Harry Hirao Arb. Demo

rockm

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Harry Hirao gave an excellent demonstration at the National Arb. on Saturday during the Potomac Bonsai Association show. He worked on the famous 750 year old Cal. Juniper he collected over 20 years ago and donated to the arb about 15 or so years ago.

The tree had been on the verge of dieing after remaining constantly wet during a wet summer here in 2008. The akadama soil it had been in never dried out and rotted the roots. The plant has been in intensive care for the last few years. The soil was replaced with crushed granite and pumice. The results have been extremely strong growth and renewed vigor in the last couple of years. Harry said it was time to push the apex over abotu a foot to recover the original design.

The tree will also be repotted into a custom-made container by Ron Lang next year. The current pot is a bit too shallow to handle the sweeping deadwood. Currently the deadwood has to be supported from the bottom by a block of wood. The new container has plugs in the corner to run wire through that will provide support in the future.

Harry said he had found the tree standing on the Cal. mountain in its current position, deadwood and all. There has been no carving done on the deadwood, which has astonishing patina.

We'll have to see how the new pot works out--you can see it in the lower right in one of the photos. Ron was told the pot was selected when I was standing next to him in the vendor tent buying a couple of his pots. Needless to say, he was overwhelmed at the honor. The juniper had always been one of his favorite trees for its sculptural qualities. Ron is a trained professional sculptor as well as a potter. The pot is unglazed and has a rough natural wood fired finish that I think will work well with the tree. The photo blurs the rough texture on it a bit.
 

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Why would someone plant this in akadama anyway? Just curious. Seems like the less moisture retentive soil would've been a first choice from the start.
 

crhabq

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Neil,

Just a guess on my part but I'd bet that in the dryer climate of CA akadama would not be a problem at all, while in the wetter climate of DC it might start to be a problem. Perhaps the Nat. Arb. just tried to replicate the original potting mix when they used akadama? As well, pumice may not be in east coaster potting mix as much as west coasters as it is not locally available as much. Pumice is a great potting mix choice. Uglier than lava rock but cheaper and lighter. With the new pot some red lava rock would make a nice top dressing IMHO.
Just a guess but it might answer your question.

Ray
 

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