Welcome to my bonsai blog!

Welcome to my bonsai blog!

Look around! Use the Search box, browse the Archive, and leave comments. Click on any picture to enlarge it.
I would be honored to have you follow my posts. There are two ways to do that.
-- If you have your own blog, use Join this site
to have notifications of my posts sent to your blog's reading list.
-- If you don't have a blog,
use Follow by Email: new-post alerts will be sent to your email address. Pictures aren't included; that's just how Blogger does it. For the pictures you come here!
Fora and vendors that I can recommend from experience are listed in the right sidebar.
For more about the ads, and just why I enabled them, please see "About the ads," below.
"And the LORD God made ... trees that were pleasing to the eye ..." Gen. 2:9, New International Version.

"Bonsai isn't just something I do; it's part of what I am." Remark to my wife and daughter.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Well, that didn't work.

At the end of October, I repotted one of my willow-leaf figs (Ficus salicaria.) It was late in the season, but after repotting the tree went directly into the Bonsai Crate (the basement enclosure where I overwinter my tropical trees.) There I could give it plenty of TLC ("tender loving care".)

Pot by the late Max Braverman. The mulch is sphagnum moss.
The tree had some new aerial roots sprouting from the lower trunk, and I wanted to force them to fuse to the surface of the trunk. That would both create more visual interest at that point, and increase the visual weight of the lower trunk -- bulk it up, in other words. So I bound those aerial roots to the trunk using veterinary bandage, a fabric product that is partly self-adhesive and lets both water and air pass. It also stretches somewhat, but I (truly) thought that I had pulled it tight enough, as I applied it, to pull all the "stretch" out and so create a tight wrapping. Here's a picture of the tree just after I finished.

Within a couple of weeks, I began to suspect that, contrary to what I hoped, the vet bandage was not holding tightly. Further observation eventually convinced me that it was not, and I removed it a couple of days ago. And in fact it had not been tight. (Tho it had held the aerials in essentially the positions I wanted.) Nor had it held in as much moisture as I'd hoped, but perhaps I should have anticipated that: a vet bandage that doesn't dry quickly won't promote healing very well!
Click on any picture for a larger image.

Here are a couple of pictures of the tree with the vet bandage removed. You can see the difference in the bark color, where the bandage used to be. The drinking straw to the viewer's left is there to protect and guide a new aerial root until it reaches the soil and anchors itself. Once that happens, the straw will be split with a razor blade and removed very carefully.

The bright green is ordinary moss; volunteer growth.
Some of the new aerials survived; others didn't. In the third picture, the turquoise-green arrow points to a living aerial; the red arrow points to a dead one. I expect the small roots that are visible just above the sphagnum mulch to thicken fairly quickly in the next couple of years.

Conclusion: veterinary bandage has too much inherent stretch in it to work as a fusion binding. Fusion, whether of roots to trunk or of two trunks together, requires firm pressure maintained without interruption for, sometimes, a year or more. Many growers of tropical bonsai use plastic wrap for the purpose, and that's what I will try the next time I do this sort of procedure.

Inducing new aerial roots on the trunk of this tree, in the first place, was another project altogether. I started that a little over a year ago, and finished when I repotted the tree. But that's another story. If I can find a way to include some Progressions in my blog, I'll include that account in this tree's progression. Check back!

No comments:

Post a Comment