Olive tree just getting started.

Discussion in 'Fruiting' started by Hamlet_Bonsai, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. Hamlet_Bonsai

    Hamlet_Bonsai Seed

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Brittany, France
    I've had this olive for around 15 yrs, I've recently started to style it so I thought I'd share some pics here.
    I bought it as a bonsai but it ended up sat outside, was potted onto a larger plant pot and ignored for many yrs until my interest in practising bonsai came back.
    I potted it into smaller pots and root pruned over a couple of years whilst trying to air layer a low down branch. This layering didn't take once removed and it created large swollen bumps on the lower trunk which you can see in the pics.

    So in 2015 I started to style it into an informal upright and then bought a new pot for it at the end of the year, this picture shows it a week or so after root pruning and potting around March '16.

    The idea was to have an apex slightly lower than where the highest foliage was in the photo, you can see however that the leaves aren't looking very healthy on the tree and it went on to drop them all.
    I think the pruning which I did at the time of repotting could have led to this as I've since read that pruning is better during hot weather for olives? I don't know if this applies to root pruning as well?

    [​IMG]

    I was worried about the tree and left it in a sheltered/shaded/ sunny spot and watered carefully until a couple of months later it had leafed out again from new buds which had previously formed. At this point I was thinking carefully about what new styling was to be done with it as I hadn't been entirely happy with the large informal upright design. The straight section of trunk which lacked taper was a concern, the height/ trunk width ratio another and the image of an olive tree wasn't really there.

    Here's how the recovered tree looked:

    [​IMG]

    At the time I had a look online for ideas when I came across this forum and saw a members olive bonsai where they were doing something similar in deciding to reduce the size of the tree to create a more natural olive image.
    So I decided on reducing the trunk size and thread grafting a couple of branches in place where I hope they can form part of the main branch framework. I reckon on having these two along with one or more from the trunk as a framework as well as a lower branch coming out of the trunk where it swells already.

    This is how it stood after working on the tree, the new sets of leaves have since opened/ grown out on the grafted branches (and wire removed before winter).

    [​IMG]

    Here's an idea of the framework I hope for:

    [​IMG]

    And here's what the foliage silhouette could look like in years to come:

    [​IMG]

    Feedback/ suggestions very much appreciated! Thanks.
     
    petegreg, jrw, fredman and 3 others like this.
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  3. just.wing.it

    just.wing.it Masterpiece

    Messages:
    2,362
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    Nice plan!
    Good plan!
    Welcome to crazy!
     
  4. fredman

    fredman Omono

    Messages:
    1,688
    Location:
    Wellington New Zealand
    I agree it's a good plan. I like the natural look you have in mind for it...
     
    just.wing.it likes this.
  5. sorce

    sorce Pokemon Go Master

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    Location:
    Berwyn, Il
    Welcome to Crazy!

    Sorce
     
  6. Woody Carverton

    Woody Carverton Sapling

    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    NewEngland
    Love it, Have a Kalamata Olive that is at the "i'll get to it some day" stage like yours was too. Seeing this makes me think that some day should be today. Thanks for the inspiration.
     
  7. Dalmat

    Dalmat Mame

    Messages:
    200
    Location:
    Croatia,Dalmatian coast
    Nice little olive. Really don't want to be negative with your plan but there a few flaws in it. First is that bulge on the left won't "go away" with photoshop and will grow bigger and ruin your imagined line. The right branch also will not have that smooth line transition it will grove but the buldge will grow too. That is just the simple way how the olive grows. especially if those are grafted branches and it will take a very long time to thicken that right branch to become a beliveable "first branch" and in a meantime you have to constantly cut back the top, so no ramification to develop,until you grow that first branch. In short you will need a lot of years to wait and than see that the plan does not develop to your wishes as pictured above.
     
    sorce and Mr.E like this.
  8. Tycoss

    Tycoss Mame

    Messages:
    220
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    My understanding with big bulged on olives is that you pretty much have to either decide you like them, or carve them into deadwood features.
     
  9. Hamlet_Bonsai

    Hamlet_Bonsai Seed

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Brittany, France
    Thanks for all the comments and welcomes :) nice to hear the post has encouraged you with your own olive tree Woody!
    Yeah I wasn't sure about the bulge on the trunk- whether it would be possible to root graft onto it in order to blend it into the nebari, or carve it back like you suggest Tycoss.
    Dalmat I was guessing perhaps 5 or 6 years in order to develop the framework of branches before starting to develop the ramification? With the lowest branch I would have to keep letting it grow out a lot and also keep some sacrificial branches left to grow out to thicken it too, then cut back and repeat to create movement and taper?
     
  10. Dalmat

    Dalmat Mame

    Messages:
    200
    Location:
    Croatia,Dalmatian coast
    If mine I'll cut it like this and get movement, taper, character and start for main branches all in one shot and save myself a few years. DSC_0691_zps9snit3ar.jpg
     
    sorce likes this.
  11. Hamlet_Bonsai

    Hamlet_Bonsai Seed

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Brittany, France
    I'd not thought abut cutting back that far, but I can see how it could work. The lower cut I'd considered was just beneath the fork which I've left.
    Thanks for the suggestions!
     
  12. Tycoss

    Tycoss Mame

    Messages:
    220
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    IMG_2297.JPG IMG_2296.JPG IMG_2295.JPG
    Here is how I chose to deal with the bulges in my two little olives. Might give you some ideas. This first one was carved down to the hardwood, and then drilled to add texture and interest. The thing at the bottom is a rock of similar shape and texture to the deadwood used to hide the inverse taper.
     
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  13. Tycoss

    Tycoss Mame

    Messages:
    220
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    IMG_2299.JPG IMG_2298.JPG The other option, as I said, is to decide you like the big ugly bulges, and try to incorporate them into the design. I may yet decide to "carve it up" , but this is how the bulge on my other olive looks now.
     
    sorce likes this.
  14. @Hamlet_Bonsai - Nice start. You have already had this tree 15 years or more. How tall is it?, What is the diameter of the trunk just below the two thick forking branches? I have no sense of scale from your photos, but it does look to my eye to be less than 30 cm tall.

    My thought is, you already have 15 years into growing this, might as well try to use more of the ''old wood'' that you already have. I did a rough virtual, I am not good with ''paint''. How about making the first thick branch your first branch. This would save you the time needed to thicken a branch lower than the first branch. The first branch should always be the thickest, which means you would either have to remove any branches higher up that are thicker than your first or grow out the first and keep everything in check until the first branch is developed enough.

    In general, guidelines would suggest a plan somewhat similar to the blue marks I made. Most recommend to use the distance between the base of the trunk and the first branch as the measure of first third of the total height of the tree. This is not absolute, but does fit general design principals that work well. In the trunk zone, you have trunk, or maybe trunk and the formation of first sub-trunks, no foliage in this zone. The second third is the region of initial ramification, all your main branches come off the trunk or sub trunks in this zone, but foliage pads are not in this zone. The outer third is the region of secondary, tertiary and higher levels of ramification. All your foliage should be in this zone. These crude elliptical shapes really should be concentric spheres, all with one edge meeting at the base of the trunk. When viewed from the angle of the photograph, at the level of the rim of the pot, Foliage can appear to be in the lower zones, but in reality it is in the outer third of the conceptual sphere. In other words, foliage is that far out from the trunk, whether it is out and up or out and down doesn't matter. So it is okay for foliage behind the trunk to seem to be in the zones of ''no foliage''.

    In addition, that distance, trunk base to first branch, serves as a unit of measure for determining how long a segment of branch should be. Your first segment of each branch should be less than this distance, ideally 1/3 or 2/3 of this length, and each subsequent segment should be shorter. Each segment should branch at its end, or make a significant change of direction if it doesn't branch. Long and straight, makes the tree look young.

    If this were mine, now that you have worked the roots, to speed development I would put it back in a grow out pot, maybe 20 or 30 liters, or bigger if the tree is bigger than it looks in the photo, and get it growing vigorously again. Yes you will later have to reduce the root system, but if you want to get quick development, you need to keep it growing. Keep it growing in a large grow out box, container, or nursery flat until you have primary and secondary branching all in place. You can move it to a bonsai pot once you want slow growth needed to create fine foliage pads.

    These are my general thoughts, I think this will be a quicker route to a tree you can enjoy. Remember, even the smallest of bonsai may spend five to ten years being over 2 meters tall. We prune trees down to make bonsai, it is seldom that they are growin ''up'' to bonsai size. Let it get big and bushy while you are developing your first 2 levels of ramification. Then work on making it smaller. virt-olive.jpg
     
    Vin, aml1014, sorce and 1 other person like this.
  15. In addition, if it were mine I would repot the olive deeper, where the blue circles over lap should be right at the soil line. Buried you will get better surface root development that you can expose later. Planted high like this what surface roots you have will not thicken much, and may even die off, making for a less than ideal nebari.

    It is true that olive tend to have lumps, knots and bugles, no way around that, but you could get a nicer, more even arrangement of roots by burying the surface roots and growing that way for 5 years or so.
     
  16. Hamlet_Bonsai

    Hamlet_Bonsai Seed

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Brittany, France
    Thanks for the replies- and the photos Twycoss.
    Leo thanks for taking the time to reply so thoroughly, I've had a think and I've saved your post too to re-read.
    The pot is 26 cm across so not very thick trunk below the fork- around 2cm.
    I'll have to think which way to go about re-potting it this spring, and update this thread at the end of the year with a progress report on the new growth and what direction I decide to take.
    Cheers.
     
    Tycoss likes this.

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