sulking hawthorn

JudyB

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Hi all, This is my first tree post, hope the attachment process goes well... I collected this hawthorn in the spring of 08. I know that they can be slow to start up again, so I've just left it alone basically since then. I fertilize with a good dose of Osmocote plus at the beginning of the season, and use a balanced liquid about every week or so as well. It has not really put out much growth until this year, and stubbornly refuses to back bud below the bend. I was considering cutting it lower, but not until I get new growth, and it becomes happier. Now I've become a bit attached to the bend, and from one angle the taper is not the worst.... It put out a reasonable amount of leaves/growth this year, but all my regular hawthorns (trees in the woods) lost most of their leaves this year due to the wet spring and heat. So this pre-bonsai did as well. I've not worried about that, as all the hawthorns in the area did it as well. But I still don't see as much as I'd like to see at this point. Any ideas? Should I try a different fert. regimen next year? I can't use cakes or fish emul. as the raccoons and other critters dig up the trees if I do. Any other ideas how to get this thing going??? And any suggestions on styling (for the future of course) would be appreciated. First up are the probable front, (forgive the dog butt) against a different background to show the curve better.
 

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JudyB

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Next is the base, and the side. Oh cool, it lets me attach more than the 195.kb, thought that was max for the post.... so also here is the back and other side. Thanks in advance.
 

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Dav4

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It seems like it might be in a container that is too large, and therefore, not drying out well between watering. Couple that with your wet spring/summer, and you may have some root rot. I'm wondering if you might be able to plant this out in the yard for a year or two to regain some vigor. Either that, or be careful with the watering until next spring, then re-pot in a more appropriate sized container. Get it good and healthy, then worry about styling. Good luck,
 
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JudyB

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I did just check on the roots today, they are growing mostly on the back side of the tree, and are almost to the container edge there. The other side not so much. If I have to cut the roots down, (next year of course) to get it into a smaller container, would it be better to leave it in this one?
 

Dav4

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For collected trees, and actually most bonsai, the best container is one that contains the roots with just a bit more space for growth. Any larger then that and the soil where the roots aren't will take forever to dry. Couple that with a soil mix that maybe is more moisture retentive/heavy on the organics and you will have problems. It sounds like 50% or less of the soil in that box is colonized by roots, which tells me a container half that size would be better. By the way, what is your soil mix, and does it dry, or is it constantly wet?
 

rockm

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I'd second the opinion that the slow growth might be due to the huge container. Soil in the interior of such pot will stay constantly wet and inhibit root development.

Also Osomote is not really the best way to fertilize. It leaves too much to chance and can be uneven, since the release of the fertilizer in the pellets depends on temperature, not the tree's real needs. Regular doses of regular old Miracle Grow every couple of weeks might work better.

For now, I'd wait until next spring and repot into a container at least half as large, or even smaller. A container that JUUUST accomodates the root mass (a gap of 1/2 and inch between the root mass and container wall is probably too much) is big enough.
 

Jason

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Another question to ask would be; how much sun does this tree get? Maybe the soil doesn't dry out between waterings due to lack of sun. The wood on the grow box looks pretty green and mossy (or mildewy). Maybe if it got more sun it would be more vigorous.
 

JudyB

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Dav4 and rockm, the soil mix is 80% turface 10% pine bark, and 10% chunky lava rock. I have another training box that is between 1/2 and 2/3rds this ones size, I'll stick it in there next year. It did start to take off this year, I do think some of it was wet weather related. But after looking for roots, I believe you are correct that it is overpotted. The weather this summer has been pretty warm, I thought that warmth was what osmocote needed to be taken up by the plant... But I'm up for feeding more heavily if that's not going to hurt it. I do currently use a balanced liquid fertilizer every week or two, I'll step that up. Jason, the tree is in full sun from about 11am to 5pm, so I think it's getting plenty of sun, the wood on that box is re-used wood, it's always had a green cast to it. But it is staying wetter than it should between rains. Been a very strange weather year here, the grass didn't even go dormant even with all the heat. Better than the drought that much of the country has, almost makes me feel guilty. Thanks for all the input.
 

JudyB

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This tree no longer sulks, funny to see the old thread on this one. I've done a lot of reduction since the last post, and some carving. I wired it today, and I think I'll cut the left branch (trunk to be...) just above the low branches. I will probably leave it to grow this season, to let it fatten up. There is a bud on the top back of the carved section. But I don't know if I want any foliage up there...
Anyway here it is now.
P1010628.jpg P1010630.jpg
 

JudyB

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Hmm, I wonder about your idea of sexy! ;). Anyway, it's interesting, but far from even average....
 

sorce

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It just needs a new pot!

That one makes it look like a cross dressing Frankenstein!

Sorce
 

Ceijay

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I really enjoy your designs. Nice work.
 

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