The tree has undergone two wiring, the second one today. Its been a process of building strength in the tree, developing branches and creating a dense foliage mass. I guess that it will be at least two more years before the tree is anywhere near showing. I have a lovely Gordon Duffet pot ready for the tree when it is potted next April/May.
I sandblasted my first deadwood way back in 1992 and I guess I have blasted over 50 trees since then, I have perfected the technique of protecting the live veins, foliage and soil so that the aggressive nature of this technique does not upset the wellbeing of the tree.
As will any intervention on a bonsai the tree MUST be in great health. Never work on a tree that is recently collected yamadori or is not in the best health. This tree has grown well over the last three years and the deadwood was desperate to be worked. If I had waited another year the foliage would have restricted the access to in inner part of the tree, this is where the most interesting areas of deadwood are on view.
A few days before I removed an upright trunk and disguised by carving and stripping the cut, this can be seen in the photos as a bright orange area.
Gather the foliage up and bind with fine wire so that you have access to the live vein.
Using air-dried modelling clay cover the live veins right to the edge and at least 4mm thick, When dry (about 3 days) cover with Duck tape.
Completely cover over the soil and as close to the base of the trunk as possible, I use rubber inner tubes first then bind with commercial cling wrap.
Wrap the foliage in an old towel and then cover with a thick plastic bag.
I use a commercial blasting service, you can find these locally via the internet.
The results are simply amazing, the deadwood is clean the splinters are removed from the branches I have snapped and all the detail is revealed. I do not put Lime Sulphur on immediately, as I like the wood to weather slightly prior to application.
I collected this Yamadori Yew in 2011, the tree was very slow to establish in the first couple of years, this is due to the cambium layer being very thin because the hard growing conditions that the tree suffered. In the third year the tree thrives and this year the growth has been very strong. With very old trees such as this it’s important that you wait for the growth of the foliage to be robust and vigorous for the future development of the tree, start work too early and you could set back development or worse kill the tree!
The work undertaken this week was to remove the thick upright deadwood branches, clear the smaller dead branches near the base of the tree and reposition the whole into the ‘final’ planting position. The tree will be left for a couple of years to extend and fill out the foliage mass. I will then work on the deadwood and finally sand blast to clean and smooth out some of the rough areas. Then the first styling will take place, another year in the box and finally planting into a training pot. The foliage mass will take at least 10 years to achieve the virtual image… but I can wait if the end result will look something like this.
I have been refining the deadwood on my very large Yew. Good preparation, cleaning, removing remnants of old bark, clearing out the deep holes and hiding any work done by man will ensure that this tree will present well. Three years since the tree was collected it has thrived, it will be styled in my garden the day before the Burrs event, Burrs participants who will visit the garden will be the first to see this great Yew.