Honeysuckle Bonsai – Update from 2018

Welcome to Appalachian bonsai. Today’s video is gonna be a pruning of this Amur Honeysuckle. This honeysuckle was collected back in 2017. It was on my friend Lemuel’s property. Now, the thing about the Amur honeysuckle is it is extremely invasive here in the United States. Originally it comes from Asia, but it has made its way over, and I think that it is perfect for collection. If any of you out there have issues with collecting trees from the wild, give invasive species a try. There’s nothing wrong with collecting a tree that’s not supposed to be there in the first place. The footage for this video was captured April 2018, which was a fine time to prune. it’s now January 2019, which is not necessarily a good time to prune, but, January is a great time to edit videos you didn’t have time to edit last year. I hope that clears up any questions you might have had about the seasons.

If you’ll notice with this pruning, I’m taking it down to one or two buds per branch as well as thinning out the branches. These Amur honeysuckles are extremely vigorous. It’s one of the reasons why they’re invasive. Because of that, it can handle this type of pruning. There were many parts on this tree that were already dead, and I knew that going in to collecting it. But now that it’s had a full year of growth I understand where I want to grind, where to carve, and where to make artistic changes to the trunk and the structure of the tree. When using a pruning saw be careful not to force the blade. If you force the blade, your last cut might continue on and cut another section of live tree that you did not want to touch.

When I cut a large piece, like right here, I’ll cut the majority of the way through the trunk and then I will come on the back side and slightly cut it until it just falls off. There are many ways to carve up a tree, but I’m gonna be using a four inch wire wheel. Now, this wire grinder is often used for cleaning metal, but it does a pretty good job of carving up old dead wood, too. What I’m doing here is adding a taper to the trunk. We have a flat top and by cutting out a chunk I can make it look as if the tree is tapering towards that larger left branch. So, breaking it off right there, and I have better taper.

Now to finish it up a little bit more. The beauty of these large tools is you can eat away a lot of material at one time. Just be careful you don’t take away too much or hurt yourself. Now I’m using a Dremel tool with a little burr on it, and this is adding some finer details. You see those holes are actual worm holes. Those are from beetles and other types of insects and I am exploiting them. They are natural, and I want to accentuate them and add these lines that follow the curve of the trunk, follow those bug holes, open up those bug holes, and it just adds so much depth. I think it’s just a really gorgeous feature. I’ll finish it up with a little wire wheel.

This miniature wire wheel just takes off all the little frayed pieces of the wood. Let’s take a look at those roots. This tree is extremely hardy, as I’ve said before. Wow! Look at that! That’s a lot of roots! That’s one year of growth from this particular species. It’s also one of the reasons why I’m able to do a heavy prune on the top and a heavy prune on the bottom and still allow it to survive. Use your chopstick to clear out the old soil. This tree has been without water for a couple of days. With the soil a little bit dry it falls out so much easier. You don’t have a muddy mess. There’s our puppy dog. His name is Rocky. He is a pain. We love him. tease those roots out with your hands, with the chopsticks, or whatever tools that you find easiest for this type of work.

As you work your way underneath the root ball you can find some roots that can be removed. It will allow the tree to sit a little bit lower into the pot. A nice sharp pair of bonsai pruning shears can make really quick work of these wide outer roots Here is another large root that needs to be removed. It has some smaller fine roots that are growing off the sides above my cut. This helps make sure the root stays alive and I can get it into the pot. I know it seems excessive with all the roots I’ve taken off and all the top I’ve taken off, but as I may say again this is a very hardy species. It can handle this type of work.

Okay, so now that I have the roots pruned up, I can put them into a pot. I have my wires and my screens in place, and I’m adding a little bit of pre-made soil. My soil mixture is three parts Turface MVP, which is a type of fire clay, three parts of pine bark, two parts diatomaceous earth, and one part coarse masonry sand. I have them sifted between two and six millimeters. Check the description for those items if you need to look at them again. You’ll notice I’m adding a little bit of plastic tubing to this wire. This is airline hose, which goes with a lot of aquariums. I’m using it to protect those roots so that as it grows it doesn’t form around that wire, which is sometimes known as wire bite. And then you pull and twist. I’m adding soil to the pot one or two scoops at a time. And then I use my chopstick to work that soil in between each of the roots, starting from the trunk and working my way outward.

If you’ve watched any of my previous videos, I’ve mentioned about working the chopstick up and down, wiggling it from side to side, sometimes you can tap the sides of the pot with your fist and that all helps get that soil in between those fine roots. After you’re done working the soil into your pot make sure you water it thoroughly. Protect your tree from strong sunlight and strong winds for the next couple of days until it’s recovered.

Also, be wary of young puppy dogs. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video. Like and Subscribe, because there’s more to come. Thanks for watching! .