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This is an article I first posted on IBC in 2010, worth a look. The tree is no longer in my personal collection.
This is a Prunus Spinosa that I collected on my 50th Birthday… it’s called ‘Fifty’ and it has been in this pot for 2 years. This Beautiful Duffett pot was fine to ‘bring on’ the tree but not a good choice as it is way to ‘chunky’.
Occasionally the banner at the top of this blog shows this cascade Prunus Spinosa in full leaf on a Barbed Wire stand. When it was exhibited at The Noelanders show on 2012 it cause a wee bit of a stir. That photo is as the tree looked two years ago. A year later I transferred the tree into a larger pot to let the roots run free and build more vigour yet the opposite happened, I slowly lost vigour in the bottom branch. Another year in the pot to see if it would pull back, it did not, the top went from strength to strength… So here is the tree repotted, at a slightly different angle and without the bottom branch.
The branches that remain will not be cut back until the tree flowers in the next couple of month; they are a bit random as I left the tree to recover vigour.
I will need a rather special table now as the trunk slightly undercuts the pot!
I sell a lot of native European Yamadori all of the trees are very old and of the best quality, trees that I would have in my own collection. I select trees on the hill that I believe will make great bonsai and leave those that have no or little potential. With every tree except pine I bare root, removing all the mountain soil and replace with my own mix suitable for growing new roots and establishing the tree in a pot. I also endeavour to plant the tree in the smallest container whilst still maintaining the future health of the tree. This makes transplanting to a bonsai pot a lot easier without the usual dangerous root ball reduction that sometimes takes place after establishing.
Usually the planting position in the ‘training’ pot is not the ‘finished’ angle or position that the tree will be styled, when purchasing I advise one ‘what’s happening below the soil level’ so that future ideas and possibilities can be explored with confidence.
When purchasing yamadori it is crucial to let the tree acclimatise to your local conditions, garden, weather, elevation etc. and not start work on the tree the moment you get it home.
These photos are from a Prunus Spinosa (Blackthorn) after two years in the pot. My student had this tree for 12 months prior to bringing the tree to be potted in the bonsai pot. It was full of new fine roots, the student had fed the tree well and did not cut back or ‘style’ the tree in any way. The tree responded well and when potted on into a Bonsai Pot retained a lot of new root. NO wiring of the branches too place only cutting back to two buds. The tree will deliver flowers and an abundance of new growth this season. Patience always pays off when working with yamadori.
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