Creating a larger bonsai is similar to creating a small bonsai.  It will take a bit longer as it requires longer periods between training sessions to build bulk.  The most important factor is starting out with a viable gameplan. Scott started with an HS8 small size Dwarf Schefflera Lava Planting and a  #17 conversion kit.   I asked Scott to introduce himself and to give a history of his effort.

Scott Orr portrait Aug 4, 2003.jpg (24933 bytes)       Greetings and introduction by Scott Orr (to be in italics)
Scott Orr Jan 17, 2003 #1.jpg (29916 bytes)       January 17, 2003: 

Note:  #17 Conversion Kit shipped September 25, 2002

Scott Orr Jan 17, 2003 #2.jpg (28947 bytes)        January 17, 2003:
Scott Orr room Aug 17, 2003.jpg (16656 bytes)         August 17, 2003
Scott Orr detail Aug 4, 2003.jpg (27276 bytes)          August 17, 2003  (About one year after going into the #17 Conversion Kit)
Scott Orr DWF sketch #1.jpg (16495 bytes)
        Sketch 1:   Initial pruning of trunks; reorienting altitude for stronger #1 trunk.
Scott Orr DWF sketch #2.jpg (24494 bytes)
          Sketch 2:  Building the major branch structure, adding seconary branches, and creating a more complex form.
(Top view sketch to be added)
          Sketch 3:  Distribution of major branches as seen from above.


          Sketch 4:  Conceptual building out and creating complex branching and a wide tropical canopy.

















      1.  From the beginning, set the theme for your arrangement based upon the oldest heaviest trunked tree (#1).   This trunk must be given the dominant position and the best way to adjust is by removing the tie-down wire, lifting up the right side with a long screwdriver, and adding and shoving media until the main tree is almost vertical.  The main tree was there first, so it had a chance to grow straight up.  Trunk #1 will always be the tallest, and as it developes an increasingly heavier crown, the outer trees will bend out from under the shade of the canopy and their trunks will naturally become more slanted. Note that the cut should be almost vertical and just above a leaf stem facing up. Seal the cut with vaseline.  The new growth point will emerge at the joint of the highest leaf.   With your strong growth, you'll likely get several more new growth points.   Save the top and one that will give you the ideal third direction (when looking from the top --- more on this later).  For more about pruning, go to FAQ #2: Training Keiki Bonsai & True Indoor Bonsai

      2. Trunk #2 should compliment and be almost as tall. Note that the cut is almost horizontal and just above a leaf-stem that is almost horizontal so the new growth will be aiming to the right.   Select an additional growth that is aiming in an ideal direction.

      3.  Trunk #3 is already branching and should be short and stout to compliment and add contrast to the two larger trunks. Note that the major cut is almost vertical so the new growth will grow upwards while the cut on the branch (#3a) is horizontal so the new growth comes out towards the front and to the left. 

           If the tree is allowed to grow until ideal weather, it will help to thicken the trunk base.  Because it began as a lava planting, you already have a strong visual trunk base. At Fuku-Bonsai, we would allow the trunks to grow 4' to 6' tall until they were almost touching the shadecloth and the main trunk may enlarge to as much as 3/4" diameter.  At the point where it's cut, it may be 1/2".

          The longer you can hold back before you cut, the heavier the growth becomes. Don't worry about scars.  The cuts will blend in as long as your tree is growing vigorously. 

           When setting the second set of major branches (shown as the darkest green lines,  allow these to grow until the diameter is at least 1/2 as thick as the cut. If the cut was 1/2", the new growth should be at least 1/4" to 3/8" thick and could be 2' to 3' long before it's cut.  If the main trunk was cut at say 6", then the second section should be less (possibly 4" long).  At the point where it's cut, it may be just 1/4" or less.

          On a time basis,  you allowed the tree to grow for a year or so before making the first cut.  It is likely that the second cut will be about 8 months later.  Note that if you allowed two growth points on every section, that the growth will not be as strong because the energy is being dispersed amongst more growth points.  So your fertilizing should be increased. 

         Keep turning the plant so you'll have even growth.  If the weather is warm, grow it outdoors to get stronger growth. Consider filling that cookie sheet with gravel and place the pot on the gravel.  You may have to water it every two days if it gets direct sun.  You'll notice that leaves are thicker when growing outdoors in stronger light!

        To be continued   .  .  .  ~~~David


               It's been my experience that those that are willing to teach others often come to understand better than those who simply want to learn for their own enjoyment. I invite those who are willing and able to learn while teaching others to also create a page and share the development of their trees.  Those interested in participating are invited to contact:
                David Fukumoto, founder and president, Fuku-Bonsai Inc.
                     PO Box 6000 (Olaa Road), Kurtistown, Hawaii 96760
                     Phone (808) 982-9880;   FAX (808) 982-9883
                     E-mail:        URL:
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