It is now some 10 months since the last update on this bonsai group or forest planting. The forest planting is a renovation project from a Zelkova serrata ‘urban rubi’ forest I acquired in early December 2020, so effectively, a year ago now.
When I got it, it was in a poor state:
After working it over winter, I left the tree for spring. However, I kept looking at it and felt the right-hand of the planting was too bare. So I looked through the trees that were left over from the original planting, and decided to add two more. I felt the planting was more balanced and once again, put the forest on the bench, waiting for spring to arrive.
When spring arrived, I was happy to see plenty of life left in the trees. All over the forest bud started to swell and the first leaves arrived soon after. Unfortunately, the second tree from the right did not push leaves. As the bark was shiny, I was not too concerned: It was clearly not dead.
However, we went from early spring to late spring and still no leaves! Thinking of a little trick Yamadori collectors use, I decided to put a clear plastic bag over the tree, which took a bit of fidgeting, avoiding damaging the other trees. Every time I watered the forest, I put the hose in the upside-down bag, and soaked the tree. After some 6 weeks of treating the tree like this, by late June this last tree started to grow too! This was right around the time that the initial wiring was removed from the trees. By august the forest was trimmed for the first time (Except for the struggling tree).
With summer passing into fall, and onwards to winter, leaves started to drop, revealing the forest after one season of recovery growth. When you study the pictures carefully, you can tell that I have also started to shave off some of the lumps on the trunks. If I can, I would like to avoid making big cuts. But we’ll see how this develops. Growth this year has not been explosive, but that was expected: I fully expect the pot to be filled with new roots now, ready to create a massive push in 2022. For now, the forest is waiting for spring. Late winter will see a trim and light wire.