mr_greggy
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pomegrante suitable for cascade bonsai?

This might be very amibitious of me, as a total newbie to bonsai (got my first one just under a month ago!), but I was wondering if you guys think this pomegranate is suitable for eventual styling into a cascade bonsai. I liked the leaning trunk, and remembered reading pomegranates are suitable for bonsai (only later to realise that's the nana variety!). Here s the pic:
[img]https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/bonsai%20for%20forum%2015th%20July%202011/IMG_0956.jpg[/img]

Any advice on how I should go about this? I was thinking of leaving it in this pot for the time being, perhaps start bending it at the point where its starts goin up again, and trim and shape the bit before that as its apex:
[img]https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/bonsai%20for%20forum%2015th%20July%202011/IMG_0957.jpg[/img]

Was also wondering whether I should cut it down to about half the size, and establishing a new leader, so as to avoid all that energy going into bits I do not intend to keep anyway. Maybe just keep one extra branch? (is that what they call a sacrificial branch?)

Your expert advice would help loads. Been to many forums, but i was impressed with the amount of dedication I found here! Thanks in advance!

Greg
Have no fear of perfection - you will
never reach it. - Salvador Dali

kdodds
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To use that as a cascade, which I was surprised to think is very do-able, I would determine the desired full length and cut there. You can always cut more later if you don't like it.

mr_greggy
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thanks a bunch k,

not sure i understood tho. do u think its very do-able, or very much doubt that? please be patient with my ignorance :)
Have no fear of perfection - you will
never reach it. - Salvador Dali

kdodds
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Not your fault, I was in a rush and not clear. IMO, Pomegranates don't usually look like they'd be suitable for cascade. Perhaps because this isn't "nana", I don't know, but when the pictures finished downloading on my machine I was like, "Wow, really, definitely cascade". So, I was surprised that it really not only looks like it would make a good cascade, but it's exactly what I'd do with it, hands down, over any other style. I'd probably do a reaching sort of semi... You know, where the tree goes pretty much horizontal, stretching away from the pot.

mr_greggy
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wow. means a lot to me that you say that. i thought i might be dreaming :)
i was thinkin of starting by bending the main trunk where it start turning up again with a jack. is there a time of year that is better for trunk chopping and heavy pruning? is it something i could pull of doing this time of year? pommies love mediterranean heat at least...
Have no fear of perfection - you will
never reach it. - Salvador Dali

kdodds
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You can wire right now and, being that you'll stillbe leaving a lot of healthy tree behind, I see no harm in chopping now. You will probably get your best bend results by wiring the trunk to the bottom of the pot. Take a look on the web for examples, you'd wire a PADDED loop around the trunk, near towards to furthest end of the bend, then punch two holes, one int, one out, in the bottom of the pot and thread the wire through (or do this first, it's easier). Then, you make a handle with a choptick or similar item, and slowly crank it tighter, as needed and being careful not to snap the wood, until the desired arc is acheived. This can take weeks to months, actually, depending on species, thickness, current state, and desired bend. Then you leave it in that position until set, usually one growing season, but if you start now, probably mid- to late next spring will be your target. If it "springs back", even a little, when you cut the wire, then you didn't leave it on long enough.

mr_greggy
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thanks again k. i have started the project. i chopped about the top third off (eventually i think I will chop another bit off, as I spotted a branch that I think would make a good leader just below the current top). since I don't have enough thick wire, and since the bending i wanna do is over the pot rim, I decided to use a jack and a weight (not the most aesthetic - a sprite bottle :) - but it's handy cos I could fill it up according to the desired bend). I also supported the trunk with a stone, so as to maintain the clearance from the pot and the vertical angle off the soil. How does that sound? I will put some pics up when I can...
Have no fear of perfection - you will
never reach it. - Salvador Dali

kdodds
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Sounds about right to me, although it may not be the most eye-catching tree at the moment, well, at least not for good reasons. LOL. I clip and grow my Pom, so I can't give you any time frame on wiring, not even as a guess. Just guessing that was going to be your next question.

mr_greggy
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hehe, what great service! predictive replies too! :)
yeah, its definitely not a looker right now, especially w the sprite bottle, hehe, but found it handy to be able to add as much weight as feels appropriate. i ll try to give you a break from by 20 questions for a while :)
Have no fear of perfection - you will
never reach it. - Salvador Dali

kdodds
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NP, it's what we're here for, right?

Pics? I'm kinda guessing it looks like a Christmas tree Frd Snford would have right about now. ;)

mr_greggy
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I will post pics later. At work and pics are in my camera. I damaged the bark with the jack, making it kinda peel and expose the green underneath (on the underneath of the trunk at least). For the moment, I just put some wound healer on the part thats not concealed by the jack, but I m wondering whether I should take the jack off to be able to apply it all over the break...
Have no fear of perfection - you will
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mr_greggy
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ok so here go the pics...

[img]https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/bonsai%20for%20forum%2015th%20July%202011/IMG_0965.jpg[/img]

its my sprite tree! :) its about half filled, brought the branch down about 3 inches. the jack which caused a bit of damage :( the stone on the left is there to support the trunk in keeping its original angle out form the soil. the other two stones are just there to counterbalance, since the centre of gravity being so skewed was making the pot topple. here s a different angle, taken from the ground:

[img]https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/bonsai%20for%20forum%2015th%20July%202011/IMG_0966.jpg[/img]

I pruned most branches down to 2 leave sets, hoping to promote backbudding, except for the branch coming out towards camera just below the weight, which I marked as a possible new leader.

Please advise! I m feelin im in deep waters here as a total newbie. Worried if the main branch is going to be pliable enough for wiring into the shape i want, if I can keep the branch alive when it is below the 'ground' level, etc. Any thoughts and recommendations welcome!

Greg
Have no fear of perfection - you will
never reach it. - Salvador Dali

kdodds
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Nothing at the momoent, just time and patience will tell...

mr_greggy
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Hi guys n gals,

I have some updates on my pommie. The shaping is going really well, with the tip of the tree now being well below the bottom of the pot. However I have some questions:

The leaves are not looking that great. Especially, down in the bottom (i.e. the tip really) part of the 'cascade', the leaves have a reddish hue to them. Here s a pic:

[img]https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/bonsai%20for%20forum%2015th%20July%202011/IMG_0972.jpg[/img]

compared to the greener top, closer to the base:

[img]https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/bonsai%20for%20forum%2015th%20July%202011/IMG_0973.jpg[/img]

I wonder if its the tree having trouble feeding that bottom bit, and I m planning to look into foliar feeding, but havent yet. I have been watering sparsely, leaving it dry for at least 12hrs, since thats what some circles reommend. It should be quite drought hardy and it grows wild in my climate. However, its been really hot the last few weeks. (Temps up to 98, and the tree is on the roof with pretty much no shelter all day.) Any advice?

Another thing i noticed, which seemed a bit odd to me, was that after bending with the jack, it seems a bit too ready to set in place. I have tried removing the jack after even less than 30min today, and it seems to hold the bend. While making my job easier, this seemed a bit fishy. I ve read that jacks are a bit frowned upon really in the bonsai training field. I wondered what you guys think.

Eager to hear back, I hope my pommie isnt suffering already!

Greg
Have no fear of perfection - you will
never reach it. - Salvador Dali

linlaoboo
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I have used my jack on my ficuses and found that it doesn't hold shape too well. I leave it on for a week at a time. My jack doesn't give it too much bend. Maybe it's better that way with lower risk of killing the poor tree. Also ficuses are fast growers so as the branch being bent grows, it tends to straighten itself out.
ficus, maple, elm, juniper, pine

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Greg,
I have been watering sparsely, leaving it dry for at least 12hrs, since thats what some circles reommend. It should be quite drought hardy and it grows wild in my climate. However, its been really hot the last few weeks. (Temps up to 98, and the tree is on the roof with pretty much no shelter all day.) Any advice?
While it is always wise to look to species that grow in your climate that does not mean that you can treat a potted plant identically as one in the ground.

I have several of these (seedling grown) and I water mine pretty liberally, the same as everything else really, with the exception of succulents. The location of these plants is not even as harsh as the one you describe. On the other hand, they are potted in colanders with a free draining medium so the circumstances are different in that regard as well.

Norm

kdodds
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1. You have to leave it on a bit longer than a weak, especially with springy Ficus.
2. You should tighten in increcemnts. If it's staying bent, you may have ripped the fibers in the trunk. The upper, or in this case I guess lower, parts of the tree CAN suffer, and even die from this partial breaking of a branch/trunk.

mr_greggy
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Thanks for your advice, people. So do you think the reddening leaves might be an effect or either or both i) not enough watering and ii) fibres breaking from bending? Do you think foliar feeding might help? Is it somethin i should look into?
Have no fear of perfection - you will
never reach it. - Salvador Dali

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Greg,

When asked about watering I always note that correct watering is more about frequency than quantity. By that I mean to always water thoroughly, no half measures, but to then wait the appropriate amount of time before repeating the process.
I have been watering sparsely,
This is the part that makes me wonder. If by sparsely, you mean that you only water a little at a time then I would suggest the approach I outlined above. Perhaps I have misinterpreted your meaning, if so then please disregard.

I can't tell you how often to water as that is based on many variables, some of which include climate (micro-climate as well such as your roof), species in question and soil type. I can't tell much about the condition of your soil from the pictures although it appears to be on the organic side. That would, in general, indicate that less frequent watering is appropriate. But again, your rooftop environment plays into it as well. Sorry I can't be more specific.

Norm

mr_greggy
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Thanks for your interest norm. No, by sparsely I mean, not too often - I was trying to leave it dry for 12 hrs before watering, and not as soon as i feel its dry as usual. (Sorry if sparsely is undestood differently - not my first language! :) )
Now Im trying to water it as soon as it feels dry. I was also wondering if i should try a location where it gets less hrs of direct sunlight. Going with your reasoning, that i cannot treat it like its in the ground - would the recommended amount of direct sun also change, or would the pot/ground variable only require a change in watering frequency?
I guess from what i got so far, it seems to me most likely that it's what kdodd suggested - that breaking of fibres from jack bending is what is causing the reddening. I say this because i noticed that the trunk doesnt spring back from the bending, and the leaves between the bend and the roots arent affected. On the other hand, transport to the lower part of the cascade (it is now about a foot below 'ground' level) could also play a part, since it seems most affected the further down it goes.
As for the variables you mention, climate is mediterranean (70-97 right now), roof has pretty much no shelter or high walls for shading, species i just know it was labelled as punica granatum at the nursery, but not what variety (?), soil is what it came in, i just picked out the weeds (kinda moss-like its low lying spread, but with what seemed like waterlily-like leaves growing flat on the soil) - it seems pretty organic to my inexpert eyes :)
To cut it short, I guess I cannot expect very specific advice, but do you think I will be risking by watering it every time it feels dry (seems to be happening neaely every day lately)?

Cheers again guys (n gals?)

Greg
Have no fear of perfection - you will
never reach it. - Salvador Dali

mr_greggy
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pomegranate cascade in process?

Hi ladies n gents,

Here's an update on my pommie. I have been bending it with the jack, and a couple of days ago finally set out to wiring it. Wrapped it up in raffia first, to try and minimise trunk damage/breakage.

[img]https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/IMG_1072.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/IMG_1071.jpg[/img]


Was just comparing to what it looked like a month ago, I guess its quite a difference. I'd like to get some more bend tho, so that the last bit thats wired is almost vertical, and then twist so that the new chosen leader is coming towards the front (and hide the chop a bit more than the current shape). However, I have been having some trouble bending it any more - it seems to bounce back even with the thick wire. Any comments, advice, criticism, etc. appreciated :)

Greg

PS - This is how I have been leaving it for the last couple of days. I read that it helps promote growth in the lower parts, since I have been having vigorous growth on the crown, but none that i can notice on the cascading part. Thoughts?

[img]https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/IMG_1073.jpg[/img]
Have no fear of perfection - you will
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kdodds
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I like it, can't wait to see it in a few years time.

mr_greggy
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Thanks loads k. That means a lot to me coming from someone of your experience. I plan on wiring the rest of it try n give it more of a "waterfally" look, but was wondering whether I should do that later so as not to stress the tree too much and let it grow and work on bettering ramification. How does that sound, I feel so clueless even after reading so much about it. And do you think my keeping it on its side will help growth in the cascading branches?

I also used a tourniquet and carved 3 small holes just below the soil, aiming to encourage nebari growth. Hope that works out...

Greg

PS - Congrats and good luck with your book. Checked your site and liked your writing...
Have no fear of perfection - you will
never reach it. - Salvador Dali

kdodds
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IME, soft wiring isn't al that bothersome to any trees. Hard wiring can be, but is usually just fine as well. What I mean by hard vs. soft is wiring, say 1-2yo branches that are still supple and bend easily versus fully lignified branches that are not very pliable. With Punica, you've got more than a year or two before they become really set. Arcs are easily possible on thinner old wood, just with wire (maybe not wrapped, but wire nonetheless). None of this seems to bother my poms at all. HTH.

Thanks for the kind words. I noticed you signed my guestbook. Unfortunately, in order to retain the right of first publication, I had to remove the sample chapters from the site directly. However, anyone who still wants to read them can just send me a message through the contact page on my site, or through e-mail.

mr_greggy
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pommie cascade project, 8 months in :)

Hey guys. Long time! Just updating on my pommie for your comments and advice. Its been 6 months since i posted, and at the end of summer it had dropped all its leaves, leavin me wondering whether its some sort of dormancy or some sort of dying :S
However, it has survived and has been budding over the past couple of weeks. I was also greatly relieved to see some budding on the cascade part the last few days. Maybe its cos i was not sure if it will ever bud in the cascade part again, but i m ecstatic about the cascade buds :D The last pic shows the position I been leaving it in, to promote more growth in the cascade part. This is the first time its budding since those parts are below the bottom of the pot. Seems to be working, or maybe just coincidence?

So i was thinkin of leaving the wiring in to make sure it keepts the bend, until it starts to tighten more. I would imagine it fattens up quicker now that its growth season again. I guess I will try partly shading it or sometihn this year, so that I avoid the reddening of leaves and leaf-dropping etc.

Any more comments and suggestions very welcome. Thanks in advance!

Greg
Have no fear of perfection - you will
never reach it. - Salvador Dali

mr_greggy
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pommie cascade project, 8 months in

oh yeah, the pics :)

https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/pommie%20march2012/photo1.jpg
https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/pommie%20march2012/photo2.jpg
https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/pommie%20march2012/photo3.jpg
https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/pommie%20march2012/photo4.jpg
https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/pommie%20march2012/photo5.jpg
Have no fear of perfection - you will
never reach it. - Salvador Dali

TomM
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Thank you mr_greggy for your 'good news' updates and photos. It is so nice to hear back from friends after a season or two.

I also use your method of tilting the cascading plant to severe angles, even laying them on their back sometimes. It gives better light to areas that might otherwise be shaded by larger overhanging foliage or branches. It also allows for better directional growth patterns. Watering can become tricky but you can adjust the position with each watering.

Nice start.

mr_greggy
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Hi guys

So my pommie has been budding quite vigorously over the last month. I have counted around 21-24 leaf buds in each of the "3 parts" - the top, mid, and bottom most cascading part. I have a question. I was wondering if anyone could advise me on defoliation - whether to partially or fully defoliate; when is the ideal time, etc. I have read that defoliation is really for final stying when trunk, primary and secondary branches are ready, but I am eager to start reducing leaf size. Any thoughts?

Cheers

Greg

PS I ll post a couple of pictures as soon as the spring growth seems a bit more estabished.
Have no fear of perfection - you will
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mr_greggy
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pommie update

Hi all,

So here's the pics. She has been growing out to her spring glory :)

<a href="https://s1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/pommie%20april%202012/?action=view&current=IMG_0398.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/pommie%20april%202012/IMG_0398.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

She's even grown a few flower buds. I counted 5 so far, here's the largest two:

<a href="https://s1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/pommie%20april%202012/?action=view&current=IMG_0399.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/pommie%20april%202012/IMG_0399.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

<a href="https://s1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/pommie%20april%202012/?action=view&current=IMG_0400.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/pommie%20april%202012/IMG_0400.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

Any advice re helping these develop into fruit?

Also, any advice re defoliation (see last entry) will be greatly appreciated.

Have a good spring!

Greg
Have no fear of perfection - you will
never reach it. - Salvador Dali

mr_greggy
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photos

sorry wrong code copied! this should be better:

[img]https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/pommie%20april%202012/IMG_0398.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/pommie%20april%202012/IMG_0399.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/pommie%20april%202012/IMG_0400.jpg[/img]
Have no fear of perfection - you will
never reach it. - Salvador Dali

mr_greggy
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[img]https://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc462/mr_greggy/pommie%2015thmay2012/IMG_0447.jpg[/img]

so here s an update of it in bloom a couple of weeks ago. hope it will remind someone to give me some feedback / advice :) (see last posts)

thanks guys
Have no fear of perfection - you will
never reach it. - Salvador Dali

kdodds
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Coming along very nicely. Poms are self-pollinating as far as I know, so there's not really any need for a scond plant, but it might help fertilization percentage. This year, you'll probably be doing a lot of pinching. Once a stem is 8-12 leaves (4-6 leaf pairs) long, cut it back to 1 pair (to get compact pads).

mr_greggy
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Thanks for your reply k! Yes, I'm quite happy with it looking a lot more vigorous this year.

Re: pinching back - Ive been doing some pinching back already, playing it by ear mostly, pinching back whenever the internodes seem too far apart (it tends to shoot out quickly and in long shoots). So should I be letting it grow out a bit longer before pinching back? Do
I let the leaves mature into the darker green or pinch back as soon as it reaches 4-6 pairs?

Also, I would like to start reducing leaf size. Tho I've read that leaf size reduction should be done last, I'm dying to start. Is that bad?? Hehe.

Anyway. Hope your book sales are doing ok kdodds.

Thanks and take care....

Greg
Have no fear of perfection - you will
never reach it. - Salvador Dali

kdodds
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You may not know it, but pinching back IS decreasing leaf size. The tree can only support so much leaf mass, so increasing branching/ramification and shortening node length, which is what you're accomplishing, means more leaves, means less mass per leaf. It's not imperative to cut them as soon as they reach 4-6 pairs, you can relax and let them go darker green, sure. Or you can cut them back immediately as the sixth pair emerges, no biggie. If the nodes are very long, cut to a single pair, but if they're short you can leave it at two pairs to help put girth on.

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