New projects!

two 6 inch pots

one 6 inch pot

back side of blue atlas where branches were taped together

picture of base/approximate 8 inch flare

front side of tree/2 foot box
I have done a few more air-layers of cork oaks.  The latest ones that I have done are on field grown cork oaks that are quite large.  These two are very tall because my intent was to grow these to produce acorns.  Now that the trees are too tall, I thought I would air-layer them before I cut them down.  The other project is on a very large blue atlas cedar.  The tree was purchased by New England Bonsai.  When they were coming down to visit my nursery, they had a mishap.  The top shelves inside their truck fell down.  This cedar was on the bottom and saved many of the other trees from being crushed.  Since the tree takes a few years to acclimate to their climate, they decided to leave the tree with me.  Also, many of the branches broke off of the tree.  Two or three of the upper branches were completely broken off.  Three others on one side were severed, but there was a little bit of the bark holding the branches onto the tree.  Most of these branches were about an inch in diameter.  I took the branches and suspended them back into place with green nursery tape.  After I did that, I bandaged the branches back together with the green tape.  It will be a long term process, but if the branches heal back, it will be a good start to reshaping the tree.  This will become a very large bonsai.  The base of the root flare is over 8 inches wide.  The actual trunk is over 3 1/4 inches in diameter.  To give you a sense of scale, the tree is in a two foot square box.  The tree seems relatively healthy and the branches still have not seemed to dry out after a few days.  I am crossing my fingers that the bark will heal together.  It will take at least two years for the branches to be stable.  All I have is time.  I have included pictures of what I worked on over the past few days. 


Wiring a San Jose Bonsai. Before and After

Before pruning

After pruning and thinning

Tree completely wired
Today was a nice warm day.  I started the day as usual by weeding a few rows of trees in the field.  I think I will be done weeding the field by the end of the week.  Then I will have to start working on the weeds in the nursery cans.  After a few hours of weeding, I thought I would work on one of my field grown San Jose junipers.  The San Jose juniper is one of my favorite trees to work on.  I have many San Jose junipers that are in bulb pans.  These trees were dug out of the field over the past few years.  When I plant them in the ground, I work on the movement and taper.  After they are established, I let the trees go.  The reason for this is that they will develop a larger trunk faster by not pruning so often.  I just grabbed one off of the bench that looked interesting.  I took a picture before I started wiring.  The next step was to thin the tree and remove any unnecessary branching.  I then jinned the remaining large branches.  Once that was done I started to wire the tree.  I start by wiring all the larger branches.  Most of the larger branches are going to be toward the bottom of the tree.  Then I start working my way up and out.  After I have everything wired, I begin placing the branches into position.  After I do that, I do some final thinning of the branches.  Then I feed the tree well and water. This tree is going to look amazing when it starts to fill in and is rewired. I took a picture of the tree at each step.  Let me know what you think.  Email me at geomuranaka@yahoo.com or you can leave a comment on the page.  Thanks for visiting my blog!


Another cork pine air – layer.





notice how small the diameter of the trunk is after the removal of the corking bark

After a day of weeding, I needed a change of pace from the dreary work of weeding. Who said bonsai would be all fun and games?  So I attempted another air-layer of a Japanese black pine.  Last year I was successful at air-layering the top of a cork bark black pine.  This year I am starting later then normal.  However, I think because of our cool winter, things are about six weeks behind schedule in growth.  The first step was to thin an area of the top where I was going to air-layer.  At the top of the tree there were essentially two tops.  I cut one of them off.  I also cut off smaller branches below where I was going to take the air-layer.  This would make the job easier.  I also was lucky because there were about three branches spaced evenly apart just below where I was going to air-layer.  These branches will help support the cup.  After I thinned off one of the tops, I then removed many of the needles that were in my way.  I then started to cut a ring around the bark.  I then made another ring about 3/8ths of an inch below the first ring.  I then removed the bark between the two rings.  You have to be extra careful when removing the bark on a cork pine.  The reason for this is because the bark is quite thick because of the corking.  This leaves you with a very small diameter trunk that will have to be supported.  I then placed about 6 thin slits vertically around the bark just above the first ring.  This is to get the bark to flare out when it begins to heal and when it starts to root.  After the slits, I placed a four inch pot around the cut area.  Then I filled the cup with wet green moss.  That is the end of the process.  I should take about six months for the tree to fully root.  I may wait until next spring to remove the pot.  I have included pictures of the steps that I took.


Blog now available on Kindle.

I checked to see if my blog was on Kindle.  It is now available and only 99 cents.  Just go to the Kindle store and type in Muranaka Bonsai Nursery blog into the search box and it will come up.  This past week has been quite hectic.  I have been weeding the field(whats else is new?) and cleaning up the pots on the bonsai benches.  I have been working on wiring trees later in the day to keep my sanity.  Friday was one of those weird days.  I normally get a handful of customers each day, but Friday was the exception.  Friday I had eight customers.  Two times they came in groups of three, which makes it quite hectic to help everyone.  I had one customer in between these groups and one later in the day.  Half of the customers bought something.  One customer picked up his tree that we had worked on for him.  Another customer came by to check out the landscape trees and took measurements as to which one may work in their yard.  Saturday was another anomaly, I did not get one customer or one phone call.  I think they all came on Friday.  Oh well that is what makes running a bonsai nursery so interesting.


Update to large trident air-layer.

trident from side

trident from back
About two weeks ago, I air-layered a rather large trident maple.  I cut off most of the foliage off of the entire tree.  I did not want the air-layer to have to push to feed all of the branching so I cut a lot off.  I have included two updated photo's of the trident.  As you can see, the trident is starting to push growth.  This air-layer is in a 8 inch bulb pan.  Most of the base where I air-layered is hidden.  The base will be over 4 inches when I am ready to cut this off.


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