More Bonsai Larch Forest Work

Larch Forest Work, Day 4, The Bonsai Zone, Jan 2022

OMG! Those WERE big cuts. I actually held my breath. Big changes today throughout the forest. All those decisions will improve the forest over time. Thanks, keep growing

Hi everyone nigel saunders here welcome to day four of working on my larch forest today i’m going to be doing a lot of creative landscape work yesterday i finished cleaning all the lichen off the trunks and the branches of the trees i started cleaning out my dry stream area here weeding it getting all the moss and liverwort cleaned out i started removing all the needles off the surface of the moss yesterday but i ran out of light so i’m going to continue doing that this morning i don’t think it’ll take too long i’ve just got a few more needles to go i’m using my tweezers to get all the remaining needles off the surface of the moss i find the more needles you remove and the more you clean these forests up the more it looks like a miniature forest and you start getting drawn into the world you start imagining you being in there it’s a cool feeling i call it being in the bonsai zone i’m around the back of the planting and i’m cleaning all the needles away i noticed that i’ve got a lot of moss overhanging the lip of the pot so i’m going to come in and just prune that back i always like to be able to see the lip of the pot all the way around the planting you can see the moss is getting quite quite thick and heavy in some of these areas you don’t have to worry about putting this moss back too far because in spring conditions are just right for moss to grow here and it just grows in like crazy so you know even if you stripped all the moss off this planting it would all grow back in in springtime so you can see how i’m clearing away the lip of the pot so you can see it all the way around it’s like the frame of your painting just keeping this back wall kind of tapered so all this moss gets light it’s getting pretty thick back here i’m just using my curved scissors they work really really well for cleaning cleaning up moss and pruning it i just have all these needles to remove around the back of the planting and we can get to the landscaping work very exciting i’ve got the forest floor cleaned up of all the needles that have fallen down at least i got most of them anyway so next i’m going to evaluate the entire forest planting so i’m going to step back and take a look and then start addressing some areas that need uh correction i’m taking an overall look at the forest now i’m checking the profile of the canopies you know to see where i’m at where i need to go uh i’ve got one tree back here this one that’s maybe a little short it could be a little taller that’s one thing and i think i think the main tree could definitely be pruned down and i’m wondering if i could go right back to that one branch on the right hand side it would really change the look of that main tree but it might be the best solution covering it up with my hand it looks pretty good like that oh dear i think i’ve got to do it so here’s what i was thinking before i had only kind of played around with taking that top off and then i still had quite a thick section in here now i’m thinking reducing it right back taking it off to there keeping this branch as my new leader and it does it sweeps off to the one side quite a bit which you know might not be the worst in the world i’ve got other ones i’ll show you another apex here’s another tree that i had the same problem with and you can see the apex here so i pruned it off here and you know i had a branch going off to the right hand side and then i kind of grew a branch out the right hand side and it kind of it doesn’t look so wind swept it looks a little more stable and these curves they kind of you know smooth out over time so it generally gives a more upright appearance so i could do the same thing up here yeah so up here i have this is the branch i was thinking of as my apex you know it’s not perfect but it’s something i can get rid of all this bulgy section it would reduce the height down to a good level for this tree and i can grow this up as the apex and eventually maybe get it to blend in more i’ve got you know one two three kind of branches in that area so that’s that’s a possibility i’m gonna take a final look at it and then decide if i want to do that i’ve decided i do want to do that i i think first of all this tree is a little tall cutting it down to here it still has quite a thick section in here i think cutting it right back will solve a lot of my problems and then i can develop this is the leader in the future it may set the force back a little bit for a while but i think that’s a good long-term solution is remove the entire top of the tree it’s pretty scary too i mean it’s a big cut so here we go all right i’ve got the ratcheting pruners i think it’s a good tool for the job so i’ve got a branch back here that i want to keep alive i believe should i ankle it up for there no trouble is this branch here it’s above this one if i angle you know my cut it’ll take that one off how’s that is that a problem i don’t think so it’s a nice branch but okay here i go big big cut coming up i got my angle right let’s say about about here here i go clickety click oh it’s off wow look at that eh okay that’s gone oh my goodness all right i’m going to clean that cut up trying to make it look a little more natural if i can like it got hit by lightning or something and it won’t start looking completely natural until it starts healing over all these edges will roll over so i’ve got to hollow this wound out a bit so it kind of rolls over and looks good i might need my smaller ones for that that way i can kind of hollow it a bit what a big change it needed to be done though hopefully someday i’ll look back and go yeah that was the right decision okay that’s looking pretty good now i’ll show you it from another angle so there’s a look at the cut i’ve hollowed it out a bit so when this rolls over it should look fairly natural now i haven’t stepped back and had a look at the forest from the front yet i hope i did the right thing let’s go have a look at it from the front view well here it is it actually looks quite nice it’s better than i expected actually i think it uh you know in a few years i think the top will look quite nice it’s not as horrific as i thought it might look in fact you know from the front view it doesn’t even look that bad i mean you can tell it’s maybe had a chop there in the past but like the other branches like these other apexes i think over time it’ll kind of blend in and correct itself i did notice that on this tree over here that it kind of has a very thick thick branch at the apex i’ve got to get that off it’s just too much vigor up top there i’ll show you that right here on this apex so it’s got a nice apex here and then there’s a really thick branch coming off here now if you know i could prune the apex off and i could take over as the leader you might leave it on but this is a fine looking apex so i’m going to take that thick branch off it just doesn’t fit in to the fine branching near the top of the tree all right here i go so you can see how thick it is at the base and it just doesn’t fit in with the apex so off it goes like that nice cut yeah that really slims that apex down it looks much better i’m thinking maybe if we look at this tree too i’ve got my leader climbing up coming up here and i’ve got a very thick branch back here i have another branch coming off here which is kind of coming from the same spot so i think i better take this thicker one off i think it’s just getting too heavy it’ll start thickening my apex up way too much so i’m going to remove this one also so here i go just like that that lightens that apex up quite a bit those were really tough decisions to make but i think it did turn out much better in the end i’m glad i made those uh choices to prune that apex off and that one branch off i think it’s improved the forest so now i can begin the landscaping i’m having a look at the landscape now i do like you know this area here that has no moss it’s kind of like the flood plain of this little stream i like that a lot it’s kind of like sea level and everything else is higher than that i think i think this little stream as i said before that i think it comes too close to this tree here i would like to make it kind of wind up between these other trees so instead of a pathway going between the trees i’ll have like a a canyon with a waterfall sort of like a gorge maybe i think that’ll look good so that that means some major revamping of the landscape which is okay i think you know overall it doesn’t look bad i i think it’s not too bad i think maybe some of these rocks out front here look a little random at the moment they need some organizing they look like you know rocks placed here and there rather than part of a cliff face i think it’s just these three rocks out front need some organization so yeah i think you know basically the landscape i like it i like the way it comes up to an apex here kind of a shallow hill it kind of mirrors the canopy up above it’s interesting so i think just some refinement so i’m going to work on that little stream as the first element to be improved a lot of the times with these landscapes you try an idea out like kind of a dry riverbed and you study it for a while maybe a month or two and then you think yeah it kind of works but it could be improved so you think of you know you look at it and you say oh it’s too close to that tree so then you got to move it over a bit and maybe when i move it over a bit i’ll say oh it looks too too central now so it’s just an always evolving landscape always trying to improve it make it look you know better more interesting more realistic and slowly over the years you’ll you’ll get something that looks really nice it just takes just takes time and development just don’t expect to get it you know the perfect landscape right away my first step in moving the stream over is to clear all the area out and i’ll get all these stones out i’ll try and keep them in order so i know what i had before a stone there you can see my bolt-sized soil in there so this part is fine i like this area there’s a rock in here this rock’s almost completely covered with moss so then i want it to come over which means i will have to move this moss clump here so it’s just a matter of peeling it all off because moss doesn’t have roots like a tree that goes into the soil it just kind of clings to the top of the soil now you can get tree roots growing up into the moss which can kind of lock it in place but generally so there it is there’s my moss bush removed i’ll put that aside so you can see there are a lot of roots here from the trees that have grown up into the moss bushes and that’s what holds them in place really well so that is going to be kind of my apex of my stream it’s going to wind around here so i’ve got to take some of this moss off too like that this piece this will all get you know replanted and rearranged okay so now i’ve got a lot of roots in here so i’ve got to comb that section out i’ve got this section combed out nicely now there’s a few roots sticking up that i need to remove this will give me a good base to build my dry stream bed on or my little waterfall section or ravine and i think i think it all is looking pretty good here now i got to step back and decide how i want this stream to look i’m looking at the forest from the front now i’m just kind of following that waterfall section i think i need to take a bit of that moss off around that corner so you can see it kind of snaking up the hill otherwise it kind of disappears behind that moss yeah so i think there’s a rock here i think that’s got to come out and then there’s a big clump of moss here that needs to be removed modified i see another rock in here i can take that out and there’s a rock here that was pretty well covered in moss i’m going to take it out for now i can always add it back in but i think you know i want to be able to see what’s going on here so now you can see it can come up i can have it dropping over here my waterfall and then steps going up i think that’ll look quite nice so i’ll just remove a bit of moss here so this will be like a little mountain stream in spring you know all that runoff has to go somewhere and there’s all these little streams that are created now i’m going to look again from the front and decide what i want to do up here i’ll have my mountain stream kind of go up through here and i got to decide at the top it’s got to go kind of disappear so it’ll have to go around behind this tree and just kind of disappear sort of like a pathway so yeah that’s my plan so i might have to build up this back area just a bit to kind of get a bit more height there and then have it kind of turn the corner and go kind of disappear in the background i think that’s a good plan i think that’ll work quite well my next step i’ll have to try out various rocks you know kind of waterfall rocks to see what looks good and that that’ll take a while it won’t be an easy task you know maybe something like that but roughing it in i guess is the word i think i need more of a stream between them otherwise they just look like rocky steps so i’m just still trying out different rocks in here see i’ve got my little stream coming through here i kind of like that it’s tough picking the perfect rocks if there is such a thing as perfect rocks just got to keep trying things flipping rocks over until you find a side you kind of like oh dear this is going to be very tough i’m stealing rocks from other spots of the planting i could go there the stream could kind of wind around my stream’s got to disappear behind the rocks there i do like this rock here and i like this one here this is kind of a little opening i’ve got a bit of a waterfall here and i sort of like the rock here but not sure if i do i don’t want it i think it’s got to come out more this stream’s got a kind of more winding movement to it and a stream would just take the straightest path if it could so you’ve got to kind of justify this movement by having rocks so it kind of winds its way through the rocky face here yeah i’m not liking that so much i may have to get some rocks from outside in the snow try and find some more smaller rocks i’ll do that i’ll see if i can get some from the snow pile so under here these all my rocks and they’re quite frozen i might have to get a shovel all right i’ve got the shovel i put this cover over the rocks to protect them from if they get a lot of water soaked into them and then it freezes they could crack the rocks so i’m just trying to keep them dry for the winter so okay see if i can get the cover up there they are just like i left them all right so i need sort of flat squarish rocks if i can find them that may be tough and very small ones too well i’ll get all the small ones i can gather bring them in got a lot of small ones here i think that’ll do i think i’ve got enough i’ll bring these into the i’ll bring these into the greenhouse and get them warmed the up back put some snow on top to weigh it down so it doesn’t blow away in the wind that’ll do here’s a look at all the rocks i got from outside some really nice ones really nice i collected a lot of small rocks because i knew i’d be making bonsai landscapes with them and when you make a landscape you need a lot of small rocks if you use really large rocks the landscapes get heavy really quickly i’m going to let those rocks that i got from outside to warm up a bit before i start trying them out in the landscape i’m also going to go inside and study mountain streams on the internet and get some ideas and inspiration for my large forest here i made some big decisions today on the pruning of the trees taking that big thick top off that was a big step forward for the larch forest and i think it looks quite nice that’s going to be all for today i’m nigel saunders thanks for joining me in the bonsai zone.

You May Also Like

About the Author: Bonsai Care