Spindle Tree Pre-bonsai
This tree started out in our yard as a shrub.  The housing development that we live in
decided they needed to widen our street in order to be eligible for tax breaks to pave
it.  This meant that we would lose about three feet of our yard.  This shrub and others
needed to be moved before that happened.
Deb allowed me to take this section of the tree for bonsai and I planted another
section of it in the backyard.

This tree really has nothing going for it as a bonsai except for the base.  The base is
huge and gnarled.  The trunks are long and without taper.  One of the trunks was an
"eye-poker" from the chosen front and would need radial changes in position.

After removing the tree from the yard I removed all ground soil and planted the tree
into a wooden box filled with Turface.  I watered it in well and it took off.  It began
putting out leaves and branches everywhere.
The next year I decided that since the tree was growing strongly that I would attempt
the first operation needed to get the "eye-poker" trunk to change direction.  The
Trunk had a dead section on it just above where I wanted to move the trunk.  I used a
saw to cut out a wedge from the trunk and then thinned the area with a Dremel tool.  I
then bent the trunk upward until the bark edges matched.  I used brass screws to
keep the branch in position and then wrapped the trunk with black electrical tape first
sticky side out and then sticky side in to keep the tape from damaging the bark when I
got around to removing it  The trunk was now pointing 45 degrees higher than it had
before, no longer an "eye-poker" but still coming toward the viewer.
The branch never missed a beat and continued to put out new leaves.  After 6 months
I removed the tape and the wound had started to callous over.
The tree was then left to recover for the rest of the year.
The following year the tree came out of winter dormancy with a bang.  As summer
came it was time for the next round of torture for this tree.  This time I needed to
get the trunk to move to the left by a large amount.  The part of the trunk just above
the previous work was much thinner than the lower part.  This meant that I couldn't
use the wedge technique this time.  So it was time to bring out the "channeling".
I used the Dremel tool to cut a groove in the trunk.  This groove was enlarged to
remove nearly all the inner wood from the trunk.  This technique works because the
inner wood on a tree is actually dead and only provides support for the tree.
After removing the wood from the trunk I filled the cavity with plastic wood putty.  I
then wrapped the trunk as in the wedge operation.  I then used guy wires to move
the trunk to the right.  The guy wires were tied off to the sides of the grow box and
the tree was left to recover.  Again the tree didn't seem to notice that it had been
mangled and continued to grow strongly.
The trunk now was 45 degrees more vertical and about 60 degrees farther right
than it originally grew.
The tree has grown very well since then.  The leaves on this particular type of
tree grow fairly large so the size of the leaves is a concern as bonsai.  After the
tree is put into it's final bonsai pot I will begin using leaf reduction techniques to
try and get the leaves to reduce in size.  Root restriction in a bonsai pot is one
way to do this over time.

The trunk on the right is the trunk that received extensive work.  If you compare
the first photo on the right at the top of this page to the latest photo you can see
how much the trunk was moved.  All guy wires and tape have been removed
from the trunk.  The bit of foliage at the bottom will be grown out to help hide the
left hand trunk that has no taper.
July 2010