Satsuki and Other Trees in Mack's Garden 72

Renewal Ist February 2023

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It was very cold last December. Though we had seen the first frost on the satsuki trees in the nursery in Ise city on 23rd of December 2021, we saw the first frost on them and the ice in the outside backets at the beginning of December. I have been unable to remember such date of the first frost since we lived in Ise. And we saw the snow dancing in the sky for a short time in the middle of the month though we hadn’t had any snow last winter. But the rose trees in our garden had the damaged flowers and leaves, but they continued to make us enjoy a small number of flowers till the end of the month. I have to prune them at the start of February.

And we had the coldest day in Ise on 25th January 2023. The maximum temperature was 2 degrees C and minimum one was -3 degrees C. According to the weather forecast we have such a weather once per ten years. Though they had much snow of more than 1 metre in some districts in Japan, we saw only one cm of snow on the ground in our garden. But I can endure such coldness easily as I had on 25th.

I have thought that the good weather in Ise has made me continue to live till now. It is cooler in summer and warmer in winter in Ise than in Osaka, Kobe and my birth place in Kyoto prefecture. I can pass a lot of nights without an air-conditioner in summer though I cannot pass days and nights without it in winter. But unfortunately, we are troubled by more typhoons and rains in Ise than in these districts. Since 40 % of my both lungs lost their working of ventilation at the age of 29, it has been very dangerous for me to catch a cold since then. Especially, I have to be very careful not to be infected with the coronavirus.

Repairing of the satsuki trees

Though we mustn’t give any serious damages to our bonsai, we often do so by our careless misses or errors. Fortunately, we can repair the damaged satsuki trees though we cannot repair other damaged bonsai if we don’t have the very good skill. And we can make some branches and roots of satsuki by grafting. But even if we repaired a damaged satsuki tree, it is a fact that it often takes us several years to complete it or that we may be unable to restyle it as a good bonai.

Now I have several damaged satsuki trees whose trunks and branches were broken by the strong winds or typhoons. I think these are my errors because they would have been safe if I had put them under the shelves or in the garage. And when several trees fell down from the shelves, some pots of them broke. How many pots did I lose for 50 years? I lost a lot of money. Especially, when I had the regular job at Kogakkan University, even if I had felt the dangerous winds there, I couldn’t come home to defend all satsuki trees from them. Therefore, I had to plant a lot of them in new pots. Since I had an extreme lot of satsuki trees and it took me a long time to put them under the shelves and bring them into the garage, I had to pay good attention to the weather forecast.

Since I retired from the university, I have had a lot of time to spare since then. But the sudden strong winds blew down some satsuki trees from the shelves. I would like to introduce my repairing of some satsuki trees lest you should make same errors as I had. And even if you had some satsuki trees whose trunks or branches were broken, you can know how to repair them by reading my web site.

Part 1. Miyamamangetsu

I paid 25,000 yen for this Miyamamangetsu in 1999. The height was 58 cm and the trunk girth was 14 cm. I have grown it in the bonsai pot since then. Strictly speaking, this variety isn’t that of satsuki and belongs to a family of Miyamakirishima (a kind of Japanese azalea) and the parent is unknown. But it is listed up in all Satsuki Dictionaries that I have. The flowers are beautiful on the left photo which was taken in 2017. It is the front side and the next one is the back side.

When I repotted this tree on 1st April 2019, since the roots were very good on the left photo, I thought it wouldn’t have greater damage even if I made it have flowers. The middle photo is the front side of this tree. And the right one is the back side. The height is 58 cm and the trunk girth is 19 cm. The trunk didn’t grow thick for 20 years.

Though a typhoon approached to Japan on 23rd September 2019, fortunately, it didn’t pass near us. Though I put down a lot of small bonsais under the shelves and brought the rest of them and all cascades into the garage, I didn’t bind any large bonsai pots to the shelves with wires. And the strong wind blew down only one satsuki tree on the ground from the shelf. It was this Miyamamangetsu whose upper back branches were broken by it. This was my perfect error. I repaired it and put the medicine and Cutpaster on the cuts. The left photo is the whole figure of the front side, which was taken on 25th September 2019. The middle one is the whole figure of the back side. And the right one is the upper part of back side. You can see how this tree was given the damages.

Though this tree didn’t have a lot of flowers in 2020 because I repotted it in the previous year, the whole figure of the front side wasn’t bad but the back side had the miserable sight. Fortunately, since it isn’t very old, it had a lot of new shoots from the trunk and broken branches. If it was very old, we cannot expect that it will have a lot of new shoots from the trunk. I pruned the middle and lower branches drastically after blooming so that these new shoots might grow long. The left photo is the front side of this tree. And a lot of new shoots came from a lot of places on the middle photo. And you can see a lot of new shoots on the right one.

The left photo is the front side of this tree when it had flowers in 2021. And the back side has a lot of flowers on the middle and right photos. These flowers are beautiful, but those of the top of the back side aren’t still good as bonsai. Since I didn’t remove the unnecessary new shoots when I pruned it after blooming in 2020, they had so many flowers in 2021 that you cannot see the cuts.

And after blooming, I wired some shoots to make branches and removed unnecessary shoots. When I took the photos of this tree on 1st August, since the basic styles of new branches were completed, I hoped I would be able to see the good whole style in three years. The front side of this tree isn’t bad on the left photo. The second one is the back side which looks like a bonsai now. But the new branches on the right one are still short. I hope they will have a lot of flowers in two years.

Though this tree hasn’t recovered the good style yet, when it had a lot of flowers in 2022, the whole figure is good. But the back branches of the top are still weak. Since this variety doesn’t have a lot of long new shoots, I thought that it would take it several years to have new good branches. The left photo is the front side of this tree. And the middle one is the back side which is a little bit clumsy because the length of each branch isn’t in order and it has a lot of dried flowers. The right one was taken on 15th January 2023 after I had trimmed it. Judging from it, I think it will take these new branches two or three years to be good as bonsai. Since Miyamamangetsu is a family of Japanese azalea, even if a new shoot was long, we mustn’t cut it short to make it have new shoots because it may die though we can cut any shoot of satsuki trees very short to make it have some new shoots. It is most important to take good care of it when we prune any variety of Japanese azalea.

Part 2. Kogetsu A

I have introduced the progress of growth about 8 young trees of Kogetsu (A – H) in the web site since 2012. This Kogetsu A had a good colour- arrangement of flowers on the left photo when it had flowers in 2016. When I pruned it on 23rd July again, the whole shape on the middle one is very good. But you can see the miserable figure on the right one which was taken in 2017. Unfortunately, the main trunk was broken by the May storm at the start of May 2017. It fell down on the ground from the shelf.

But when I saw a small new shoot at the top of the broken trunk about 10 days later, I was very glad to think that I would be able to grow it longer than the other trunk. The left photo is the front side of this tree before pruning on July 30th 2017. The middle one is the back side. The new shoot which came from the top of broken trunk already is taller than the other trunk. Therefore, I wired it and pruned the tree. When I took the right photo on 17th August, it grew much taller. I thought that it would have a good taper in 5 years and I would succeed in the repair.

The left photo is the flowers in 2018. Since I removed the shoots which had two colour-ring type flowers when I pruned this tree, the colour-arrangement of flowers in 2019 is very good on the middle one because you can see some flower buds of fukurin. And it had the very good flowers and much better taper in 2022 on the right one though it didn’t have a lot of flowers because I had repotted it in the previous year.

Though it took this Kogetsu five years to recover the good taper, it is because it is a young tree. And judging from the above right photo, it is sure that this tree will have some red flowers when I will complete it as bonsai. Therefore, I would like to complete the top of main trunk as soon as possible.

Part 3. Kogetsu B

The left photo is the flowers of Kogetsu B in 2018. Though it does not have a lot of flowers, you cannot see any red flowers, either. The middle one is the flowers in 2019. Though it has the very good colour-arrangement of flowers on the right one which I took in 2022, unfortunately, you cannot see the necessary back branches because they were broken by the sudden strong winds in 2020. But judging from these photos, you can understand the change of the number of fukurin.

Unfortunately, the strong winds blew down the three trees of the 8 young Kogetsu on the ground from the shelf at the end of the last November. Kogetsu B on the left photo is one of them. And after the top of the sub-trunk was broken by the strong winds, I tried to repair the damaged part after pruning it but could not find any good new shoots to make a new upper trunk on the middle one. And since it already lost two necessary back branches, the whole figure is very miserable on the right one. Since these trees of Kogetsu are young, though I have thought that their trunks will have a lot of new shoots, this tree hasn’t had necessary back shoots for three years. Therefore, I have to prune all branches drastically to get a lot of new shoots which will make a new upper part of the sub-trunk and branches of both trunks after blooming in 2023. If I will be unable to get them in 2024, I have to remove all branches except the top of the main trunk after blooming in 2025. It is a fact that these errors for which I had have to pay a lot of compensations.

Part 4. Kogetsu D

The left photo is the flowers of front side of Kogetsu D in 2019. Though it is not in full bloom, since you can recognise the colours of these swelling flower buds, you can understand that it will have a lot of beautiful flowers and the good colour-arrangement of flowers. And the middle one is the back side. Though it is not be in full bloom on the left one, it is in full bloom on the middle one. This is my error that I did not turn this pot once a week before blooming. You can see a group of flowers of colour-ring type on the first back branch of the main trunk. Since this branch has only this form of flowers, I could not remove it. The right one is the flowers of the front side in 2022. Since the colour arrangement of flowers is very good, I thought I would like to keep it.

This Kogetsu D is other of the three trees which the very strong winds blew down on the ground from the shelf. Though it lost the upper part of the main trunk on the left photo, since I could see the very good new shoot, I wired it to make a new upper trunk on the middle one. It will take it a lot of time to have a thicker upper trunk than that of the sub-trunk because the bottom of the main trunk is already much thicker than that of the sub-trunk. Now I cannot decide whether I will prune the branches of the main trunk drastically or not to make the new shoot which will make an upper trunk much longer. You can see a lot of the red flower buds of the sub-trunk which will be flowers of fukurin on the right photo which I took on 15th January. When it will bloom, I have to remove one third of them.

Part 5. Kogetsu G

This Kogetsu G is another one. The colour-arrangement of flowers of this tree is very good on the left photo which was taken in 2021. But since I repotted it after blooming, it doesn’t have a lot of flowers in 2022 on the middle one. Therefore, you can see the movement of the trunk so easily that you can judge the style. And unfortunately, it fell down from the shelf, but fortunately it did not have any damage though the pot broke on the right one. I will change the pot in two months.

Even if some satsuki trees were given big damages, since they are strong, we can repair them. If they were old, since we may be unable to restore them to full styles, perhaps we have to restyle them. In any case, it will take us long time to repair the damaged satsuki trees to good styles. Therefore, we have to take good care of them lest we should make them have any damages.

The archives

The archaives are the back nukmbers of my web site. If you are interested in them, please read them. I am sure that it is very useful for you to grow satsuki trees and to make them into good bonsai.

If you would like to understand what Mack is a little more, please click here.

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