Our October Club meeting was a new venture – our first Tree Clinic – and members brought along a variety of problem trees for discussion.
Mike was on hand to give his opinion and advice and had brought an English Elm group, on right. It had been passed onto him from a previous owner who was no longer able to maintain it. It was in a shallow and smaller dish than the one photographed here. The trees were rock solid in original container and when eventually prised out, there was no soil just a mass of roots and it looked dead. It was repotted and came back to life and now needs regrouping and training. The life in trees can be surprising!
A crab apple had been neglected and needed advice on pruning and shaping. Whilst a Japanese Holly being trained into semi-cascade style, had met with an accident resulting in a broken branch. Advice was given on re-balancing it for shape.
The owner of Norway Spruce, to right, admitted had not been maintained for a long time. A demo was given as Mike explained it needed light to get into branches and consolidation of branch foliage which is all at the ends. He pruned out some of the multi-branching and some branches were brought down towards the trunk where there was too much spacing and required wiring into shape. For a recently purchased Pyracantha with thick trunk and dense foliage, it was advised to cut end shoots to internodes to allow light in and promote ramification. Needed repotting in the Spring.
The Wisteria, to left, still in its growing pot, having been allowed to grow on but owner disappointed with progress and shape. Defoliated at beginning of year, the leaves had regrown as shown here. A fungicidal winter wash was recommended for rust on leaves. Put into a bonsai pot and change angle. Cut back some branches before bud burst. Owner has decided to air layer top branch and produce two trees from it.
Owner of a pink flowering Potentilla, to right, was at a loss what to do. Advised to transfer to deepish bonsai pot and prune hard back. Likes water and best to stand on tray with gravel and allow roots to extend out for hydration. Also to feed from top of soil and in Spring fan the branches out. A pseudoLarix/Chinese False Larch, below, is looking very un-bonsai like in its columnar growth. Was explained is natural for it to grow like this and always has long needles, is deciduous and not frost hardy. It’s branches are very flexible. Suggested wiring and bending into a spiral shape is favourite.
For the Horse Chestnut, far right, came the request how to make the leaves smaller. This is done by bud division and will need patience over several years to achieve. Start with removal of the now visible big buds when they become sticky before bud burst. And each year repeat the process of removing the largest buds. Smaller buds will be produced with smaller leaves.
StefanThomas brought along part of his collection which he is developing into a new business and gave an introductory talk. Believed to have originated from Japan in the Edo period, Kokedama starts as a bonsai then is removed from growing pot and roots covered in a damp soil mix and moulded into a ball then covered with moss. Cord is applied to hold into shape and the moss develops and covers the soil ball and cord structure. The tree is maintained as a bonsai and can be displayed in shallow trays with decorative gravel. Other plants can be used such as succulents, orchids and ferns as alternatives to bonsai. Thank you Stefan for coming to the Club and look forward to seeing you again. For further information see http://www.tranquilplants.co.uk
Next Meeting on 3 Nov is the Club’s AGM and election of new committee. Details to be despatched to members.