Cold Weather Bonsai by a Consummate Bonsai Pro

snow2

This is the second time we've shown this photo. I can't find where I first found it (and the one just below). It's sad coming from someone who preaches attribution and identification.

Yesterday’s snowy post prompted the following question from Henry L. Miller… “Given today’s post, please update us concerning leaving bonsai outside in 15-30 degree weather.” Seems like a simple enough question, but you’d be surprised how much is involved.  So much in fact, that this is a good time to call in Michael Hagedorn, a consummate bonsai pro and heavy lifter.

In Michael’s own words…

Seasonal Care for Cold Weather…

Posted by Crataegus on November 19, 2015

Every year I try to wrap a blog post around the snarly issue of protecting our trees from cold. This year we’ll try a new approach, and take it in a few bite sized chunks, in a couple posts.

“Firstly, we need to bear in mind that the top of a tree or shrub is much more cold hardy than the roots. When we read about the ‘cold hardiness’ of a plant in a garden book, that designation is assuming the darn thing is in the ground, where a plant’s roots are supposed to be. The designation takes no heed of silly bonsaiists who will put it up on a bench.
Continued below…

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Roots are much more tender than their tops-

funny-ice-sculptures-scary

A lot of people don’t know this, 
apparently even a few snow sculptures…

Micheal continued from above…
Nextly… on the ground is a good first place to put a bonsai in cold weather, generally when it is dropping to about 27 F / -2.8 C overnight. On the ground a pot might be as much as 7 F warmer than on a bench, three feet higher (according to our experiments here at Crataegus Bonsai). Which is a significantly warmer temperature, if you’re a root, and you’re used to being in the ground.

Once the thermometer drops lower, below 27 F / -2.8 C, many temperate trees and shrubs need more protection. You might need a greenhouse, poly tunnel, or coldframe, either for the whole winter or for the short severe cold snap that might last a few days. Many trees are OK outside on the ground down lower than this, such as some mountain pines and junipers, but beware the wind/cold combo…

Wind can be as damaging as cold, and both together are a real whiz-bang yikes thingy that can deposit a dead tree at the doorstep of spring. A frozen rootball with wind is seriously not good. The bonsai can desiccate, causing if not death often some branch dieback in the growing season. Keep your trees hydrated, and keep them frequently thawed out (even if they freeze occasionally, they shouldn’t remain that way).

You can work on many bonsai in the winter, including wiring and bending. If you’ve recently wired a tree, or done severe bending, however, they cannot be put out in wind and cold. Protect them.

“Beware also of keeping temperate bonsai at too high a temperature overwinter, which may cause weakening the following year. Keeping bonsai over 50 F / 10 C creates some problems with chilling requirements and the ability to grow out in the spring nice and strong.

Next up on this miniseries…’Winter dormancy and chilling requirements’, which will get a bit nerdy…
Continued below…

blue-christmas-ice-pretty-snow-Favim.com-268781

More from Michael…
Please note: All temperature notations are approximations, and everything related to cold hardiness also depends on the species of tree, how late in the year it was growing, its health…all those things and others play into this discussion)

 

sow

Here's the other unattributed photo. I think it's from the same place as the one above.

snowBT56

This photo is from the editorial page of Bonsai Today issue 56.

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Snow Flowers

stew

Snow flowers at the Luis Vallejo's Museo De Bonsais Alcobendas. The tree looks like it could be a Stewartia.

Yesterday we enjoyed a touch of false spring in Northern Vermont. But winter never gives up this early, so we’ll have to wait a couple more months for the real thing. Meanwhile, we can look forward to some more snow and ice. Which bring us to today’s post. The luminous snow covered images are all from Luis Vallejo’s Museo De Bonsais Alcobendas (Alcobendas is a suburb of Madrid).

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Feed Your Bonsai for Health & Beauty

junpg1612
Lush summer foliage and impressive deadwood on an old Shimpaku juniper.The lush foliage is the result of timely feeding.* The photo is from our Masters Series Juniper book. I know the tree is from Japan, but don't know who the artist or owner is.

For some of you lucky ones, it’s already spring. For most of the rest of us, it’s time* to start enriching the soil with slow release fertilizers. This post is one of our archival favorites (July, 2015). Nothing has changed since then, except our lower fertilizer prices.

Many, if not most people underfeed their bonsai. There are many reasons why ample fertilizing is critical to developing healthy and beautiful bonsai…

1. It’s up to you. Most bonsai soils don’t contain nutrients. This means your tree’s nutritional requirements are completely dependent on you. If you do use a soil that contains nutrients** (organic matter), these will eventually get used up or leach out.

2. Healthy foliage is beautiful foliage. You want vigorous healthy foliage. The foliage on underfed trees will lack color and luster.
Continued below…

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maplewalterYou can bet that this luxurious crown is the result of generous feeding. This lush Kiohime Japanese maple belongs to Walter Pall, so I'm guessing that's his arm and hand. It (the tree not the hand) is 45 cm (18") high and more than 50 years old. It was originally imported from Japan. This photo and the one below are from Walter's blog.

Continued from above…

3. Rapid thickening. Fertilizing promotes rapid growth which promotes trunk and branch thickening (younger trees and older more established trees are treated differently*).

4. Ramification. Healthy growth (along with skillful trimming) promotes the development of fine branching (secondary, tertiary and so forth).

Continued below…

maplewalter2

Walter's maple after he reduced the crown and turned it around. Now the proportions are better and you can see the bones better too. This shape and crown will be maintained by proper feeding (more summer less spring on older trees*) and skillful trimming. The pot is by Petra Tomlinson.

Continued from above…

5. Pest resistance. Healthy well-fed trees are better able to resist pests.

6. Stress resistance. Same goes for heat, cold, wind etc.

7. Human error. Healthy well-fed trees with strong roots can better resist forgetting to water or over-watering (but only up to a point).

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MarioHB770

This hornbeam belongs to Mario Komsta. I lifted it from an old Bark post (2010). It's an great example of a powerful trunk and an exceptional example of fine branching, the result of ample fertilizing and skillful trimming. Once the trunk and branching are well developed you can reduce or ever stop spring feeding but continue to feed in the summer.*

*With younger trees you want rapid growth so you start feeding in the early spring (or even late winter with slow release fertilzers) and keep feeding right through the summer. With older more developed trees too much growth can cause loss of shape, but you still want healthy trees with beautiful crowns. The secret here is to apply a small amount of slow release fertilizer in the early spring and then wait until the summer to start serious feeding.

**Organic matter in soil tends to inhibit aeration (aka drainage) and is not recommended by most bonsai professionals.

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and save with OUR DISCOUNTED prices

OR-SET4FERTS-2

Organic slow release fertilizers are the best
(Green Dream pellets & Rape Seed cakes)

You can also supplement with liquid
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Walter’s Big, Brilliant Japanese Maple Bonsai

WALTMAIN

This brilliant Japanese maple belongs to Walter Pall. Walter lists its height as 75cm (30") and its age as around thirty years. It was imported from a Korean nursery in 2016. The pot is a Tokoname from Japan.

Just a quick one tree study today. But what a tree it is! It belongs to Walter Pall, a frequent headliner here on Bark and a widely recognized bonsai artist, entrepreneur and entertainer.

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WALT22

The ramification (fine branching) could use some more time and work, but it's still a powerful tree as is.

WALT33

Most people recommend repotting deciduous trees when the leaf buds are beginning to swell, and not after they have leafed out, but it's hard to argue with Walter Pall's reputation and experience.

WALT4

A little perspective. Bigger than you thought?

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Sumo Olive – Which Bonsai Pot Would You Choose?

BBB&A

Boon's caption for this reads... "Selecting pot for sumo Olive — with Adair Martin" I like the tree and the pots, though there's one pot that jumps out at me. But I'm not saying, at least until we hear from you.

Boon Manakitivipart (Bonsai Boon) is at it again. This time you have a choice of six pots for a tree that he call a Sumo Olive (I don’t think Sumo is an official varietal name, more like a well chosen description that some bonsai enthusiasts like). If you’d like to play, please put your choice (or choices), along with your thoughts if you’d like, in the comments on Bonsai Bark in facebook (rather than our blog, where we can’t take comments due to relentless spam).

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BB1

Pot 1

 

BB2

Pot 2

 

BB3

Pot 3

 

BB4

Pot 4

 

BB5

Pot 5

 

BB6

Pot 6

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The Right Place at the Right Time

minoru

That's a lot of deadwood, but you can see the living vein just peeking out on the far left. Here's what Bill Valavanis wrote about this remarkable tree... "Sargent Juniper created by Minoru Akiyama who received the coveted Prime Minister Award a few years ago at the Sakufu Bonsai Exhibitions for professional bonsai artists. Here it is displayed under the owner’s name."

This is our third straight Kokufu post. As with the previous two, all the photos were taken by Bill Valavanis. I feel a bit lazy sometimes, borrowing so liberally from Bill. It’s just that he and his camera seem land in the right place at the right time
Continued below…

Two bonsai tool sales end tonight
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Crape Myrtle!

Can you believe this is a Crape myrtle?

I guess I can justify my pilfering by linking to Bill’s blog and encouraging you to visit . It’s a journey worth taking. Speaking of, I’ll also encourage you to come to the 6th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition this September. It’s Bill’s brain child and it’s the one don’t miss bonsai show in the country.

acerP

This monster is a Japanese maple. You might notice how the trunk almost completely fills the pot

pine

Bill doesn't say, but I think Japanese five needle pine (Pinus parvifolia) is a safe guess.

shim

Another Shimpaku juniper. All the wood is fluid. Nothing straight, except maybe a couple tiny jin sticking out

crab?

The light background washes out the white flowers. Still, we can see enough to be impressed. I'm going to guess it's a Crab apple, but don't take it to the bank.

sekka Hinoki

Sekka Hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparus obtusa 'Sekka'). I've long  been a fan of Hinoki for bonsai and landscaping, but I'm not that familiar with Sekka. Here's link to something Bill wrote about this variety

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More Kokufu Bonsai!

bkpaul

I borrowed this bonsai that belongs to American Doug Paul and rest of the bonsai shown here from Bill Valavanis. They represent a very small sampling of the photos Bill has taken so far at the ongoing 92nd Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition.

Today is my first day back from vacation and as you know, no vacation goes unpunished, so we’ll make this short and sweet. Five more Kokufu photos borrowed from Bill Valavanis.  Stay posted, we’ll show you some more, including some prize winners. Meanwhile a visit to Bill’s blog might be a good idea.

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bkror

Great ramification on this root-over-rock maple.

bk1

Nice nebari

bk10

 

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Bird's eye

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It’s Kokufu Time!

bk2

It's Kokufu time! I borrowed this Root-Over-Rock Trident Maple and rest of the bonsai shown here from Bill Valavanis. They represent a very small sampling of the photos Bill has taken so far at the ongoing 92nd Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition.

Today is my last full day of vacation, so we’ll make this short and sweet. Five Kokufu photos borrowed from Bill Valavanis. As always Bill’s tireless efforts to keep us clued in to the world of bonsai are appreciated. As is his trained eye.

Stay posted, we’ll show you some more when we get home, including some prize winners. Meanwhile a visit to Bill’s blog might be a good idea.

bkkim

This looks a lot like a Kimura planting.

bk6

 

bkred

Quince flowers!

bk3

 

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Old Bonsai Bones

KOKUMAIN

We Borrowed this Hackberry from a 2017 Kokufu post on Bill Valavanis Bonsai blog.

As soon as I return from vacation later this week, we’ll show you some photos from this year’s Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition, which just begun yesterday. Meanwhile, we’ll stimulate your interest with a few photos from last year’s exhibition (borrowed from  Bill Valavanis’ excellent bonsai blog)
Continued below…

 

KOKU5

Bill offer the varieties on some of the trees, but not this one. I could guess Japanese maple, but my track record isn't that great. Meanwhile you might appreciate the powerful nebari and the exquisite fine branching.

One advantage of winter shows is the absence of leaves on deciduous trees. A great time to see the structure (bones) of a tree. Not only the entire trunk from top to bottom, but all the branches (primary, secondary, tertiary etc) all the way out to the finest twigs.

KOKU7Perfect timing. No name given and no leaves yet, but several of Bill's photos show berries or flowers.

KOKU8

Shishigashira Japanese Maple

KOKU3

More berries

KOKU2

Flowers this time. Chojubai Japanese Flowering Quince

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All Productsand much more including

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