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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! .

Collecting for Bonsai – Roadside Attractions 1

>> Ben: We’ve all done it. We’ve all driven down the side of the road and just said, ‘Hey! That’s a tree I could go for!’ ♫ bluegrass music ♫ The Department of Transportation, whatever state you’re in, generally mows down the edges so you can have a good line of sight. And that can be beneficial to bonsai hunters, because you can find some very interesting things that may or may not be useful. Look at this hornbeam. This is just awesome. This thing is probably about 4″ – 5″ right there. I’ve got this big long branch that’s next to me. I wonder how well it’s rooted in the ground. Yeah, it’s pretty solid. Got all these rocks around here that will make it very difficult to get out. There’s also, right behind it, right there, a Virginia juniper, which also might make this difficult. But, this tree – I might just have to consider what I can do.

Look at this guy. If you can see it. I don’t know. It could make some interesting stuff. Something to keep in mind. It’s loose, which means I can dig it up. The roots, because I’m looking downhill, the roots are probably coming up this way. So, I need to keep that in mind. Which means this thing is going to be slanted out, and be kinda funky. You know, it’s got some large sections to it. You can see there’s a scar right there, and starting to callous over. I may be able to clean that out, or leave that and clean this out. I like working with this material because one It allows me to toy around, experiment a little bit without really worrying of damaging a really nice yamadori. And you never know – you might come up with some really interesting things in the process. You get a lot of funky looks working on the side of the road, but it’ll be worth it. Here’s a needle juniper – common juniper. You can see, it’s got a pretty interesting trunk here.

Hand for reference. This is in a ditch. Alright. Whoa, look at th.. Awww! Fooled! I thought that was a nice live tree. Nope. That one’s toast. As always, be very careful when you’re working on the side of the road. Here, the Department of Transportation has cut away this guy, right here. This is big. The base is probably 9″ in diameter. Look at that beauty. There’s good and bad points about this: One: It’s already been cut; I can clean up some of this. Two: it may or may not pop out. Three: Getting that baddy out of all this rock.

And this stuff is loose It can fall into the road, which is not good. One: for safety reasons Two: For the annoyance of people who are trying to get by. It’s something to think about, though. That’s what I’m talking about. That’s it right there Look at the shape, the curve, the interest And, it’s right in the middle of a rock. It’s really loose. There may be, right here, where this rock is, there may be just a little bit of an indentation that could probably be hidden either by soil, or it could be hidden by rocks and moss or something.

We won’t even know until we dig this up in the spring. But, i’m getting this guy. Look at that. Just curve, curve, curve, curve and it’s got all these beautiful little flutes in there, that I just love. As always, it’s best to get permission from the owner no matter who it is. That includes the Department of Transportation who maintains the roads here.

I have called the Department of Transportation before, and they have given me permission, But, rules change from year to year. There’s always the possibility that what was relevant one year will not be relevant the next. So, I will be calling again this year to check and see what the possibilities are if I can. Generally, for me, it has been 20 feet from the road. It might now be 15 feet which limits what I can and cannot take. It’s always best, because otherwise, you might get arrested. You might get shot at. You might get in a lot of trouble. So, let’s avoid that as bonsai enthusiasts. We want to be respectful of other people’s property, and, that will make things better for everybody. If we have bonsai artists just going in collecting whatever they can find off the side of the road without asking permission it puts a bad name on everybody. Let’s avoid that at all costs. ♫ bluegrass music ♫ .

Air Layer Series Part 1: Trident Maple 2017

Hello and welcome to Appalachian Bonsai! Today’s video is part of an ongoing series to discuss air layers. I hope you enjoy it. Today we’re going to be working on an air layer of this trident maple. I’ve been working on this maple for many years and even tried layering it one time. You can see the scar around the body and the belly here. And I’m trying to do this because, I have a large reverse taper (right there). My first attempts were not very successful So let’s try this again.

What I have here is a box knife and I’m using it because it’s nice and sharp. So just be careful you don’t cut yourself. Cut a section about as wide as the tree is in diameter. The sharp knife is gonna make a clean cut. What I’m doing here is, I’m cutting the cambium layer, which is the softer outer layer of the bark, down to the sapwood. The cambium layer transfers nutrients made by the leaves down to the roots, which help create new roots. The sapwood, which is the inner layer of white wood that you will see in a moment, is what carries nutrients from the roots up to the leaves and branches. By removing this cambium layer, we are removing the ability for the leaves at the top to provide nutrients to the roots at the bottom.

We’re gonna call the nutrients “root juice” for simplicity. The root juice is not getting to those roots at the bottom, but they’re still providing nutrients to the area where it’s cut. What’s it going to do? It’s going to create new roots, and that’s the intention here : To create new roots at the cut. But, we’re not starving the branches and the leaves, because we’re not cutting into the sapwood layer. The roots are still providing nutrients to the top of the tree, so, our tree is able to thrive and produce new roots at the same time. When you’re removing the cambium, make sure you remove ALL of the cambium. The cambium is a pathway from the top to the bottom, and if you leave any of it, the pathway remains open. We must close the process, so remove all the cambium. Scrape it with a knife. I’m using a razor here to finish the process. Then I’m going back and cleaning up my cuts to make sure they’re nice and sharp and crisp and clean.

Take sphagnum moss that has been soaking in water. You can add a root hormone, if you’d like. Squeeze out excess moisture and pack it on the cut. The sphagnum moss is gonna make sure that that cut stays damp and doesn’t dry out. But, it’s also going to provide a medium for which roots can grow in. Wrap the sphagnum moss and the tree with plastic. This plastic will prevent evaporation. It will also make sure that the sphagnum moss remains tight around that cut area. Rubber electrical tape is what I’m using here to ensure that the plastic stays on the tree as well as tight against that trunk.

Finish by wrapping with aluminum foil to protect the new roots from sunlight. So it’s a few months later, and now we’re about to see what our root system looks like. I’m not sure what this is gonna to be here. There is potential I have no roots. Let’s see what we have. As much as I want to cut this down I may have to rewrap it back up again. So, I’m going to do this carefully.

Hush, dog. Hush! It’s the reveal! Oh, man! I can’t tell if that’s sphagnum moss, or if it’s roots. There’s a root right here. I have one root here, and there’s bound to be more, but, they’re not filling up the whole bag. So I’m gonna cover it back up. I’ll check back again. Okay. It’s all done up. Use foil again to protect those new roots from sunlight. Roots like to grow in the dark. That’s why they grow in the ground. Ta-Da! I’ll see you in another month. It’s been a month and a half since we last looked at these roots, and I’ve taken a peek at them over the past weeks, and I wanted to show you what I’ve seen, and what I’ve concluded to do.

There aren’t many roots on this side, but, if you can see this, I do have several roots starting to come through right here and that’s exciting! They’re even starting to poke through the bottom of the bag. I don’t know why it’s not doing as well on the back side. It may be a too damp and maybe too dry. We will see pretty soon. What I’m going to do is take off this layer of plastic, and I’m gonna replace it with this right here. This will be attached to the bottom of the tree, and it will be filled with soil. And that will allow the roots to continue to grow without me disturbing them. So, let’s get in there and see what happened. Hot and humid out today, so it’s not a bad time for me to be exposing the roots.

Yeah, now you can start to see them. Yeah, pretty. Real pretty We even have some root started up here. Oh, I just have to look! Hold on. It’s really wet, and that may be the problem. I see a root or two. There’s a root or two back here. And, I was correct: These are roots right here. Just put that back on and loosen a little bit of that up. It’s good to have it damp but not wet, and I think wet was my problem.

Let’s attach this now What I did is measure the diameter of the tree, mark, the bottom of this container and then made some slits where it would be larger and hold around that trunk. Then I split a section all the way up the side, so that I could open and slide it around the tree. This is not the best design, and there are better ones out there that you can purchase with a hinge on the side. It makes this a little bit easier, but It’s slightly more expensive. I went ahead and drilled some holes, and now we can put this on. I plan on putting that just below where these root tips are, being very careful not to break them. I’m gonna see if I can slide this on. Okay So I got this on, and now I just need to tie it off. It’s not the prettiest thing, I know.

I’m wrapping aluminum wire around the container to hold it together and I’m using little smaller pieces of aluminum wire to hold the main wire in place. As mentioned before, this isn’t the best design, but it still works for this purpose. I’m using my coarse bonsai soil It’s the same soil I used with my other trees. It’s with a little bit more pine bark to give it extra moisture. Then I teased those roots out gently. It took some time, but I got it on there. Then what I did is I fill it with soil I had to brace it up some to keep it to this level. I wanted to make sure that the topsoil was well above where the root cut was. So the root system can grow, and that way everything stays nice and damp. I’m gonna give this a good watering, I’m gonna cover it and some sphagnum moss. That way the sun doesn’t hit it and dry it out too badly. And we’ll see here in another couple of months. Hopefully I’ll have some roots coming out on the sides.

Stay tuned for the next video in this series. Like and subscribe because there is more to come. Thanks for watching! .