Styling a Cherry Bonsai (Prunus)

So in this case study,
we have a contorted Cherry. This is a nursery stock;
it's never been worked on before. It has some definite challenges which we'll be
talking about, and we'll try and mitigate some of them We might not be able to
correct all the problems And I have a solution to offer
once we get to that point. So in the previous lecture we talked about Fruiting and flowering, and how to manage them
and encourage fruits and flowers Here we're going to ignore all that. We're trying to set the bones of this
to become a bonsai Which might be 15 years from now. So we're going to punt all of the prettiness
of this down the road a little bit. So contorted Cherry is a lot of fun. It has some really interesting
eclectic sort of movement. And yet we're going to have to cut some
of that off in order to gain other things. There's a couple areas here
that I think we can't do much with. Contorted Cherry is very hard;
it's very very stiff. Even these smaller branches are
very hard to actually make movement in. We can shift their position,
but we can't put movement in them. So branches or trunks that are that big,
we have almost no ability to change. So these two, I think probably
have to go out of this design. If we do that, We have another problem that arises. I'd like to leave this,
and I'd like to leave that And in so doing, we have a bit
of a circular thing going on here. So we might have to try
and open that up a little bit. We might cut part of this off. This is the part that I think is going to
cause problems down the road And that we might have another thought on how to
correct that, and I'll offer that in just a little bit. So, although fall would be
my ideal time to do this kind of work This is not a bad time. Early spring, the leaves are just
beginning to think about coming out In the fall, the reason that's my favorite
time to do major pruning is that The plant is all balanced again. The hormones are all balanced by the time
spring comes along, and it wants to grow.

If you cut at this time of year, we get
long extensions, which means long internodes. Which is a little harder to control. But if we cut in the fall, those internodes
tend to be a bit more moderated. When you do work like this, heavy pruning You want to assess the energy of the plant
to be sure that the tree can withstand it. So we want to be sure that
it has some long extensions Which would indicate a lot of healthy root
growth underneath, and this plant has that. If you were to work on a plant
that didn't display that kind of thing You would be setting it back maybe even a year. So the momentum of the plant would be lost
if we mistime the strong pruning. Okay, now we're going
to take these two trunks off. Going to use a saw; this is really hard wood,
so this is going to take a little while. One of the things about cherry is that you can
leave some deadwood features on it And this is this is going to be a hard transition;
we're going to have a hard time closing it up. So we might actually want to create
a little shari line down there. It's kind of like ume in that regard,
where you can often see some… Some shari on the trunk. Kind of a gray wood. Not the bright silvery kind of wood
that you might see on a juniper. So we've cut off our our two large trunks And I give it a spin so you can get
a sense of what remains on this plant. We don't really have a front yet. We're still just looking for structure.
It could be over here, front could be over here. One of the things that I mentioned
earlier was this circular thing So I think we need a –
we need some kind of a prop in there. We might not be able to get it
too far apart because this is really stiff But we'll try and put something in there. And then we might make another prune or two,
but we don't want to do much more than this Because of how much we took off. Okay, I'm gonna put a little support
between these two branches Where our brace is going to go;
it's just a little piece of rubber Just to prevent any cambial damage. So we've put a little brace
in there to separate these. It's not as far open as I wanted

But you probably noticed how stiff that was. We had a helper in here
to open it up even further One solution for the future, assuming that this
buds out and creates some branches down here Is that we could cut all that off, and then
this becomes our secondary trunk line And then we no longer have
this problem of a, kind of a hole in here. So I think that the future
is opening up a little bit. We'll put a little movement
in this branch perhaps We're going to leave
everything else for the time being. And then I want to offer an idea of
how we might approach this in the future. We're only going to wire or bend
this section here, so it doesn't matter… That section there doesn't matter. You can – if you're using
big wire, this is a good trick. Just hold the end of the wire with your pliers Or you can have a buddy doing that. This is especially useful
for really large copper wire Which is really, really thick. One reason to use aluminum For your deciduous trees, is that
it's a little bit of a softer metal, and so It can provide a little bit of gentleness
on some very tender, usually very thin, bark. Which is common for the deciduous tree. So where do we put this branch? Do we want to go down with it,
do we want to go up with it? Many fruiting flowering plants
have sort of tumbling branch patterns They go all over the place.
So some branches that rise, are really quite natural. And also, this is a flower that kind of dangles So my sense of this plant is
that branches that rise would be quite nice Because it's countered
by a flower that then dangles. So I think we will go up with this. This is very stiff, so I'm not going to
put a lot of movement into that at all. That's about it actually. And we'd probably cut this back into here So we'd have a bend, and then
we have a quick little bend in the future. Alrighty. I'm going to sterilize this wound.

That will take just a second or two to evaporate. This is isopropyl alcohol 70%. It kills most germs; not everything But many of the important ones, at any rate. It gives us a little bit of an advantage
to put on some cut paste. We are probably going to remove
this whole thing in the future. I'm just trying to prevent disease from
entering and causing more of a problem. But we might even create a shari line down in here.
That's something to think about in the future. Many of the fruiting and flowering plants
that we use as Bonsai Can take their inspiration from orchard trees Which tend to have orifices
and sharis and things on them You can look at the old ume
for inspiration there, or old apple trees. This is called kirikuchi;
it is one of the latex products You want to go all the way to the bark. That way you're sure to cover the cambium. This is an interesting product. I have a suspicion that
there's gibberellic acid in there. Gibberellic acid is a hormone which will Tend to enhance cell division And what that effect is for the wound Is that you'll find that your callus growth,
and turning into wound-wood Grows at a faster rate, and so you can
end up closing something faster. As I said, we might be removing that whole thing But I'm just doing this as a precaution to
prevent some diseases coming into the plant. So while we could have done
a lot more with this plant, Could have made it prettier,
pruned more, especially wired out more That's really the wrong thing
to do at this phase. We really want to concentrate on this interior core Building that, and growing this into
the larger plant we're talking about. To grow out of the problems that we have.

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