JBP 'Thunderhead' Progression

0soyoung

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I”ve posted much of this in bits and pieces as part of discussions in other BNutter’s threads. In this thread, I am simply trying to assemble the whole history for my reference and for noobs to see an example of how the bonsai adventure goes sometimes. For the rest of you, I am always receptive to having my ego massaged - feel free. :p

Back in 2010 I found a nice little ‘Thunderhead’ JBP in a local garden center’s annual ‘Lemon Sale’. Since I was an air-layering maniac at the time, my initial action was to attempt layering off the top. Armed with Bonsai4me’s advice, I applied a wire tourniquet instead of cutting a girdle and made some notches in the bark just above it. I dusted them with 3000 ppm IBA, and wrapped it in damp sphagnum covered with a split plastic storage bag.

After a year, the stem had swelled quite nicely above the wire, but there was no hint of adventitious roots. So I re-cut the notches through the bark, closed it back up, and waited another season. In May 2012 I found the beginnings of a few roots, so I cut some more notches and dusted them with IBA powder. Near the end of June I found more roots and replaced the bag of sphagnum with a pot of Turface.

Finally, in early Sep 2013 I harvested the layer. I posted this picture of the layer and remember receiving lots of advice (as well as being immersed in one of my first BNut pissing contests which are still a cherished BNut tradition!).



The bottom half was still stuck in the same nursery soil it had been in since long before I bought it. 2013-09-19 12.13.05.jpg I bare rooted it, like I had several mugos and other things before, in early May2014. Shortly thereafter the needles started to rapidly turn brown, 2014-03-20 14.51.34.jpgbut I held on, against reason, until they were all brown and the buds had turned hard, brown, and were easily flicked off. Lesson #1 learned (HBR thunbergii, don’t totally bare root them from sticky dirt/soil).


Obviously, I was left with the top, my thunderhead on its own roots. I repositioned like this on 7 Apr 2014.


The following Oct I trimmed off quite a lot, trying to find a basic tree for the future and resolved to let the trunk run to fatten it up.


It grew and grew but never really thickened. See that bit of wire I applied to hold that descending branch? It never bit-in, in any way, in three years of growing!



So I chopped it off, kinda liking what I found. I moved it to a different pot this spring, and this is what it looked like after cleaning it up a bit, less than a month ago.


Other than experimenting with select branches, I haven’t ever decandled it. This, of course. is the heart of my plans for the next few years - to see what I’ve got with some further development and a dash of refinement. I think there is hope for it and for me getting it there.
 

Adair M

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Oso,

After 8 years of struggle, you still have a mess.

You can spend your time however you like, but Thunderhead just doesn’t have good bonsai characteristics.

I’m not trying to be rude or condescending, but this is a perfect example of someone beating their head against a wall. Had you spent the time on a “non-Thunderhead” JBP, you would have much better results.
 

0soyoung

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I'm sure you're right, @Adair M. But it is what I do.

Back sometime before I bought this, I was a noob reading articles at evergreengardenworks.com and in one of them @Brent discussed how he thought 'Thunderhead' was a good, but underutilized, variety for bonsai. So here we are.


Bang your head - wasn't that Quiet Riot? :D
 

bonhe

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I actually like this tree! If it was mine, I would do literati for it.
2014-10-29 15_10_34.jpg
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0soyoung

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I actually like this tree! If it was mine, I would do literati for it.
View attachment 213227
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One would need to regrow that top internode as it is gone.
While it could be done, I just don't see an interesting literati in it.
I might give it to you after a few more years. ;)
 

bonhe

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One would need to regrow that top internode as it is gone.
While it could be done, I just don't see an interesting literati in it.
I might give it to you after a few more years. ;)
Thank you for your offer.
One’s trash, another’s treasure! ?
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