This Larch, that I have owned for almost a year now and is showing colour in the buds as they begin to swell, was in need of some basic remedial work. The branches and twigs were covered with moss and this had to be removed with toothbrush and chop sticks etc before anything else could be done. The tree was in full leaf when I bought it and I can only assume that I bought most of the moss with it as none of my other trees have anything like the same problem.
The branch structure, while pretty well formed, has a lot of thick extensions and large buds at the branch intersections. Many of these have been removed to give a lighter look and feel without making it too bare. I understand that the tree would probably benefit from a much heavier pruning but I feel that I want a compromise option so that I can have something that is reasonably mature to look at and enjoy. A younger person would probably have been more ruthless.
The next step was wiring, not an occupation that I am particularly good at nor enjoy, but it needs to be done. The branches are all in the right places and really only needed to be lowered and the twig extensions moved slightly here and there to give more spread and depth to the pads.
The tree before wiring and re-potting
Finally it was time to re-pot the tree to give it a better front and to put it into a better growing medium. I really like the pot so needless to say it has not been replaced.
This is when I became a little anxious as I soon discovered that the existing growing medium was largely organic and the roots were black and soft. As I tried to tease them out gently large clumps of root came away. The tree needed re-potting. In spite of this however there was quite a bit of mycellium present in the old root ball. Hopefully it will recover well from this exercise as I reduced the root mass as much as I dared and probably not as much as I would have liked.
In spite of my best efforts and because the root mass was so vulnerable I decided to bring the securing wire over the top so they are very visible.
I am reasonably happy with the result although I am open to any suggestions as to potting angle and front etc for future years.