Thursday, August 30, 2012

Euonymous alatus Bonsai Progression Series, Hard Pruning Nursery Stock for Bonsai.

ficus bonsai4Very often the beginner or even intermediate enthusiast will find it difficult to prune a newly acquired plant sufficiently hard enough, resulting in a spindly looking bonsai with a weak-looking trunk.

This short progression series is intended to show the importance of pruning back nursery stock/garden centre material hard if it is to be used for bonsai.

            Most people will have the basic tools in their sheds to carry out this initial bonsai shaping, so ideally you will need a pruning tool of some description. Those that don't have access to tool sheds can pick up a pair of Secateurs from any garden centre.
euonymous bonsai 211206 004
            December 2006: This Euonymous alatus/Winged Spindle or Burning Bush was purchased at a local Garden Centre Sale for a couple of pounds. This is quite a typical purchase that one can make from Nurseries and is often made by enthusiasts with the intention of using the stock to make a bonsai.
            Here the tree can be seen just after purchase; it is approximately 24"/59cm tall having already been reduced in height by half at the Garden Centre.

            The trunkbase is approximately 1.5"/3.5cm thick and looks very thin when compared to the rest of the tree. Ideally to make the trunk look approriate for a bonsai, I will need to aim for a finished tree height of between 6 and 10 times the diameter of the trunk. As Euonymous is naturally quite a thin-trunked tree in the wild, I will aim for a height 10 times the diameter of the trunk; in this case 15" or 37cm.
            So I start pruning; I need to reduce this tree down to a little less than the final height (this will allow room for me to grow a new canopy/apex in the future)
euonymous bonsai 211206 007
        By the time I have reduced the tree's height down to 12"/29cm there is not much left. Notice that I have also chosen trunklines that taper as much as possible so that the trunklines are as thin near the top.
euonymous bonsai  211206 002 composite
A composite of the before and after images: now it is time to simply wait for the tree to react in Spring by popping new buds all over the trunk and growing out new branches from the resulting shoots.
euonymous bonsai 150807 067
            August 2006: After strong growth in Spring and Summer, the tree is pruned back hard again. This process of allowing the tree to grow strongly and then to be pruned back hard is repeated to help build up ramification and density of the branches.
euonymous bonsai 280108 021
                January 2008: 18 months later and the tree has had the growth of 2007 pruned back and styled. Notice that I have also pruned back the trunks as new buds and shoots became available for me to prune to.
euonymous bonsai 200608 002 (2)
July 2008: As each month of growth passes, the tree slowly but steadily fills out.
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                    April 2009: The tree has been repotted into a simple round mica pot and has opened its fresh green Spring leaves.
euonymous 450
            As can be seen in these last images, despite its relatively thin diameter, the trunks now looks powerful and in proportion with the new branches. This could only be achieved by properly pruning the tree when it was orginally purchased and regrowing new branches.
euonymous1 450
The current height of the tree (slightly taller than originally intended): 16"/39cm
source: Bonsai4Me

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