Tag Archives: Shohin

Chinese Elm Repot

This is my favorite little tree I have at the moment. I’ve been excited for this repot as it’ll finally put the tree into a pot that is correctly sized. The constricted environment that it will provide will increase ramification and give it a smaller leaf size.

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Started by cutting the wires on the bottom in the middle, then making a flush cut to make sure they aren’t jagged when I drag them through the root mass.
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This little guy grew pretty vigorously for 1 year after a repot.
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Raked out the roots to see what I really had to work with.
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I put some soil in and tried to get a better idea of what would fit in the pot.
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I prepped the pot with the drain screen and wire ready to take in the tree. img_3290
I’m going to cut the two wires at an angle and fish them through the main portion of the roots or the ‘shin’ of the tree. You then bend them over once they’re through the shin and use that as a means to anchor the tree down.
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As you can see here, the wires become buried and hidden in the rootball.
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I then piled up the Akadama and chopsticked it in.
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I used Akadama as I can use this to be able to scale the roots and branches to get them finer and finer. For a deciduous tree in refinement this is how you can get the most fine ramification.
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Then the topdressing. This is to help keep the moisture even throughout the Akadama and help with moisture loss on the top portion of the soil.
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From the top down. Obviously it is going to get some pruning before the Spring comes in.

It made it through one night of sub 32° weather that I missed, but has leafed out without too many issues.

 

Orange County Bonsai Society Exhibition

Here are photos of the trees from this show at the Sherman Library & Gardens.

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Olive – Tom Vuong

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Liquidambar – Wayne Wolfe

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Korean Hornbeam – Ken Schlothan

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Chinese Elm – David Melitz

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Ginkgo Forest – Deborah Mauzy-Melitz

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Cork Bark Portulacaria Afra – Gary Lai

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Prostrata Juniper – Jason Chan

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Shohin Catlin Elm – Joyce Gibbs

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4 Point Shohin Display (JBP, Olive, Cork Bark Elm, Ficus Burt-Davyi) – Joyce Gibbs

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Bougainvillea – Paul Minerich

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Prostrata Juniper (Grafted Itoigawa) – Gary Lai

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Hackberry Forest – John Deluca

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Liquidambar Forest – Ken Schlothan

 

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Kishu Shimpaku Juniper – Wayne Wolfe

Plans For The Elm

This elm had a rough year. I was hoping to get better ramified branching this year after repotting, but instead of ramification and smaller leaves I got long internodes, vigorous growth, and a near death experience when I left for vacation.

I have this blue pot that I’m excited to combine with the yellow color of the Fall leaves on this Elm.

Both the trunk and the pot are pretty feminine in design, and will compliment each other nicely once combined. The smaller size of the pot will help to facilitate smaller leaves and internodes. Hopefully I can get a bit more progression in refinement this next year.

Orange County Bonsai Society Show

I was able to head down to the OCBS event and had a great time. We had David Nguy visit and do a demo on a juniper. I won a Ginkgo forest and 2 pots in the raffle, and met a few wonderful people.


David Nguy’s tree that was on display:

California Juniper Bonsai Display Deadwood


The Displays: I do my best to get tree species and names of the owners of the trees to give credit where due. I missed a few tree species and a few names.

Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Display

Japanese Black Pine – June Nguy

Two shohin displays and individual shohin trees by Peter Macasieb:

Blue Atlas Cedar Bonsai

Blue Atlas Cedar

Shohin Bonsai Display

Shohin Bonsai Display

Shohin Bonsai Display

I always want to see more of shohin trees so I made sure to take close ups. Here is a slideshow of them if you’re interested.

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Willow Leaf Ficus Bonsai

Willow Leaf Ficus

Cork Bark Portulacaria Afra

Cork Bark Portulacaria Afra – Gary Lai

Boxwood Shohin

Boxwood Shohin – Joyce Gibbs

Ficus Burtt-Davyi "Nana"

Ficus Burtt-Davyi “Nana” – Gary Lai

Olive Bonsai

Olive – Allan Sugimura

Shohin Bonsai Display

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Shohin Display – Joyce Gibbs

Shimpaku Juniper Bonsai

Shimpaku Juniper

California Juniper

California Juniper – David Nguy

Juniperus Chinensis "Tortulosa"

Juniperus Chinensis “Tortulosa” – Jummy Takeda In Memoriam

Bougainvillea Bonsai

Bougainvillea – Nicole Mashburn

California Juniper Yamadori

California Juniper – Tom Vuong

Ficus Burtt-Davyi "Nana" Bonsai

Ficus Burtt-Davyi “Nana” – Gary Lai

Japanese Boxwood Bonsai

Japanese Boxwood – Gary Lai

Star Lavender Bonsai

Star Lavender – Ken Schlothan

Chinese Elm Bonsai

Chinese Elm – Ken Schlothan

Cork Bark Portulacaria Afra Bonsai

Cork Bark Portulacaria Afra – Bill Vega

Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

Japanese Black Pine – Carly Mashburn

Oak Bonsai Tree

Oak – Ken Schlothan

Bougainvillea Bonsai

Bougainvillea – Nicole Mashburn

Shimpaku Juniper – Michael Walsh

Japanese Boxwood – Michael Walsh


Additional views on some of the trees:

I love the dead portions of the trunk on this olive.

This boxwood was essentially topped and then branched out to form a broom which turned out quite nicely!

This boxwood had the best negative space out of all of the trees I saw at this show.

Fantastic separation of the foliage pads.

Blue Atlas Cedar from the angle I think it should’ve been displayed at.


I’d like to openly state that there were no awards at this show. I took the liberty of adding my own opinions and awards as I saw fit.

1st Place: Japanese Boxwood by Gary Lai

Japanese Boxwood Bonsai Display

  • Great negative space between foliage pads

  • Solid twin trunk styling

  • Consistent feminine design throughout

  • Solid bottom branch that defines length and carries out the triangular shape

Japanese Boxwood Bonsai Tree


2nd Place: Japanese Black Pine by June Nguy

  • Fantastic trunk movement

  • Small pot in comparison to tree which is important in Bunjin stylistically

  • Stand, pot, and display as a whole is consistently feminine and doesn’t distract from the tree

  • The lowest branch doesn’t seem to sit right at this viewing angle. It either needs to be moved, removed, or have the foliage angled differently. The branch seems to function correctly when viewed from another angle (seen below)


3rd Place: Cork Bark Portulacaria Afra by Gary Lai

  • Overall the display has great consistency in the rough texture of the bark, stand, pot, and the fantastic stone planting.

  • While great nebari are difficult to cultivate on P. Afra species, the trunk shows how the roots have twisted down into the soil and show age.

  • Great taper to the trunk as you move up into the apex. Not easily seen, but branching is also well tapered and distributed.

  • There were plenty of young shoots that should have been pinched off for displaying. Many of them blocked the view of the trunk and crowded the negative space between the foliage pads.


Best Shohin: Ficus Burtt-Davyi “Nana” by Joyce Gibbs

  • Great usage of the curves in the branching and pot

  • Design and artistry become much more difficult with less space and material to work with

  • The pot, stand, branch movement, and planting angle all contribute to the successful display of this tree.

  • Would love to have seen the tree displayed at the angle the picture is taken

  • The top left portion of the tree needs a bit of filling out to complete the asymmetry of the canopy


Best Abnormal Species: Star Lavender by Ken Schlothan

  • Absolutely fantastic trunk displayed well so that the deadwood can be seen as well as the hole in the trunk

  • Mature and well ramified branching

  • Great movement and taper to the trunk and branching

  • I’m not sure what is going on with the lower branch and the few stragglers outside the silhouette.

  • Once this tree flowers I think a different pot choice would suit it better. A glazed colored pot with a round or oval shape would help to be consistent with the feminine nature of this tree.


Personal Favorite: Blue Atlas Cedar by Peter Macasieb

Honorable Mention: Willow Leaf Ficus

I really liked the Willow Leafed Ficus, but I didn’t catch who styled and grew it. This tree didn’t seem to stand out to me as much as the Blue Atlas Cedar did.

This is not a common tree to see as a bonsai. I love the color of the tree’s foliage and the cascade is executed well here. My huge complaint was the angle at which it was displayed. With a little tweak in the wire and a changed angle you could have a great negative space between the pads and be able to see the trunk as well. (see below)


Additional Tree Critique

I gave critique for the trees that won in each category, but had some constructive critique for trees that weren’t winners.

Olive: Remove foliage/branches that it in front of the split trunk to help bring out that major feature of your tree. Once the foliage fills out and it is better ramified this will be an amazing specimen!

Chinese Elm: I was perplexed by this tree for awhile as I viewed it. I’m not sure what it is exactly that made it feel a bit off, but here are a few things you might want to consider: Tree is off balance, not supported by a big enough trunk, too wide of a pot and not shallow enough, the planting angle, topdressing of moss might help give it an aged appearance.

Portulacaria Afra: The trunk has an initial turn, but then goes straight out (This is common with this species if not pruned or wired). Wiring to bring the branches into the correct spot if you choose not to trunk chop.

Japanese Black Pine: The main thing is wiring the foliage at the tips to be able to angle them upward. Having them not angled upward makes it look “unkept” and not styled.

Oak: Just a few straggling branches that stood outside the silhouette that could’ve been removed for display.

Olive: The crossing branch on the left definitely draws my eyes away from the potential bottom line that the branches create.

California Juniper: Obviously the tree could use more foliage, but I wanted to point out the different in moss cultivation. The moss in the pot is enough to pull the eyes away from the tree due to how unruly the moss looks. If you see the photo below you get moss how David Nguy cultivated it and it looks much cleaner.

Bougainvillea: Having a clean exit from the trunk with a main branch that continues as the “leader” off the top of the trunk would help the tree not be so wild.

David Nguy’s Demo

To be fair, I think starting with a triple trunk juniper like this is a tough task. He asked us if we wanted a semi-cascade or an upright style. They went with upright.

The victim

This was the end product from the front.

I am more partial to changing the angle and potentially removing an entire trunk once we learn more about the base and how the trunks interact.


Here are the ginkgo forest and pots I won in the raffle.

Ginkgo Forest Bonsai

Bonsai Pots

I’m glad I was able to go to the show and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Pyracantha Digs

I noticed a nearby neighbor that I drive by often had removed his fence. These Pyracantha bushes lined the fence and looked a bit out of place without it. I knocked on the door and asked if he planned on keeping them or not and offered to dig them up for free if he were to get rid of them. He told me he’d let me know and I left my phone number.

As you can tell, he decided to get rid of them. I got meself some massive trunked Pyracanthas with plenty of air-layerable branches.

There were a couple of branches that had been ground layered or had grown their own roots that I was able to separate and pot up.

This one turned into…

This windswept one has got me excited. Too bad the branches up top are larger than the lower ones, a bit of correction needed indeed.

Here is the trunk close up from two different angles

This little stick can develop some nebari and become an interesting little shohin or mame.

Here is a close up of one of the trunks. I’ll do a follow up with the progression on the potted plants and the trunks of the main trunks.

Cotoneaster Nursery Bonsai

I found two of these Cotoneaster Apiculatis (Tom’s Thumb) for $3 each in the discount rack at Lowe’s. Couldn’t pass these up seeing that I don’t currently have this species of Cotoneaster, and they both had interesting enough trunk possibilities that it was well worth the $3.

As you can see there is a lot going on here. Branches everywhere and roots all over.

Another angle.

As I started through this I basically ended up cutting the rootball in half vertically. I separated a ground-layered section and then combed out the remaining roots for the main trunk.

This is the portion of the tree that had been naturally ground-layered. I was able to cut a majority of the root system off in hopes that this can become established in its new pot.

There was another large trunk that I to cut off due to it being too close to the main trunk. See bottom left of the trunk.

This is the front with finger for scale.

Full view of the front in my funky bowl gone bonsai pot.

A closer look at the options I have near the trunk.

For now this is what I’m thinking about. I’m going to be taking several cuttings from the other side once late Spring comes around. I’ll let it grow out and re-establish its root system without doing too much work on the top. Spring growth brings foliage, and foliage stimulates root growth. The roots will open as many buds as it can handle, and the rest will slowly take care of itself. Yay for plant physiology!

Shohin Chinese Elm

This is my little shohin love. This is currently the only tree I have in refinement. Maybe that is why I like it so much, it looks the most like a tree. It needed a repot to change the soil and change the front of the tree. This is what we started with.

Once removed from the pot there were several large roots and a mass of roots going around the container on the bottom.

Even the large roots were circling around the pot.

I found a root on the backside of the tree that comes out underneath the soil line. Not sure what I want to do with it.

The larger root once I cut it off.

I had to remove a bit of the root mass to rotate the tree 90 degrees since it was facing the wrong way to begin with. Here is the tree positioned in the pot from the back.

The front. You can tell that the large root isn’t visible from the front, but it might grow into something good or something bad, either way only time will tell.

That is it as far as repotting. As the tree is also dormant I went ahead and did some refinement pruning. I wanted to go over branch removal


I’ll give you this shot from the front to use as a reference to the branches I point out and see how each one interacts with the tree as a whole.

This branch goes straight up and grows into another branch, both of which we want to avoid. Since Chinese Elms tend to have wire bite into the bark easily I’m using a clip’n’grow approach. I could wire this out of the way, but I’ll just snip it off.

This is growing back towards the middle of the tree, and that is reason for removal.

This branch is growing a bit horizontally into another branch behind it. I’m going to shorten it to keep the ramification and the smaller branch can head into an empty space when looking at the tree from above. See photos below

Two photos of the branch after pruning it back. You can see the open space that needs to be filled.

This branch grows right into another branch higher up. I can prune it back a bit and hope for some side branches.

This one is going because it is growing straight up. This is called a “water spout” and is a high energy branch. The more vertical a branch is the higher the amount of energy it has, which in turn thickens the branch quicker.

You’ll see plenty of knobs in the silhouette. Pruning and leaving a small knob grants the cut a bit of space to die back. Then the following season you can prune off the dead knobs and not have to worry about dieback into the parts of the trunk or branch you want to keep. How many dead knobs can you find?

The final product after the repot and minor pruning.

I’m excited to see this baby leaf out again and get to some ramification pruning in the Spring.