Hillii - Work in Progress2

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Hillii - Work in Progress2

Postby taffyman » Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:53 pm

I’ve started a second topic on this tree to show how it’s been developing since I got it in about July 2005.
First photo is what it looked like when it came into my possession – very ‘leggy’ and way out of control.

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Second photo is after its first prune and some wiring. The foliage pads look like a bunch of Pom-Poms but because of the thickness of the main branches I knew it was going to take some doing to get them down to be able to develop decent foliage pads
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Third photo was in April last year after a couple of days wiring and pruning.

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Fourth, fifth and sixth photos were after its radical pruning and wiring in November last year.

Image Image Image

In December it bounced back big time – 7th photo, and it’s had a number of minor prunes since then.
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Two weeks ago I decided to re-pot it because it was getting too large for the brown pot. I got a new pot from Bonsai Northside in Morayfield (north of Brissie). It’s actually 100mm longer inside than the original, but because there is no lip on it like the brown one, it doesn’t look any different in width – it still looks too small for the tree. So, I need one about 100 - 150mm longer again, or one slightly wider with a wide lip on it. It was the largest pot they had at the nursery at the time. A larger oval pot or even a rectangular one would look good. Visually, the pot doesn’t look too bad, but in photos it really does show up as being too small.

A few weeks ago I was watching Better Homes and Gardens and they had an interesting segment on about planting by the phases of the moon. So two weeks into the new moon was when I did the re-pot. I took some pretty heavy roots from the bottom of the root system because it would have sat too high in the new pot, and I trimmed all the other roots back by about 10%. I did absolutely minimal foliage removal (should take off as much foliage as roots removed, but I didn’t) and I potted it up. In the next three photos taken today, you may be able to see some pale green leaves. These are new ones that have grown over the last two weeks – not one single leaf died off. Is there something in planting by the moon phases? I don’t know but it sure appeared to work for this tree. It still has a way to go to develop into a really nice tree but it’s getting there.

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The left side is just about in proportion to the trunk, but the right side still needs to fill out more towards the red line in the ninth photo and the pot should ideally come out somewhere near the two blue lines. I think it also needs more definition to separate the foliage pads – that will come with constant defoliation and the resulting reduction in the size of the leaves – and also by more wiring. I’d also like to bring the lower left branch down more horizontal, but I don’t think I can move it even with really thick wire, so to overcome it, I can wire the smaller branches and twigs on it down more as they grow. The last photo was taken with the camera level with the pot and it shows the underside of the branches with all the wiring on them. A number of the branches look as if they’re crossing over others but they’re not – it’s just the angle of the photo.

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Update 30 May 09:

Over the last couple of months I've been doing quite a bit of work with this one. I removed all the wire I'd put on (nearly a kilo of the stuff) about two weeks ago, and I've been pinching out new growth as it's developed. Two days ago I had a real good look at it and realized the right side was filling out nicely. I put more wire on to bring the branches down, trimmed it up so I could see what I was working with and yesterday it was as photo 1. That bottom left branch was still a problem in that it was still growing up at an angle.

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Today, I put some serious wire on the branches coming away from it, and managed to bring them down a bit more, but the main part of the branch still wasn't where I wanted it. I could move it near enough with my hand but if I put enough wire on the main part to bring it down, the wire would have cut into the branch before it set in place. So, I tried a different tack. I hooked a thick wire round a large root and brought it up and over the branch. By pulling the branch down with my hand then bending the wire over it, I managed to get it in the position that I want it. It'll take quite a while for it to set in that position, and I may have to score the underside of the branch so that it callouses over and strengthens the branch. That should set it in that position.

I had thought about cutting a wedge out from under the branch where it grows out from the trunk, but that would most likely cut the food supply from the roots and there would probably be a high risk of killing the branch off - and that I can't afford to let happen. There are other techniques I can try if this way isn't successful, but I'll look at them later if I need to.

The second photo shows the tree as it is today:

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In the third photo, the red arrow points to the wire I put on to pull that branch down. The orange arrow is the actual front of the tree so it needs to be turned a little bit in the pot as shown by the blue arrow.

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The fourth photo shows that the back of the tree is still too wide in proportion to the rest of the tree and the blue arrows point to the main branches that I need to reduce in length. They only have foliage for the last couple of centimetres
Tomorrow, I'll clip them back to the first few leaves and they should bud further down the branch. As they do, I'll cut the branches back to the new growth. The red arrow points to a branch that I cracked when trying to bend it up, then further along the branch, trying to bring it down more. I put it back in its original position, wrapped it heavily and tightly with grafting tape then wound wire round it to hold it in position till it repairs itself. Guess I was a little to heavy handed with trying to bend it :shock: Something else I've noticed looking at the tree from that side is that it appears to be leaning too much to the front, but that's actually an optical illusion (cameras do lie). Because of the angle I took the photo, that is the main part of the trunk that goes out to the right when looking at it from the front.

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This tree has come a long way since that first photo at the top of the page, and it still has quite a bit to do to bring it up to a really good standard. I don't claim all the glory for getting it to this stage - I couldn't have done it with out the help of the tree itself. I've been pretty brutal with some of the things I've done to it, but the tree has always bounced back. Hopefully it'll do the same this time, and I'm pretty confident that within a few months, all those gaps between the branches will be full of foliage.
Figs? you've just got to love them (Y)
Taffy
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Re: Hillii - Work in Progress2

Postby Pam » Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:37 am

I’d also like to bring the lower left branch down more horizontal, but I don’t think I can move it even with really thick wire, so to overcome it, I can wire the smaller branches and twigs on it down more as they grow.


Would it not be possible to cut a V under the branch to bring it down, Taffy?
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Re: Hillii - Work in Progress2

Postby taffyman » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:19 pm

Yes Pam, I sure could cut a 'V' under the branch and on the first topic about this tree I suggested I might do it. I still have it in mind but even though in our climate I can work on figs all year round, a procedure like that really needs to be done in spring when the tree is in full sap flow - when the sap almost squirts out of a cut. I know the procedure works - I did as an experiment on two heavy branches on another Hillii in a styrene box about two or three months ago with no ill effects.
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Re: Hillii - Work in Progress2

Postby lmrk » Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:18 pm

Beautiful tree Taffy!! (Y). It's evolution is just amazing!!! Now, just to get those foliage pads right...... :-?
Does a watched bonsai ever grow?
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Re: Hillii - Work in Progress2

Postby taffyman » Sat May 30, 2009 10:56 pm

Just updated this one - Update 30 May 09.
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Re: Hillii - Work in Progress2

Postby gooba » Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:57 pm

Great looking tree mate! (Y) (Y) (Y) . Got a price on the weekend for the tree giggers :shock: dont know about your budget but it blew mine out of the water!! going to hunt around a bit more. Will keep you posted , any luck your end? Rocket said he maybe able to help.

Talk soon
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Re: Hillii - Work in Progress2

Postby taffyman » Tue Jun 02, 2009 6:54 pm

Nothing around here Gooba. Hopefully the contacts Rod mentioned will work out.
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Re: Hillii - Work in Progress2

Postby Pam » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:22 am

Taffy, can you give me specifics of what it is you're after? Hubby has played with a bit of forging and may be able to knock it together for you.
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