Most of us will have a say soon on whether to Leave or Remain, that is to say leave the shape and style of your trees to nature’s rules or remain tied to some bonsai traditions of rather contrived images that would be almost impossible to find in the wild.
At our meeting this month we had two of our more experienced members imparting their knowledge to us. Ade gave us a demonstration on defoliating , how to do it and why to do it and Jon our professional forester member on How Trees Grow, what they need to achieve growth and why they are the shapes they are in nature.
Adrian showed us an Acer that he had defoliated
about a week ago which was showing signs of
new growth already .
He explained that the new leaves would usually be smaller and the process improved the ramification
of the tree. It allows more light through to the rest of the tree and in many ways imitates what happens in
nature when a tree that has a sudden drought or late frost, looses it’s leaves and promptly grows a fresh set.
Adrian then worked on another Acer one which he had grown from and air layering, an unusual variety which had seven blades to the leaves instead of the usual five of the Palmatums
Adrian also showed us on a young Beech a method
that Harry Harrington promotes to encourage back
budding and speedier regrowth than is normal for Beech. It involved leaving the end leave on a twig/branch and removing the ones further back. We await the results with interest on this one, specially as I went home and did it to my own small Beech the next morning.
There then followed a class for yours truly in what to do with a very busy little Acer Kashima which had been a solid and dense football of foliage earlier that day. I had already defoliated as instructed by Ade prior to the meeting to save time and then sat and watched as he told me what to do next to improve the structure of the tree, to maintain the natural shape, to allow more light in and improve the ramification.
I just hope my Sue understands that this sudden denuding of the tree that she gave me for our Golden Wedding Anniversary is for it’s own good.
The second half of the evening was a talk on How Trees Grow from Jon which was an impassioned plea from his heart for a return to nature, to study why trees grow the shape they are and try to capture that in our bonsai. What elements are essential for a tree to grow, the temperature needed for growth and the conditions that dictate the shape of trees. How they are ruled by growing to light or in relation to gravity. How they are influenced by the strength of prevailing winds, snow damage etc.
With audience participation Jon showed how we can recognise a tree by it’s silhouette from miles away and yet persist in bonsai of creating shape that nature would have no explanation for.
A talk that must certainly have made some of us go home and wonder if we were doing the right thing with some of our trees.
Many thanks to both such knowledgeable members for what was a very interesting and thought provoking evening
Tree of the Month Competition
First in this class was Roger W’s very handsome informal Trident Maple
Second was M.C.s windswept Juniper
Third was Geoff’s beautiful Informal Azalea.
First was Tony’s lovely Atlas Cedar
Second came James’ informal Juniper followed by Sara’s Semi Cascade Juniper
Here is the link to the usual competition judge’s own ToTM Critique sheet Jun 2016 critique notes which really get down to the nitty gritty of our entries.
And by the way Andy has told us before about leaving the kitchen tidy