Saturday, May 29, 2010
As per some more reading, I decided to go back to this elm and "ring bark" it. The wire tourniquet method would've been less drastic as I started to do but you would have to wait for the trunk to swell and the wire to cut in to the cambium in order for a new root system to emerge (or the bark to simply grow around the wire which I don't want). The "ring bark" method as shown in the photos was what i just did to it yesterday. I used a sharp knife to cut the bark off around the tree about an inch high. I used a dremel to get into some hard to reach areas. I then surrounded the trunk with my mesh lathe stuff again and filled it up with "soil." Roots should emerge right along the upper cut. This will have to probably remain on the parent tree for one year before it establishes itself enough on the new root system. In the meantime I will fertilize heavily and allow as much top growth as possible to force the roots into growing.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
A few weeks ago I decided to try an experiment. What you see in these images is a species of elm that naturalized within some of my massive privet hedges. I've seen a number of these growing and over the years they were ruthless hacked back and whacked with the weed whip and just keep coming back. This particular one has developed burls and an overall ugliness to the trunk that I find appealing. The base is about 5" wide. I believe these might be a slippery elm. I tore off some leaves and when rubbing the petiole they have a slippery feeling. The leaves are very rough on the top surface and have a double serration along the the edge, alternating from large to small and the base of leaves have a non-symmetrical oblique and acute curve to them. Regardless of the species of elm, I will proceed with the explanation of the experiment. This tree's trunk curves well below and behind the underside of a privet. It is non-intriguing beneath the surface when I dug a couple inches below. It also has reverse taper between the burls and trunk line and would make removal difficult having to remove the huge privet and elm together. I decided to try ground-layering this. Right below the burl at the dotted line is the old soil line which was dug out to prepare for wire and a new soil medium as indicated in (b). This is where I took a heavy gauge wire and wrapped it tight around the trunk and tightened the wire as hard as I can with pliers, biting into the bark as shown in red in figure (c). I then took plastic lathe that I had from a home remodel project and cut a strip of it and wrapped it around the trunk and wired the two ends of the strip of lathe together as shown in (d) to form a "pot". I filled this up with a mixture of sphagnum moss and Turface MVP covering up some of the burl as well as indicated in (e). Over time, this trunk will swell and the wire will cut into the cambium. Theoretically new roots will begin to grow into the new medium directly above the wire. In an ideal situation this will take 8 weeks. Other times this will be left on until next spring. When the new roots colonize this "pot" I can remove the tree from it's old root system by sawing through the trunk below the wire and pot it up.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
This is a bonsai bench I built for alongside the house. It measures 4x10. The decking is air-dried white oak that I got for free which I ripped down to 3" widths and spaced 3/4" of an inch. I dug out the sod and picked up 1 ton of washed gravel. This isn't a final display area but instead a place to allow my trees to develop. I hope that this area receives enough direct light. I measured between 5 and 6 hours of morning to early afternoon light. I may have to move some of the sun-hungry trees depending on how they do. I'm still undecided where to place a couple large Amurs which aren't in this area yet.