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Classroom Corner – Grafting/Air Layering Class June 2013

An open window into the comings and goings of students and their trees attending our regular weekend and midweek bonsai classes under the ever watchful eyes of John Hanby.

Classroom Corner – Grafting/Air Layering Class June 2013
Seven students attended our first dedicated grafting/air layering class recently. Three students wanted to watch, discuss and learn whilst four students started up projects.
The practicalities of these techniques were first discussed. We are now using both these techniques quite extensively on the nursery and with great success. Both methods can be extremely rewarding and are well worth mastering.
In this instance the complete ring bark method of air layering was used in preference to the tourniquet method.
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Keith had acquired these Blaauws Junipers as young plants when we were at Staincross and had been growing them on in the ground. He now planned to take multiple air layers to provide him with some very useful material, capable of creating a forest or being used for grafting/wrap-around projects.
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Paul’s Scarlet Hawthorn bonsai are not easy to come by so Ralph decided to create his own. He had acquired a suitable tree from a garden nursery and could now obtain two potential bonsai by air layering and still have a tree to plant in the garden if he so wished.
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Johnathan’s Blue Carpet Juniper had an interesting shari and twist but the foliage was very leggy and at the end of a straight section which contradicted the general movement in the trunk. He grafted on a young Juniper with tighter foliage and we positioned it so as to give an extra twist and follow a more natural progression of the trunk line.
IMG_1318Richard’s garden Juniper had excellent potential for creating extensive deadwood around an impressive trunk line but the foliage on all branches was over two feet away from the base of the tree. He grafted on a young Juniper nearer the base of the tree to create a pleasing trunk shape and enable us to have a much smaller bonsai with a single live vein and extensive deadwood/shari.
Everyone is already looking forward to seeing how these projects develop in the future. The trouble is you often become too excited, can’t wait and intervene too early. The secret,  especially with grafting is patience!!!……..let nature take it’s course.
I suspect this innovative class will now be a permanent fixture in my bonsai class schedules especially once other students see the results. I will keep you posted.