Hoping to know what I can, and cannot, use to clean deadwood before applying lime sulfur :)

SU2

Chumono
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#1
I'll be applying lime sulfur to anything I carve going forward*, however for things that I already carved & just have deadwood right now that I don't want to change the shape of, but does have green algae, which cleaners can I use w/ my brush to clean in preparation of lime sulfur application? Go-to's are isopropyl and h202(peroxide at 3%), I guess my hang-up here is that I know it's good to have the wood damp (but not wet) when applying the sulfur, however since I need to clean some areas of deadwood before applying the sulfur I'm wondering if I can use iso or h202 to brush-clean the areas and then, that afternoon, apply the lime-sulfur? Or do I need to wait a day for the chemicals to leave the wood before application?

Thanks for any help on this one, just got my first bottle and want to be sure I'm approaching it right :D

(*Another thing I'm real uncertain on- what if I'm carving-into 'live' sap-/heart-wood, for instance making a long/skinny vertical hollow down a long trunk, do I apply lime sulfur to the freshly-exposed wood there? If I don't, I know it'll develop the dead outer-layer and start turning dark colors with bacteria/mold/algae, at which point I know it's a candidate for lime sulfur treatment, what I'm unsure of is whether (and when) I should be applying it to areas that were sap-/heart-wood and are still naturally wet?)

Alright time to check that I've got all the protective gear outside and give this Bonsai-Jack lime sulfur a go, after watching many youtubes it's almost like the stuff is a paint (in terms of how striking the contrasts sometimes are), am a bit conflicted about "general aesthetic tastes" insofar as bleaching deadwood on broadleafs (especially tropical broadleafs) is, so far as I know, a faux pas - yet I've seen enough bougies with this treatment that maybe it's not as bad to do as I'd thought (and/or you just *gotta* apply it to prevent rapid degradation of the wood), though *IMO* something like this looks a bit silly:

a.jpg

I dunno, I guess something could be said for such striking differences between bark/deadwood/flowers/moss, though IMO this ^ thing's design looks like it's just conspiring to make the tree look as fake as possible.. while the perfect moss could be done away with, there's always going to be the "3 sharply-different-colors" effect for bougies (my most abundant species) when they've been treated w/ sulfur and are in-flower, perhaps burnishing (torching) is a better solution for bougies than l.sulfur is?
 

SU2

Chumono
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#2
Any guesstimates on how long I should wait to apply lime-sulfur to freshly-carved woods? Just finished-up a large section and burnished it, am unsure if I should apply LS yet or not (will be diluting with wetted ash a la harry harrington as it's deciduous), will also be skinning another spot to make a shari and unsure my torch can even (safely) get the spot I want so unsure whether I should apply the tinted LS right away, or let it rest a week (longer?) and then give it a quick isopropyl cleaning before the LS application?

Thanks for any suggestions!
 

JoeH

Chumono
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#3
I don't really care for the whiteness from Lime Sulfur and am interested in alternative wood preservation techniques.
 
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Vancouver Island, British Columbia
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#4
I'll be applying lime sulfur to anything I carve going forward*, however for things that I already carved & just have deadwood right now that I don't want to change the shape of, but does have green algae, which cleaners can I use w/ my brush to clean in preparation of lime sulfur application? Go-to's are isopropyl and h202(peroxide at 3%), I guess my hang-up here is that I know it's good to have the wood damp (but not wet) when applying the sulfur, however since I need to clean some areas of deadwood before applying the sulfur I'm wondering if I can use iso or h202 to brush-clean the areas and then, that afternoon, apply the lime-sulfur? Or do I need to wait a day for the chemicals to leave the wood before application?

Thanks for any help on this one, just got my first bottle and want to be sure I'm approaching it right :D

(*Another thing I'm real uncertain on- what if I'm carving-into 'live' sap-/heart-wood, for instance making a long/skinny vertical hollow down a long trunk, do I apply lime sulfur to the freshly-exposed wood there? If I don't, I know it'll develop the dead outer-layer and start turning dark colors with bacteria/mold/algae, at which point I know it's a candidate for lime sulfur treatment, what I'm unsure of is whether (and when) I should be applying it to areas that were sap-/heart-wood and are still naturally wet?)

Alright time to check that I've got all the protective gear outside and give this Bonsai-Jack lime sulfur a go, after watching many youtubes it's almost like the stuff is a paint (in terms of how striking the contrasts sometimes are), am a bit conflicted about "general aesthetic tastes" insofar as bleaching deadwood on broadleafs (especially tropical broadleafs) is, so far as I know, a faux pas - yet I've seen enough bougies with this treatment that maybe it's not as bad to do as I'd thought (and/or you just *gotta* apply it to prevent rapid degradation of the wood), though *IMO* something like this looks a bit silly:

View attachment 201185

I dunno, I guess something could be said for such striking differences between bark/deadwood/flowers/moss, though IMO this ^ thing's design looks like it's just conspiring to make the tree look as fake as possible.. while the perfect moss could be done away with, there's always going to be the "3 sharply-different-colors" effect for bougies (my most abundant species) when they've been treated w/ sulfur and are in-flower, perhaps burnishing (torching) is a better solution for bougies than l.sulfur is?
I use white vinegar and a toothbrush to clean deadwood if it has algae on it. I do not use either the vinegar or lime sulphur on freshly carved or edges of live tissue. I then brush with the toothbrush and water to rinse and pat dry before applying lime sulphur. When applying the lime sulphur the number of application and the strength of the solution affects the color. The picture above is not typical, nor is it visually pleasing in my opinion.
 

SU2

Chumono
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#5
I don't really care for the whiteness from Lime Sulfur and am interested in alternative wood preservation techniques.
Agreed, I was only learning how much a faux pas LS on deciduous was when I was first ordering, have gotten better at tinting it though (with diluted acrylic paint mixed w/ the LS, or that as well as wetted-ash applied first, which soak-in in an irregular fashion, giving a more natural appearance, a trick I learned from some H. Harrington article or video, though I disagree that it looks good to actually paint-black the deepest areas of cavities in deadwood recessions, seems too artificial and IMO this is the type of thing like facial-surgery on an older lady- if it's done *perfect*, it can look great, but if there's *any* sign of human-intervention, if fails. Very tight line to walk if you've got no choice but treating deadwood (am playing w/ burnishing as well, am going to resurrect this thread shortly (hopefully tonight) as it covers much of what I need to get the ball rolling on some Q's I had about coloration of live&dead wood, will link here when I do!)

Aging seems requisite for any chance at natural-looking deadwood on deciduous, though I've seen examples that look 100% authentic that were achieved w/ LS as a base/starting point. So far as 'preservation' I'm still looking for answers on preservation above&beyond LS/burnishing, both of which offer some protection but certainly not as much as possible!
 

SU2

Chumono
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#6
I use white vinegar and a toothbrush to clean deadwood if it has algae on it. I do not use either the vinegar or lime sulphur on freshly carved or edges of live tissue. I then brush with the toothbrush and water to rinse and pat dry before applying lime sulphur. When applying the lime sulphur the number of application and the strength of the solution affects the color. The picture above is not typical, nor is it visually pleasing in my opinion.
You should give h202 and isopropyl a try, I found them to be far better than vinegar and iso is a bit better than h202, though I'll use both when dealing with bad areas...I have a lot of trees and most are bougies-in-FL, bark-mold maintenance is part of my routine!!

Re freshly carved edges of live tissue, I imagine some species suffer far more from this contact than others. Harry Harrington says in his deadwood-treatment article that it WILL NOT hurt fresh plant tissue, and I've personally dabbed it on a leaf w/o killing the leaf (pure LS from my drip-bottle), just don't get lots on the substrate...I imagine this a "it won't hurt your tree in any reasonable practice-case", although I actually posted to a chemistry board to ask about LS, specifically its degradation, wondering whether it "goes inert" after drying-out, or if what's left is a bunch of solid LS molecules that are still as caustic as before, that'd then be slowly pulled into the soil via rainfall/waterings...the reply was that it was definitely 'still active'/caustic once-dried, I expect it's just a case of it not being that potent, and the excessive amounts that'd be rinsed-off by rain being so small as to be unsubstantial. It's not like pure lye or something lol, I've gotten it on bare skin and waited til I could notice it feeling funny, it's not super caustic.

The picture I presented above was meant as an extreme example, it's the most extreme of its kind (they're listing that specimen at like $1k minimum, probably 1.5-2.5k! Looks like it was collected that year, carved, and let grow til its first fllowering & potted-up / posted for sale! Though it's been there a while so their turnover is obviously not high in any case), I truly can't help but wonder whether they've actually dyed the bark, I mean they went real white with the bleaching but the trunking looks darker than most dry bougie trunks...I don't think they're going for 'true bonsai' as much as some art-deco specimen (it's from a Miami bonsai 'boutique', unsure if online only or a retail/nursery setup) but find the colors (especially the bark, and *especially* their contrast) to look about as artificial as you can be, though again with the flowering-top that doesn't look like there's an intent to develop any 'canopy' (expect it to be topiary-trimmed its whole life), artificial may not be such a detriment to their goal (though it is going on 1yr of being available for sale, maybe longer..)

You can do an amazing job with deciduous deadwood though, have been reading & experimenting a lot the past ~week and was real reassured that burnishing wasn't my 'only good option'!!

[quick google-image result, but have seen tons of much better examples, in cases where you have to have deadwood you may as well do it right!]
a.jpg


Re hitting the live cambium, again I'd bet that's species-specific, I work mostly with bougies and they handle it, they seem to like it much less if you carve real deep into heartwood and apply LS immediately although I've only had weak growth that then resumed, nothing worse...my last carving was days ago, a bougie, I removed a TON and exposed tons of heartwood, applied the LS solution (with diluted acrylic black/brown mix, after painting on wetted-ash), after a couple months in the sun am hoping for a real good effect! (the sun-effect is very real!! I did a specimen w/ LS my first day upon receiving it, and it's "aged very well", I mean it's a POS specimen that I was using as a trial, it's actually got a groove carved down its center and I was watering it in a way wherein I'd channel water through that groove to see if I hurt the tree w// the LS run-off, to be my 'canary in a coal-mine', before applying to anything I cared about!)

Was initially worried about potential die-back on one of my BC's, now that I know they're my only specimen where I can play w/ that real white bleaching, am no longer worried about some die-back ;D