Grape bonsai

front view

back view

Over the last week I have been working on potting up some grape bonsai.  One of them was a grape vine that I picked up at the GSBF convention in Riverside.  I also purchased a pot to put the grape vine into.  It was tilted in the can.  When I stood the tree in the pot and pruned it, I noticed that the grape vine looks like a dragon.  The other tree was a vine that a friend brought to me from the Central Valley.  I traded for a couple of wine barrels to put them into.  The wine barrels were half barrels.  The half barrels were too tall for my bonsai concept.  So, I cut them down to a quarter of a barrel.  I used a circular saw to cut it down.  It was not as easy as I thought.  Although the barrel is round, I was trying to make a straight cut around the barrel.  After cutting them down, I put seven 1 1/4 inch holes into the bottom of the barrel for drainage.  I have included pictures of the final result.  I think they turned out pretty nicely.  I also bought a weed torch over the weekend.  It is just a long nozzle that attaches to a propane tank.  It was called the inferno.  I used it on my driveway and in the rows of the nursery.  The wand only weighs about 7 pounds, but constantly holding down the lever and waving the wand back and forth becomes very tiring.

Gophers and bonsai, oil and water

While I was weeding around the pines, I noticed one that was falling over.  The dreaded gopher strikes again!  This time he did not eat all the roots.  He ate most of the larger roots, but left a few smaller roots.  As I investigated the row of pines, I noticed that he had skipped a pine and went to the next one.  Same result! ARGGGGHHH!  Again he ate most of the roots.  As I thought about it I realized that maybe he is doing me a favor.  These were pines that I had wired and left on the tree.  I purposely left the wire so that the tree would grow around the wire.  The wire may have prevented the gopher from eating the whole root system.  So instead of trapping the gopher, I think I will let him eat his fill of pine roots.  The trees he selected were fairly well established.  I took them out of the ground carefully.  Then I pruned them back to just a few shoots near the trunk.  Then I planted them in shallow 6 inch bulb pans with rooting hormone.  After I put them on the bench, I gave them a nice drink of water.  Then I stepped back and looked carefully at my pines.  They have a decent size with a nice twisting trunk.  They have many very small shoots protruding out from the trunk.  These are going to be quite interesting in a few year!  Now only if he would stop eating all the roots, we may have an understanding...

More transplanting!

Today I worked on transplanting some junipers and rosemary's.  Before I started, I noticed a pine in the field that was tipped over.  That is and indication of a gopher.  Gophers normally leave pines alone unless they get desperate or are too lazy to move to another location.  When I picked up the pine I noticed that the candles on the pines were still firm.  That indicates that the gopher had recently eaten the roots.  I was surprised that the gopher ate the roots completely.  They normally do not eat all the roots.  This tree had a trunk diameter of about an inch.  I have included pictures of the pine and the base of the pine where the gopher had eaten the roots.  I took the pine and thinned away any unnecessary branching to give the pine a chance.  Then I put rooting hormone on the eaten area and planted the pine in pumice.  Basically this is a very large pine cutting.  I do not expect it to take, but I just had to try.  As I walked by the ume, I noticed that the fruits were starting to form on the tree.  I took a picture of that too.  I still take pictures the old fashion way, with a digital camera.  If I had a smart phone, I could take a picture with the phone and upload it to the blog and type text on the phone.  But I don't have a smart phone so I have to upload the pictures onto the desktop and then upload the pictures to the blog.  Tomorrow looks like we are going to get about an inch of rain.  We are currently at about 40 percent of normal, so any rain will be welcomed.  Besides that I get a day off from work!

Waiting for the rain.

This week began with the promise of rain.  The first storm never made it as far south as projected and missed us completely.  The next storm is suppose to hit us this weekend.  We have had an unusually dry and cold winter.  Many of the trees growing in the field have still not completely leafed out.  There are years when we have a warm February when the trees are completely leafed out.  The last of the weeds in the field around the base of the trees is done being removed.  If it rains over the weekend, some of the weeds may regrow.  I am trying to rake up the weed and throw it into the trash cans before the rains.  I have also been working on sprucing up the trees on the benches in anticipation of the CBS(California Bonsai Society) convention in April from the 12th-15th.  My Father will be doing a demonstration on a large San Jose juniper that we dug out of the field last year.  We will also be conducting a workshop with older San Jose junipers with nice size and movement.  Hope to see everyone there.  Today I ordered soil for our nursery that we use in transplanting the trees in the nursery containers.  I have been transplanting all day.  I do not think I will catch up any time soon.  Last year I did not do too much transplanting.  If you are interested in buying nursery stock in containers, you should come by in the next few months before they are put into bigger containers.

Black pine air-layer project

bottom of unsuccessful air-layer, notice the original live wood which is the small circle in the center of the picture

front view of unsuccessful air-layer

I have a couple of Japanese black pine air-layers that did not root.  What happened with them is that they filled in and covered the area where I originally removed the bark.  They rolled over the bare area, but they did not root.  I had that happen to a few of them last year.  What I did was cut the air-layer off and put rooting hormone on the area.  Then I planted them.  I did that to a few of them that did not take last year.  So far they seem to be healthy.  I do not know if they will root.  However, when I cut them off they had a thicker bark layer.  I think by putting rooting hormone on a larger surface area is allowing them to survive.  If they take, I will take pictures of the root area.  Today I took pictures of the air-layer that I cut off and a picture of the base so you can see how thick the bark area is.  You can see from the photo's that I dusted the base with rooting hormone.  Afterwards, I planted them and tagged them so I know that they were not rooted.  This should be quite interesting if the air-layer roots.  It would pretty much be like a large cutting.  I also took a couple of pictures of the Chinese quince in the field that were flowering.