Fallen Trunk/Raft-Form Hawthorn Bonsai Progression Series

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I decided that the trunk and its new branches (or 'trunks') had much more interest, dug the tree up from the ground and bought it home to style into a bonsai. As can be seen in the image above, taken after bare-rooting (to remove all ground soil) and heavy root pruning, a new and very strong root system with plenty of shallow and fibrous roots had developed over the previous 3 years.

hawthorn first styling

The tree was planted up into an over-sized mica training pot at the same angle that it had been growing in the ground. The tree could now be styled for the first time.

hawthorn styling

A couple of hours later and the tree has been styled ready for the forthcoming growing season. I chose 5 shoots of varying heights and thicknesses to create an image of 5 trunks growing from the fallen stump of an old tree. All other live growth was then removed as this would in turn prompt plenty of new shoots during the growing season that could be developed into the trunks' branches. These new 'trunks' were then wired to ensure they grew upright and so they could be precisely positioned.

hawthorn during the summer

August 2007: The bonsai responded as predicted to its initial styling, producing excessive numbers of new branches from which I could build a new branch structure. The bonsai was repeatedly pruned throughout the Summer of 2007 to encourage plenty of fine branches and ramification.

hawthorn bonsai

November 2007: 18 months after being lifted from my growing field and over 5 years since collection, the tree had been completely transformed. In the image above it had been pruned back and restyled after leaf-fall to refine its new branch structure. Note that the branches had very purposely been positioned so that they grow upwards as you would expect branches of a deciduous tree to grow; not with the cartoon-like downward raked branches of a Pine, something that can be seen too commonly in bonsai.

It was ready for a proper bonsai pot, a shallow 'landscape' pot was commissioned from Vic Harris of Erin Pottery.

bonsai pot erin pottery

Vic designed a distressed and 'damaged' pot to compliment the design of the bonsai itself

hawthorn raft bonsai

March 2008 and the bonsai is finally planted up into it's new pot to complete the image. Current height of bonsai: 13.5"/33cm

While I had some serious doubts that the tree was worth saving 6 years ago, with the help of a little luck, I am very pleased at how it turned out as a bonsai!

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