This tree started life as a weed. i.e. a self seeded shrub at the bottom of an Escallonia hedge. It had two large trunks which were cut right back before digging out. What was left was potted in a container and left for many years. I started to train it about 7 years ago and had a go at carving the stumps about 5 years ago. I have futtered with it on and off since then.
I returned to it mid summer this year (2011) and was disappointed to find that the exposed timber was very soft and was rotting at soil level. I treated it with a dose of Ronseal wood hardener and when I had a look at it today I found that the surface of the timber is still a little spongy. I have no idea what is happening under the soil.
This is she viewed from what I have more or less treated as the front. The pot is a bespoke design commissioned from Bangor Dairies some years ago. They are very rare and much sought after. Although the tree sits well in this pot I am considering replacing it with a suitable alternative in the Spring if I can find one. Has anyone seen Peter Snart about the place?
Detail of the deadwood
There is an interesting long root/secondary trunk riding down the back of the tree
View of the back of the tree
I have given the deadwood another heavy coat of wood hardener. Still wet in this pic but it will dry and dull down. The shine can be removed by rubbing with fine sandpaper or wet and dry.
Although this is a fairly large leafed shrub I think the thick trunk and deadwood area tend to make it quite acceptable as a bonsai. Others of course may disagree.
Spring 2012 and this tree is showing definite signs of new spring growth and so it is time for the long overdue repot. It is quite a traumatic experience to dispose of the old pot.
I was pleasantly surprised with the root mass. There is a large deadwood area but the following shots show the roots are not all emerging from the one spot. I think this may help keep the deadwood in the future. The deadwood has suffered from rot in the past but has been heavily treated with wood hardener.
These are not the best shots I’ve ever taken. I was too close with the lens but they show that there are plenty of roots at both sides of the tree. they were growing under the tree and provided a kind of cushion that the tree sat on in the training pot. If this is replicated and the tree raised slightly so that the deadwood area is raised out of the soil a little this might help keep it. In any case I treated underneath the tree with more wood hardener. This was not ideal as the tree was wet after the bare rooting but I left it as long as possible before finishing the re-pot. We will see if this has helped stem the rot.
This is the repot with the tree repositioned to show off the interesting aerial root and some deadwood. It now needs some branch extension to balance the image from this viewing angle but I think it works quite well. I have lowered the apex about an inch or so but I think it probably needs lowered a little more.
I think all will agree that some trees in an individual collection give more satisfaction and pleasure than others. This little tree is the one for me just now. I ended last year with very low expectations of this tree having treated it as little more than a weed up until then. But now that it is in full leaf I like it very much.
Because the tree has been given a new front at the last re-potting the lower branches need to lengthen to give a better image.
I am just hoping that I will be able to preserve the deadwood over the years. Probably will need to keep up my supply of wood hardener
Update July 2012
Up to date photo July 2012 showing extension growth.
Update Feb 2013
As my Cotoneaster Franchetti starts to emerge from winter dormancy I thought it was worth a pic in the bright spring sunshine.
The tree has come through the winter well and probably needs a light pruning in a few places. I want to try to increase the width of the foliage at the base and obviously increase the ramification so it will be interesting to see what the coming season produces. I still think that the tree is a bit tall but I shall wait and see what effect a wider foliage base has on the overall image before reducing the height.
Although this tree will never be a specimen of any note I have grown to like it very much.