Contorted Japanese Flowering Apricot

fredtruck

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My ume is now entering its second flush of flowers. The timing is good, because of the approach of 2015. Looking back over past times and looking forward as the new year begins, I wish all of you the very best of the holiday.

ul prunus mume c. 12-29-14.jpg
 

markyscott

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Looks good Fred.

Adair, this sounds like techniques for Apple/malus species. Ume do not develop blooming spurs the same way malus do. The challenge is to keep the proximal buds viable, which is achieved by pruning new growth early, late April/early May:

Let new growth extend to 8-12 leaves and cut back hard, leaving the first 1-4 leaves. Done early enough, it will bud back and keep growing. Done later, and it will stop growing for the year. Many will defoliate and wire at this time too.

The next pruning occurs after blooming, January/February:

Cut back last year's extension growth to 1-2 buds. Leave only 1 if you're sure its a viable bud, leave 2 if you're not sure about the viability of the first.
Brian - I wonder if you've had a chance to look at the article "Alstadt, L. P., 1982, Pruning Flowering Apricot Bonsai, International Bonsai, 1982 #1"? In it, The author advocates removing the first three leaves of each spring shoot at the same time as the spring pruning you discuss on your blog. Her claim is that the buds that form at the leafless nodes will be reliably vegetative, thereby pushing flowering onto the secondary spring shoots.

I have no experience with Mume, so I can't say either way. But I'd be interested to know how your experience squares with the advice in that article. I also noted that leaf removal is not mentioned in the article "Chiharu, I., 1995, Important tasks during the year for the training and cultivation of Prunus Mume, Bonsai Today, #37, 1995-3". Perhaps the earlier technique is no longer practiced?

Thanks
Scott
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Brian - I wonder if you've had a chance to look at the article "Alstadt, L. P., 1982, Pruning Flowering Apricot Bonsai, International Bonsai, 1982 #1"? In it, The author advocates removing the first three leaves of each spring shoot at the same time as the spring pruning you discuss on your blog. Her claim is that the buds that form at the leafless nodes will be reliably vegetative, thereby pushing flowering onto the secondary spring shoots.

I have no experience with Mume, so I can't say either way. But I'd be interested to know how your experience squares with the advice in that article. I also noted that leaf removal is not mentioned in the article "Chiharu, I., 1995, Important tasks during the year for the training and cultivation of Prunus Mume, Bonsai Today, #37, 1995-3". Perhaps the earlier technique is no longer practiced?

Thanks
Scott
Scott,
I don't have the International Bonsai issue, but do have the BT #37, and will check it out. So the '82 article advocates for simply removing the first 3 leaves, and not pruning back the long, running shoots? Then those denuded nodes produce foliage, which I presume, can be stopped short later to get flower buds. Sounds like an interesting experiment and I'll have to check it out with one growing in the ground.

Bjorn and Owen have both said they prune and defoliate ume in early May, and sometimes they grow again, and sometimes they remain leafless for the rest of the year. So far, my approach has been to cut back hard, leaving 1-4 nodes in late April-early May. I get some back budding, but mostly it just stops the extension growth, and flower buds form at the remaining nodes. I'll update my ume thread soon; it's just about to bloom.
 

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markyscott

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Scott,
I don't have the International Bonsai issue, but do have the BT #37, and will check it out. So the '82 article advocates for simply removing the first 3 leaves, and not pruning back the long, running shoots? Then those denuded nodes produce foliage, which I presume, can be stopped short later to get flower buds. Sounds like an interesting experiment and I'll have to check it out with one growing in the ground.

Bjorn and Owen have both said they prune and defoliate ume in early May, and sometimes they grow again, and sometimes they remain leafless for the rest of the year. So far, my approach has been to cut back hard, leaving 1-4 nodes in late April-early May. I get some back budding, but mostly it just stops the extension growth, and flower buds form at the remaining nodes. I'll update my ume thread soon; it's just about to bloom.
Hi Brian. The '82 article suggests removing the first three leaves and then pruning back to 5-6 (including the three removed leaves). The argument was that removing the leaves will ensure vegetative buds at those nodes on the primary spring growth closest to the branch. So I guess that would help to keep the growth tight and the flower buds would develop on the secondary spring growth. Other than that difference, the seasonal care was similar to what you wrote about.

Scott
 

RedRav

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Flowering Apricot Contorta ~ beautiful!

My prunus mume contorta has undergone a few changes in the last year. Most important was continuing the slanting movement of the tree begun last year, slanting it even more. This makes for more interesting viewing and photographing angles. Growth has been good, though small in size.

People often ask me how this tree stands up, given the small pot and the slant of the tree. As it is now, the ume is perfectly balanced. However, when the tree begins putting on leaves and shoots, the weight balance is thrown off. I learned a trick from the art gallery business. Sculptures are often anchored to pedestals by putting wax on the bottom of the art. I do the same with this bonsai. Care must be taken to avoid clogging the drain holes, but properly applied, wax works like a charm.
Hi FredTruck - I just bought a flowering apricot contorta - but rather small compared to yours. Am really impressed with the changes you have done from receiving this wonderful gift to the obvious hard work you have done - you should be very proud of yourself!
 

RedRav

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2nd flower flush ~ gorgeous!

My ume is now entering its second flush of flowers. The timing is good, because of the approach of 2015. Looking back over past times and looking forward as the new year begins, I wish all of you the very best of the holiday.

View attachment 65029
Thank you FredTruck for posting such a beautiful pic of your ume. To me it looks like a quince but I think you said it was a flowering apricot contorta. I have a small one and am going to attempt to make it as ramified as you have done - very, very impressive!
Happy New Year and Happy Healthy Bonsai to you and family!
 

RedRav

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2nd flower flush ~ gorgeous!

My ume is now entering its second flush of flowers. The timing is good, because of the approach of 2015. Looking back over past times and looking forward as the new year begins, I wish all of you the very best of the holiday.

View attachment 65029
Thank you FredTruck for posting such a beautiful pic of your ume. To me it looks like a quince but I think you said it was a flowering apricot contorta. I have a small one and am going to attempt to make it as ramified as you have done - very, very impressive!
Happy New Year and Happy Healthy Bonsai to you and family!
 

fredtruck

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Full Bloom

The Contorta has just exploded with blossoms. To date, the number of flowers has improved each year for the last 5 or 6 years. I feel pretty lucky.
 

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drew33998

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The Contorta has just exploded with blossoms. To date, the number of flowers has improved each year for the last 5 or 6 years. I feel pretty lucky.
Can you show it with a black background?
 

Nybonsai12

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This tree just keeps getting better. one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing.
 

fredtruck

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In the last year, several things have happened to my tree. I became aware in June or so that the tree wasn't growing the way I wanted it to. I did an emergency repot, and put my ume in a slightly larger Yamaaki pot. I was sad to take the ume out of its Bigei drum, but I felt there just wasn't any room at all for expansion. The ume responded quickly, and though it never grows a whole lot at this stage, at least it didn't grow much with energy and zest. I don't know how else to put this. Yesterday I noticed the first flower of the season opening. I photographed it today. Of course, the flower is facing away from the camera and is still in its "globe" phase.

So, welcome to the Holiday Season, and the best to all of you.ul prunus mume c. 1st flower 12-21-15HDR2-2.jpg
 

bonhe

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In the last year, several things have happened to my tree. I became aware in June or so that the tree wasn't growing the way I wanted it to. I did an emergency repot, and put my ume in a slightly larger Yamaaki pot. I was sad to take the ume out of its Bigei drum, but I felt there just wasn't any room at all for expansion. The ume responded quickly, and though it never grows a whole lot at this stage, at least it didn't grow much with energy and zest. I don't know how else to put this. Yesterday I noticed the first flower of the season opening. I photographed it today. Of course, the flower is facing away from the camera and is still in its "globe" phase.
I like the current pot. Very nice tree, indeed.
My ume also had the same problem like yours 2 years ago. Since it was placed in the bigger pot, it has grown strong! We sometimes have to sacrifice the pot size to accommodate the tree's health.
My ume begins having its flower buds swelling at this time.

So, welcome to the Holiday Season, and the best to all of you
Thank you and same to you and your family.
Bonhe
 

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