Monday, 26 August 2013

The 11 month wiring job

September 2012 I managed to acquire on of the pieces of material lurking in the UK that had made me go all starry eyed and a bit drooly - the tree in question was a japanese imported yew - Taxus cuspidatta. It was a weird scenario - when I first tried to buy it I was told it was sold already so it was with regret and a little envy that I put the tree to the back of my mind. Then 2 years later I see the tree while walking into the bonsai nursery originally selling looked twice the size in real life (don't they always).....and due to goodness knows what circumstances the tree was back for sale again !

An earlier blog post  covered getting the tree home and winching the lower branch up to make a twin trunk tree a possibility - then we left that post with the tree resting and recouping from the major work where the live vein was splintered from the dead wood as the flat back branch was pulled up. This, and a little first wiring took place in Sept 2012.

here is a recap of the tree untouched

Over the weeks following the major bend of the second trunk some wiring was done in the winter and in March 2013 the tree was still fine so it was re-potted to the new front angle with a lot of help and guidance from Peter Warren at one of the workshops we hold in Cornwall. To turn the tree to the new front a lot of root had to be removed from some areas so the tree would go back in the pot so it was kept shaded and misted for many weeks after. The everlasting cold spring finally broke, the sun came out and the older inner needles yellowed and dropped off  but we kept a close eye on the new soft bright green buds as these were the indicator as to what the roots were doing.

Through the summer the tree was fed a lot of imperial fertiliser pellets - an organic feed rather than chemical but with a major difference in that elements in the feed are instantly useable by the trees. By combining the feeding with hard pruning the tree has made new buds all over the branches that dropped the old needles so the remaining wiring was put on hold so the new buds were not knocked off.

That brings us up to date and August Bank Holiday seemed a good opportunity for some bonsai work - on the Sunday I did a club visit and talk for the Exeter Society on Juniper and other conifers so Monday seemed a perfect follow on to finish the initial styling on the yew. Due to the earlier cutting back the wiring was quick and easy to do and after 5 or so hours the first styling is complete - a mere 11 months after the first wire went on !

Now we enter phase II, the developing of the pads and foliage masses that will take another 2 or 3 years of pruning, budding and feeding to see the image that is planned. There are buds on virtually every bare branch now and next spring will see huge growth as the tree is settled and fully recovered from the repotting. Feeding will continue through September and during late October the pot protected from excess rain - this is critical with Taxus as waterlogged soil will freeze into an ice block causing root damage but dry soil does not damage the roots in low temperatures. The black pines get the same treatment too.


  1. Marcus, It's a real beauty. I look forward to following it's development.

    1. thanks, first styling has gone well - the 2 trunks are moving the same way, lots of foliage refinement needed and a revisit to the pads of the smaller trunk so they reflect the main trunk a bit better - i love the tree tho - pot hunting now!

  2. Nice tree where did you acquire it nice progress to.


    1. hi - the tree came from Steve Tolley, UK