Prunus angustifolia

pjkatich

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This is a current photo of one of my Chickasaw plum bonsai.

This bonsai was grown from a stump that I collected in 1993.

Any thoughts on this tree?

Regards,
Paul
 

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plant_dr

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I really like this tree. it reminds me of a tree that could be found in an old, abandoned orchard.

Perhaps at one point earlier in its life in the orchard it had a full canopy covered with fruit. As the years progressed without yearly pruning and maintenance it grew wider and wider. The weight of the right side of the crown pulled the tree over to that side eventually until it finally split down the middle. The fallen trunk is now decayed and gone, leaving us this distinctive, twisted survivor.

Or maybe it was just a bunch of obnoxious kids hanging on the branches and it broke off, who knows??
 

jk_lewis

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Very nice tree. People should use P. angustifolia more often. I had several down in Tallahassee where they're the first-bloom of the spring in the woods, but it's a bit cool for them up here and we don't see them.

Have you had any fungus problem? Borers? Both were serious issues in P. angustifolia bonsai in Tallahassee.

I think I'd cut the top back quite a bit, but maybe I need to see it in leaf.
 

John Ruger

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It has an incredible amount of character and I think your approach is fitting and working very well. What do you envision?
 

pjkatich

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I really like this tree. it reminds me of a tree that could be found in an old, abandoned orchard.

Perhaps at one point earlier in its life in the orchard it had a full canopy covered with fruit. As the years progressed without yearly pruning and maintenance it grew wider and wider. The weight of the right side of the crown pulled the tree over to that side eventually until it finally split down the middle. The fallen trunk is now decayed and gone, leaving us this distinctive, twisted survivor.

Or maybe it was just a bunch of obnoxious kids hanging on the branches and it broke off, who knows??

Thanks plant_dr, I appreciate you taking the time to comment on this tree.

Your narrative is great, I like the way you think. In regards to bonsai, I have always worked under the premise that my trees need to relate a story to the viewer. Without this connection, a bonsai is not much more than a novelty. From your comments, it is clear that the connection was made and the story was told.

Once again, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Regards,
Paul
 

pjkatich

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Very nice tree. People should use P. angustifolia more often. I had several down in Tallahassee where they're the first-bloom of the spring in the woods, but it's a bit cool for them up here and we don't see them.

Have you had any fungus problem? Borers? Both were serious issues in P. angustifolia bonsai in Tallahassee.

I think I'd cut the top back quite a bit, but maybe I need to see it in leaf.

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the compliment.

You are right, this is an under utilized tree species. This is most likely due to the problem areas that you asked about. In regards to fungus problems, none that I am aware of. On the other hand, in my experience, the major drawback to growing this species is borers. P. angustifolia are borer magnets. All the deadwood on this tree is a direct result of borer attacks. I battled these stealth little invaders with limited success over the years. It wasn't until the systemic insecticide Merit came along that I was able to get a handle on controlling them. Now, with a couple of applications each year, the borers are no longer a factor.

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on the apex. I did trim the top back quite a bit just a few weeks ago. A problem that I have run into with P. angustifolia is that drastic reduction of the apex will often weaken the tree and cause die back in some of the branches.

As always, your input is appreciated.

Regards,
Paul
 

pjkatich

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It has an incredible amount of character and I think your approach is fitting and working very well. What do you envision?

Hello John,

I appreciate the positive feedback.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by your question. Would you care to elaborate a bit? Do you feel that this tree is missing something or that a particular aspect needs changing?

Your input would be appreciated.

Cheers,
Paul
 

milehigh_7

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I like where you are going with it. Does it bloom for you?

I have seen a couple of these posted over the years and I really like the look of them. I would love to get my hands on one.
 

pjkatich

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I like where you are going with it. Does it bloom for you?

I have seen a couple of these posted over the years and I really like the look of them. I would love to get my hands on one.

Hello milehigh,

Yes this plum does bloom. However, with this particular tree, the flowers are a bit sporadic from year to year. There appears to be a good number of flower spurs on the tree this year and the bloom should start soon. I'll post a photo when the tree flowers.

Thanks for the positive feedback.

Cheers,
Paul
 

John Ruger

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Hello John,

I appreciate the positive feedback.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by your question. Would you care to elaborate a bit? Do you feel that this tree is missing something or that a particular aspect needs changing?

Your input would be appreciated.

Cheers,
Paul

I dunno; it reminds me of some trees I see growing along the creekbanks up where I live. One of the first thoughts that came to mind was to plant it a more oval-shaped pot with, maybe, with one or two accent plants (small fern?) in the pot itself (just one of my "ah-ha" moments) The only reason I say so, is because the tree really captures my imagination and I think we've all experienced the connection between bonsai and what we've witnessed in nature. It's always fascinating to undertsand the artist's imagination at work and that's what I mean by "envision".
 

jk_lewis

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OTOH, the Chickasaw plum is a Xeric habitat (dry-land) plant; I've never seen it along the banks of a stream, so that image might not fit the species -- if that bothers you (it would me, but I like to make trees that grow how and "where" they grow natuirally).
 

John Ruger

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OTOH, the Chickasaw plum is a Xeric habitat (dry-land) plant; I've never seen it along the banks of a stream, so that image might not fit the species -- if that bothers you (it would me, but I like to make trees that grow how and "where" they grow natuirally).

It grows along stream banks too.
 

jk_lewis

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It grows along stream banks too.

I really think you are wrong here. From the Native Plant Database (emphasis mine):

Distribution
USA: AL , AR , CA , CO , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , MS , MO , NE , NJ , NM , NC , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV , DC
Native Distribution: NJ to IL, MO & s. NE, s. to FL & TX. Introduced elsewhere.
Native Habitat: Open woodlands, woodland edges, forest openings, savannahs, prairies, plains, meadows, pastures, fence rows, roadsides
USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing Conditions
Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Sandy, loose

In 30 years of tromping around Florida wildlands and farmland (on the job and off) I've never seen one in anything but Xeric habitats.

There are many small thicket-forming Punus species in Florida woodlands. Maybe you're thinking of one of them.
 

Smoke

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Real nice, but the big zero captured with that almost verticle hanging branch is very distracting for me.

That pot is a bit clunky for this composition also. Needs a much more delicate pot to captrure the essence of that marvelous trunk.
 

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John Ruger

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Don't know jkl, but I was looking at www.plants-materials.nrcs.usda.gov and www.kansasforests.org/conservation; maybe I got the wrong species? Check them out when you have a chance and let me know.
 

jk_lewis

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Unfortunately, the USDA link won't work for me. This is what the Kansas site says:

Prunus angustifolia, or Sand Hill plum (photo), or Chickasaw plum, is native in much of Kansas. It is the most common wild plum in western Kansas. It is found naturally on sandy prairies where it is very effective in stopping blowing sand.

Anyway, I think people will find more of these if they look along fence rows and at the edges between forest and field. It's a great tree.
 

pjkatich

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I dunno; it reminds me of some trees I see growing along the creekbanks up where I live. One of the first thoughts that came to mind was to plant it a more oval-shaped pot with, maybe, with one or two accent plants (small fern?) in the pot itself (just one of my "ah-ha" moments) The only reason I say so, is because the tree really captures my imagination and I think we've all experienced the connection between bonsai and what we've witnessed in nature. It's always fascinating to undertsand the artist's imagination at work and that's what I mean by "envision".


I appreciate the clarification John.

Basically, this is my attempt at recreating an old UME type tree with native material. What I had in mind as I developed this bonsai was a TONBO-GAESHI-EDA (somersaulting dragonfly) style of tree. This is my personal interpretation of that particular style.

I find it very gratifying that you are able to make a connection between this tree and what you have experienced in nature. For me, that is the best compliment anyone can give.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Cheers,
Paul
 

pjkatich

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Real nice, but the big zero captured with that almost verticle hanging branch is very distracting for me.

That pot is a bit clunky for this composition also. Needs a much more delicate pot to captrure the essence of that marvelous trunk.

Thanks for the feedback Al, your input is always appreciated.

In regards to the pot, do you have any specific recommendations?

Regards,
Paul
 

pjkatich

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It grows along stream banks too.

John, I would have to agree with Jim on this one. I have never seen this particular species growing along a stream bank here in Northeast Florida. What you might be thinking of is the Hog plum (Prunus umbellata). This species does grow along streams, has a similar range, and is similar in appearance to P. angustifolia. The major difference is that P. umbellata is normally found as a single tree and P. angustifolia is normally found in large thickets.

Paul
 
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