Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January 2011


After all this growth from the recent rains, be sure to check your trees which have been wired, to make sure the wire hasn’t begin to cut in. What is happening is that the branches are thickening up with the new growth, but the wire doesn’t expand. The end result can be nasty spiral scarring on your branches. On some trees this can be worse because they are softer. Trees such as azaleas, camellias, maples etc, mark very easy, and in the case of maples, very quickly (within 3 – 4 weeks!)

Obviously this is a problem if you are trying to grow the branch, but have to remove the wire every month or so, yet the branch has not set.

One of the ways around this is to use raphia. Raphia is a natural reed type product that is available in places like Spotlight (ask the wife!). It comes in strands and looks like flattened grass. What you do is soak the raphia for 30 minutes or so in cold water, then wrap the branch you intend wiring. You will need about 3 strands to make it thick enough to cover your branch. It is then wrapped around the branch quite tightly.

After doing this, wire the branch as normal. This should give you a bit more protection.

Another use for raphia is when you have a large branch you want to bend past a position that it would normally be capable of. By wrapping the branch with raphia, it is a lot less likely to break. Even if it does, it will probably hold the branch in position until it has healed. Sometimes you can bend the branch until you hear the crack and stop. This takes a bit of learning but it can be done.

A beautiful bonsai made from the pistachio. These trees have awesome colour as well as ramification. The leaves are really easy to reduce in size.

The also really lend themselves to ‘unusual’ styles of bonsai and not just the informal upright design as seen in the picture.

We have some really unusual specimens of these in stock, that will lend themselves nicely to a lot of different styles.

Description: A medium to large tree with elegant and attractive, glossy green, pinnate leaves that turn a beautiful orange red or crimson in autumn.

Styles: Formal upright; Informal Upright;Slanting;Cascade;Semi-cascade;Literate;Broom;Rock-over-root;Clasped-to-rock;Twin-trunk;Clump;Group planting; Saikei

Watering: Keep soil moist, do not let it dry out. Feeding: Fortnightly during the growing season. Leaf and Branch Pruning: Any pruning that needs to be done is best carried out in the spring. Re-potting & Growing Medium: This species strongly resents being transplanted. It is best to transplant in spring when new growth is beginning. Wiring: A very ornamental tree.. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.


With bending, don’t think it all has to be done at the one go. You can bend a branch over an entire season. The best way to do this is, once having rapia’d the branch and wired it, connect a loop of wire past the point that you want bent, and fix it to a opposite side of the tree, something to gain leverage from. You are then able to twist the wire slowly, maybe a turn every second day, until you have the desired bend. Leave this for a full growing season. For older trees, you may need to leave them for 2 – 3 years.

Whilst talking about bending, I saw an interesting article the other day on it. Instead of just bending the branch with both hands, twist the branch first with both hands until you crack the cambium. Often a crack can be heard. (This is before applying raphia) What this does is instead of putting the pressure across the cambium, it puts it along the branch instead. It is like hundreds of strands slightly separating, but not actually breaking as a branch does straight across.

I hope you are able to understand what I mean! By the way, I take no responsibility for broken branches!! Take the time to learn and practice on branches  that it doesn’t matter if you do break them.

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