This is a series of photos from a repotting of an OLD Hawthorn from a few years ago. Pot is by the late Derek Aspinall, the soil mixture is very open and well draining.
Saturday 4th February 2017 will be forever etched in my memory as the day I was lost for words. I was presented with an award that I simply thought would always be beyond reach ‘The Best Deciduous Bonsai at the Noelanders Trophy’
The tree was one that I had worked for 26 years, a Hawthorn in the raft style that I collected from the hillside way back in 1991. I had worked the tree as best I could, styling, feeding, watering, treating it when it was not thriving, repotting 6 times, I created every branch on the tree, this was a tree that had grown with me. In all the years the tree had received many awards and now it had won what must be the ultimate accolade from the most prestigious bonsai show outside of Japan.
Prior to showing the three I announced on social media that the tree was to be shown at The Noelanders Trophy 2017 and that it was available for sale. This caused consternation among many of my friends. I decide that it was time to sell as I had taken the tree as far as I could, it was as close to perfection as I could make it and it was time for another person to take on the responsibility of this beautiful tree. Any money raised would go help a family member with their future. The tree sold on Sunday morning after it had won the award. I also have a lot of trees that are coming into maturity that will fill the space in my private collection.
One of the challenges that face anyone creating bonsai is that they GROW not only above the soil but below, of course all trees need roots however sometimes the roots can cause problems such as oversize and out of scale to the tree, particularly with deciduous species.
I have been working this hawthorn raft over 26 years, it has been re-potted 5 times, it tends to sulk for 12 months after re-potting, but it settles down the following season.
At the end of 2015 I noticed that a major root was becoming too thick and changing the nature of the nebari of the tree. The other roots were in scale to the tree and were in sufficient number to sustain the tree if the thick root were to be removed.
I did not want to remove the root during re-potting of the tree as such an intervention combined with disturbance of the whole root mass may have set the tree back or even threatened the life of the tree.
At the end of the growing season I opted to remove the offending root whilst still in the pot, leaving the thinner roots emanating from the oversize root in place. These will be removed when total re-potting takes place in 18 months’ time.
A VERY sharp saw was used and the cut was shaped with a Dremel and ‘nibbler’ finally the wound was sealed and covered with soil to encourage new finer roots to emanate from the cut. In the last photos you can see that the BIG root had been previously severed and callused well with two major roots formed from the cut.