Ron Davis is a long-time customer who has visited several times, and has proven to be a good writer, photographer and contributor. He is thoughtful (although tentative at times) and will run with an idea in delightful ways! Ron first visited in 2006 and his portal page is at www.fukubonsai.com/1a91.html Here's a summary of his trees as he starts this new challenge:
"SUSHI" began in 2006 as a small at the end of a slanting stick with a concrete base created at a workshop at the Fuku-Bonsai Center. These two photos were taken in March and July 2011. Besides restyling and creating a more compact crown, there's efforts to create a more prominent root base. To see the detailed story, go to www.fukubonsai.com/4c3e.html
"ROOT-OVER-ROCK" AND "ANTLER!" These two photos show how Ron's trees have developed nicely and he's largely developed the ability to train trees. Initially he had superior growth by using a strong flourescent lamp facing the window so the plants received strong directional light from both sides. But after his latest visit to Fuku-Bonsai, it was time for a larger challenge!
AN INTRODUCTION TO RON'S 1:10 PROJECT
After Ron returned home from his most recent trip, he was kept informed about our 1:10 Project in which we would develop the techniques, discipline, and skills to grow plants in shallow containers that are 10 times wider that the depth! This was an ambitious project but significant as a training standard to train our professional bonsai staff. The background story of this project begins with a portal page at www.fukubonsai.com/1a6.html This is a very aggressive effort to improve our staff skill levels. But we believe that growing houseplant bonsai indoors can also utilize shallower containers that will be a lot more attractive then the deep heavy bonsai pots used in outdoor bonsai.
In outdoor bonsai, beginners who have not yet developed the ability to grow compact, shallow root systems must use deeper pots. Many claim that deep pots don't dry out as quickly and that's true. But when viewing a bonsai in a deep pot, the mass of the pot overwhelms the bonsai and the general rule of thumb is to use a pot as deep as the thickness of the trunk. Putting a 1" trunk in a 4" deep pot is not much of a challenge. Putting a 2" trunk in a 2" deep pot clearly represents a higher quality standard. Because many of the problems of growing plants indoors are related to over-watering, it is necessary to learn the basic cultural indoor growing techniques and its hoped that Ron would assist and shed light on this aspect of growing houseplant bonsai in shallow saucer-pots.
Because Ron is such an enthusiastic correspondent, I invited him to challenge himself using premium 2" prepared bonsai stock that was increasingly becoming available. They are used in our small lava plantings, in the Introductory Workshop Package, and in the 4LL8 potted Living Lovables. As the material matures, it is potted up or used in our larger and older projects and over time, the quality of all Fuku-Bonsai products are greatly improved and our standards raised.
There is a common sense truism that the potential of your bonsai is really dependant upon the potential of the prepared bonsai stock that you have at the start. In the thousands of trees being developed, a small percentage are much higher quality and these are the special trees used in our experimental efforts or for training our staff. I offered Ron some of these special young plants if he would challenge himself, would share his results with text and photos, and allow me to critique and assist him. This is a win-win situation as I also learn and can compare how plants grow in different parts of the United States compared to Hawaii and this gives me the ability to assist our customers. Ron agreed and here's his first report. I thank him for sharing his efforts and hope the reports inspire others. Please contact me if you want to take on this type of challenge too!
~~~David W. Fukumoto firstname.lastname@example.org November 2011
SUMO TRAINING IN A SHALLOW 7" DIAMETER X 3/4" DEEP TRAY
By Ron Davis (Montana)
This is the first tree that was planted onto 7 saucer in Sumo style. Placed over a roundish lava rock, about golf-ball size, to spread base roots. #14 copper wire brought up through two holes to secure rock to pot.
|3.5 plastic separator (cut from a freezer bag) over base material with rock wires. Rock wired to pot with short prongs to secure plant. Media mix is ½ teaspoon nutrient granules to 1 cup of supplied media|
|A very nice little tree ready for its new home. Longer wires brought up through two other holes and separator disc to secure plant to rock. Foil collar is about 3.5 wide at bottom and 2.5 high. It was shaped around a flower pot to give it some taper. Media mix is placed around rock.|
|Media added to about 3/8 below top of collar. Note vertical wire in center of trunk. This is twisted together in the back. The tree is now secured enough so that the entire unit can be lifted up by the plant and it remains tight in its pot. This wire must be watched carefully and removed before it marks the trunk.|
IMPRESSIONS by Ron: This simple design turned out well. I found that as I firmed up the media around the rock before placing the tree the collar tended to be pushed up as the media was tamped down. But I soon learned to gently support the collar without crushing it as I placed the media. I would have preferred to use thicker wire to go over the plant but I didnt have the appropriate size. Hopefully the roots will secure the tree in the pot by the time the #14 wire has to be removed. What I do like about using the wire is that it can come up through the disc and soil there by being hidden to the viewer. It also should be easy to remove. (July 17, 2011)
by David: I'm delighted that Ron's first effort turned out
so well. His use of a rounded rock below a Sumo bonsai is an
excellent ideal as it will push out and develop stronger surface
buttressing roots. Later, the rock can be removed and that
space can be filled with media so the plant will be able to grow
stronger. Developing a stout, strong root buttress is a major
criteria to develop high quality Sumo-styled bonsai. In the
future, that heavy buttressing root base will really make the tree
impressive --- especially because it will be in such a shallow
saucer! Great work Ron!