RON KALT'S ROOTS TO RAINFOREST BANYAN CONVERSION

              Ron lives in Kaneohe on the windward side of Oahu and visited Fuku-Bonsai in early March. He selected two kits;  a rock planting to go into a shallow saucer, and a larger 8LS8 Roots with a #17 Conversion Kit with the idea of creating a Rainforest Banyan.  He selected a promising plant and the challenge was to create aerial roots. Myrtle and I lived in beautiful Kaneohe before moving to Kurtistown on the Big Island of Hawaii to start Fuku-Bonsai.  Then,  Dwarf Schefflera had not yet been introduced, but I think it would be very possible for Ron to be successful and I offered to assist if he would take photos and share his experience with Journal readers.  He agreed, became a member of the Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation, and submitted the following report.   (My comments are in bold italics. ~~~DWF)

 

       March 12 Rec'd. Bonsai plant and conversion kit from David. Decided to let the plant acclimate to my indoor environment from Fuku nurseries outdoor environment for a couple of weeks, before repotting.

       (Ron completed shallow potting the rock planting with no problems.  ~~~DWF)

        Prepped tray with wires and strings for future branch tie downs. Left one wire higher for easier accessibility later on.

        (Ron set up places for strings to pull down branches, but also serve to support a "humidity wall" that we hoped would send down aerial roots from the branches.  ~~~DWF)

 

       Tray ready, with the media hilled up slightly off center, tie-downs and strings in position, aluminum collar prepared and ready for the big step. Notice the plant checking out its new home!

        Carefully removing old media from root ball with a chopstick.

        (The top half of the exposed aerial roots was okay but the bottom half was choked.  I recommended that Ron tie the center together, then bare-root, but force material into the bottom half to widen the base and sit it high on a hill.  Roots will develop to follow the contours.  ~~~DWF)

 

         Aluminum collar in place around roots, plant mounted on hill, tied down with plastic ties, Branches pulled down with strings, and media firmly tamped down with spoon.

 

        Pruned off approximately one third of leaves to compensate for root loss.

 

 

         Used chopsticks and dowels to make framework for support of saran-wrap tent to provide humidity, & encourage root growth from branches.

         (I've discussed this concept with a lot of people but so far have not received any reports and Ron's was the first.  If he can create good strong growth, I think he will be successful as cool green Kaneohe has great weather!  He would have best growth outdoors and should just pinch the new tip growth to create more branching and a lot of top leaf growth.  Fertilize like crazy and from time to time, spray some water into the clear tent.  Maybe place a loose fluffy amount of sphagnum moss to hold more moisture.  If he sees vapor inside the clear tent,  there's good odds that he can get roots to start emerging and from that point,  he'll have to learn how to guide the roots straight down.  If he gets a lot of roots,  keep those farthest out from the trunk and remove some that are near to the trunk. ~~~DWF) 

 

           For additional humidity I found a plastic tray, set the plant tray on blocks to keep it raised up and then put water into the plastic tray for additional humidity.

          (Good work Ron!  I wish I had more time to run more of these experiments.  Rainforest Banyans have aerial roots that drop straight down from branches and as they root, form pillar roots.  This is the most difficult form of Banyan Bonsai and I look forward to future reports from Ron!  ~~~David)  

       SOME FINAL COMMENTS FROM RON: 

        Good morning David,   Thank you for your continued support. You wanted a little history on me, so I'll provide the following and you can use or omit what you want.  After 25 years in the floral business in Salt Lake City, Utah, my wife and I decided to move to Hawaii in 1982. We started new businesses here, but never lost our love for flowers and plants.

        I've always had an interest in bonsai, but didn't get involved with it until my son-in-law received a lava bonsai while in the hospital. He is not a very good plant person, so he asked me to take it home to take care of. I was one from your nursery so I went to your website and was fascinated!  I have some property on the Big Island, which I hadn't seen for awhile, so I decided to take a trip over with my daughter and visit our place. After seeing the beautiful bonsai plants you had I was pretty much hooked.

        Since I'm 78 years old and retired, I hope to have enough years left to do some bonsai work. I love having plants in my house and hope the bonsai plants will enjoy it here.  I'll be happy to keep you updated on my progress.    Mahalo!  Ron Kalt

 

       SOME COMMENTS FROM DAVID:  I forward the article draft to Journal contributing editor Jerry Meislik and contributing writer Ryan Chang (who also lives on Oahu).  Jerry will put together some information on creating aerial roots in a future article and Ryan commented that he sees much more aerial roots on trees near the water.  So there will be more information on aerial roots in future Journals!  ~~~David

***  Go back to April 2013 Journal of Tropical and True Indoor Bonsai

***  Go to Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation homepage

***  Go to Fuku-Bonsai homepage

          Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation and Fuku-Bonsai, 2013