The tree was a gift and a daunting challenge! It had some great components attached to an uninspiring, unusable trunk. Would it be possible to remove the great portions and substitute a more suitable trunk?  Why not?  The selected substitute trunk was a driftwood Kiawe (Mesquite) trunk pried out of a lava field where it had grown, became stunted, and died.  It had the right scale, height, and trunk diameter.

Driftwood Dwf Scheff 1.jpg (18554 bytes)
MARCH 9, 2002
(Bonsai Day presentation)

      Photo 1.  Wonderful aerial roots on a pot-bound plant without significant potential. 

Driftwood Dwf Scheff 2.jpg (16846 bytes)       Photo 2.   The "substitute trunk" was a cleaned driftwood trunk treated with waterproofing and bleaching stain.  The bottom was trimmed, nails installed, and a bottom cement base was made to hold the driftwood trunk upright.  Note that the driftwood trunk is about the same height and thickness of the original trunk.
Driftwood Dwf Scheff 3.jpg (19730 bytes)       Photo 3.   The tree was removed from the pot, the roots loosened, and the portions of the branches with the aerial roots attached were removed from the original tree. 
Driftwood Dwf Scheff 4.jpg (14464 bytes)       Photo 4. Michael used a high speed die grinder with a router bit to bore a seat hole in the Kiawe trunk.  The branch with the aerial roots would be positioned and glued.
Driftwood Dwf Scheff 5.jpg (13970 bytes)       Photo 5. Waterproof household "Goop" cement was used to attach the branch to the driftwood trunk.  The position was selected to compliment the driftwood branches.  
Driftwood Dwf Scheff 6.jpg (15681 bytes)       Photo 6.   With the first largest branch and aerial roots attached,  Michael holds the second and third sections.  When looking from the top, the three main branches are 120 degrees apart to face three different directions. Once the branches are established and growing well, it will be a simple matter to complete the training of the branches into the illusion of a Dwarf Schefflera epiphyte which strangled the host tree that died and evolved into driftwood.
Driftwood Dwf Scheff 7.jpg (17125 bytes)       Photo 7. The completed planting (left) is potted and a temporary "pot" is made with aluminum foil to protect the aerial roots that are not quite developed enough to support the branch.   So the foliage was largely removed to not over burden the aerial roots that must now support the branch. Petroleum jelly seals the cut ends.

      The original tree was potted at a strong angle.   If new sprouts develop near the roots, the entire top section of the original tree will be removed to begin a typical major reduction- building training cycle.  In tropical bonsai, even a tree with limited potential may be the basis for exciting bonsai!

Driftwood Dwf Scheff Jun02 update.jpg (19909 bytes)

JUNE 10, 2002 UPDATE

        Three months after the major styling was completed,  growth is strong and all three of the outriggers will survive.  It's likely that the crown will steadily enlarge and this will be an interesting tree resembling a tropical epiphyte that begins high up in the branches of a host tree that strangles its host, and takes on a unique shape!

        Roots are becoming well established and the foil wall and extra media will be removed in the coming year. 

                Working with trees that seem to have limited potential sometimes result in unique designs.  This type of design is more closely related to the Man Lung Penjing concepts of Hong Kong's Yee-sun Wu.  For more insight go to the section titled: Aristocratic Chinese Penjing

                Also see the "Yee-sun Wu and the Spirit of Man Lung Penjing!"

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