This tree is the subject of my book, a pictorial cause-effect book showing how to develop a JBP Bonsai. This represents its 10th year of training as a bonsai, after purchasing it from Brussel’s in 2007 for $350. It was candles cut later than normal this summer to make the second flush of needles shorter. Once the growing season was finished, (new needles set firmly in their fasicles) it was time to thin out needles, prune, and wire. In mid-November:
To the top…
So, my plan was to clean up, pull needles, prune, and wire this tree so it would be ready to tweak when Bjorn visited in December. This tree has been all my work since it’s initial styling with a buddy in 2007, and I thought it would be a good time to take the tree from the best I could do with it, to the best I could do with it…with Bjorn.
So here it is, Before:
What did we do?
Guy wires, exaggerating the downward angle of the branches, including the upper right, to reduce the separation between the first layer and second layer. Subtle, but nice.
Balance each tuft of foliage so they’re the same size and mass.
Evenly distribute each tuft so they’re equidistant.
Create subtle separation of layers within primary branches.
Rearrange the position of each tertiary branch so they fan outward, and then…
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Continuing to develop density and fighting it from becoming too leggy is a challenge. Before:
In March, I made a thread graft through the trunk to replace the second branch on the left (highlighted in yellow; the thread graft is green):
From various angles, it is apparent why it needs to go:
So, with the thread graft well underway, the offending branch can be removed.
Not exactly a twig…
And after a little wiring, and some light pruning, it is done for the winter. Next spring, I will wire a little movement into the thread grafted branch, and hopefully it will be ready to separate by mid summer.
For fun, here is a shot from 11 years earlier, almost to the day.