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Japanese Black Pine #21 – August 2015 Update

So here’s where the tree was –













It was well fed and the root mass feels very solid now so leaving the tree alone has done it wonders in regaining its vigour.

Here’s what it looks like now (the apex has a long, long, long way to go) –












With Spring upon us, the candles have just started to move and I’m looking forward to a good result with decandling in Summer. You can see from the above pic that the fertilisers bags were left on over winter. I do this with the weaker trees if they are not being repotted. I did intend to repot this tree but that can wait another year. Changing the angle to improve the appearance can come later. For now it all about the growth!

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Japanese Black Pine #21 – April 2015 Update

So, this tree was pretty weak when I first acquired it. Here is a refresher –


That was in September 2013. It was repotted into an open mix, consistently fed really well with organic fertiliser, kept in full sun and allowed to grow. Only the apex was decandled in summer and basically it was left alone until April 2015.

During this time the roots have grown and the surface had become very compacted so it was time to open it up a little and add a new surface layer.












While the tree was in the workshop I decided to do some work on the scar around the back of the trunk that is from a sacrifice branch.












So the inner rim of the cambium layer that has formed was scratched a little to reactivate the healing process. Then the wound is covered with cut paste. We’ll see what has happened in spring.

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It’s autumn at the moment so I also went through the tree and selected buds and did a small amount of needle plucking. There were 2 year old needles that had started to drop and I wanted to ensure good air flow and sunlight into the inner areas.


Here’s how it looks now –












It’s much healthier and the overall vigour of the tree has significantly improved as well as the colour of the needles. It’s been given another dose of fertiliser too before winter comes along.










While I was working on the tree I found the harsh angle of the trunk to be a little disturbing so I’m going to rotate the tree clockwise when I repot in Spring.












This rotation reveals more of the trunk line, creates more interest and displays the nebari much better.

So for now, it’s more sun, more wind and fertilising until winter.

Project 2

Trident Maple #11 – Air Layer update July 2014

I’ve just checked the tree as I’m thinking about whether the layer is removed later this month or of it stays for another year. Here’s what I found…



All of the sacrificial branches have done their job. The primary branching is well on the way to achieving the thickness I’d like for the tree.

Scars have been rolling over nicely too. Still a heap more work to do but it’s getting there.














Now, what about the roots?



The base is flaring and looking better.







And the roots are thickening and plentiful! Looks like I’m separating and potting up later this month!


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Trident Maple #11 – Air Layer update January 2014

It’s now quite hot in Melbourne Australia with temperatures last week staying well above 40 degrees Celsius. A good watering regime helped prevent any leaf burn on my deciduous trees but I was a little worried about this air layer.

However all has gone really well and here are some updated photos.

Plenty of new growth.

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Here’s the surface. It’s definitely swelling at the base now.



I gently removed a very fine layer of the surface soil and it was very pleasing to see plenty of very fine feeder roots.


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This will be a much nicer tree once the layer is removed but I’m in no rush at all. I think it will be there for quite some time yet to ensure there are enough roots.

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Trident Maple #11 – Air layer

I’ve had this trident maple in the collection for a while now, maybe 3 years and while I’ve been working on the primary branching structure, the nebari has always been a standout issue that needs to be rectified if this tree is going to be given any chance at bright future.


The trunk is naturally very white so this year I’d decided it was time to do an air layer and look to fix the roots.

Here’s the current situation –

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This last pic is around the back of the tree where the issues become far more obvious. There is a large dead section on the top if the root and it’s just ugly.

So once I’d decided to do the layer, it’s a matter of exactly where it’s positioned. I wanted to try and get some flare in the base utilising the existing trunk if at all possible so it doesn’t take on the view of a thick stick in a pot. When I measured, the ideal position is just below the existing scar on the front of the trunk. I know this isn’t the best but I’m hoping to rework the wound so it closes up further and adds to the character of the tree.

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Then the bark and cambium layer were well and truly removed. Ideally the amount removed should have been further but as you’ll see the soil line prevented me from removing anything further.


Mesh was placed around the pot and root hormone powder was applied to the trunk. Then the soil mix was added.


And finally a nice layer of sphagnum moss was added to help retain moisture. I also put a layer of plastic around the mesh (not pictured) to help with moisture retention and new root protection.

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So far the tree is responding well with buds bursting all over the tree after only 3 weeks since the layer was made. Keep an eye on this tree as I’ll be positing more pics in the future.

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Japanese Black Pine #21 – The Beginning

This tree was recently acquired and I was initially attracted to the beautiful bark and overall age of the tree. The original grower was on hand and let me know it’s 24-25 years old.

I don’t think the tree has been repotted in a very long time and it’s health looks to be needing some TLC. There was clear evidence that spider mites were actively eating the tree.



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When the tree was taken out of the pot you could see that there was only dust remaining between the roots.















Some new roots have just started forming and being the very start of the growing season, the timing for repotting was perfect.

I felt the tree needed to be turned a little clockwise and tilted forward to bring what will be the new apex into prominence.



I wanted a pot with some age and character to it for this tree and I had the perfect one. This was picked this one up from Kouka-en in Osaka, Japan earlier this year.

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Here it is after repotting. This will spend at least a week in the workshop and out of the weather. The tree was also given a spray with a lime sulphur mix to take care of the mites that have been giving it a bit of a flogging. The big lip on the pot makes it look a little large for the tree but I think it will “grow” into it over time and be a good match. By turning the tree clockwise the nebari now looks more impressive in my opinion.

The tree is 50cm high and the nebari is 20cm.


I’m in no rush to wire this one, I will just work on the tree’s health for a while and post more of it’s progress over time.