Sunday, 7 August 2016

What a difference a season makes!

When I shared my post Bonsai Artist in Training at Reddit a few weeks ago, one of my readers asked what the tree I featured in that post looks like now. As I was still busy moving blog posts from my previous domain, I wasn't able to write an update then, but I promised I'd write one as soon as I could find some time. So here it is. Better late than never!

This is actually the second update, but the first one, The Benefit of Experience, was written way back in January, long before the question came up, so it showed a seriously outdated image.

Several weeks before I wrote that post I'd decided that  my little tree needed to go back into a training pot to help improve the branch structure, but soon after that I'd foolishly undone a lot of the good work by going overboard with what was meant to be a minor trim. My poor tree was looking horribly naked at the time:

January 2016 - after severe pruning

I vowed to go easy on it after that and did no further pruning until yesterday.

Despite the fact that it's late winter here, this tree had put out substantial new growth, especially at the top:

August 2016 - before pruning

This time I was a lot more conservative with my pruning, only shortening branches that had grown too long. In fact on the two lowest branches I cut nothing at all.

August 2016 - after pruning

One bit of unwanted new growth I haven't removed is this bud near the base of the tree:

Unwanted new growth

I've got a bit of reverse taper at the first bend and I'd be really happy if letting it grow for a while would help fatten up the area where it's growing. Worst case scenario I get a big scar there, which isn't a major problem as Ficus Natalensis heals really well.

I've done all I plan to do for now. It's up to the tree to do a bit of growing and hopefully it will guide me in the right direction. I can't wait to see what it decides to do next.

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