maple

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! .