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Classroom Corner – Academy 2013 Tanuki Project Update

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 – Academy 2013 Tanuki Project Update
The original posts on this blog appeared under Classroom Corner in January, April, and August 2013 with a brief catch up in May 2014.
The trees were brought into an Academy session in December 2014 for a further check on their progress. Three of the trees were growing well and showing good colour. No pruning was required.
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Cable ties were loosened, removed completely or moved slightly in some areas to stop them biting in too much and damaging the bark. Some branches were re-aligned slightly with wire where necessary.
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2015 should hopefully see some stronger growth which should then gain momentum. One of the problems is that the rootball of the Junipers was relatively small to the size of the pot required and therefore there is a lot of inactive compost. Correct watering becomes crucial and is often difficult to gauge…..hence the large granule size in the original mix.
Unfortunately the small cascade tanuki in the round pot did not make it. The Juniper became weaker and despite our efforts to revive it the tree finally succumbed.
The problem stemmed from the original decision regarding the trunk selection. The Juniper used had two trunks and we decided to use the smaller, thinner one because of the tight bends in the small cascading trunk to which it was going to be fixed. The taller more vigorous trunk was cut off to divert all the energy from the roots into the tanuki branch. This left the tree too weak to recover from the work carried out.
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Another smaller Juniper Ittogawa was provided and fixed to the driftwood following the same line as the original tree. Nothing was cut off this tree. The tanuki was then potted up as before.
Fingers crossed let’s hope this does the trick and with this tree it is second time lucky. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and maybe we should have kept both trunks and reduced the stronger trunk gradually but this is how you learn bonsai…….from your experiences…. good ones and bad ones……hopefully mostly the former! I will keep you posted on this project.