Japanese Larch -First Steps

I collected this Larch about 3 years ago. I was drawn to the natural shari created by wild goats, Sadly some of the branches didn’t open that Spring after collection, the goats really know how to strip bark! I let it sit and establish for a few years and in 2015 put it on my sales bench with a view to moving it on as raw material suitable for a workshop. It obviously didn’t inspire anyone and so I decided to give it a basic shaping a few weeks ago.

This is the before shot.

After a quick look I opted to remove the one live branch at the apex. This had been a twig 3 years ago and had grown strongly but was to far removed from the interesting bits elsewhere on the tree. With the help of my mate Jeff we did some basic stripping of the deadwood and got some wire onto the heavy lower branch. We played with keeping the other branch to the back, but it just didn’t fit with the image.

This is it afterwards. Still cleaning up to be done at this point and a few adjustments but the basic shape is there with some extra branches left as options.

After checking the roots out I decided to go ahead and repot. In the 3 years since collection the tree and filled the box with roots. I put all collected Larch into pure Sphagnum moss and they love it. The problem comes when the moss breaks down and holds too much water, usually after 2-3 years. At this point I repot into a more traditional mix. I was able to jin a heavy surface root as part of the process making a nice new feature and also with the added benefit of raising the deadwood up above the soil surface which will help stop the wood rotting away to quickly.

This is the tree now, cleaned up and lime sulphured, with some more refinement of the deadwood and a year or two’s ramification I think it will make a nice albeit unusual image. A fun piece of material to play about with and for now, it goes back on the sales bench once it opens in the Spring.

Video Update

I have updated the video of the big Scots Pine that Phil did the bending on with Ryan Neil back in January. After 6 months the wire had to be removed as it was starting to cut in. However Phil left the guy lines in place  to maintain the trunk position. There has been strong growth and there are many signs of back budding. The video is below, if you have already watched the workshop portion and want to skip to the update go to 37.30. I have also included the outtake video of Phil attempting to turn the tree for video. It wasn’t meant to be an out take but Phil in his usual style has managed to make it one. See what we have to put up with !! 🙂

I’m now sitting down to sort through the footage recorded at the Peter Warren weekend. I hope to have these up this week.


Bending Phil’s Pine

The last big video out of the Ryan Neil weekend is this one featuring the Pinus ‘Put it back in the van’ Sylvestris that Phil brought. Most would now like to put it in the back of their van 🙂

Ben was busy with the camcorder when all the bending work was being done and we thought it was well worth a share to show the techniques that Ryan used to bend a heavy trunk on this pine.

I have a few ideas for some very short video clips picking out interesting points from the demo instead of having to watch all 3 hours 48 minutes of it. So keep watching the You Tube channel, which has about 100 new subscribers in a week ❗

Frankies Juniper

This Juniper was worked on last weekend. It belongs to Frankie but his son Phil is the main man when it comes to it’s care and styling. It was styled last year but not to Phil’s satisfaction. The extreme bend was proving hard to incorporate into the design with the current deadwood. A weak branch to the left had died. This photo shows the tree the the weak branch alive, just.

Now that the branch to the left was dead Peter Snart suggested that part of the deadwood should be removed and the bend bent down further with a clamp. This is it clamped down a little but the jin is stopping it going any further.

 Jin removed, cranked down further and tied off with 2mm copper wire. Even this stretched with the pressure but there was no sign of any cracks in the bend.  

This now opens up many new options for styling and creating an unusual tree, but that will have to wait for another day. Next step will probably to create a bend in the next section of trunk line to add more movement and bring the foliage back over the centre of the tree.