Monday, 24 October 2016

Cutting Back

During my club's annual show I sold six small trees. Given the fact that the drought which made last summer so difficult is still very much in evidence and that water restrictions are now harsher than ever, I really should have sold a lot more. However I didn't plan ahead, and it was only a frantic last minute search that enabled me to sell anything at all.

Clearly a new approach is called for and I've made up my mind to start planning for next year's show right now. That means starting a list of candidates for sale, then watching how they develop over the next eleven months.

As I'm trying to keep water usage to a minimum, part of my plan involves limiting the size of many of my trees. The necessity for this became obvious when unrestrained early summer growth made it difficult to see the smaller pots hidden by masses of foliage. My bonsai area is poorly lit, so proper watering becomes particularly problematic on those days when I'm forced to water after dark.

One small section of my bonsai area showing how difficult it is to see the where the water needs to go

This situation has already lead to a few trees drooping after they didn't get adequate water. At the moment I only have one whose survival is uncertain, and I don't want to risk having others join it on the endangered list.

Some special trees will be allowed the privilege of neglect, while others will be pruned for the purpose of styling. However many of my cuttings, saplings and less interesting trees will undergo periodic cutting to prevent them taking too much space, as I've done with this little Stinkwood:

Hopefully I won't make too many mistakes along the lines of what happened to this poor Rhododendron which I air-layered off a larger tree two or three years ago:

I had no intention of removing the higher branch on the left hand side, but unfortunately a rushed wiring attempt caused it to snap so badly that I was unable to save it.

It will be interesting to see how the victims of this experiment respond.

Most of the trees receiving this treatment will be placed on my list of candidates to be sold next summer. How they respond to this experiment will determine which I decide to sell and which will remain part of my collection.

While I've been cutting back some of my trees I decided to experiment with shooting time lapse videos of my work. The tree in this video is a little elm which I got off our club raffle table a few years ago. Although it's small and not very exciting, I don't think I'll be selling this one just yet.

No comments yet, but I'd love to hear your view.

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