Mulberry Bonsai Six Hundred Years Old! Bonsai Trees Made Easy

In this video I talk about Mulberry Bonsai, pruning, shaping and their care.


Aaaahhhh! First day of school for my youngsters, it’s calm, quiet, and i can enjoy coffee and entire lesson from master Chan all at once!!! Blissful!

Video Transcript β–Ό

i’m going to talk today about mulberry bonsai a number of you have asked about mulberry because you must have seen mulberries or have heard about mulberry bonsai and fortunately we’ve got some very big mulberry bonsai i have a very big one at the wesley collection which i will show you a separate photograph of and on the nursery we still have a couple of big ones and also some small ones so i’m going to explain to you what we do with them now i have been doing experiments with mulberries for a long time these mulberries were not started here but they were grown in a hot mediterranean climate and then brought here to grow on so we’ve had these here for maybe 10 years or so and i’ve been trying to see whether these mediterranean plants can survive the british winter as you know we are not as warm as the temperature in the mediterranean so our winters are pretty cold so mulberries as bonsai don’t tend to survive so well but as ordinary mulberry trees again i will show you some photographs because i have some customers who have got big mulberry trees in their gardens and there is one famous mulberry again i will show you the photograph of it which will be added to the end of this video there is a mulberry tree that was planted in london fifteen hundred and fifty that means about nearly five six hundred years ago in a garden and it is still alive and it is so all that is almost crumbling down and the famous gardens in cambridge and oxford where the universities are because these universities about 500 years old you will find a lot of big mulberry trees but seldom do you find mulberries growing as bonsai and i’ve often wondered why so these are examples of very big ones you can see how big the trunk is so these are growing well and the one in wesley especially is growing very well i do get the odd die back you see these stems they die back in the winter so i’ve got to watch it although having said that the tree that i have at wisley that is exposed to elements 12 months of the year it’s given no protection and yet that one is doing so well so i don’t know why some of them tend to perform better than others but this one is not doing bad you can see how it is shooting i’ve got to watch some of these young sucker shoots that are coming from the trunk because i don’t want to let them grow too much but then on the other hand if some of these older branches die i have these young shoots to grow on as new branches which is a good thing because should you lose branches they are so prolific from the old trunk that you will keep getting shoots growing and of course mulberries grow very easily from cuttings so if you stick that in soil you will get a new plant so this is one example of an old mulberry let me show you another one and the other one is just next next door over here and if i can just get into this area i will show you this big one now this big one you can see is actually carrying fruit and like the one at weasley look at the fruit on that lovely fruit like blackberries so i don’t know why sometimes they’re called white mulberry but they’re certainly black in color and very very sweet very very sweet so they carry fruit also the other tip is that if you want them to fruit like all fruiting plants you mustn’t prune them too hard if you prune them too hard you will lose the fruits so this branch for instance if i don’t want to this really is not as part of the design i was growing it in case i wanted to make some cuttings from it but as with all other plants to increase ramification just prune them back and you will get a lot of side shoots so you can design the tree however much you want i didn’t prune it because i wanted the fruit to grow but if you don’t want the fruit to grow you can just prune it back like this so again you can see these are really old trees and they’re grown to give that powerful looking image nothing special about them they’re no more different from growing the elms or the trees and i don’t think i even need this as sacrificial so let’s get rid of that so the design of the trees like this you notice i put some wires on to bend the branches down because you don’t want it shooting upwards so that’s all i do to these mulberries let me show you some younger trees excuse my back but i’m in an awkward position so let’s move to the other greenhouse so i have here another three old mulberries you can see how old they are beautiful gnarled old trunk and we’re growing them in flower pots to make the trees strong so these mulberries again talking of the different shaped leaves they have just the plain leaf the leaf is not like the vine leaf and you must be wondering why i grow it like this i grow it to make the trees strong because as i’ve always said if you keep chopping the twigs off and don’t let the trees grow the tree can get weak but once you’ve let it grow for a while you can then cut it back to create more ramification so it’s a very careful judgment as to what stage you bring it back to the bonsai shape so because this is growing quite strong now i can proceed to take off some of these shoots and of course this is going to be the source of a lot of cuttings for me because we propagate many things ourselves so we will grow these as cuttings so you can either use them as heel cuttings or nodal cuttings so this is ideal size cutting don’t be greedy and use thick stems if you use thick stems the chances are that the cuttings won’t root so easily this is the ideal thing and this is current year’s wood which has just gone a bit hard so this is ideal cuttings material and always whether here the heels strike better than ordinary nodal cutting this is called a nodal cutting if you just cut below the node that is called a nodal cutting and you cut the top leaf off and insert that in so this is how you make cuttings so there’s going to be hundreds of cuttings from just this one tree alone so nothing special there’s not rocket science and as with all bonsai so long as you trim it into a dome shape ball shape triangular shape you can’t go for far wrong people will get the right arm for this sort of tree and because mulberries the natural habit is to make all these gnarled old stems i will show you pictures of mulberries that are grown for the fruit and which are really old trees they have this habit of making really gnarled old hollow trunks and this is the exact type of image i want to create with these mulberries here and now that the tree has produced so much foliage and made it strong i can now cut it back i don’t like to leave [Music] branches short all the time i mean if you just keep trimming it and not letting it produce shoots to make the tree strong the tree eventually gets weaker this i found especially with deciduous trees so you’ve just got to let them grow to make it strong see the tree from this side is not so nice this side is nicer because of all the gnarled effects this is not carved this is all natural so this is exactly how mulberries grow and i’m going to train the bonsai like this so that is that one now this one was another of those trees where because of our climate in the uk where it’s so cold the top has completely died but i’m going to leave it to rot because by leaving it to rot i will get the natural sort of habit that you find on these old mulberries so this one i’m not going to trim too much i’m just going to maybe just tip it a little bit because i want a lot of foliage to strengthen the lower part of the tree so one shouldn’t always aim to constantly make the tree look like a bonsai at all times there are times when you have to let it grow strong to strengthen the tree so that is going to be left to strengthen the tree so that is that one now this is another one if i can just take it out of the pot you see the way we grow our plants you find little seedlings there’s an oak seedling nothing is wasted we have so many squirrels and they’re forever planting the acorns in our pots sometimes it’s a nuisance but at other times you know we get a little bonus like a little oak tree okay so this is growing beautifully look at the base naal doll base and this is typically how these mulberries grow so again i will just trim it back this one was growing in this very hot greenhouse and i think the heat a few months ago we had a heat wave and they burnt some of the leaves so that is why this tree is not looking as good as it ought to be so this one i can afford to trim back like this and if i continue to keep it either in here or outside i will get a whole crop of new shoots and this will be okay so the front of the tree is like so and uh i can either earlier by the way mulberries earlier very very easily yeah very easily so that could be a nice tree so there’s so many options and again there’s no rush to complete the bonsai because many of these are long-term projects i will continue to let it grow i have not tried growing them in the open ground i really should take them to the field and plant them in the field in the open soil not in a flower pot and see how they grow perhaps i will do that to see how fast they grow so that is part of the experimentation i would like to make so as you can see all this natural die back gives the mulberry that distinctive character with the gnarled old trunks and while we are here these are cuttings which we made some time back so these are cuttings made from shoots like this and then while they’re small you can wire it in an s-shape see we continue to wire them and you can get small plants of mulberry so i hope that little video has helped you with mulberries so i will add a few photographs of really old mulberry trees that you find growing in london okay so that’s the end of that one [Music] you

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