Wednesday, 18 January 2017

When the Weeds Take Over

This little olive tree is one of the rare trees I've bought as bonsai stock, meaning that it required a lot less work than most of my other trees do. Here it is as purchased at our club show in October 2010.

Olive tree - October 2010

I was quite happy with the way it looked in the spring of 2015 and was planning to move it to a bonsai pot but for some reason I never got around it it.

Instead it got lost among my bigger trees and I failed to notice the little Melaleuca seedling which planted itself at the side of the bag. By the time I discovered it, it was too deeply rooted to simply pull it out and move it to a pot of its own, so I left it there and waited for a suitable time to move it. And, as is my wont, I forgot all about it.

Now it had become so tall that it was totally dwarfing my poor little olive tree.

Olive tree and Melaleuca 'weedling'

Something had to be done about it. Unfortunately it's mid-summer in South Africa - not the right time for repotting trees, so that will have to wait. (It's on my brand new list of things to do in Spring though, so hopefully it will finally get done this year.)

For now I decided to cut it down to a more suitable height so that it doesn't interfere with the olive tree more than necessary.

Olive tree and Melaleuca 'weedling' after chop - January 2017

It's a shame I had to do that because the Melaleuca was growing so vigorously that I'd have loved to see how much it would fatten up with another couple of years of unrestrained growth. I'll have to content myself with trying that out with one of its younger 'brothers' - another weed which I rescued before it was established in the pot in which it took root.

Melaleuca seedling - January 2017

Sadly fattening this one up is going to take much longer. The one positive is that I was able to wire the trunk to add a little movement while it's still young and flexible.

Melaleuca seedling after wiring - January 2017

While I was at it, I tidied up the olive tree.

Olive tree, after trim - January 2017. The Melaleuca is hidden behind a piece of white paper

While doing so I discovered that it had suffered a little die-back. Fortunately I caught it now. It could have been a whole lot worse.