Olive Bonsai Styling

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olive bonsai

I imported this yamadori Olea sylvestris/Olive bonsai from Spain in September 2016. Featuring a twisting trunk, great taper and naturally tiny leaves, it was a small tree with plenty of character!

olive bonsai

In recent years I've become very fond of Olives as a species for bonsai. Fast growing and easy to look after, they simply require protection from the cold-wet of a typical British winter (I overwinter mine in an unheated greenhouse to protect them from the rain rather than the cold).

Olives prefer to be repotted during the Summer, in preference to the normal repotting times for the vast majority of species. As a result, this specimen was planted into a shallow plastic bowl once it had reached me here in the UK. To my pleasant surprise, the tree had a large area of very interesting deadwood hidden in the soil!

The tree was allowed to rest while it recovered from repotting and acclimatized to the cooler temperatures in the UK.

olive bonsai olea

In June 2017, I decided to work the Olive hard and style it. The tree was strong and after partially defoliation in late Spring, it had responded with plenty of new shoots.

My main focus was working on the deadwood. Although Olive wood is typically very strong, the area that had been buried in the soil for many decades was fragile and required hardening. Using Cyanoacrylate (superglue), I thoroughly hardened the wood, as described in this article, enabling me to be able to carve the and shape the wood without the carving bits simply tearing it apart.

After carving, I stained the wood using ash and lime-sulphur (as described here) before giving the primary branches their first styling.

olive bonsai olea

The left-hand side of the Olive bonsai before carving.......

olive bonsai olea

.........and after carving.

olive bonsai olea

The back of the Olive was plain prior to carving, having been roughly-cut by whoever had collected the tree.

olive bonsai olea

Carving was more of a challenge as there was little natural character in this area.

olive bonsai olea

Olive Bonsai Styling: Page 1 2