Bonsai Maple Series

In this video I take a large Benichidori and walk you through the different options are for creating a bonsai with this tree.

I’m going to call this video taking decisions or making decisions major decisions this is a benichidori and benichidori is the one that has a very light red color not like the deshojo it’s a light red and it stays red for two months and then turns completely green so this is today the 12th of july so we’re right in the middle of the summer so what was read in april stayed red for april and may so june and july it has turned green and this shoot has grown in the last two months can you believe in two months i’ve got to shoot over a meter long all these were grown in the last two months so you can imagine how biggest this tree is also i grow these in these baskets these are some of the trade secrets i’m giving away i give away a lot of trade secrets i grow them in these baskets because the roots get a lot of air so they grow extremely well and look at the way the roots are coming through the bottom look at it they come through the bottom and go into the gravel so these trees grown in this way produce really strong growth and i’m going to show you how i am faced with a very very major dilemma with this tree this let me explain is the parent tree for many airlines it was grown in the field for about maybe 15 20 years and then it was dug up about five years ago and put in this box and the roots have gone through the box and into the gravel in this fat greenhouse and i’ve taken endless hair layers in fact only the other day i cut this off and i can show you what that was only two days ago i will show you that this was an air layering i made last september and it has only a few roots but enough to sustain the tree so this branch was taken off from here because i didn’t see the point of keeping that bronze so i’ve already produced one airline from this and over the years i must have had about 10 air laying from this tree you can see the top there that was the source of another tree i will show you that tree uh on another occasion but what i’m faced with now is what to do with this tree if you look at this tree let me turn it around and then you can guess which is the proper front or the preferred front it is a very tricky tree very very difficult tree if we hold in on the bases where i’ll concentrate on this now we usually determine the front or the back of the tree by the way the roots go into the soil if we look at it from various sites this is not bad this is also not bad but if you look at the tree like this this is very straight here and then it gives a little bend there this is getting a bit thick and this was where i may have accidentally hit it with an axe or a spade so i took the bark off so it caused a bit of distressing here but it could become the feature of the tree if i didn’t want to i can plant it deep in the pot and create the nebari from here and then create a short tree from this part so there’s so many possibilities if i lay the tree here i can still get a very stumpy maple with the bottom part so there’s that option straight away now if i look at the tree this way can you see the bend is very nice here so this is a possible front as well if i use this as the front i can use this as the leader let me just bring you a plastic bag and show you what i need now let us do the famous pretty chance bag trick so if i were to do my backpack [Applause] that means keep the tree short and make this the leader i would get this very beautiful curve here and that will become the leader and we will hang the branches from here so that is one possibility because this trunk line is going to be very very handsome very pretty if i want to use the entire length of the tree from here to there it is very very straight although it is impressive as a big tree it is too straight to be interesting as a bonus eye so i’m not inclined to use this as the front however much it may appear to be attractive the other possibility too is to use this as the front there’s so many possible points now if i were to move this at the front again imagine what i’m trying to [Applause] so do is what i’m trying to do make a short tree with this at the base this root is quite nice there and it’s got the bend here and there and this is going to be a short bonsai so that is possible as well and then i can end with the two i don’t know near the top so that is one possibility now this side is a bit straight although it hides the scar not so interesting and that is very straight because benichidori is such a vigorous species if you let it go in the field they just shoot up straight so using this as a leader or this is the leader these are my two preferred options so what i do i haven’t decided yet but i will decide sometime i don’t think this is a interesting option that could also be a leader but i don’t think somehow it may be interesting so the choices between this one as a leader in which i case i will keep this and then chop it there and make another bonsai from here earlier from this way all the way up or if i use this as the leader i can air layer the top and make an interesting tree using this as the leader so although i can take quick decisions i am faced with so many dilemmas what to do either use the entire length and produce a large tree but not that interesting it would be interesting in the spring when it has color but nothing else and then the choice is making this the front using this as the leader and using this as the leader a very very difficult decision very difficult decision if i use this as the leader that star gives it a slight inverse taper here so they may not be so nice looking from here looking from here maybe more interesting there’s a nice short stumpy tree and here near the top or the other thing would be to just sell it as it is to someone for them to take the decision but you’re looking at quite a lot of money even for a tree this size without doing further work if i didn’t want to do much i can just trim the tree back in fact let me do it just for the heck of it i don’t want it to go that long many people would just trim it into a conical and say there you are you have a bond right but i don’t think in all honesty i would have the conscience to sell it as a bond right like that i keep it tidy because if i leave it unchecked i will run out of space in this big back greenhouse this also should be cut off so i’m sure many people will give the right arm for a tree like this that’s a big bonsai there’s still the option you know to use the whole thing to make a big bonfire but this is very ugly this is ugly that is not interesting at all and this side is not interesting because of this defect here that really is like an inverse taper so what do i do i think the preferred option is here using this at the leader and producing the bonsai like saw so if that is going to be the the let’s see here we want to hide the scar the scars not doing the tree justice it’s making it look odd i may leave it another year or just do a bit of an airline there to get a thick trunk from that but it’s nice to have these different options because you have the option life becomes more interesting i’m still wondering what to do i know that this was callous eventually you’re not you’ve got to give it about 10 years this was callous and the back would peel over you won’t see it but it would still make an inverse taper so the other option is to create the bonsai from here if you air it from here yeah that’s another idea i didn’t consider if we ail it from here send the root chart from here you would get quite an interesting bonsai like this with a low branch and then make that so that would be another option so you can see there are so many options so many options we have so there you go i may well do that i may well do that and means create an air layering here so why don’t i do that since i’ve decided so as i say if my advice to people is to bite the bullet i should practice what i preach so what i’m going to do is i’m going to do an air layering right in front of your very eyes so when i do an air ring to remove the bark because the bark is quite thick i’m going to remove the bark by partly cutting with the saw i can bet you anything that within a year i will get boots in fact i will watch the progression you never know by the autumn even it could send out a few in case you think i’m chopping the tree off or not i’m just removing the bark because the kitchen knife wouldn’t be strong enough to do it uh now i’ll have to probably use a chisel give me a second so so to remove the bark because this is a whole tree i’m going to use a bit of the chisel people who are fairly new to bonsai and have never made an airline they often wonder how deep to take the bark off if you remove too much and remove the cambium this air layering will die if you don’t remove enough it will not root unfortunately i can’t explain in detail the cambium is almost a transparent layer that you mustn’t remove you just remove the bark if the ball comes off that’s fine normally with a pen knife a little kitchen pairing knife you will be able to remove the bark but because this is such an aged tree i’m removing the bark with this chisel i love doing experiments because of my scientific or engineering background experiments excite me [Music] let’s try something and see what happens you never know this is how inventions are created so bonsai is about experimentation it’s an adventure in so many senses of the world okay now that we’ve done it the roots will come from the top part so i’m just going to score it a little bit scoring this is a little trick i was taught by an apple grower if you score the bark it encourages roots to come out from where you scored it so there’s a little trick that not many people will tell you about another important trade secret i’m giving away why am i giving away so many trade secrets i’m a fool maybe why am i not so i’ve scored the bark and i’m going to apply the rooting powder [Applause] all right i’m now going to show you how i apply it i apply it with a wet brush this is hormone rooting powder or iba powder indolyle butyric acid i usually wet the brush if the brush is wet it tends to stick better you can use any sort of brush paint brush or whatever in fact i will try and see if i can spray it just to wet the surface just to make the hormone powder stick [Applause] [Music] certain species like maples jumbo thorn beams you don’t need to use hormone rooting powder because they’re so vigorous they will root anywhere but if you want to be absolutely safe and sure then use it by all means it will quicken the process too and hormone rooting powder the powder part is just talcum powder and it’s what they call the medium for transmission the iba the indolyle butyric acid can also be used in liquid form the active ingredient is the iba or the iba acid so the powder is just a medium for conveying that acid in case you didn’t know so that is plenty powder there and now i’m going to get a plastic bag my favorite material are these akadama bags because it’s the right consistency of plastic not too thick not too thin and because it’s transparent when the roots emerge i can see the roots there are all sorts of ways you can do it as i said when i grew up in india i used to see the gardeners there use these jute or hessian sacks and they just put mud on it but here i will just use this so essentially what i’m going to do is to make a cup like device make a cup which will hold all the moss [Applause] you just got to improvise if the trunk is big you’ll need a bigger piece of plastic this you see i’ve used the entire length of the bag which is about i would say nearly 80 centimeter long bag okay so i’ve made this cup like thing i think josh is almost like a theater nurse you know handing the tools to the surgeon he knows what i need i usually prefer to use wire you can use string if you wish you can use anything as i’ll say another of my favorites saying there is no right and the wrong way that’s just a different way everyone can do it in their own preferred way you can devise little methods and now this is the famous magnum moss i still buy it from new zealand but i was told that very soon the new zealand government is not going to allow this to be exported so i’m going to be in uh a bit of a difficulty i know in my local ponds behind the nursery in the wild lake there is this stuff growing i could ask the owner of the pond to let me collect it because sometimes the moss gets in the way and becomes a nuisance like my pond weed that becomes a nuisance by the way i can always use conweed anything which is organic and a soft airy medium can be used so i find the sphagnum moss is special but as i said you can use anything in the tropical countries because they have so much rain they use just ordinary clay and mud nothing sophisticated and within a couple of weeks they get trees to root i remember seeing these gardeners grow these mango trees from air layerings of ghouti as they call it my indian viewers will understand what gooti means really so that’s a nice big bag and i’m going to continue growing it in here so now because i want to keep these lower branches you’ll notice i didn’t cut this off because i’m going to get like a trim trunk of multi-trunk tree from it so i’m keeping these low branches because this is going to be an invaluable part of the tree design [Applause] and people ask do you have to water it you can watch it if you wish to but plastic being impervious doesn’t let the moisture escape so if the moss is wet to begin with that is all you need so i’ve got a big ball of moss now look at it you can already see the future design of the tree if the tree is going to start from here this is going to be the bonsai much more in proportion with the rest of the tree and i’m just going to tidy up some of these little branches to give you a better view or insight as to what the future is going to look like i’ve got a ready-made tree so i think in the end i have made the right decision i know that like in life you have many decisions to make and you can take one decision take another decision sometimes it proves to be good sometimes bad but no matter it is a decision that you eventually took so now this branch is probably going in the wrong direction let me take that off i want to keep as much foliage as possible because it’s going to draw the sap up and give the tree bigger and that is what is going to cause the root action to develop as well so these are all the little tricks we use and there you see the future shape of the tree let me put the bag again so if you take a view this is what the future partner is going to look like getting away from that ugly the stress on the bar there was a slight inverse and the base is going to make a nice short stumpy little bonsai with the thick trunk and only that tall so i will get eventually two beautiful bonsai from this so this is a very major decision i was able to take and i’m happy with that i’m very happy with that and i hope you’ve enjoyed this video [Music] you

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