Help with a Serissa

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Help with a Serissa

Postby lmrk » Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:13 pm

Hi all

I bought a serissa in about November last year. It was huge, and I cut it back and pruned the roots. It's doing just ok, lots of little dead leaves which I pick off.

This is what it looks like now:
Image

There are 2 issues with this tree. First, don't like the shape (which is my fault for the way I pruned it at the start). Any suggestions as to what I can do to make it look more pleasing? It really has me stumped - just can't think which style it lends itself to.

The other question I have is in relation to what I believe may be "suckers" growing from it? The tree has tiny, delicate leaves and flowers, but there are these much bigger, juicy stemmed growths coming out of the top:

Image
Image

Should these be cut off? They are the only part of the tree currently producing flowers.

Also, most of my plants / trees have like a "rust" around the roots, or on the trunk or the rim of the pot. Is this just rust from the old water pipes at my place? It does give a more aged appearance, but concerned that it may be damaging my plants.
Image


Cheers & thanks

Leah
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Re: Help with a Serissa

Postby imonetwo » Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:15 pm

Just keeping turning it around and looking at it, its flowering so no use doing any major pruning. It has a very nice trunk and, as they grow like weeds you will have the making of a very nice plant after shaping.I know you think its funny but you need to see the tree within :) What I really mean is look for a much smaller tree inside of what you have, starting from the trunk up. All the lower growth is stunted,the new growth on top is a witness to how good you look after it. I would remove all of that,( unless you want a large tree) after flowering.
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Eric
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Re: Help with a Serissa

Postby taffyman » Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:33 am

Leah, just to add to what Eric has said. Serissa is notorious for suckering - particularly from the roots. If you cut or damage a root, it is almost guaranteed to sucker from that point. I wouldn't suggest you try the methods in the Garden forum to stop this suckering, just cut them off when they appear. The botanical name for Serissa is Serissa Foedida, and you'll know why if you cut the roots and get close enough to smell them - they stink! They are also called 'Tree of a thousand stars'.
Eric said 'look for the tree within' and that's great advice. I would add: Look and study your tree, it will show its best shape. Look closely at the trunk and the way the branches grow from it. Long sappy growth with large spaces between the nodes do nothing to enhance a tree at all. They are 'water shoots' which a lot of trees and shrubs put out - even roses. Serissa can be made very compact and is usually used for very small Bonsai. Imagine your tree with all that top removed leaving just the lower (and older) branches that have a bit of shape to them. To the eye the trunk would look huge with the top removed.
Do a search with Google. Type in serissa + bonsai then click on Images at the top of the page. There are heaps of examples there. Here's another one:
http://www.fukubonsai.com/5a17.html
Taffy
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Re: Help with a Serissa

Postby lmrk » Wed Jan 23, 2008 7:28 am

Thanks Eric & Taffy

That's really good advice. There was a sucker growing out of the roots last week, but I just cut it off.

Oh, don't worry - I know all about that smell :shock: :shock: . When I first took it out of the pot and started pruning it, I thought, "what the hell, this tree smells like it's rotting" even though it looked really healthy. It wasn't until I did a google search that I found out that it's normal to produce the "foetid" smell when the roots or branches are cut.

That's a good idea about maybe pruning back the top, to find the smaller tree at the bottom. I was hoping for a small, delicate bonsai with this one. That picture on the website you posted Taffy, has given me something to strive for!

Will keep you posted!

Cheers

Leah
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