Large Trunk Bonsai

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Large Trunk Bonsai

Postby taffyman » Sat Sep 29, 2007 8:25 pm

Here's the largest (as in thickness) tree I have at the moment. It is a Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia Indica). The pot is a Chinese one and measures: 750mm x 600mm x 200mm deep. The tree measures 550mm across the base (soil level) and stands 500mm high. It was part of a huge trunk we dug out of a garden some time ago. We cut the trunk into six segments - the other two I have are a bit smaller across the base. There was very little root left on any of the segments because they had spread so far away from the trunk we had to cut a most of the heavy roots away. As far as I can remember, this one had maybe six very thin feeder roots left when we'd finished. The first photo is how it looked last summer and except for feeding and watering, it hasn't been disturbed in the black plastic tub. This spring it put out at least six times the foliage so it's taken quite a while to recover from being ripped out of its 52 year old bed. The next two I took today after pruning it heavily and potting it up for the first time. The original thin roots had thickened up considerably and over the entire base it had put out a huge mat of very fine feeder roots. I cut the thicker ones away leaving just this lush mat of feeders. Before I pruned the foliage, it had quite a good overall shape but was made up of long thin branches with leaves all the way along. If I'd left it like that, the leaves inside the canopy would have died off leaving these straight 'sticks' with a couple of leaves on the end. So, by pruning the branches back to two or three leaves will encourage it to put out a lot more shoots over the next month or two. Especially as it is in some new fertile potting mix. At the time we dug this out, I only had a bag of 'El Cheapo' potting mix ($2.95) and didn't have time to go and get some decent stuff, so I used it. It's now somewhere about 2 years since we dug it out and the top 10cm of that potting mix still hadn't broken down - it was still brown - don't know what it was made from, but it was absolute rubbish!
There is a lot of dead wood in the trunk especially in the middle and on the right side between the two pairs of red lines in the fourth photo (looking at the tree), and when I get around to it, I'll brew up a good batch of Lime/Sulphur and bleach it - should look quite good with bleached 'driftwood' curving up through the centre and the side of the trunk.
In Bonsai terms this tree would be medium/large (as in width, not necessarily in height). I can just lift it but it is really a two man job and that makes it a medium/large - a four man lift is classed as a large one.

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Postby Luzy » Sun Sep 30, 2007 8:01 am

Part of a huge trunk? So, the trunk was cut into segments - I'm imagining a big fat carrot (sorry for this comparison, taffy :oops: ) sliced lengthwise???? Amazing...

I do like it with its trim, kind of hugs and frames the trunk.
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Postby lmrk » Sun Sep 30, 2007 10:47 am

WOW!!! That is AMAZING!!! :shock: :shock:
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Postby taffyman » Sun Sep 30, 2007 8:54 pm

These are the other two larger Crape Myrtles I have. I've just potted these up today for their first time in a Bonsai pot.
The first one in the 'red' pot is 360mm wide at the base and 640mm high, and the pot is 610mm long x 430mm wide x 175mm deep.
The second one is 300mm wide at the base and 550mm high. The pot is 450mm long x 390mm wide x 145mm high.

Image Image

All three of these Crape Myrtles still have a long way to go with foliage development. The one in the red pot needs another branch on the right of that straight bit at the top, so if it doesn't put out a shoot on that side then I'll do a 'thread graft' on it. That means growing one of the other branches long enough to bend round, drill a hole straight through the straight bit, inserting the long branch through it and then securing the branch in place with grafting tape. Over time, with normal growing, the branch will thicken and eventually fuse with the main trunk. When it looks thicker where it comes out of the trunk than where it goes in, then it has fused and can be cut off where it goes in. It will then grow as a normal branch on the other side. All three of these trees were clipped back fairly hard when they were potted up to reduce the stress on the trees and also to encourage a lot more shoots to grow. All the canopies should overlap the sides of the pots to give the trees a more balanced look against the pots.
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Postby taffyman » Sun Sep 30, 2007 8:57 pm

Luzy wrote:Part of a huge trunk? So, the trunk was cut into segments - I'm imagining a big fat carrot (sorry for this comparison, taffy :oops: ) sliced lengthwise???? Amazing...
I do like it with its trim, kind of hugs and frames the trunk.


No need to apologize Luzy - that's exactly what we did. We actually got six pieces from the one trunk. Four were excellent, and the other two were what was left when we selected what we thought were the best pieces.
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Postby The Estate » Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:58 am

You certainly know your stuff Taffy, they all look just fantastic :shock:
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Re: Large Trunk Bonsai

Postby taffyman » Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:19 pm

18Sep09 Update on the first post at the top.

This monster is slowly getting better and better. I'm now able to get some more shape and refinement into it. It's still 550mm across the base, but the height is now 600mm high and 1.1 metres across tip to tip. The left side needs to fill out more and the top needs more refinement. I still haven't done anything about the dead wood on it, but will be shortly. I've been a bit hesitant about using lime/sulphur and turning the wood a stark white because I don't really think it would suit a deciduous tree. Rod said about a wood hardener that treats the timber but doesn't make it go yellow or white, so I intend sanding the dead wood back to a lighter shade and using the wood hardener on it. I've seen it used on other trees and it'll give the timber a nice warm glow. I reckon by this time next year it'll be a completely transformed tree from what I started with.

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Re: Large Trunk Bonsai

Postby alpinebonsart » Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:08 am

Hi Taffyman now their my kinda trunks .They look absolutely fantastic .Lookforward to watching the development and progression .Cheers Alpine
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Re: Large Trunk Bonsai

Postby Luzy » Sat Sep 19, 2009 10:56 am

It certainly has developed, wow! Has the leaf size reduced as well (or is it just my eyes...)?
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Re: Large Trunk Bonsai

Postby taffyman » Sat Sep 19, 2009 8:47 pm

I think they may have done Luzy. I'm going to defoliate it in a couple of months time to encourage it to send out a new flush of leaves and hopefully they might be smaller again.
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Re: Large Trunk Bonsai

Postby lmrk » Sat Sep 26, 2009 5:15 pm

Hi Taffy!! Well what can be said about that - it's bloomin' brilliant!! So love seeing the progression and updates of your trees!!! :mrgreen: (Y) :D
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