How to Create A Custom Glazed Pot for My Serissa, Part 1 of 2

I’m preparing my African style Serissa for repotting into the new glazed bonsai pot that was made by David!

The Serissa is a really nice tree. Trunk, canopy and the root work from the previous videos on your tree, makes the tree a work of art.

Video Transcript

hi everyone nigel saunders here today i will be repotting my african style sarissa tree into this new pot that david made for me my very first custom pot from clay here’s a quick look at the pot it turned out fantastic it was way beyond my expectations so thanks very much david i was just so impressed with it it’s just a fantastic pot so i’ll just quickly rotate it around you can kind of give an idea get an idea of all the glaze and that on it it was wayne who fired the pot so and helped with the glazing and everything so it was a team effort i guess but just fantastic i was really impressed with the pot it’s just beautiful getting a custom-made pot is a new process for me and it really made me think i had free range on the style of the pot the size of the pot the height the width everything whether it’s oval or rectangular the color of the clay the glaze everything it was uh so it was quite a process i had to really think hard on you know what i wanted for in a pot the cyrissa is a flowering shrub so when it flowers it gets these little tiny white flowers all over the canopy they call it the tree of a thousand stars because when you look down at it it looks like a starry night all the stars in the sky against the dark background of the green so i wanted a pot a clay color in the pot that kind of complemented the flowering so i went with a light it’s it’s not white but it’s a very light tan colored pot and i think that kind of will match the flowers when it’s in bloom really nicely when the tree is planted you won’t see a lot of the clay color only on the feet down here but it’s just a subtle something on the pot that will match the tree when it’s in flower i tried to pick the color of the glaze in this pot to kind of match the trunk of this tree the trunk has that kind of greenish yellowish tan with some dark greens and some almost black colors in it and that’s kind of the look i was looking for in the pot because you’ll have that trunk color then the landscape and then the pot underneath so i think having the pot kind of complement the trunk color in the tree will tie everything together i’m hoping i won’t know until the tree is finally planted i step back and look at it all and say well did i make make the right decisions or doesn’t look so good so i don’t know yet this is yeah it’s something new for me i i i tried to make the best choices and hopefully it will look good but i don’t know the shape of the pot um i noticed with my ficus i have these oval-shaped canopies when viewed from above oval-shaped canopies and then on my ficus i have an oval-shaped pot underneath that kind of mirrors the canopy and it can look good or it can it can look monotonous uh usually in bonsai you know we try not to make things look monotonous that’s why we have uneven numbers and asymmetry and i play with textures you know and sizes and things like that we’re always looking for a bit of contrast where we can get it and so i thought yeah an oval shaped pot is perfect for this tree but when you look at it from kind of you’re looking down at it from kind of a three-quarter angle it kind of mirrors the shape of the pot and it maybe looks a little monotonous so when i repotted my ficus which had the oval canopy into the rectangular pod i was quite surprised i actually like that contrast so the canopy the oval shape of the canopy stood out more it made the pot stand out more the pot just didn’t look like a shadow underneath the tree you know when you’re looking at it from above with this right perspective the pot would be almost the perfect shape of the canopy and it would just disappear so i went with a rectangular pot a rectangular pot has more surface area when viewed from above so even though this rectangular pod is a lot smaller than the existing pot it’s in it may still look visually quite large because of the the amount of surface area when looking down at it so sizing was another thing when i picked the size of the pot i went halfway between the old pot it was in and the really large pot it’s in now it went somewhere in between and i thought well it allows the tree a bit of room to grow so it won’t be you know the pot won’t be too small in three years from now i want the tree to kind of look good in this pot for many many years and i think it will um so yeah i kind of went with that size in between the old and the new the depth of the pot uh i went about the same as the pot it’s in so a little deeper than the original pot it was in which was really shallow i’ll show you that original pot here’s a look at the old pot the one i basically developed the style of the tree in japanese oval shaped pot very shallow so i put it in a similar pot but the new one is much larger much heavier not as nice a pot either so i thought yeah somewhere in between these sizes i thought would be perfect so that’s how i size the pot and pottery sizes i mean you make the pot and they they can shrink 10 to 15 percent so to get the actual finished pot size is pretty tricky and pottery i i think david came really close to my dimension so he said it was maybe a little smaller than i specified but not much i think it’s pretty spot on i was quite impressed fantastic job so i’m hoping this pot is sort of an intermediate size between the two and it allows a bit of room for the tree to grow and mature into this pot i think this pot will suit the tree for many many years to come so so that’s the pot i specified this rectangular simple pot which isn’t that simple but uh david and uh wayne did a fantastic job david making the pot and wayne helping with the firing and the finishing and everything so yeah i i was quite pleased so let’s start the process of getting the tree into the pot it’s been over a month since i pruned this tree up last and it’s really grown in really nicely after the pruning gotten very vigorous it’s a lot of shoots sticking out i can’t repot this tree and position it in the pot unless i have it pruned up and i know you know where the edges of my canopy are kind of the height and everything to kind of uh position the tree in the pot properly because i know on this side of the tree i need to shorten it a lot to kind of get my symmetry back in the canopy so i don’t want to position the tree in the pot and then prune it and find oh i should have moved it over a little bit or moved it to the front a bit or something like that so my first step is to prune up the tree with this pruning i’m going to continue to try and get pad separation and nice flat pads to really give that feeling of an african acacia so here i go i’ll start by restoring the oval shape all these new shoots sticking way out here really vigorous large internodes the trailer really likes this big pot maybe too much so i want the canopy balance on this tree i don’t want it longer on one side you don’t see many african acacias that are lopsided like that they’re usually fairly symmetrical so that will be the style i go for so i’ll start conservative with my pruning and again you can always take more off you can’t add branches back on can’t make them longer i think the main reason the vigor is taking off is that it’s a little cooler outside and the light levels have dropped so i don’t think it you know grows really well in the full sun but it it could do fine in full sun it’s just it prefers a little less light a lot of people grow these in semi shade again i’m always looking for that clean line underneath because the giraffes come up in grays elephants giraffes so anything hanging down i remove leaves branches trying to get that clean flat profile underneath and that umbrella shape on top and acacia canopies have they can have a lot of different styles [Music] there’s some that are fuller and more round some are very sparse and thin so the best thing is to do is to find an acacia tree that you really like and then copy that style because there’s some beautiful beautiful trees out there in the world casey is which aren’t called acacias anymore at least not in africa last time when i pruned this tree there was a decision i had to make at the back of the tree which is this is the back of it there’s three branches coming from the one branch here and i wanted to reduce that to two and i was trying to decide which two to pick so if i go in the front view the one that’s off to this side doesn’t flow very well and it’s also hidden behind all the other branches so that is the one i’m going to take off this one right here it comes out twists around so i’m going to lose this portion of my canopy and i’ll have to grow branches from the rest the remaining branches to fill in that spot if it looks really bad now it is at the back of the tree so it won’t be that noticeable but yeah so i’m going to remove that and the sooner i do it the better it’ll start healing over and that scar will close over someday so now is the time i’m going to remove this entire branch and i’ll try growing it as a cutting here i go i’m going to cut it off roughly at first with my bypass pruners yeah okay here i go this is a big cut on an old tree but it has to be done so i’ll just cut it rough at first here i go gone oh yikes trista looks fine from the front that’s good so i’ll clean that cut up i’ll just uh come in with my cutters here remove that lump making it a nice flush cut like that now let’s go above and we’ll just see how big a hole in the canopy i’ve created here’s the front of the tree and i removed a branch here before it was one that died and i’m still kind of filling in that hole so let’s rotate it around to the back now ah there it is so you can see kind of here there’s a bit of a hole in the canopy where that branch was but you know there’s lots of branches to grow out and get you know get that space filled in that won’t be a problem in fact this area’s got so many overlapping branches in here it’s yeah needs pruning yeah so that’s that’s how it is i’ve often wondered is it possible to grow this canopy too wide will the tree maybe look silly someday with two wide a canopy probably it will there will be a limit to you know how wide i can grow this before it looks totally out of proportion and starts not to look like an acacia tree so all these inner branches i’m developing will eventually replace the outer ones so they’ll be constant replacement of this canopy as the tree grows out to its proper proportions so my style of pruning may change you know i’ll be looking for branches on the interior that i can grow out as my new profile to the canopy and that replacement process will be ongoing throughout the life of this tree now from that area where i i pruned off that one thick branch there’s several shoots sticking straight up that need to be pruned off they don’t flow in with the branch structure and they kind of grow up into the canopy crisscrossing all the other branches so they need to be removed also they’re just not that big but yeah that cleans that area up nicely from this branch i have a nice new branch growing in the right direction to help fill in that spot where the old branch was so that’s good i don’t think it’ll be that long before the tree’s looking really good again i’ve done many videos where i prune this tree with my big shears and just did kind of a hedge style pruning to it there’s nothing wrong with that it does a very quick overall pruning to the tree equalizing the vigor and the balance of the tree if you’re going to show the tree you wouldn’t want to do that style you would want to meticulously prune it making sure you’re not cutting through leaves so it looks really nice i’m not going to show this tree this year anyway so i can definitely use this to get rid of all these long excessive long branches so i will it’s a good way to restore the overall shape of the tree and then i’ll come in and do my final pad creation and that with the more precision pruning method using the shears the small shears this just kind of roughly prunes off all that new long leggy growth so you can see in just a matter of maybe a minute i’ve kind of got the rough shape of the tree restored i’ll work in the top view to restore that oval shape to the canopy i don’t really think of this process as hedge pruning uh what i’m doing is i’m establishing the parameters of the tree that you know by pruning it to this shape i’m saying i don’t want any branches sticking out of that profile i don’t want anything sticking out i don’t want anything longer it kind of it’s like your design envelope that nothing will stick outside of this space and now i can prune it back to get my pads and separation and that so it’s like a first rough prune basically establishing the overall shape width height and that of the canopy and then you go in and do all your detail work i’m about to start all the detail pruning on the tree now getting my pads separation and all those details so and you know just by profile pruning a tree you can get a a nice shape tree but you won’t have the branch structure underneath that supports that shape like i said in future you know when this reaches my maximum size of the profile of the canopy i’ll be looking for branches in here pruning off the long ones and regrowing new branches to keep my tip branching nice and fine so a good structure underneath the canopy will allow you to continue to grow and improve this tree into the far far future so now i’m just getting my pads separating them pruning them back getting them nice and flat again with my pad i could use my long scissors and establish the outer parameters of the pad defining the shape of the pad and then go in and do further refinement with the scissors i think i’ll try that i think you know it’s a good way to get a nice flat pad so here i go it’s pretty ruthless sometimes this method allows you to cut through branches that you normally wouldn’t cut through you know thick developed branches you’d say oh i better not prune that one but you know when you ruthlessly prune a pad to a flat profile it just it comes out that shape sometimes you cut through thick material sometimes you don’t so let’s kind of define this pad now now i want to further refine it so it’s not each pad has space when viewed from above that they’re not all overlapping so i’ve got to get my separation so my next pad is this one here and it’s kind of divided into two and right now it’s just one big pad but i think i’ll want to separate them into two so i’m going to first prune this one flat there’s a branch coming from the tree or overhanging that pad so that’s got that front part of the pad flat so the next one i i can’t get a lot of variation in height but i can get some so i won’t prune it quite as low as the front one and then i’m going to prune for separation to get these two pads separated from one big pad into two smaller ones don’t really like the term pad because it implies you know a bunch i think it’s you know they should be called branches not pads however whatever we’ll call it branch separation we’re achieving branch separation houston we have achieved branch separation okay so there i i have these pads are kind of flattened separated because you got to keep it separated okay and now i’m going to move on to some more keep repeating the process i found that the more separation you get with your branches that you know defining the tips breaking them into smaller groups the more miniature the tree looks it makes the tree look like it’s a giant tree because you’ve got all this detail work in the pruning if it’s just one big shape you know dome canopy it doesn’t look very miniature and it doesn’t look like a big tree it could look like a hedge or a topari so if you want that kind of realistic style you’ll want to do a lot of branch work the last time i pruned this tree i said i’d keep track of it to see how long it took before it grew in nicely and maybe looked its best and that was three weeks and that was kind of a mid-summer pruning so if this were to go in a show i would definitely do this kind of pruning probably two and a half weeks before the show at three weeks it kind of started filling in maybe a little too much so two and a half to three weeks somewhere around there under good groin conditions you know depending where you live the results might vary and that’s why i kind of encourage you to try keep track of your trees like if you do a pruning like this keep looking at the tree and then decide oh it’s looking really good now and then mark that date down is so you know how long between the time you pruned it that the tree looks just awesome that it starts to look really natural like no one had ever pruned it because often trees after their first prune they look maybe a little a little artificial you know maybe they have that just pruned look and they lose their naturalness so there’s a certain point in time where that naturalness is regained and the trees just look awesome oh i’m getting a lot of branch definition because of these scissors like i said when you’re individually pruning branches you’re looking at every branch thinking oh there’s a node there i’ll prune it back to there when you use these it’s just brutal you just go in and chop through old wood and usually the tree responds fantastically you know if you cut through old wood it sends out new branches so sometimes the brutal approach is pretty good and the same effect i mean you can prune this exact same way doing one branch at a time i’m not doing this for speed it’s just it’s nice to you know if you’re after flat pads you use a flat pair of scissors to get them it’s just a method that works really nicely so getting lots of pad separation here i’d say my canopy is a little high i’m uh a little too dome shaped i’d like it a little flatter so i’m gonna take the canopy back further there’s lots of good green up there all the vigors on the top so you can always prune the top a little harder than the side branches and that’s what i’m doing yeah it’s looking pretty good there much better a little more slimmer and elegant not so bulky up top and that’s important for this style of tree to get these thin elegant pads it’s not your typical tree style although you know it could be developed into a typical tropical tree if you wanted but these uh thin flat pads are kind of specific to the acacia style another benefit of pruning the top of the tree before repotting is you always have to maintain that balance between the root system and the canopy they support each other so you know if you take off a lot of roots and leave a full canopy well you can expect a bit of die back because the roots can’t feed all the canopy so by reducing the canopy and the root system at the same time you’re kind of maintaining that balance in the tree and hopefully everything will survive you won’t get any any die back after repotting that’s the plan anyway and it usually happens i mentioned in the last pruning i’m also looking for space between the branches so i’ve got to keep all these pads thin so you can look through the tree and see the nice branch structure in the interior so i’m also looking at the bottom profile of the branches i don’t want it you know higher on this side than this side which i think it is a little bit at the moment definitely so i may want to prune off some of these hanging branches here i think i kind of need to go above now and do a bit of branch separation from above to kind of define my pads more they’re pretty good in the side view i’ve got them quite nice and flat a lot of them anyway here’s kind of a view from above now so you can see all the different pads and it’s quite different to see that you know the canopy all broken up like this so i’m just going in and defining the shape of each pad getting rid of some of these long shoots coming off of it so you get a bit more separation and also you have to watch these top pads don’t start overhanging the bottom ones or they block the light out and you don’t get even development on your tree you get your lower branches weakening from the top one to gaining strength and though just throw the entire tree out of proportion again you know as i always said it’s hard pruning off ramification but you got to look at the long-term goals of the tree of both styling and horticulture keeping the tree healthy you’ve just gotta sometimes rely on the strength of the tree that you know if i prune way back sometimes in a you know old wood that the tree is going to back bud you just have to have faith in that process that you know this kind of pruning that the tree will recover nicely because all this fine branching it does eventually become woody woody branches and you have to so here’s one i got these two branches kind of converging here i gotta print that off there and then up there and then out there you gotta look for all these long straight branches and get them pruned back so they have movement to them and taper and it’s easy to miss a branch and then it just keeps growing through the canopy longer and longer and gains strength and then suddenly you notice it and it’s like oh where’d that long branch come from so you really gotta we gotta inspect the tree sometimes you see future branches like it’s coming out of the right spot in these chutes so maybe i can replace this upper one here with this lower branch eventually someday so gotta imagine you’re the sun looking down at the tree making sure every branch has light that off you got also got to watch the idea of the tree is to have thickness at the trunk and get thinner and thinner as you get towards the edges of the canopy so you’ve got to watch that your outer canopy isn’t getting too thick you can see i had to do a bit of hard pruning here and eventually these thick portions here will get replaced with finer branches down below and i’m kind of at that stage with a few of them now where i’ve got to start replacing branch tips but you know even though you’re repeating you know the pruning process again and again over many years your trunk and everything matures and the the tree starts to look really really old so all your work although visually the tree may not look all that different the beauty of it just keeps increasing the maturity of it and you know you’re always replacing your you know not so good branches with better ones and slowly over time the tree just keeps getting better okay i think that’s pretty good i think i’ve got all the definition defined i think i need to go into my front view and see if it still looks okay here’s a look at the front of the tree and i’m happy i i think it looks good the styling of the canopy the pad separation no complaints i think it’s looking quite nice the next step i’ve got to get rid of all this moss on the surface of the soil so i’m going to peel all that back so in that four weeks since i last pruned this tree and the moss it’s all grown back in again you can see it’s growing up the trunk of the tree which i don’t want so [Music] i’m going to remove all this moss because i’m not going to be using it in the new planting and it’s getting very thick it would have to be scissor pruned to get it down to size i may use clumps of this to indicate bushes in my new planting so i’m not going to throw it away or anything but i am going to peel it off you can see all the sarissa roots growing i used to have the zebra here i just removed the zebra and replaced it with a rock because i didn’t want my zebra tipping over when i was moving the tree around and breaking so the zebra will return underneath the tree after it’s repotted so it’ll be interesting to see how the root system has done after two years in this giant pot i suspect it will need some corrective work it always does especially on a sarisa this is actually a very tame root system for a cyrissa most of them are wild and tangled and whereas this one from small i’ve been trying to develop a a radial root system but not not you know a typical like a maple where it’s all smooth and flowing kind of a gnarly looking radial root system because that’s kind of the root system that these acacia trees develop in nature they they’re not like smooth and flowing like a maple they’re a little wilder so so with the supressor you can end up with a fairly wild looking root system no matter what you do even if you try and get the best possible radial perfect root system it’s the tree’s not gonna let you do that it’s gonna it has wild tendencies you’ll just do what it wants to do so you know the best you can do is kind of guide it i should probably call this video preparing for repotting because that’s what i was doing in this video getting the tree ready for repotting getting it pruned styled the root base exposed so now i can pull the tree out of the pot do my root work and put it in the new pot i’m going to split this video into two parts the first part is the preparation work for repotting and the second part will be the actual repotting so that’s all for this video i’m nigel saunders thanks for joining me in the bonsai zone [Music]

Click Here

You May Also Like