The new planting angle had a nice movement to it, so I was quite pleased in May of 2005 with the way it looked. This was actually quite a few years after actually changing the planting angle.
One flaw of this tree (of which there are many) was the arrangement of the roots that clasp the trunk. They looked a little unnatural; Notice the nice “X” at the base.
That spring, we visited my daughter Martha and stayed on the big island (Hawai’i), where we visited Fuku Bonsai (sadly, David Fukumoto was not in.) Some of his trees inspired me, especially his scheffleras like the one below.
Folks question how much infrastructure might be needed to grow tropicals in climates a bit farther north. I have almost none. So, during the winter, not having greenhouse access, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I placed the tree in my only south-facing window that was free, draped a clear plastic dry-cleaning bag over it, watered it well, and tucked the bag in under the drip tray. I was hoping that the added humidity and heat would keep the tree healthy and promote aerial roots. I found that this technique worked exceptionally well as the tree sent aerial roots out almost everywhere. Roots can be clearly seen spreading out the bottom of the pot.
Following the repot:
This pot is actually at least two inches wider than the previous pot, yet the increase in trunk size makes it seem about the same size. I added some tape to bring some of the aerial roots in to the trunk and help them bond there. In future I hope to get more aerial roots farther from the trunk for a banyan style tree.
Oh, and the “X marks the spot” roots on the back of the tree?
When May rolled around, I began by cutting the trunk back hard, using the second section of the trunk as a place to begin changing the smooth S-curve.
I didn’t wire much because the new growth was entirely too small:
By July of the same summer, just two months later, the tree had grown so quickly that it was ready to be defoliated. I removed most of the growth from the tree, but left all the leaves on what I intended to become the new leader.
The front of the tree:
And finally, a crude diagram of where I hope to take the tree over time.
The tree has grown exceptionally well since 2008, with the new leader really taking off. I defoliated again this summer and the tree is now comfortably resting in its makeshift greenhouse. I keep that room warmer than the rest of the house, and it has already sprouted new aerial roots again within a week !
I’m having a blast working with this tree. I hope to have it show-ready within three more years.