Bonsai are not static artwork to be preserved and exhibited. They are continually developing and presenting opportunities to improve. Each bonsai is unique and requires a specific training strategy. This photo-essay explains the dramatic restyling of one of the most significant, mature bonsai in our collection. Our strategic plan covered aesthetics, horticulture, and practical bonsai considerations.
The Fuku-Bonsai logo tree is a Dwarf Schefflera in training since 1976 from a rooted cutting and has developed superior banyan features. The primary trainer must have as many alternative training strategies as possible and be prepared to change course if necessary.
|When we celebrated the opening of the Fuku-Bonsai Center in Kona, an article appeared in the Fall 1992 issue of the Journal of the American Bonsai Society and the logo tree was featured on the cover.|
|This photo was taken about 1997 when it was repotted into a shallower but wider glazed oval pot.|
The Fuku-Bonsai Logo Tree was also featured on the front-back wrap-around-cover of the
January-February 2000 issue of Bonsai Magazine, the publication of Bonsai
Clubs International. That issue included articles: "Bonsai in Hawaii" by Ted
Tsukiyama, and "Passing the Torch" by David Fukumoto.
To give room to develop into a banyan shape, in 1996 it was planted in a shallow ivory glazed oval pot measuring 30.5" x 19" x 2" deep purchased during a 1977 Japan tour.
|MAY 11, 2002
In the eight years between the two cover photos, the tree became heavier and wider and moved to a larger but lower pot. It could not develop further because of the narrower width of the oval pot. If you looked down upon it, the tree was starting to mirror the oval shape of the pot. We could either allow the tree to grow larger and obtain a larger container or restyle to use the same container.
|For a full year, the tree was allowed to over-grow before the restyling at a Bonsai Day workshop-demonstration. The banyan trunks and aerial roots are exceptionally developed. The large low "outrigger" section on the left and the smaller ones on the right and on the other side of the tree will be removed.|
|With root hooks and pruners, the roots of the various sections were separated and the connecting outrigger branch was severed. Note that aerial roots dropping from the high canopy are protected and wrapped in wet towels.|
|Michael carefully removed the first large section. The other section to be removed is at the lower left. By removing the heavy low sections, the remaining tree would suggest a tall lofty crown banyan! This elegant banyan bonsai shape with free-falling aerial roots is the most difficult to create. Aerial roots had developed due to the humidity captured by the lower sections and it is likely the highly desirable root may not have developed without those sections.|
|The roots of the smaller second and third sections to be removed were quickly separated and the connections severed. As the sections were removed, several well-spaced aerial roots and the nicely shaped central trunk becoming more prominent. The sections were wrapped in wet towels while the restyling continued.|
|The logo tree as potted back into the 30.5" oval container. Such containers are usually used for forest arrangements. At this stage, the crown is overly large as it had been allowed to over grow. Cutting back will compensate and balance the removal of a large amount of the root system. Detailed planning is necessary prior to such major restyling. In addition to the aesthetics, it is equally important to review all horticultural aspects to assure a healthy tree!|
pruning, the tree comfortably fits into the container. When looking from the side, the
tree fills out the 19" width of the pot and from the front, it's about the same width
between the outer aerial roots. The tree is now attractive from the front, back, and sides. It is no longer
lop-sided and the crown when viewed from above will be round.
JUNE 10, 2002 UPDATE
One month after the restyling, the tree is responding well with strong new growth. In earlier photos, a new aerial root was visible. It was at a good location and we help to establish such roots by first pushing a nail into the root ball directly below the aerial root.
Run a paper-coated twist wire over the branch and to the nail to provide a guide, support, and root protector. Build an aluminum foil column and secure it. Fill with potting media and add a little spaghnum moss to the surface as a light mulch.
Aerial roots generally develop in spring and stop growing by summer. If they have not yet reached the ground, without assistance they will dry up.