The Entry Tree photographed in November 2005
RESTYLING THE FUKU-BONSAI
CULTURAL CENTER ENTRY TREE
2005  -  PART I

                The entry tree is named "HUI HANALIKE" which in Hawaiian translates into "a group working together."  The original tree was grown from a cutting rooted about 1976 and ground - planted in our parking lot. It was pruned into a very wide low tree with the outer branches close to the ground. The tree sent down a profusion of free-falling aerial roots.  About 1982, three sections with the most aerial roots were separated, dug, potted into large tubs and further individually trained.  In 1985 when the Fukumoto sole proprietorship nursery evolved into a corporation,  the entire staff worked together to create this bonsai that was originally potted in a large 2' x 3' plastic tub.

     In 1994, the Kona Fuku-Bonsai Center was forced to close and the tree was brought back to Kurtistown.  As we recovered and opened a modest new Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center, this tree was selected to be the entry tree. A 6' diameter concrete disc was created and a sturdy wood platform included a turn-table mechanism to allow the tree to be turned so various sides could face the strongest sun for even growth.  The tree was mounted on the slab in 2002 and this photo was taken soon after.  A group of Chinese mudmen were mounted to provide the scale. 
        In the summer of 2005, the tree had filled out,  The side that included the mudmen had very high branches and the back had very low branches. While the low back branches provided depth and a variety of views, when looking from the side, it began to appeared off-balanced.  It was decided to remove the low back section to create the desirable lofty crown "Rainforest Banyan Styling" in which the long free-falling roots could be appreciated from all sides.
        Utilizing root hooks, it was possible to separate the free-falling roots from the section to be removed and only a few long aerial roots were lost in the process. The tree is heavily pruned 3 to 5 times per year whenever staff has time and various staffers rotate to keep the tree pruned. Most of our staff fully understand our basic pruning principles and have no problems maintaining this large bonsai. Removal of the section was also a good opportunity to remove and replace the media for improved future growth.
                It's been 12 years since the tree was planted on the 6' diameter concrete disc and growth continues to be strong.  It really wasn't necessary to do any major soil exchange.  Removal of the heavy low back section was part of a general restyling that included removal of all leaves to study the structure.  Sections were removed to create the feeling of vast space that is experienced when under a towering large rainforest banyan tree. Some media was replaced in alternating pie-shaped sections. 
 
                This tree greets our visitors. It's a large bonsai 3 1/2' (42") tall and about 6' wide. It sits just outside the potting house and is the first tree visitors see as the enter the nursery display area. It's interesting to watch visitors when they first see it.  The tree is on a turntable and is turned often to grow evenly.  It's attractive from a distance, close-up, and when looking up into the crown of the tree. It's attractive from several different viewpoints as shown by the photos below.  

 

 

 

 

        RAINFOREST BANYANS are the most complex and exotic tropical tree structure.  Creating such a bonsai has been our ultimate goal and this tree is the most successful to date.  Aerial roots emerge in high humidity environments and Kurtistown gets about 175" of rain annually. So this is an ideal location to develop stylings that feature aerial roots.  Aerial roots are also determined by the individual plant genetics as this is one of only a few trees that drop so many aerial roots!

 

 

 

            Initially, the intent was to create a tropical bonsai incorporating Chinese penjing concepts and the mudmen add a nice sense of scale.  It has been suggested that it be converted into a "Tropical Fantasy" by incorporating several small "Swiss Family Robinson-type huts" high in the crown of the trees with connecting walkways and access ladders!  

             "Rainforest Banyan Styling" is the premium most desirable banyan shape and the most difficult.  It requires first creating a very heavy canopy that will create very high humidity which will produce free falling aerial roots.  It is necessary to continually select roots that are straight and to guide them so they are as vertical as possible.  Often roots near the trunk are removed to emphasize those roots that fall free far from the central trunk.  There is likelihood that "free-falling aerial roots" may be a generic characteristic as relatively few trees can be trained into this style.  The Logo Tree and a few others seemed to be outstanding from a very early age, were recognized, and the training emphasized this trait.
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               Every bonsai goes through a number of stages.  Now 30 years old, the Entry Tree stands 42" tall on a 6' diameter concrete disc and turntable.  It time to put greater emphasis on refinement and this is covered in the next article.       ***  Go to DETAILING THE ENTRY TREE - PART II

 
***  Go to Restyling the Fuku-Bonsai Logo Tree
          ***  Go to Restyling the Fuku-Bonsai Logo Tree - Part II
*** Go to Fuku-Bonsai Home Page
FUKU-BONSAI CULTURAL CENTER & HAWAII STATE BONSAI REPOSITORY
        PO Box 6000 (Olaa Road), Kurtistown, Hawaii 96760
        Phone (808) 982-9880,  FAX (808) 982-9883
        URL:  www.fukubonsai.com         Email:  sales@fukubonsai.com
 
                Notification of the posting of this article was in the Summer-Fall 2005 issue of FBnews, Fuku-Bonsai's Email Newsletter.  To receive free notification,  send an email request to sales@fukubonsai.com with your name, email address, city and state.

Fuku-Bonsai 2005