Large Privet Bonsai Progression

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Large Privet Bonsai Progression

August 2010 continued: Having achieved a nicely tapered stump, I decided to gently repot the tree into a more suitably-sized container with good quality bonsai soil. This would increase the vigour of the tree as well as giving me an opportunity of removing the weeds!

Large Privet Bonsai Progression

It also meant I was able to see exactly where the true soil level should be.......and soon realised that the previous owner had planted the tree very deeply and the nebari was 10cm+ below the soil surface. Discovery of the very base of the trunk (nebari) is always important; it defines the overall height of the trunk, the proportions of the tree and the future height of the first branch.

(Please note that in the UK, August is often warm and humid but the heat of the Summer has often passed and so it is possible to repot Privet. This is a very risky repotting time for a lot of other tree species and should not be carried out. The actual rootpruning of Privet is also not recommended at this time of year)

Large Privet Bonsai Progression

Finally, with the Privet repotted at the correct height, I had a trunk that could be developed into a bonsai. After this very severe work, the tree needed to be allowed to recover by being allowed to simply grow.

Large Privet Bonsai Progression

April 2011: By this time I had decided that the reverse side of the stump would make the best bonsai. Privet are one of the earliest trees to bud out in Spring but generally don't start extending new shoots until temperatures are reliably warm in late May/early June (in the UK). However, after a warm early Spring in 2011, this Privet was already responding to the previous years treatment with vigour.

Large Privet Bonsai Progression

July 2011: The privet was fed very heavily with slow-release and soluble fertilizers and by midsummer had extended many of the new shoots to around half a metre in length. By doing this it had also fully recovered its vigour. I could now choose the shoots I needed to establish the branch structure of the bonsai.

Large Privet Bonsai Progression

July 2011: A number of shoots were chosen as the new branches of the bonsai and the remainder were removed.

Large Privet Bonsai Progression

August 2011: I wired and positioned the newly chosen branches and within a few weeks, new shoots were emerging.

 

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