Bonsai Tree Camberley
Creating bonsai from cheerful garden centre material – a great way for beginners to start into bonsai.
Potentilla fruticosa make lovely bonsai trees, they are widely available from nurseries and garden centres, and using a couple of techniques detailed in this video, are suitable for bonsai beginners.
Bonsai Tree Care Camberley
In today’s video i’m going to be talking about how i develop potentilla pre-bonsai from garden center in Bonsai Camberley or nursery stock material i’m going to look at an accent plant or kusamono that i recently worked on i’ll be doing an update of a previous project and and i’m also going to be introducing a brand new segment to my videos so let’s dive in okay this little one then i’ve had for three or so years the first two growing seasons it spent in mother’s pond baskets to grow it on and develop the root system a little bit and in this spring i repotted it from the pond basket into this cut down nursery pot to act as a training pot as you can see it’s fully recovered from the repot now that this tree has recovered i’m going to cut it back in order to begin the process of compacting the growth hopefully we’ll stimulate some buds on the inside that we can use to build out the branches i received some really good advice from a trusted bonsai friend who’s got years experience a gentleman called paul pashley uh he’s got a really nice potentilla that he’s been working on for goodness knows how long and the advice that he gave to me was in relation to the habit of potentially and how to stimulate them to produce birds where they’re likely to produce those birds and how to handle cutting back the thicker branches but hopefully to replace some of these thicker branches that we’ve got on the inside here and we’ll come in and show you those in a minute potentilla fruticosa are cheerful small to medium-sized shrubs that are deciduous and they flower quite profusely from late spring right through into lawton potentilla are widely available at least in the uk from many garden centers and nurseries there are a number of different varieties each having different characteristics and color flowers ranging from white through pinks red reds oranges and the standard yellow the growth pattern of potential is quite distinct from many other deciduous trees and shrubs that we work on for bonsai it’s very vein delineated and by that what i mean is a branch will be traceable as a living vein right down to some roots and if you cut that branch off and don’t get back budding you can end up with a dead shari so when developing potential that haven’t been grown with bonsai in mind you have to be mindful of that tendency prune at the right time of year to maximize the chances of buds forming i always try to leave foliage on a branch that i’m pruning that i don’t want to die back earlier this year i spoke to someone with many years experience of working on potentilla as bonsai and he was kind enough to give me some great pointers in terms of how to manage this tendency for the veins to die back if you don’t get buds and i’ll go into a bit more detail about the tips and technique a little bit later on so what i’m going to do is cut everything back to some growth in order to let that light in and depending on how it looks by the time i’m finished cutting back i may also wire the branches into better positions to let some light in really stimulate growth on the inside much more efficiently um potentially are really thirsty species they’re one of the one of the first if not the first to wilt if i haven’t watered and it’s hot they have a very fine boot system they’re very rigorous root producers and it’s very fine they consume a lot of water they’re very highly water mobile if you prune in spring they are going to bleed profusely unless you are working on the roots at the same time and they’re often one of the first to wilt if you don’t water in time but aside from those details they’re actually quite a friendly beginner’s tree in the sense that you can get them quite cheaply they grow pretty strongly as long as you keep them well watered and well fertilized and they’re just so cheerful with the flowers and some autumn color and if you choose you can also include some deadwood features although although the deadwood does tend to rot quicker than conifers you can create some pretty cool effects potions here are a really fun species that you know they’re quite tough and once you get to know their habits as i’ve just discussed they are a nice species to have in the garden as long as you bear those things in mind i think they are quite beginner friendly as well the other good thing about them at least in the uk they’re available in almost every nursery that i’ve ever been to they’re quite popular at the moment so if you feel like having a go you’re almost guaranteed to be able to get one from somewhere okay how are we looking then okay i can see a couple of shoots that i definitely know can be removed just inside here this bit is coming from the inside of a bend so let’s just go ahead and chop that one right off this piece down here is coming off this branch at a really awkward angle cutting across so i think that one can just come straight out as well this section down here it’s got plenty of crotch growth already we don’t necessarily need to stimulate anymore before we can remove that one so i’m gonna just come in straight away and cut this one off right now the branch here that’s pointing more upwards also needs to be replaced all just removed and replaced with these bits but i’m going to leave it in place for the time being because i don’t know whether i would prefer to use these to train as branches or whether i’d like to stimulate something in the crotch there before cutting that one off now this piece does have some crotch growth around the other side but the excellent advice that i received from paul was that you want growth above the crotch rather than underneath in the armpit and these pieces around the other side here these wiggly pieces they’re sort of to the side and below so i’m not going to cut that off even though i’d really love to hoping to stimulate a bit more crotch growth before we can do anything about that one there’s a branch in here that’s really interfering with the trunk line and it has some buds that i can cut back to so i’m just going to sneak in there take that out that’s going to give me better visibility into what’s going on in the meantime we could wire this into into a better position yeah that was the right decision there i think up in this apricor region we’ve just got a dead stub that i’m going to cut back to on either side of the stub there are branches so let’s just take it out so this apical region up here although it’s got a bit of movement to it i suppose i don’t really need it that tall so i’m going to drop it back to this branch initially get rid of that uh that gives us this nice curve but i can actually cut this back as well not watching what i’m doing there got the uh got the leaf of that branch caught in shears up here there’s a stub with growth further behind it so i’m going to cut that back to the growth just to let more light in don’t need to worry about it dying back because there’s plenty of branches coming from this thick piece it’s just a big old thick stub on the end of it completely not necessary actually let’s just find the best way into this i’m from underneath here i’m going to cut just make sure i’m not going to catch any of those branches there we go i think i’ll just take out this straight piece i’ve just spotted this straight piece here it’s got a nice little piece on the end straight down there i don’t need that this this one can be wired into a better position so if i cut this put this one back to there this can be wired somewhere around here this one can be wired further up there and that’ll look much better i think up here we’ve got another straight piece don’t need that got plenty of bits that we’ve cut back to now the trick that my friend told me about in order to replace straight or boring branches with more favorable growth with movement without risking excessive die back or dead sections you get the tree growing quite strongly fertilized well and when the tree is nice and strong you can wire existing branches out you can then prune back to foliage on the branches that you would like to replace this is going to encourage the tree to produce back buds in the crotch or armpit of that existing branch you might get birds below to the side or above when those birds are strong enough you can cut the main branch off to those new shoots and as those new shoots grow the wound will be slowly but surely covered over by the live vein that’s supported by the new shoots my friend did say that it’s preferable to favor keeping the shoots that come from above the branch we’re removing as that is going to really enhance the healing over of the cut but if you don’t get any from above i think it’s probably going to be okay to cut it off you’ll have a bit of a wound that might take a little longer to heal over but at least you’ve replaced that straight unwanted branch with a more preferable piece of growth another aspect of potentially just to bear in mind is that they don’t produce callus tissue like many other species do so when cutting back you’re going to have an exposed dead section until the lot any living vein grows over it any healing over of wounds needs to be done by live veins around the wound growing and thickening until they cover it over you’re not going to get callous tissue forming around the edges from the cambium layer that’s just not how potentially do things kind of similar in a way to juniper i guess all right so welcome to the first installment of a segment that i’m gonna call bonsai immo bonsai in my opinion i’d like to thank this wonderful commenter for giving me the idea to do this segment the idea is that i’ll show you guys a tree i’ll give my opinion on how to move it forward but i’d also like your opinions on how to move it forward as well i’ll talk about this tree here which is one of mine but in a minute i’ll also talk about how you could submit your tree for bonsai immo and then we’ll give you my feedback and the feedback of the grow bonsai community on how we would move the tree forward if the tree belonged to us here’s my tree then it’s a privet that i collected last summer it’s grown really well and i’ve just given it a really quick trim over to keep the growth nice and compact because it’s now recovered really well as you can see it’s got quite a lot of trunks and a nice wide base going on quite a lot of interest in the nabari which is nice and wide so i i see the front being somewhere in this region because we’ve got some really nice surface roots going on and i really like the layout of the trunks i’d keep it as a clump form i’d remove a lot of these lower thinner younger new shoots so that we’ve just got our nice broad strong base and then the multiple trunks in terms of which trunks i would keep i would definitely keep this one the tall one i’d keep one of these two there’s there’s two here i think i’d probably only keep one of these maybe cut one cut them back a bit i don’t know um the way they come this one comes across the trunk is a little bit weird i’m not sure i’d have to see how i get on with that having pruned back a bit further about you know which one i’d keep there and we’ve got a bit of inverse taper here i think a bit of carving of this to eat up some of that inverse taper would help and i might even consider keeping only one of these two branches so that we can carve some nice so that we can carve some nice taper into this section i don’t think i would cut i think i’d probably keep it this height though i think height wise this main trunk i’d probably keep somewhere here maybe cut it back a little bit to build the uh the crown somewhere in this area if this is the front of the tree i’d probably remove this branch or sub trump completely actually if we went for this front i might keep that because i like the depth but with it in the front of the tree i think it’s a bit too in the foreground i don’t know maybe cutting it back to quite short would work and then height wise of the other sub trunks i’d probably cut one whichever one of these do i keep back somewhere so that it’s shorter than this one this one would stay roughly this height that one maybe cut it back a bit i would want to introduce you know some good height variations among those sub trunks so i’d really love to hear what you would do with this tree there is a potential sumo you could remove a lot of these sub trunks and have it really you know strongly tapered with a nice broad base drop your comment down below let me know how you’d handle this piece if you’d be interested in purchasing this tree it is available for sale or trade um head on over to facebook grow bonsai or instagram grow bonsai drop me a message um uk only i’m afraid because of the plant import export confusions and whatnot so if you’ve got a tree that you’d like to offer up to get our opinions on head on over to instagram post some pictures on your main feed and tag me in the pictures that i can see it and take the picture and put it in a video and we’ll offer up the tree for people’s opinions it’s it’s just going to be a 100 positive experience it’s not about critiquing or or roasting someone’s tree it’s about offering opinions what we like what we do to develop it further so i’d love to hear from you drop me a picture over on instagram tag me in a picture and let’s start featuring some of your trees so now that i’ve done all that cut back it’s actually starting to look pretty good the uh the lines the lines have emerged nicely we can see the movement in the trunk there so these two brent these two thicker branches just here are competing with each other i don’t want either of those to remain but like i said let’s try and stimulate that crotch growth so we can cut both of them off back to the crotch growth replace them with finer branches that we can wire some movement into around the back here we’ve got several bits growing from this area again that’s another candidate to cut back i might be able to get away with doing that now but it looks like this is coming from that branch rather than this piece so i’m a bit hesitant to cut back to that crotch growth just yet i might see how it reacts first yeah so that’s looking much better shall i wire it i mean we could bring these into their own bit of space opens up a bit of space in the crotch there what else could we wire yeah that could come down that could come up gives each of those their own bit of space shall i bother i’ve decided that i’m not going to wire the branches as i’ve been advised i think i’ve opened up enough space but truth be told i would put some wire on some of these pieces but i just don’t have wire fine enough to enable me to wire them safely without yanking them off the tree so i’m going to leave it and i’ll get some thinner wire in welcome to the first in a series of segments that i’m going to call kusimono corner in this segment i’m going to talk about or create an accent plant or a kusamono i’m no expert in fact i’m a raw beginner kusamono so bear with me but let’s have some fun so this is an iris crostata or crested iris i got the idea to plant it in this mound of soil from mike hagedorn’s blog cotegas.com he’s got this amazing iris that’s sort of growing out the confines of its container from this mound of soil and a beautiful shallow rectangle pot looks absolutely stunning far more mature than this one though in all honesty i’m not sure what i think about the big tower of soil i do think that this plant really needs to grow into it more before it will start to look good maybe combining that style of planting with a taller pot was a mistake maybe it needs a shallower pot but because i only created this in the middle of summer i didn’t want to remove too much root i thought i’d only just shave a bit off the sides place it in this taller pot with a taller soil man for the time being and see how it looked have a play you know experimentation and all that so the pot that i’ve got it in is an erin pottery accent pot i like some of the blue tones combined with the yellow i think it can go nicely with the color of the foliage and also the purple flowers that this developed in the spring get creating some accent plans and show me over on instagram what you create because honestly it’s a lot of fun this potent tiller i’ve had for a couple or three years now i got it from a nursery it had some interesting movement in one of the trunks and it’s got a secondary trunk that’s a bit less interesting i decided i wanted to grow it a little bit and see how it behaves so in the spring after purchase i put it into this pond basket or pond net it’s a container with mesh sides basically and allowed it to grow and observed its habits a little bit now i’ve noticed that it’s got a reasonably compact habit in terms of its foliage but more interestingly the flowers as opposed to the species which extend quite far away when producing flower buds this particular variety is staying nice and compact and the flowers are quite close from the stems from which they originate that means that it’s got potential for us to have a tree that flowers and still looks quite compact there’s a good branch that’s got some potential to form a nice small bonsai tree pretty quickly actually i’m going to place an air layer onto that branch and if it’s successful we would have propagated a new tree that will go on to look quite nice as a bonsai pretty quickly actually regarding the rest of the tree it’s got quite bushy quite large i’ve got to the stage now where i’m starting to think about compressing it getting a lot more fine branching closer in which is impossible at the moment because it’s being shaded out by all of this dense foliage so after doing the air layer i’ll cut the rest of the tree back and hopefully we’ll stimulate some buds to form on the inside from which we’ll be able to start building our future branches before i continue with the air layer i need to make a bit of space because it’s so bushy i can’t even get to the section to place that layer so i’m going to cut back a couple of pieces that just aren’t necessary either for the tree that will be left behind or the air layer that we hope to develop in the future so i’m going to prune out some of these branches that are obscuring my view here most of it’s all twiggy stuff there is a thicker piece in there somewhere that i’m going to need to remove with the branch cutters but mostly it’s just lots of twigs that have extended out to the silhouette chasing the light a couple of smaller pieces in here again coming from the other trunk but obscuring my view so i’m going to put the air layer somewhere around this area this branch here doesn’t really have much value to it it’s just in the way of the air layer really so i’m going to chop this one off before i go ahead and place the air layer i just wanted to show you the structure that we’ve got under here so we’ve got a branch off towards the back there we’ve got a nice little bit of movement through the trunk we’ve got some potential sub trunks or maybe the future trunk line and quite a lot of branching to choose from in terms of trunk leaders and maybe branches you know cut it back and compact some of this growth and you could make quite a nice tree image off that pretty much straight away yeah a youthful feminine image of a tree there potentially so i need to decide whereabouts i want the nabari to start place the air layer at this level and then angle-wise i think we’ve got the option to create any angle we want from this i’m just going to go for a pretty horizontal angle actually all right here we go walk the scissors back create that first cut and then the lower piece we don’t have to worry too much about this lower section as long as it’s a suitable distance away from the top cut it doesn’t matter too much now i’ve never air layered potentilla before so it’s going to be interesting to see how well this bark behaves some trees the bark is an absolute nightmare to peel off while others it just seems to fall off in one piece let’s see that’s that’s pretty good and they remove so much water potentially that this is so well hydrated it’s just falling away nicely that’s beautiful good that’s plenty of room for that then i’ll just come in and just clean up those scissor marks create a nice cleanly cut create a nice cleanly cut edge that’s gonna hopefully generate roots in a nice radial pattern because it’s being cleanly cut so as a medium i’m going to be using swagger moss just get that into position around that uppercut site okay get the moss and the plastic into position around that upper cut site and put some wire around the bottom that’s going to hold us nice and firm make sure it’s around the outside of the plastic rather than underneath the plastic it’s going to stop i’m going to stop the whole thing coming apart don’t want it to strangle the whole trunk we still want resources to be able to move but we just don’t want the um we don’t want the air layer to move up and down or come completely apart so it needs to be reasonably snug holding the plastic in place just a couple of turns of the wire around the whole setup it’s going to hold everything nice and snug it’s not going to fall apart now it doesn’t have to be too don’t have to be too much wire just enough to hold it all in place really trim away that excess and it’s looking good make some holes in there for drainage let any excess water come out although but until i do like a lot of moisture for new roots to form water and oxygen is necessary some drainage holes there is certainly going to help that’s the air layer done then well the moss was fairly dry so i’m going to go and quickly moisten it before continuing the rest of the work on this tree so after i came back in from watering the first air layer i spotted that there’s some nice movement in this branch down here although it’s proper skinny i thought in for a penny in for a pound i’ve done another cheeky little air layer on there we’ll see how that gets on so all that’s left to do on this tree now is to prune what remains back to buds or leaves in the hope of really compacting the growth getting it down to something that’s a bit more bonsai-able i’m not going to prune anything up here because that’s going to power generating new roots in that air layer and the same goes for this section building new roots in this air layer okay so this is the section that i’m going to focus on compacting and there’s also the odd um there’s also the odd dead twig that i’m going to take out i’ll give it just a general cleanup really so it’s going to look fairly brutal but we’ve really got to be quite hard with this prune to push the growth back and also we’ve got to bear in mind that this species does tend to die back and it doesn’t tend to heal not at least not in the manner that we’re used to our trees healing now i’ll talk a bit more like that elsewhere so everything i’m cutting back i’ve got to cut back to at least one leaf to know that that’s going to survive of course the other thing is twigs can look dead on these and actually be alive so you’ve really got to look carefully to make sure that there’s absolutely definitely no active leaves or buds the leaves can be quite small like what we’ve got here tiny little leaves here this although it’s super leggy it’s still alive and it’s coming from right back it’s coming from right back inside near the trunk so cutting back and leaving those leaves definitely the way to go this branch here is long and straight and we’ve actually got quite a lot of growth coming from the uh the crotch there so i’m going to drop that back to that crotch and let the finer pieces take over we’ll have a much better chance of wiring those into better positions and again take this piece out i think all i need to do now is prune out the strong growing tips of some of these more vigorous shoots just to continue to reinforce that we want to push the growth to the inside rather than have it continue to extend from the ends now that i’ve hacked it back we can see some of the movement in the trunk a bit better so that’s a good view of the movement in this sub trunk it comes up and then it turns off and it comes up again around here further up there’s also this potential piece here that could give us a nice bit of taper or we could use this section here that comes up here that’s also got some nice movement you can also see that flaky bark there nice warm caramel color at least it is when it’s not covered in algae and you can see that the other sub-trunk isn’t quite as interesting it’s got you know straighter lines that just swoops off in one direction swoops off up in this direction it’s kind of a tree of two different characters almost i just thought i’d come outside really quickly to update you on the progress that the big chinese alm has made since the previous video as you can see it’s really bursting into life again sending out shoots from those primary branches just as i’d hoped unfortunately from what i can see there’s been no budding from the bare section of trunk that i was hoping to produce one or two new branches from so that’s a shame but as you can see it’s already started to grow into that new branch structure that i’ve imparted on it i think a bit of wiring will soon have that branch structure set up for growth next season and it’ll really start to take shape of a proper tree crown the little chute on the stump at the top of the tree has actually now died off so that’s gonna that’s gonna force my hand in how to handle the apex i’ll chop that stump off and we’ll build the apex from this thicker branch here remove one or two of the thinner pieces to prevent any inverse taper and we’ll go from there which is pretty what pretty much what you all suggested i should do with the apex anyway so we’re good to go now this protein tiller is a little bit different to the other two i decided that i didn’t need to develop the trunk thickness any further so rather than put it into an intermediate training pot with a bit more depth to it like a pond basket i went straight for the bonsai pot i was really curious to see how the tree would react going from nursery compost in a big deep container to a bonsai pot with bonsai soil without that intermediate step to build and develop that fine root system close into the trunk you know i wanted to see would it react badly would this you know specie with this species sulk for a while and i have to say it was repotted this spring 2020 and i have to say that it’s reacted quite well the the root system was reduced quite heavily and it’s still supporting this much foliage that we’ve got here and it’s growing so it’s reacted quite well and i feel comfortable at this stage to begin the process of cutting back and compacting it i’m not going to be too fussy with this one i’m just going to start cutting back leaving plenty of green on as many or all of the branches as i can again it’s going to feel a lot more like i’m pruning a hedge than bonsai at least initially now once i’ve created a lot more space so i can see what’s connected to what as before i might come in and do a bit more of a detail prune up in this apical region we’ve got a lot of branches coming from this area so what i’m just going to do is i’m just going to drop back to something coming from the interior get rid of that big long lanky piece and just in this bit do a similar thing here take that out i’m just looking at how all these branches are connected i think that’s as much as i can do in that apical region i don’t need to keep all of that but looking at what dieback may occur and where i think that’s about as much as i can do there quite a lot of different branches coming from this bit and some skyward pieces so can take that central bit out leave a couple of thinner bits behind cut these back makes a lot more sense in that area this piece is coming from up here and there’s enough growth there’s two little twigs here on it so i don’t need it to come all the way down here and back out here i can just cut back leaving those two twigs in place so let’s go right ahead and do that now that’s about all i can do for this tree and that’s the end of this video subscribe if you haven’t already to see updates on these trees if you can’t wait until the next video on these trees be sure to follow me on instagram where i will post pictures of the progress that these trees make so you can find out ahead of time smash the like button if you’ve got any value whatsoever out of this video take care of yourself and i will see you next time thanks for watching