Water Barrels, Pruning My Serissa and NightShade Vine, The Bonsai Zone, March 2021


Water Barrels, Pruning My Serissa and NightShade Vine Bonsai

Hi everyone nigel saunders here today i’ll be working on my sarissa i’ll have an update to my water collection system and i’ll be working on a tree outside i’m outside here now and i never did get my east troughs up on the roof here the new roof so i’ve got to do that i’ve got to get a ease trough along here and the upper section also i’ve got to get eaves troughing going along there it’s just too much work if i just have this little east trough do all the work from the whole roof so i’m going to divide it into two levels and then all the piping is going to come down into my new um i don’t know what you call them caged barrels and i’ve just ordered them i’ll show you what they look like [Music] the barrels hold a thousand liters which is i think is about 264 us gallons so it’ll run along here and then i’m going to have the downspouts for both used troughs coming down here and then i’ve got a mess in the corner here but this will be cleaned out and i’ll put the rectangular barrels here so i can fit i’ll probably just have the one 1000 liter one here and then over in my new greenhouse i’ll have one over there and then my wife is going to have one to do her watering for her chickens and that so we’ll have three barrels total my one 1000 liter barrel will go in the new greenhouse that i’m building this summer and i’m going to have it located so it’s inside the greenhouse so the water will run off the roof down the roof and then it’ll be caught in an east trough and then it’ll fill the tank which will be partly submerged in the ground and then i’ll pump it out of the tank into the watering can so i can water all the trees so that’ll be going on out back here i’ve got my rotary table under the tarp there that’ll go in the greenhouse i’ve got my one wall built here or started anyway yeah so that’ll be a busy summer doing all that last night was quite cool it dropped down to i think it was minus seven degrees celsius tonight’s going to be minus uh i think six and then it warms up we get one more night below freezing and then for the next week it looks like all the temperatures are above freezing in the daytime and the nighttime which is really really good it’ll be nice to see that so right now all these trees are frozen the pots or the soil i should say yeah so they look dry but they’re not i watered them thoroughly yeah so once the temperature goes up a bit today i’ll give them another watering the new thousand liter water barrels are coming today so i’ve got a bit of cleanup to do so i can position them in the corner here and uh yeah and i got to get back to this plant room soon finishing it off i’ve got to redo all the covering on the outside make sure it’s really well sealed and insulated i got to get my fascia up up on the upper part of the roof eaves troughs up there the fascia from this side is all missing yeah a lot of work to go i’ll head back inside now and we can work on the cyrissa the last video i did on this tree was about a month and a half ago and i had just brought it up from the cold basement where it was kind of dormant and then i was pruning it up cleaning it up preparing it for the new growth and now you can see the new growth is starting to come in and some shoots are really vigorous so today i’m going to balance that growth a bit pinching back the really vigorous shoots around the back there’s a big branch here part of it died on me but i’m going to prune it back to some living branches that are coming off of that main kind of trunk there so a pretty big cut there but it needs to be done and i’m also going to reestablish my my pads i had the canopy separated into sections and i want to play with the elevation on the sections maybe kind of seeing through some of the sections so there’s a bit of space between the different pads sort of a layered effect i’ll show you some photos of kind of what i’m talking about [Music] [Music] that was a look at some of the styling ideas for the upper canopy i’m going to start with the hardest work first today pruning off that major branch at the back so i’ll show you a close-up of what’s going on there here’s a look at the underneath structure of the branches and you can see if you follow this one major branch out here i’ve got a living branch off to this side i’ve got a living branch off to this side i have a living branch coming out here but this end part is dead from about here on so i’ve got to prune that off it was really thick too uh it was getting out of proportion you know this branch is basically the same thickness all the way out to here so it’s a good idea to cut it back anyway all right so i’m going to come in this is the branch here i don’t know how much of this you’ll be able to see i’ve got to get in here for a good cut yeah kitty agrees so i’m going to take off here’s the branch so there’s that living branch over here and i’ve got to leave a bit of room for die back i don’t want to prune it right flush and maybe lose that branch so i’ll leave a bit of a stub and i can always clean it up later on once all that’s healed over so i’m going to take a cut [Music] um just removing some of these smaller dead branches that are coming off of it just cleaning it up a bit but i’m going to take a cut off i think i think i’ll take it off right at this bend here you can kind of see that all right i’m gonna do i thought about making a dead wood but it’s at the back of the tree you wouldn’t see it anyway and so what’s the point it’s like then i still have this big large thick branch coming out i could thin the dead wood down and it would look like a bit of taper but ah you won’t see it at the back of the tree anyway so i’m just going to prune it so here i go i’m keeping a bit of a stub there but i’m going fairly close all right here i go three two one it’s gone that looks much better actually it’s nice to get rid of that big thick end on that branch i’m going to remove all these suckers at the base of the tree next they sucker up from their roots and it’s just something that happens with cyrisses a lot they they just want to grow in a clump style so i’m removing those there’s one at the back here and it’s just something you just have to keep doing if you don’t want it to clump style you just gotta keep pruning away these suckers on the plus side you know it does make your roots more interesting you get kind of little bulges and stuff where the suckers are growing a bit of texture on your root system there that’s got that fixed up since i brought the tree up from the cold basement it has been flowering a lot i’ll show you some of the flowers there’s a group of them over here there’s some over here on the fringes here there’s a close-up of a flower yeah so that’s why they call it a tree of a thousand stars is another common name it just gets all these flowers on the top canopy it looks really cool looks like a star field my next task is to prune off these shoots that are sticking out of the profile i don’t want you know just random branches thickening up i want the canopy to kind of grow evenly so by pruning off these really vigorous shoots i’ll balance the vigor so the canopy will kind of grow out all at once not just in random places all right here i go so i’ll just take the new shoot and i’m looking for directional pruning here i’m going to take it right off there another one here so i don’t know why these shoots kind of woke up earlier than the others but why they’re growing with all this vigor and the other ones aren’t but maybe they’re ones that got missed in pruning last time they were weaker ones and now they’re taking over so this tree has basically stayed dormant all winter and it looks really really healthy i going to keep using that technique of putting it in the cold basement keeping it dormant for a couple of months and then bringing it back into the warmth i may even go the whole winter in the basement i still have some trees down there in the basement and they’ve been chilling all winter long and they still look really good and healthy i’ll show you that here we are in the basement so i still have a lemon tree down here and you can see it’s been trying to grow we had kind of a warm spell in winter and it started to grow a little bit but then it stopped because it cooled down again i have an aloe down here which is done really well all winter and you can see the growth this is winter growth these new shoots here and they’re really tiny and i’m thinking well maybe that’s a good solution is give your plants lots of light in the winter cool temperatures and when they do grow the growth will be very small so it won’t be you know big vigorous shoots that have long internodes so i’m thinking yeah maybe cool winter storage with lots of light to the trees is the best solution for both insects watering easy to care and the growth comes in nice and miniature so yeah i’m kind of rethinking my whole winter bonsai uh you know experience or or techniques uh here’s my yucca forest this has been down here in the basement the entire winter and it looks fantastic it looks really healthy no problems with it it does get some sun in from the windows here but it also has the artificial lighting and yeah it’s been doing really really well my ponytail palms been down here all winter too and it looks really good too it looks really healthy over on the smaller bench here under this smaller grow light that i got as a gift i have my pomelo seedlings and they’ve been here all winter and you can see there’s growing tips on them but they don’t they don’t really grow they just very tiny shoots and that’s probably good however i think it once they do get warmed up they’re just going to grow like crazy they’ll have all the stored energy in them from the whole winter i have my geranium under the lights here it also has been growing through the winter but very weekly and i have my natal plum here these cuttings which are doing well over the winter too and i didn’t expect these to do well because but they are they’re they’re doing quite well they’re a south african plant i guess they can take the cold quite quite well having the trees down here in the cool basement this year and i only brought them down here because i was working on the plant room and it’s really forced me to rethink my overwintering of tropical trees like i said it makes insect free you don’t have to water very often and you don’t get that indoor growth on them which is just you know rapid leggy growth because there’s not much light so yeah it’s a pretty good way to store winter trees i think and then when you do warm them up they’ll grow like crazy in spring now it may not work for all trees my ficus benjaminus didn’t really like the cool period very long they were down here for about i guess almost two months and uh they didn’t like it much but some the ficus microcarp is they had no problems all the citrus trees had no problems so i guess it’s more you know the subtropicals really enjoyed the cool period down here more of the true tropical trees they didn’t like it quite so much but a lot of them do tolerate it it’s uh you know very species dependent i guess anyway let’s head back upstairs and continue working on my sarissa i’ll continue to work away pruning back these new vigorous shoots they don’t smell good when you’re pruning these plants these sarissas have a really funky smell to them okay i think that’ll do now there’s a few problems developing on this tree if you’re looking at the side view now and you’ll notice it’s a little higher at the back and it kind of slopes down towards the front so i should try and equalize that a bit more today i want it more of a flat when looking this view i want it a little flatter on top and i want my rounding of the canopy more in the other view in the front and back view so here’s the front so i want a nice kind of rounded canopy this way but in my side view i want it flatter because as i said before you know the sun rises in the east goes across the top of the tree and sets in the west and out front they don’t get a lot of light coming in this way so they don’t the branches don’t grow towards the uh north and south because they don’t get much light so i it’ll be flatter in that view uh i also i’m going to get that branch distinction back in here today both from the top view and from the front view to try and get more definition in the layers so it doesn’t look like a dome canopy it’s separated more to find the branches for each pad i follow the branch up and then i kind of isolate what’s attached to that branch so you know everything coming off this one branch will form one pad this other branch here will form two other pads this one will form another pad or two so just looking following the branches up and then isolating what branches are attached to that and then giving each pad separation when viewed from above there’s a view looking down at the tree so you can see my separate pads here i haven’t done any pruning yet but so i want to define them a little more so here’s a new branch that’s growing across from this pad this pad it’s growing into this pad so i’ll prune it back and you want a little space between all your pads so it just takes a little pruning to define the edges of the pad there’s another branch here that’s grown into this pad so now you can see there’s a bit of space between them i’ll just prune off a few leaves here yeah so this pad has space all the way around it now so the next step is just a matter of flattening the pad down so i get different layers or different heights of pads on the tree so again this pad here i’ve got a pad a little pad here and another one underneath this pad is growing into this one so i’ll prune this branch back prune this one back this one back a bit off here so now this pad this little mini pad here let me just take a shoot off there has definition all the way around it has a little bit of clearance all the way around the pad so that’s what i’ll be doing is just cleaning up all these individual pads so there’s space around them so they haven’t all grown into each other and just makes a kind of a massive canopy that’s just something you just got to keep cleaning out uh you know they naturally want to grow fill in all these spaces so yeah just constant maintenance pruning will keep your pads separate and once i’ve got them all separated from the top view here then we’ll look at the front view and decide how high i want that pad so maybe you know pruning off the upper growth on the pad to get some changes in elevation as i’m pruning these branches for separation i’m also looking that you know there’s no branches up here that are shadowing out branches below so i’m kind of cleaning up the pads so they all have their own spot of sunlight also there were a lot of branches that were kind of coming from one pad and twisting around another so i’m trying to define my branch structure better too so i don’t have all this criss-crossing so you can see this area is fairly open now and that’s because the light will now get to this branch i had some branches growing over top of it and this will develop really nicely now that it gets light so just something to keep in mind is to make sure each branch has its spot of sunlight that it’s not in the shadow of another branch and that it also has its own definition and flow lines coming out from the center of the tree i’ve been pruning away for about 45 minutes i had to make a lot of tough decisions you know keeping these individual pads of foliage pruning away crossing branches there’s a lot of dead wood i cleaned out a lot of branches that just weren’t flowing in a nice direction i’m not after really smooth flow lines on this tree i want it all twisty but generally you want them to be kind of radial you don’t want branches going 90 degrees and crossing over top of other ones so yeah it took a lot of a lot of pruning a lot of meticulous pruning and a lot of tough choices pruning out you know branches to get to get my little pads here and the more pads you have on the tree the more miniature it looks because i’ve been checking the reference photos of you know full-size acacias and yeah the big old mature ones have a lot of different pads on them some don’t some just have a really smooth canopy but it depends i guess of the conditions they’re growing in and that and what species they are but generally you know the old mature ones have all these different levels of pads on them and that’s kind of the look i’m going for is a really old mature acacia tree here’s a look at the tree now so whenever you’re pruning like this it’s always two steps forward and one step backwards so you know there’s some areas that have to look a little sparse because you know there’s a big crossing branch in that area maybe you lose some of the width of your canopy there’s always sacrifices in pruning you know trying to get that nice structure maybe the full shape doesn’t it doesn’t look as full but you know it grows in very quickly these trees so my next step is to define those actual pads so right now the pads they still kind of form a umbrella shaped canopy and i want it in that umbrella shape but i want the pads to be defined so they’re the pads are shallower so that it looks like maybe steps in that umbrella canopy so flattening them out getting a bit of definition hopefully someday getting some space between the pads so you can see through the tree a bit that would be nice so i’m going to start that i’m going to start kind of reducing the pads down in height trying to get that sort of separated pad look to the tree a lot of this work will be looking at the height of the pad the shoots going kind of upwards and pruning them back to some you know some divisions further down the branch so i don’t know how much i’ll be able to do it depends on you know the individual branch but i’ll do what i can here’s here’s one i’ll i’ll prune the tip off like that that reduces the height of this pad a bit you just have to look at each chute and see how far you can prune it back and i’m keeping green leaves on the chute i don’t want to take it back to bare wood and sometimes if there’s a branch sticking up it may be there’s a more horizontal one down lower you can prune it back to to get the height of the pad down this one for instance is sticking up i could prune it to this more horizontal one which i think i’ll do it’ll help get the height down a bit like that yeah so that’s what i’ll be doing there’s a lot of pruning flattening of the pads and maybe trying to get some space in between them so here’s here’s a pad here i’ve got kind of a pad of foliage down here and one up here and i’d like to have some space in between them so all the leaves and branches that are between them i’m going to prune them out so you can see a little more so here i go it’s kind of hard to show this on camera so there you can see i’ve removed a branch out of the middle there so now you can see the definition of these two pads more and there’s a little space between them so that’s what i’m after all these subtle little subtle pruning to get the effect you want and then on the other branch the one that’s above i may want to prune off some of the foliage down low and keep the pad a little higher so that’ll increase the separation between the two also there’s a few dead branches in here i can clean out just some little shoots now you can see some pad definition between this pad and the one below it so this branch has two kind of clusters on it you know they’re not totally defined so it looks artificial but you can definitely see a separation now between the two pads so i want to do that for the whole tree kind of getting my pads flattened and separated it’s going to take a lot of pruning i’ve got a few hanging branches at the front here and i did talk about at one time maybe restyling this tree to look more like a tropical tree with a more rounded canopy with the branches coming down lower it’s a possibility to do that i don’t know if i want to though i think i’m going to keep it sort of the african acacia style so there’s a branch kind of drooping down here i’m going to remove it like that you know very subtle difference but keeps that you know that height of the underside how high a giraffe or an elephant can reach to prune the underside of the canopy i’m making good progress on the tree getting the those pads separated now i’ve been looking at the back of the tree you know that branch i prune back that thick one it’s still bugging me if i turn it around here it it bothers me it’s got this kind of thick section coming up here and it ends abruptly it’s too thick for that far out on the branch and i don’t think it’s going to heal very nicely if you look at it in the front view you can kind of see you may not be able to see it but uh the branch kind of ends abruptly and it’s not really doing anything back there the only foliage on it is this pad right here so it would leave a kind of a a bare spot here for the moment but that would quickly fill in so i’m thinking of removing it um you know back to this junction back here that junction is not the most flowing in the world either but it would be better to get that pruned back i think that’s what i’m thinking i’ll give you another view kind of from down lower i could nibble away the end maybe making a better transition eventually ah dear tough decision it’s always tough on the mature branches i don’t mind pruning like the little thin ones but when you get to some tough old woody branches with bark on them and that you know the wherever you prune them is going to leave a fairly good size wound definitely something’s got to be done in that area i don’t like that kind of both bar branches and that t shape and hmm but what i could prune off the one branch on the right there and then i have two branches coming out i like to branch off to the left hand side this part of it is really nice tapers nice this branch is kind of nice because it’s really twisty and it looks very unique very casey i like too just that one up the middle it kind of bothers me i mean it’s not really even visible from the front so i don’t know maybe i’m being really picky and i like to be picky but we’ll see maybe something i’ll come off that branch in the future and i’ll get a nice branch i can prune it back to making it shorter or yeah maybe a possibility will open up in the future and that’s that happens a lot sometimes you get something that bothers you on a tree and you think uh what can i do in that area and sometimes you leave it and new branches form in that area and then a new solution opens up that oh yeah i’ve got a new branch here i can take off that one that bothered me and replace it with a new leader so yeah you gotta be patient sometimes i mean removing large branches the longer you leave them the thicker they get but there’s not much foliage on that branch so i don’t think it’ll thicken up very quickly so i’ll keep my eye on it and maybe a new solution will come up and [Music] here’s a look at the branch structure hopefully you can kind of see how it’s opened up and the pads are slightly different heights the tree’s a lot more thin you can see the branch structure in the interior more certainly makes the tree look more mature here’s a look at this cyrissa now i finished the pruning on it i’ve probably taken off a third to a half of the foliage really thinning it out i’ll show you from above so you can kind of see how open the tree is now all right here we go so here’s looking down so now i think you can see all the individual pads you can see the ground below the tree how open it is at the moment it’ll fill in again but yeah so that’s kind of it from above yeah it’s really opened up the tree you can almost see through all the branches now which is really nice from below i’ll give the tree some water and fertilizer it’s getting just a little dry since i’ve started working on it now after i’ve reduced all the top of the canopy it won’t need as much water anymore because there’s less less leaves to take up all that water so i’ll have to be careful with my water not to over water it and not to under water it and a good idea with these oval these shallow oval pots is you water thoroughly like i’m doing soaking all the soil still need more until it starts flowing out the drainage holes which i don’t know it is starting to come now okay so that’s thoroughly soaked and the next step is you want to tilt the pot up so so you just go like this tilt it up and all the water will flow out all the excess water and that leaves a really nice humidity level in your pot otherwise if you leave it sitting flat there’s very little depth to these pots you don’t get a lot of hydraulic pressure in the pot so it doesn’t come out the drainage holes very easily it’ll stay too wet in the pot so you got to tilt it up like that drain the water out you don’t have to you know just a couple of minutes so the water most of the water is flowed out the drainage holes now so i can set the tree back down and that will be really good that’s a really good watering for it i’ve got a cloth here to soak up all the excess water so it doesn’t run out all over the floor the tree is starting to get some sunshine now so i’ll leave it in this spot and make sure it gets a good sunning today that’ll help it recover from all this pruning it’s nice to see the sarissa all pruned up once again let’s head outside now and work on another tree the person bringing the new water barrels will be coming in about half an hour so i’m going to move all the vehicles out on the street so we can drive his truck in here to unload them so that’ll be fun i can drive the truck [Music] i’m not sure what this is going to start like it’s pretty cool out today just about freezing so i don’t know maybe four maybe five pumps of gas let’s try five one two three four five here we go i guess five was it get my seatbelt on all right let’s try and back out now yeah so far so good it’s just uh i’m going there’s a car coming but it’s going really slow all right here we go we’ll put the truck right over here right behind the little micra like that all right that’s all the drive of the truck i get for today i guess i’ll be putting it back in the driveway later on but now i’ve got to try moving the matrix and the matrix hasn’t moved in over a year so i don’t know if the brakes will be i started it but it i didn’t move it so hopefully the brakes won’t all be seized up or anything so let’s go do that now i’m in the matrix now the truck has a perfect dash for setting the camera on for videoing the matrix doesn’t have anything so i might have to just kind of point it somewhere like that all right here we go with the start of the matrix please start it goes and again it’s still low on fuel so these will be coming on the road at the end of the month and i’m going to drive the matrix for the whole summer and the truck all right let’s see if it moves now put it in reverse this is a six-speed transmission so here we go let’s see if we can pop these brakes [Music] i think it’s just in a hole well it seems like the brakes are free that’s a good thing so there the driveway’s clear so now we just got a weight delivery of these giant water barrels they’re called caged barrels because they have like a steel cage around them so there’s a look at the matrix out on the road and the truck and the micro over there yeah it’s been a while since i’ve seen the matrix out there i’ve got a lot of the driveway cleaned out now so i just got to get rid of all the stuff here i got to decide what i’m going to do with my foil panels keep them or throw them out i don’t know might be good for laura’s chicken coop too i’ve got the driveway all cleared for the new rain barrels so they should be here any second um [Music] all that stuff’s nice that foil yeah that’s i dropped that ridge so here’s the new rain barrels they are quite large they’re all reinforced got a steel cage around it galvanized steel cage down here there’s a valve and a spout that comes it’s just separate so you screw that in here so i’m going to elevate it off the ground a bit so i can fit a bucket underneath here just to catch all the overflow and the drips make it easier to get to yeah they’re quite something they’re all steel underneath there’s like a steel pan under there and you can see the level on here it goes right up to 1 000 liters that is amazing so i’m going to put them in the corner here and for now i’m going to run have two side by side here and then laura’s gonna put hers over underneath the shed overhang there so she can collect the rain water off the shed and we got to get a new roof on the shed this year so i’ll be putting the east trough up here soon to catch all the rain water which is coming next week and i can start filling these up so that uh that should do us we shouldn’t run out of rain water ever again it’s gonna be awesome i’ve moved all the vehicles back in place so now it’s time to head in the backyard and do some bonsai for my outdoor work today i’m going to prune up this nightshade vine just pruning it back making it more compact and there’s a bunch of suckers at the base here that i’ve got to prune off too all right here i go with the pruning and i think i’ll just use my scissors here so i just want to bring everything more compact so i’m looking for an outward facing bud here so i’ll put in this branch to here that same here to there this one to here um something there i couldn’t do a video yesterday i was helping someone out with a project doing uh video editing uh for the local uh chamber music program so this one i’m going to go right back to here there’s long inner notes between the the buds here so i’m going to prune it back quite hard like that there’s one kind of sticking straight up here i’m looking for a bun that faces the back i have to go right down low here go right off here like that and then i’ve got these two tall ones up the top just taking a stub off there so i want to i think i kind of want this as the leader up front here and these shorter so i think i’ll prune those back quite hard and i’m looking for buds coming out the back here so there’s a couple of choices i’m going to go right here hard pruning like that and then the other one i’m looking for buds coming out this direction there’s a nice one there so just above that and that gets a nice little tree here’s a look at the little nightshade vine i think it’s looking pretty good so i’m going to do the suckers at the base next so i’ll just come in here with my ball nose pruners and snip them off kind of flush with the root system great if you wanted to develop this clump style this species and that’s oh there’s another one there like that there’s a weed there i can pull out another weed here all right there it is all pruned up i think it’s looking quite good and we’ll see how it does this year the sun will be setting soon so that’s the end of a beautiful day today i’m nigel saunders thanks for joining me in the bonsai zone

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