MULTI-TRUNK JAPANESE BEECH

MACH5

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This Japanese white beech was purchased two years ago from Julian Adams. The tree was offered for a very reasonable price. It had a well developed top but for me the trunk was uninteresting and too tall. The nebari was also quite poor. The only way to make the best out of this material was to air layer it. The challenge was to do it successfully. Japanese beech can be difficult to air layer well. Despite this, I went ahead with it since it was the only way I was going to be able to maximize its potential.

Below is the tree as it looked at the time of purchase.

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In opted to air layer right at the collar where several branches emerged with the intention of creating a multi-trunk beech bonsai.

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A few photos showing the technique used. I used the ring method in which I also applied the tourniquet wire method as was recommended by some people. To be truthful I still question the effectiveness of the wire. The jury is still out on that one. The purple stuff is rooting gel.

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This is the tree in early summer. At this point I was noticing a few roots coming through the sphagnum moss. Unfortunately, in late summer, during a vacation, the caretaker in charge forgot to water the air layer and many branches died back. Despite the set back, the tree still survived and kept producing roots well until the end of the growing season.

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Last week, one year later the bag was completely filled with roots. Although I started to see lots of roots last year I decided to wait and separate my new tree this spring.

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As I pulled the plastic away, I saw not only a dense mat of roots but also thick masses of callous tissue. I decided to scar the tissue and apply root hormone to encourage new roots on these areas.

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The root ball was extremely dense and there was no way to pull it all apart without causing damage to them. So I decided to leave it all alone as the priority was to get this tree in a pot and growing vigorously on its own newly formed roots. The tree was also cleaned and all unnecessary or dead branches from the watering mishap from the previous year were cut off.

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MACH5

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The air layer being separated.

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The air layer potted. The goal now is to let it grow and build up its vigor and encourage strong back budding. Next year I will focus on the roots in more detail.

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thumblessprimate1

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I'm in love with it, Sergio! Lookin' good ?? Looks similar to a M. Kiyohime that I plan to air layer.
 

PiñonJ

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This Japanese white beech was purchased two years ago from Julian Adams. The tree was offered for a very reasonable price. It had a well developed top but for me the trunk was uninteresting and too tall. The nebari was also quite poor. The only way to make the best out of this material was to air layer it. The challenge was to do it successfully. Japanese beech can be difficult to air layer well. Despite this, I went ahead with it since it was the only way I was going to be able to maximize its potential.

Below is the tree as it looked at the time of purchase.

View attachment 239732




In opted to air layer right the collar where several branches emerged with the intention of creating a multi-trunk beech bonsai.

View attachment 239733




A few photos showing the technique used. I used the ring method in which I also applied the tourniquet wire method as was recommended by some people. To be truthful I still question the effectiveness of the wire. The jury is still out on that one. The purple stuff is rooting gel.

View attachment 239736

View attachment 239737

View attachment 239739




This is the tree in early summer. At this point I was noticing a few roots coming through the sphagnum moss. Unfortunately, in late summer, during a vacation, the caretaker in charge forgot to water the air layer and many branches died back. Despite the set back, the tree still survived and kept producing roots well until the end of the growing season.

View attachment 239745




Last week, one year later the bag was completely filled with roots. Although I started to see lots of roots last year I decided to wait and separate my new tree this spring.

View attachment 239741

View attachment 239742




As I pulled the plastic away, I saw not only a dense mat of roots but also thick masses of callous tissue. I decided to scar the tissue and apply root hormone to encourage new roots on these areas.

View attachment 239743




The root ball was extremely dense and there was no way to pull it all apart without causing damage to them. So I decided to leave it all alone as the priority was to get this tree in a pot and growing vigorously on its own newly formed roots. The tree was also cleaned and all unnecessary or dead branches from the watering mishap from the previous year were cut off.

View attachment 239748
Cool stuff, as always. I think it would make a great raft, lying on its left side (left as oriented in the first photo).
 

Cadillactaste

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Well played Sir! The trunk had me not seeing the potential. But you created much character in that clump. Love clumps!
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Bold move, cool. I always loved the 2-part J. Beech article in Bonsai Today 48-49 (I think) where they layered the top off a huge beech, then put crazy ramification on it in just a few years. I tried layering a JB once and it failed. I’ll be watching this one for sure.
 

Dav4

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Bold move, cool. I always loved the 2-part J. Beech article in Bonsai Today 48-49 (I think) where they layered the top off a huge beech, then put crazy ramification on it in just a few years. I tried layering a JB once and it failed. I’ll be watching this one for sure.
I remember that article and was thinking of it when I started reading this thread. Great job, Sergio. If a question about the merits of air layering ever arises in a future thread, someone needs to post a link to this one. Man, that's going to be a special tree in just a few years.
 

MACH5

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Well played Sir! The trunk had me not seeing the potential. But you created much character in that clump. Love clumps!


I am also a sucker for clumps on ANY species!!


Bold move, cool. I always loved the 2-part J. Beech article in Bonsai Today 48-49 (I think) where they layered the top off a huge beech, then put crazy ramification on it in just a few years. I tried layering a JB once and it failed. I’ll be watching this one for sure.


Thanks Bri. I had air layered a three year old Japanese beech from Bill a couple of years ago with no success. I know the exact article you are referring to. They make it look so easy! The reality is a different story. I wonder how many have tried and failed? Michael Hagedorn and Julian Adams even talk about their difficulty. Wish they were as easy as maples. I have another one in the works from Julian also. That one will be a single trunk. I see roots but still not ready.

This air layer is now leafing out well. It took quite a hit last year from the lack of watering but hope to get it back on track this year. Heavy fertilizer, lots of water and placed in area that remains cool and under bright light.
 

JudyB

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Well that blows the theory that J Beech doesn't airlayer well! Looks like the tree picked the right branches to loose from the watering mistake. How many folks will be looking for J Beech at the nursery this weekend...LOL.
Good job!
 

Lazylightningny

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Sergio, I didn't see that coming! I thought you were going to layer much lower, but now that you've done it, I can see the wisdom in your choice. You now have a beautiful clump, with enough of a stump left to start a whole new tree.

It looks like you left all the old sphag moss in place and potted it in pure akadama?
 

MACH5

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I thought with the tourniquet wire method the wire went right below the upper cut. Am I wrong about that?


Gary you are absolutely right. It proved impossible so I abandoned the idea and just went a bit lower. I have seen the Japanese use the tourniquet technique where they carve out a groove which allows the thick wire to fit in snuggly. I tried it but it also proved impossible due to irregularities in the contour of the trunk to do it perfectly and thus resorted to the classic ring method.
 

MACH5

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Well that blows the theory that J Beech doesn't airlayer well! Looks like the tree picked the right branches to loose from the watering mistake. How many folks will be looking for J Beech at the nursery this weekend...LOL.
Good job!


Judy unfortunately I also lost a couple of perfectly placed branches. :mad: But there is enough left for sure to do something nice. Itching to wire the whole thing but must abstain.
 

MACH5

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Sergio, I didn't see that coming! I thought you were going to layer much lower, but now that you've done it, I can see the wisdom in your choice. You now have a beautiful clump, with enough of a stump left to start a whole new tree.

It looks like you left all the old sphag moss in place and potted it in pure akadama?


Thanks Steve! Yes all was left pretty much untouched and placed the whole thing in a mix of akadama and pumice.

I could have air layered lower to get a tree with a short trunk but decided to go for the clump :)
 

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