Part 2:  Regrowth & styling after the initial training

                In May of 2004,  Jerry Meislik of Whitefish, Montana visited Fuku-Bonsai, having just completed the publishing of his landmark book, FICUS; THE EXOTIC BONSAI.  He was invited to lead the styling of a large donated high-potential ficus. 

***   Go back to Introduction to the Hawaii State Bonsai Repository (including guest trainer program)
***    Go back to The Training of "MAHALO" by Jerry Meislik
***     Continue to "MAHALO" IN THE FUTURE!
***    Continue to Introduction and Book Review of FICUS; THE EXOTIC BONSAI by Jerry Meislik

                    It's now about 5 months after the first training session and the tree has sprouted a lot of new growth. The purpose of this web page is for Jerry and all interested readers to see the amount of growth that takes place in 5 months and to study the tree.  Jerry will be sending his thoughts and this page will be modified in the next FBnews.  By this means,  there will be an on-going record of how this tree develops.

Meislik 331 Mahalo2 before 1 72dpi 4x3.jpg (82020 bytes)
After 5 months growth - Front
Meislik 332 Mahalo2 before 2 72dpi 4x3.jpg (88434 bytes)
After 5 months growth - Back
Meislik 333 Mahalo2 before3 72dpi 6x4.5.jpg (156380 bytes)
After branch selection - Front
Meislik 335 Mahalo2 before5 72dpi 6x4.5.jpg (149587 bytes)
After branch selection - Back
Meislik 334 Mahalo2 before4 72dpi 6x4.5.jpg (148569 bytes)
After branch selection - Left view
Meislik 336 Mahalo2 before6 72dpi 6x4.5.jpg (147680 bytes)
After branch selection - Right
          Ficus grows with several sprouts from each location and except where such branches are clearly not needed, the growth points that were facing in ideal direction were retained and shortened. Other sprouts in each cluster were removed.  The above photos were sent to Jerry to set his styling goal.  By allowing readers to view the tree in various stages of training,  there will be a good understanding of how this ficus will be trained including an insight into Jerry's thoughts as the training proceeds.  I'm delighted to have Jerry as the trainer of this Hawaii State Bonsai Repository memorial bonsai.     ~~~David W. Fukumoto


Meislik MPBF possible future no. 5.jpg (14535 bytes)
          To see Jerry's detailed recommendations
for the future shape of Mahalo, please go to:      

          Jerry selected a very challenging future for this tree, but while difficult, the styling meets the criteria that it expand the range of styling within the collection. Chinese Banyans doesn't normally grow in this manner as it is a very strong apical-dominant tree. To overcome this factor, Michael will have to pay attention and provide careful growth control even after the tree is trained as the lower right branch will be difficult to create and to prevent dying. Michael and I discussed this and agreed on the following training strategy:

     1.   ACCELERATED GROWTH:  The tree would be potted into a larger tub to enlarge the root system for more vigorous growth until the primary main branches are well established. The right side of the root mass would be reduced to closer resemble the proposed design.  

     2.  TEMPORARY TILT & LIGHT TRAINING: To build out the lowest right branch, it will be necessary to keep pruning back heavily on the crown.  Branches tend to have poor growth when facing downwards.  Until the low right branch is fully established, the tree will be potted at an angle to elevate the future downward branch at least to horizontal position with the end of the branch facing up.  Plants grow towards the light. To get the strongest growth, the plant will be placed in an area where it receives a lot of direct sunlight with the long lowest branch faced towards the strongest light.


Before the start of Phase II Mahalo training 
(November 2005)
        Michael with a mallot and chisel completing the trimming per Jerry's sketch.
        After branch selection per Jerry styling and after the wiring of the lowest right branch.  All chiseled areas where wood is exposed will be coated with vaseline.  If the tree is moved into accelerated growth, the bark will cover the cuts a lot faster. Without accelerated growth, the bark may not ever cover the scars.  Keeping the tree in a shallow container to this point allowed control of the development of the lowest right branch.  
        A detail photo of Fuku-Bonsai's "Ugly Bed-Spring Wiring Method."   This technique uses extra heavy wiring about 3 to 4 times the thickness normally use and the branch is within the loose "bedspring" coils. Contact with the branch is only at points where necessary. Such wiring can stay on for over a year even on fast-growing trees without biting into the bark. It is necessary to set the branch angle as early as possible as this angle would be difficult to change later.


         After tilt-potting in a  tub to restart the new training strategy. The tree has been tilted about 20 degrees to the left to lift what will be the lowest branch.  Note that all other parts of the tree has been cut back hard except for the lowest branch.  Without any of its branches been trimmed, it will continue its growth. Note that the branch ends are facing up as this will promote more rapid growth. Since growth is needed on the right side of the plant, the tree was shoved up against the left side of the tub to allow root growth on the side where growth is needed.  When placed in the growing area, the right side of the tub with portion needing the most growth will be positioned to face the strongest sun direction.  







       For this styling design, controlling growth is crucial.  If the tree were potted in the final altitude, the low right branch would be facing down and growth would be weak and slow.  By leaving the branch unpruned and pruning the remainder of the tree, the growth of the branch is enhanced.  By wiring the portion of the branch nearest the trunk into final position, but by wiring the branch tips to face up,  branch growth is encouraged.  

       Branch development will follow basic reduction-building principles.  The lowest branch is about 1/4" in diameter. It will be brought up to about 3/4" in diameter by allowing the branch to grow 4 to 5 feet high to help thicken the branch.  It will be cut back at least 50% of the current length and a new smaller branch pointed up and allowed to grow vigorously before it too is cut back hard. In this manner, the branch will also have taper and character as well as strong growth.  Positioning the portion of the tree that needs the most growth towards the strongest sunlight will promote growth where needed.

         We may be 3 to 5 years away from the tree being potted at the final desirable altitude and during this time, all emphasis will be on developing the low right branch. All other growth will be allowed to grow vigorously and cut back to add a little more growth to each section.    (November 8, 2005)

TO BE CONTINUED  .  .  .   


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