Pruning field grown ume.

Today and yesterday, I have been working on pruning the field grown ume.  It is quite a task.  I have to first weed around the tree to get to all the suckers that develop at the base of the trunk.  After they are removed, I work on removing all the larger branches that have grown rapidly during the year.  The idea is to develop a nice trunk.  I concentrate on movement and taper.  I have left the main leader to allow the strength of the tree to grow up.  If you do not do this, some of the side branches can gain strength and take over.  I have been pruning some of the pines as well.  Earlier in the year, I pruned half of the field grown pines.  The remainder of the pines I left alone.  The reason for this is to develop a larger trunk at a faster pace.  So I am working on the second half of the field grown pine.  I start by weeding around the base of the tree.  I then look at the tree and thin some of the branches away to allow light into the interior.  I also look at the tree to make sure that the branches are not getting out of control.  I try to make sure that there are shoots in the interior for design purposes in the future.  After I am done with the pine, it still looks full but cleaner.  Next year I will reverse the process and decandle the pines that I left alone and clean up the pines that I decandled and leave them alone.  I think by decandling every other year, the trees will have time to fatten up.  I did this with some larger row of pines last year and the growth is remarkable.  Next I will move on to the Chinese quince.  After the quince I will work on the trident maples.  They seem to be the last to lose there leaves each year.  Thats a good thing.  That way I can pace my work schedule.  Just a reminder that tagging will be starting on Monday October 1st at 8:30am.  Come by and have some coffee and donuts while you tag.

Ready, set, tag!

Tagging for this year will officially begin on October first at 8:30am.  As usual I will have donuts and coffee while supplies last.  For the uninitiated, let me explain.  About 30 years ago, my father started allowing people to tag trees in the field that they would like to dig in the spring.  Tagging begins on October first of each year.  You can tag until digging season begins.  Digging begins from mid January till mid April.  After mid April any tree left in the field with a tag will get a phone call.  After everyone is called and all the trees are picked up, the season ends until the following October.  The annual migration of bonsai enthusiasts is like the swallows returning to Capistrano.  There are many die hard enthusiasts that always show up on October 1st.  If you are not able to come on October first, no worries. There are many trees to chose from.  If you are not able to come up and tag a field grown tree, you can always give me a call and I can tag the tree for you.  If you have any questions on tagging field grown trees, you can call me at 805-929-4818 or email me at   Hope to see you all  in the near future.

Busy Saturday!

I like Saturdays because the day goes by so fast.  I started by culling all the dead plants.  Yes even bonsai nurserymen can't be successful all the time.  Fortunately the plants that meet there final destination are not that numerous.  I had quit a few customers today.  I had a young man that was doing a bonsai as a high school project in their Ag Dept.  Instead of raising animals for the fair, he wanted to raise a bonsai.  The final product will be displayed at the county fair.  I helped him chose a nice plant and gave him pointers on how to shape the tree.  He and his mother were quite pleased with the direction the tree was headed.  It is good to see young people interested in bonsai.  Most people say to themselves that they will take up bonsai when they retire.  That is a bit late.  It is hard to see a tree develop when you are in your mid sixties.  How much time do you really have to see a young plant develop?  The advantage of being older is that you have more money and you can just purchase an older more developed tree.  Of course by buying a larger plant, you are really buying time.  The weather is starting to finally cooperate.  We have had a few days in the 80's string together.  Since the weather has been unusually mild, my tridents think it is fall and many are dropping there leaves.  I have a flowering cherry tree beginning to flower.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring.  As usual half of the customers purchased something and the other half was overwhelmed and said they will return when they have more time to select the tree they want to work with.  After all was said and done, I did not accomplish much of what I wanted to do.  It will wait until Monday.  Tomorrow I am taking a day off and enjoying time with my wife.