RYAN CHANG'S FIRST IWP SUMO (1) REPORT

My name is Ryan Chang born and raised on the island of Oahu. I am a total novice in bonsai. I was searching online for information on Bonsai trees in Hawaii.  I easily found Fuku-Bonsaiís website http://www.fukubonsai.com/.  After reading a few testimonials from previous IWPs (Introductory Workshop Package) I, II, & III, I felt like I could do this. I canít even begin to tell you how much information is on the website.  I kept finding link after link with interesting stories and new information.  The personal stories I especially like for example: SCOTT'S PAGE, LOREDANA'S PAGE & RON DAVIS & FUKU-BONSAI, Ronís projects provided consistent, informative, useful reports and pictures.  And Loredanaís page was quick and easy to understand and showed good progress.  Scottís page gave a good idea on how to imagine growth and pruning.   

I emailed David not really knowing what to order.  I advised David I would be growing outdoors in full sun.  David responds pretty quickly with detailed advice and instructions on what to order and how to care for them.  I placed my order with David and a few days later my 3 trees for IWP (Beginner Workshop I) included: trees to be trained into 2 sumo and 1 roots.  There were also 2 trees for a Intermediate Roots Workshop II and an Intermediate Dragons Workshop II. 

 

IWP SUMO WORKSHOP #1

          I studied which sumo I wanted to be my first and chose the one with the widest range of foliage.  I eagerly started by adding the tie-down wire to the pot, filling the course bottom (hill form), adding the plastic separator and half of the body media (while holding down plastic separator to keep in place). The photo shows the course bottom formed with plastic separator with body media filled in and firmed around the separator.

           Photo # 2 shows the media around most of the top to loosen and expose the roots. (Note: I cut the bottom thick root that was running across and got ahead of myself. David advised that more roots the better, so on my next attempt, I should leave as much as roots as possible.)   
          Then I used the rubber band to secure rock under the weakest looking lowest branch also to create a bulkier base. I hope future roots will grasp the rock to provide a wider bottom and more profound scene.
          The next step was to add the aluminum foil and making sure the media was firm by holding the foil column upside down and patting down the media.  Then, I placed on a small amount of media on the plastic. This will initiate side growing roots once the hit the soil line.  
          I positioned to create a scene, tied with wire and tested by lifting. 
         Photos # 5,  # 6,  and # 7 are finished pictures. (Note: I later replaced the green ties with the raffia covered bindwire)
         Ryan took this interesting silhouette shooting against a cloud covered sun.  He lives in Waipahu on the island of Oahu near to Pearl Harbor which is seen in the photo.
          I asked Ryan to take a photo of himself with his first True Indoor Bonsai.  For a fellow who is just starting and who is doing only what he picked up from the website,  he did very well.  Here's the promised critique:
             

             COMMENTS BY DAVID:  In general, Ryan did well and the tree has a nice future.  But he doesn't understand what "SUMO" styling includes.  Basically it's a strategy to create a short and stout plant with a large trunk, multiple trunks,  low branches, with a shallow root system with very heavy surface roots. 

             What Ryan created we would term as "Roots" styling as it will create longer heavier roots. To try to clarify these terms, I put together a portal section titled:  "THE BASICS OF FUKU-BONSAI STYLING."  This gives a basic overview with the first styling covered in more detail in an article titled:  "SUMO."

             The use of aluminum foil collars is a primary innovation by Fuku-Bonsai.  Generally in Sumo styling, the collar is relatively short and just high enough to protect any exposed root and is used to create a tighter bond with the accent rock.  We usually use either masking tape or tougher monofilament tape to bind them very tightly together.  So for a Sumo application we would have the aluminum foil about an inch or so shorter so the roots would go into the media in the pot rather than being suspended higher to create longer roots. 

             Generally also, we would create a much wider flaring aluminum foil collar that would be more like a cone instead of a column.  When collars are used, roots will develop and assume the shape of the collar.  I formatted this article to be able to fit Ryan's contribution into this first issue of the Journal of Tropical & True Indoor Bonsai.  The issue turned out a lot different from the original draft and I think we moved closer to what I first envisioned. 

             In all of bonsai,  there are relatively few who are willing and able to train trees,  to write articles, take good photos, and who are willing to try to teach others. These are the bonsai leaders of the future and Fuku-Bonsai and the Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation will try to identify and assist them.  We thank old-timers like Jerry Meislik and look forward to the first Journal article by Ron Davis who has taken on the challenge of the most difficult 1:10 Project that uses very shallow saucer-pots. 

           The content of each issue will be driven by subjects that surface as a result of emails from those who are learning and training our plants.  We'll include odd information in the "Mail-Bag" and invite you to send us emails and photos.  As can be seen in the draft of the MPBF Website,  there were a lot of subjects suggested but not covered.  This issue ended up longer than planned.  So I look forward to your comments, and suggestions. Those of us associate with Fuku-Bonsai are privileged to live a bonsai lifestyle and to preserve, perpetuate and promote the art and culture of Hawaiian tropical bonsai and our True Indoor Bonsai.  Each year more are introduced and it becomes much more sophisticated.  We're excited about the future and invite you to join us and participate!

 

The Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation Journal of Tropical and True Indoor Bonsaiô is published monthly by email and is a benefit of Foundation membership. Annual dues are just $12 per year. For more information about becoming a member, go to www.fukubonsai.com/MPBF.html