bark maturing without any help, and more importantly you can see the difference with bark that has had attempts at aging.

With the best respect to various authors they often include sections on bark aging - sanding, scratching, moss wrap, beating it, etc - as they know it is a subject the target audience for the book want to read about. The problem is the results shown are always a poor comparison to leaving it to nature - the wounded area with the forced bark texture looks textured but often disfigured, not naturally old and mature - exactly the same as aging jins with tools - you get a type of visible aging but nothing that can compare with the microscopic cracking and splintering of time.

My personal technique now is patience, concentrate on doing parts of the tree you can do properly and convincingly and dont risk mucking it up to cut corners.

The underlying message in the thread I see trying to get out? A forum can be a great place for 'less experienced' hobbyists to post great and wonderfull sounding theories, tequniques & recommendations to all that want to read them.....but without pictures of their personal trees showing the results of their personal actions to accompany the words it means nothing, sometimes i think the authors may not even have ever tried the methods they talk about ! so thumbs up to Jun for showing that he is trying the methods on his own trees - (and even though I think the straight rows of ugly hammer marks look bad now they may look better in a few years time Very Happy)

I think the exact thoughts you need when reading a technical post is "what qualifies your methods and advice" - look at the posters' tree pictures (in the gallery soon i hope Question ) and make your own mind up. Same as demos, workshops, bonsai teachers and even books - look at the progression and health of the tree collection of the individual - there are quite a few i would never let touch any of my trees when you see for real how crude their work often is !

best regards

Marcus

marcus watts
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Trunk maturity (Question)

Post  Sponsored content Today at 9:53 pm


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