Rain is finally over?

Saturday started out dry, but started to get wet at around 3:00pm.  Just in time for a customer.  The customer chose a trident maple in the field.  So I dug out the maple in the pouring rain.  As luck would have it, the base of the maple was quite big. Sunday was beautiful but cool.  Today was nice and toasty.  Maybe Mother Nature is taking pity on me.  Today I started to replace all the trees that have been dug out this season.  I worked on ume yesterday.  Today I concentrated on replacing the Japanese black pines that I dug out.  As I replace the trees, I also work on weeding the row that I am working on.  After everything is planted in a row, I am going to fertilize the trees to speed up the growth.  I still have a long way to go.  Today I also went and purchase a new phone for the nursery.  The old one was about 10 years old and was not holding a charge.  I did not want to spend money on a new battery.  So much work, so little time.  So is the life of a bonsai nurseryman..........


Working on a pine project!

Shimpaku wired

shoots before thinning

shoots thinned

pine before graft

pine grafted

pine tented
Today was another cold and rainy day.  Since I was not able to go out into the field, I thought I would work on a few projects that I have been wanting to do.  The first was a shimpaku juniper that someone started.  It had quite a nice start.  The person that I bought it from twisted the shimpaku and created a lot of jins.  Then it was allowed to grow.  When I started the tree was quite overgrown.  I should have taken a before picture.  I cut off much of the growth and used a technique to make the tree look full.  I used the branches that I had and wired them into positions to make the tree look full.  To get a good look at the picture, click on the photo.  The next project was a pine that I had purchase two years ago.  I purchased the pine because of the nice flaky bark.  The pine was over 8 feet tall.  It had very few branches.  I asked the nursery if they had a saw and I cut it down to two feet.  I left the tree alone for two years.  Much to my surprise, it started to push growth from many different places.  I am going to graft yatusbusa branches to the pine.  The reason for the choice of yatsubusa pines is because it has tight, short needle growth.  There were 4 branches that were bigger than 1/4 inch.  Those were the branches that I grafted onto.  There are about 5 or 6 branches that are smaller than a 1/4 inch and I plan on grafting them next year.  In the first picture you will see the yatsubusa shoots before I thinned them.  The second picture is after I thinned them.  The third picture is of the grafts on the pine and the last picture is of the pine in a humidity tent that was created by taking two 1 gallon freezer bags and taping them together.  I covered the pot and will take the tent off in about two to three months.  By allowing the humidity to be in the bag, the grafts have a better chance to take.  Also, I do not have to water the tree for a few months.  Please send me comments on what you think!


Cold and wet!

Yesterday was a busy day at the nursery.  I had a few customers come by from Fresno.  As they were shopping, it started to hail for about 5 minutes.  I also had a customer in the afternoon.  In between the customers, I shipped trees and planted trees.  I also spent time doing some pine air-layers.  Today I shipped some trees and dug out some trees for my sales benches.  I also did some more air-layers. One in particular that was interesting was an air-layer of a cork bark pine.  I have not tried air-layering a cork bark pine before, but I used the same technique.  I also did a unique cutting of the cork bark pines as well.  If they take, I will have something interesting to write about.  I did some weeding and more air-layers.  I would like to air-layer at least 100 pines this year.  Most of the air-layers that I took last year were planted in the ground.  I also sold some and I plan on working on a few to see what happens.  Tomorrow looks to be another wet day.  We already got over 3 1/2 inches over the weekend and it is suppose to rain until the weekend.


More rain?

This morning started out very cold.  We had hard frost on the ground.  It never did get very warm.  I started out by weedeating different areas.  Then I had an early morning customer.  He got here earlier than we open.  I came outside and noticed that he was waiting in his van, so I opened early.  After helping him chose a few trees, I started to transplant the 150 red pine starts that I had ordered.  I ordered the smallest available red pines that they had.  They sent me 120 9-12 inch starts and 30 12-15 inch starts.  Normally this would be great that they upsized the order, however in the case of pines I would rather have the smaller trees so that I have greater control in there development.  While I was planting, I got a call from someone who said they were leaving Los Angeles to come to the nursery to buy a plant as a gift.  I also received two other calls for customers in the afternoon.  I cut lunch short to finish planting the pines so I could devote my attention to the customers.  As the couple from Los Angeles showed up, another group of people came in right after they did.  I helped the customers from Los Angeles first.  Then I help the other group.  Just as I was finishing up, another customer came to pick up his tree that we worked on.  In the past few days, I worked on some air-layers of black pines.  I also suggested to my friend a few days ago to cut his trident maple shorter to improve the taper and look of the tree.  Since the top was so big, I thought I would try to root the top.  So a few days ago I put the large trident cutting in a glass of water in the kitchen.  Yesterday a customer came to pick up a few field grown trees and a few pots.  As I was helping him load his truck, he showed me an interesting white pine that he picked up.  I asked if I could take a few cuttings to graft.  He told me I could so I cut off 5 small shoots and put them in the glass of water on the kitchen counter.  Today I finally put the trident cutting into a pot and grafted the white pine with small needles.  As I write this, it is pouring rain outside.  It looks to be a wet week.  Just when I thought I got the weeds under control..........


What a Day!

This morning started out as most mornings do, with a little drizzle.  I started to work on digging trees, when my Dad noticed that I had purchased oil and a filter for the tractor.  My father suggested that I change the oil on the tractor so that the tractor will be ready to till the weeds.  So as I was finishing up, he started the tractor up and pulled it out of the shed to let it warm up.  When I got up the hill, I noticed that the oil filter was in an awkward place.  I asked my father how I get to the oil filter.  He told me that I had to take the panel off of the side of the tractor to get to the filter.  I pulled out the 3/8 socket set and started to remove the bolts.  First problem was that the socket was stripped, I could tighten a bolt but not remove it.  So I got the 1/4 inch socket set and used an adapter.  There were about 7 bolts that I had to remove.  There were three different sizes.  I also had to remove the bracket that was holding the muffler because it was attached to the panel that I had to remove.  Finally I got the panel off, but it was in such an awkward place that I couldn't remove it.  I went to the garage to get a filter wrench.  The first one was too large and would not wrap tightly over the filter.  The second one fit and I was able to loosen the filter.  Now I had to take the drain plug off.  The plug was on so tight and I did not have much leverage because I was using a 1/4 inch ratchet.  I put a longer wrench onto the ratchet to get leverage. No movement.  I got a hammer to hit the wrench to loosen the plug, still no movement.  I finally pulled the ratchet as hard as I could, still no movement.  I called the tractor dealership and asked the parts guy if I was loosening the plug in the right direction or if it was a cruel trick by the Japanese manufacturer.  The parts guy told me that I was turning the plug in the right direction.  When I got back to the tractor, my father had loosened the plug.  I asked him what he did differently, he smiled and told me that he just hit the wrench a little harder than I did.  Finally after draining the oil into the recycle container, I changed the oil.  It took over two hours to do a 5 minute job.  I think next time it will be my fathers turn..........


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