The Bonsai Experience


Here’s a few shots of trees shown during the Bonsai Experience on Saturday 27 June in the Botanic Gardens, Belfast. The guy’s from Northern Ireland Bonsai Society staged a very successful show with over 1000 visitors to the marquee display in one day. It was a real pleasure to be present and offer a little help on the day but the hard work was done by others. The end result was very impressive. Thanks guys, particularly Ian, Alan, Ian B, Phil, Chris, Stephen, Ben B and Ben F, and all who helped on the day much appreciated.

Ben B, helped by Ian Y, worked tirelessly at the children’s table styling tree after tree that were gifted by the club to these young potential bonsai enthusiasts. Ben was so busy that I don’t think he stopped for lunch and at one stage asked if I would get him a cup of…

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Juvenile growth on junipers…Cut? Leave alone?

michael hagedorn

I’ve received several emails about how to handle juvenile foliage on junipers, and felt like this was one of those discussions that could be useful to a larger group of people.

  • Juvenile growth in junipers is when the shoots display needle-like growth on a typically scale growth variety (a few of those are listed below).

juniperfoliage This is Rocky Mountain juniper, a scale juniper, showing the past year’s growth as the spiky, juvenile foliage, with the tips transitioning into mature, scale foliage.

Spiky juvenile growth is a response to either too much foliage loss from pinching (don’t do that), overly hard pruning, or sometimes too much fertilizer. Naturally, since mature scale foliage is nicer to look at, and is what the tree grows when it’s content, we might have the impulse to cut the juvenile off.

  • Don’t do that. Leave the juvenile foliage alone.
  • The problem is, if we cut off the…

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Trunksplitting, scoring and scratching to thicken bonsai cuttings


In 2009 I started with a baobab experiment.  All my baobabs I have started from seed and I did not want to wait so long to have thick trunks. (I was no youngster in 2009 either).  I had an idea to trunk split (much like figs) some of them.  At that stage I was communicating with Harry Harrington (UK) and he suggested ‘scoring’ the bark.  In fact, he had to explain the concept to me as I had never heard of it.  It is slicing through the bark length ways, not too deep in, just cutting through the cambium.  This was difficult with baobabs as baobabs do not have ‘bark’ as such.  I selected 5 similar sized baobabs and started my experiment.

At this stage, I must warn all reading this post.  WHAT FOLLOWS WORKED FOR ME AND I AM NOT ADVOCATING IT FOR ALL.  I LIVE IN A…

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