All in the balance

Posted: July 1, 2013 in Aichi-en tree's, Japan, Tree maintenance
Tags: , ,

Over the last two weeks since my return here we have been mainly candle cutting the Black pines and more recently the medium sized tree’s (also pulling needles, if still needed). We start candle cutting earlier here because there are so many black pines to get through. Smaller tree’s are done later so they have less time to grow and the needle length stays shorter.

I’m not going to go into great depth on what we do here because I have briefly gone into it before and Peter Tea has talked about in in greater detail on his blog.
As a reminder we pull needles down to five pair’s per shoot and cut all buds weak, medium and strong all at once.
There are occasional exceptions to this. For example if there is a weak branch we might leave the very weakest of buds or even leave the branch alone if it is very weak.
There is no exact formula and the tree’s health and well-being has to be taken into consideration every time it is worked on.

The techniques used from nursery to nursery are all different. That is not to say that any of them are wrong because the all work and they have their reasons.

It seems to me from experience back home, that we are obsessed with what techniques to use and how to get our pines to back bud. Don’t get me wrong good technique at the right time is vital but, rather than focusing on the techniques we use (there are many that work), we need to look at the health of the tree and getting our them in a position for them to positively respond. If you do this right, back budding is not a problem, in fact you need to remove buds.

What we need to understand is (if it isn’t obvious already), is the techniques or things we do to tree’s (whether it be wiring, cutting, bending, over watering, bad weather or even moving, etc) have weakening/stressful effects to certain degrees on our tree’s. Putting tree’s through too much stress only slows down development and can be potentially dangerous. So a little less at a time in most cases a better approach rather than, going all guns blazing too often. Pushing our tree’s is vital to reach a high level but, knowing their limits is just as important.
On the other hand we strengthen the tree with a good feeding regime, good soil mix, good watering, good weather etc. You can actually over do the strengthening of tree’s as well, especially pines. You end up getting thick growth at the tips and lumps if excess candles have grown.
So, we are always fighting a balancing act to develop & produce good bonsai and mastering this is the key. Something that Japan has mastered over many years.

I believe that better cultivation can improve black pine bonsai back home and we can come closer to using the techniques used in Japan. There are so many benefits from candle cutting regularly and this will be something I will need to experiment with back home once I finish my apprenticeship.

These are a few of the many tree’s I have been working on.

Customers tree before work (front)

Customers tree before work (front)


Side

Side

Back

Back

Other side

Other side

The tree after it has been worked on.

The tree after it has been worked on.

This is a chuhin tree that resides here at Aichi-en. It has very thick bark for such a small trunk.

Front

Front

Side

Side

Back

Back

Other side

Other side

The tree after cutting and plucking

The tree after cutting and plucking

Another tree post working on it.

Front

Front

Side

Side

Back

Back

Other side

Other side

No major changes but, vital work in maintaining the tree’s here at Aichi-en.

Here is a bigger tree at Aichi-en.
image

It was styled (before my return to Japan) and to some, may look like plucked & cut to an inch of it’s life. It is however showing a very strong response and pushing bud’s all over and even back budding. A testament to the right techniques, used at the right time, in the right place.
imageimage

image

Rather a long post from me I’m afraid but, thanks for reading/sticking with it and listening to my ranting. I hope you enjoyed it.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Frank says:

    Understanting your own trees seems to be the key. Thanks for the insight. Frank

  2. dangerousbry says:

    Very good Post!!!
    The trees are outstanding… I have seen a Black pine plucked and candle cut like this before. Like you say, technique like his can be used in Japan, due to the climate and growing seasons.
    Thanks bryan

  3. Mike Jones says:

    Reblogged this on Bonsai-Passion and commented:
    Great to see John settling in well!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s