Tuesday, 23 February 2016

A Pleasant Surprise

It's been nearly four weeks since I removed the air layer from the mulberry tree outside our house. At the time it looked like this.

After cutting back and potting - January
2016
When I shared my previous post about this tree at Reddit, I was asked why I'd defoliated it. I'm not really sure whether it's necessary, but it's something that was recommended at my bonsai club, and it's always worked for me. In any case the foliage that was left on the tree after cutting off the top was all rather dry after long exposure to the hot sun and would probably have fallen off anyway.

The decision on whether or not to defoliate is species specific however. Defoliate the wrong tree and it will die.

I'm happy to report that my mulberry tree has done fine without its old leaves.

After I'd potted the tree I put it in a shady section of my bonsai area which is reserved for trees that have recently been repotted. My smaller trees usually go under a table, but this one was too tall to fit there, so I put it behind the table. As a result the top section got a lot more light than the rest, which may explain why that's where all the new growth has appeared.

The two trunks are crossing high up

Once new growth started to appear I moved it into a position where it gets some morning sun, and now I'm hoping that I'll get some foliage lower down. That's where I really need branches because, even if the tree fattens up considerably in the years to come, it is still far too tall.

You'll notice in the above picture that the tops of the two trunks were crossing. As that section will be removed one day, it probably wasn't too serious, but it doesn't look good that way, so I decided to do some rough wiring to separate them.

Roughly wired to separate the two trunks

For the foreseeable future I will be letting this tree grow wild. If this strong growth is any indication of what's to come, I'm hoping it will fatten up well, and I'm in no hurry to start styling it. I'm still uncertain whether I will keep the two trunks or try to separate it into two trees. I'll have to inspect the roots to see which is the appropriate direction, but that will have to wait a year or two.

And finally the surprise - when I examined the tree closely a couple of days ago I found a few small fruit developing on the new growth.

A small fruit on the new growth

It's the wrong time of the year for mulberries, so I doubt they'll ripen, but it gives me hope that this tree will give me fruit in future, something which most of my smaller mulberry trees have failed to do.

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