Psuedo Science in the Bonsai World

I have come across a few articles either online or in Bonsai publications that use illogical logic to try and prove a theory, point or reason why they do what they do. The reasoning sounds logical but it doesn’t have the science to back it up. I was reading through an article in a bonsai publication regarding bonsai soils and it stopped me dead. It was written by a well known bonsaist that had years of training by bonsai masters. The statements that were made regarding soils and root systems sounded logical but was not based on any science at all and in all actuality was fundamentally wrong.

Here is an example

Quote “The idea is that by allowing the soil to dry out more rapidly, trees will naturally send out more roots in search of moisture. Our job is to then quench this soil with water on a more frequent basis so as to keep the new feeder roots alive and healthy.”

“This continual process of rapid drying out and frequent quenching is what produces fine, healthy root systems and in turn better foliar growth.”

I really don’t think so, where is the science to back this up. What I learned as an Arborist was In reality is fine roots grow in moist FERTILE well aerated soils and branch more. Roots that search for water are not feeder roots.

Dr. Shigo on the Rhizosphere -

1. Root hairs on non-woody roots are extensions of single epidermal cells. Common on seedlings, root hairs grow to maturity in a few days. They function for a few weeks and then begin to die.

On mature trees, they are usually not abundant. When they do form, they do so when soil conditions are optimum for absorption of water and elements

 This statement uses the words ‘fine organic components

“Soil mixes that contain higher percentages of fine, organic components such as bark and peat will provide a growing environment counter-productive to our developmental goals.”

Not true where is the science?

A totally false statement with no science. In reality fine roots grow in moist FERTILE well aerated  soils with more branching.

“Yes, these mixtures hold more moisture, making watering an easier process because the soil dries out less often. But if the soil remains wetter for longer, roots are not being actively encouraged to grow, which will be reflected by poor foliar growth.” —- Not entirely true at all

Non-woody tree roots are organs that absorb water and elements dissolved in it. The two basic types of non-woody roots are:

1. Root hairs on non-woody roots are extensions of single epidermal cells. Common on seedlings, root hairs grow to maturity in a few days. They function for a few weeks and then begin to die.

On mature trees, they are usually not abundant. When they do form, they do so when soil conditions are optimum for absorption of water and elements. I have found root hairs growing in non-frozen soils beneath frozen soils in winter.

Flower Buds

All the nutrition that is required for a flower bud to open already exists in the bud. Removal is not necessary and flowering does not take any energy from the plant. Seed production does and removing spent blooms stops seed production

Superthrive

Snake oil people who claim it works have zero science to back them up. Those that sell it and those that use it have lost all credibility with me.

Shore Pine Yamadori Availablity

Here are some Pinus contorta contorta that are available;Image

Twin trunk Literati – tree is older than it looks $125 – 2 Gallon container

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 Single trunk very old Literati – $975 30″ tall wide root base

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Nice thick base very old and twisted $600 30″ tall

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Nice twisted old Shore Pine – 3 gallon pot 20″ tall – $350

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Very attractive Shohin Literati style Shore Pine – 1 gallon container $200

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Interesting Shore Pine lots of potential – 2 gallon container – $150

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Another Shohin Literati – corky bark  1 gallon container – $150

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Shohin Semi Casacade Shore Pine – 1 gallon pot old corky bark – $150

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Shore Pine 1 gallon container $125

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Shore Pine 1 gallon container $100

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Small Shore Pine $75

 

 

 

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Very twisted Shore Pine lots of foliage 1 gallon container $300

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Shore Pine 2 gallon container $150

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Literati Shore PIne 2 gallon container $175

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Semi Cascade or Literati Shore Pine 2 gallon container – $150

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Double trunk Shore Pine lots of potential 2 gallon container $250

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Same tree as above

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Hard to see but very nice Shohin Shore PIne in a 2 gallon pot to contain the root spread $200

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Shore P[ine 1 gallon $125

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Interesting Shore Pine 3 gallon container $275

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Very Large Shore PIne in a 10 gallon container the base is 8″ across $1500 height is about 24″

 

 

Jack Knox: The difficult life of Bonsai Bob

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Now that he is dead, apparently by his own hand, you wonder if Bob Deryk — Bonsai Bob — just couldn’t stand the idea of going to prison, of losing his wilderness home.

A childhood in a Japanese concentration camp had left him with a lifelong fear of being locked up again. The experience shaped his life, and brought him to the unfenced, uncrowded refuge he carved out of the forest beside the Sooke River almost 20 years ago.

His body was found just a stone’s throw from his cabin on the weekend, less than two weeks after it was learned he had, at age 74, been charged with sexually assaulting two minors.

News of his arrest bewildered some of his friends and outraged others. “He was a popular man in the community,” Staff Sgt. Stephen Wright, the head of the Sooke RCMP detachment, said Monday.

In truth, without knowing more about the case — privacy rules prevent police from saying much — it’s hard to either defend or condemn Deryk.

What is known is that his story had a sad start and a sad end. He told the tale seven years ago, surrounded by the hundreds of bonsai trees that gave him his nickname.

He was just three years old when the Japanese invaded Indonesia in 1942, rumbling down the road in trucks into which the confused Dutch colonials were herded.

Males over 14 were stuffed in one camp, women and children in another. Deryk, his brother and mother ended up in a sealed-off corner of Jakarta, six families to a house.

They almost starved, mostly ate mung beans. Without medicine, beriberi, dysentery and other diseases were rampant. “My mom said six more months and we would have died.”

Every day at noon, the prisoners were herded into the square to stand and bow before the commandant (later executed as a war criminal) in the scorching sun. Sometimes, the guards would keep the women and children standing all night, seemingly on a whim. Sometimes a woman would be forced to bunny hop along the line of prisoners, and, prodded by rifle butts, keep on bunny hopping until she dropped from exhaustion. Then the guards would beat her to death. “They did horrible things. The women were beaten left and right.”

Deryk said the experience left him, and the other survivors, scarred. “We’re known as the Forgotten Ones,” he said. “We’re all totally screwed up.”

Even at his Sooke Potholes cabin, he kept a bag packed with essentials, just in case he needed to flee again. “We all live with a little suitcase in a corner of the room,” he said. “I’m always looking down the road, wondering: ‘Are they coming to get me today?’”

Deryk immigrated to Canada in 1957, ending up in Victoria as the gardener at Fable Cottage before it was barged off to Denman Island in 1993. In 1994, he came to the Sooke Potholes, where then-owner Albert Yuen wanted him to grow food for the lodge Yuen was building there. Deertrails lodge was never finished — towering stone chimneys are all that remain of that dream — but Deryk remained in the nearby cabin, which he gradually transformed from a dilapidated shack into a rustic idyll, albeit one with no electricity or running water. He stayed on as caretaker after The Land Conservancy bought the property.

He also patiently tended the hundreds of bonsai trees (“living art,” he called them) that brought a fame he didn’t really want. Deryk was private — though hardly a hermit, those who knew him say. It was hard to remain reclusive with all those boots tromping through Sooke Potholes regional park.

In a grim aside to a grim story, Sooke RCMP were told Sunday night that someone had stolen some bonsai trees from the property. That was just a day after a friend found Deryk’s body in a barn-sized CRD shed near the cabin — a home he had stood to lose.

He had been reported missing last Tuesday, prompting a search that included more than 50 people on the ground, an RCMP helicopter, Mountie divers and the Cowichan Valley swift water rescue team, among others. The sprawling structure in which Deryk’s body was found had been among the first sites searched by a police dog.

Deryk had disappeared days after police issued a statement saying he had been charged in relation to incidents last September involving children who were 12 and 13 at the time. The RCMP were looking to see if other complainants wanted to come forward. Wright said Monday the investigation remains open.

For Bonsai Bob, though, it’s all over. “It’s a sad ending,” Wright said.

© Copyright 2013 Times Colonist

- See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/jack-knox-the-difficult-life-of-bonsai-bob-1.80572#sthash.3yxERuJb.dpuf

Final Collecting for the Year

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DSC_1839A tree that called out to be collected – I had to cut off all of the lower branches – almost slipped off the cliff doing it. It was a ways down to the bottomDSC_1844All the branches cut away dug loose and ready to haul back to my truck.DSC_1843IMG_1465IMG_1466It is a double trunk but I might try a ground layer on the smaller trunk instead of cutting it off right away.IMG_1483IMG_1480I got lucky and found a smaller tree with a very large base trunkIMG_1477IMG_1476IMG_1479IMG_1468Final Collecting for the YearIMG_1457I decided to collect this large tree after seeing it for the last 15 years. I swear I heard a voice saying – please take me please. So I took the tree home.IMG_1475At home heeled in fish compostIMG_1463A double trunk I collected

October Collecting

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Image 2A group of us got together to go collecting for Pinus contorta contorta (Shore PIne) Left to right Mark Patterson, Peter Woodland, Teague (Victoria) Gordon Cowen (Nanaimo) Peter Wilson and myself on the end (Campbell River). A very fun day for all of us. All pictures courtesy of Mark PattersonImage 7Me checking out the roots of a nice Pine – Teague was watching but posed for the shot.Image 1ImageTree was growing in a pocket in the rocks, I exposed the edges of the roots and then found the best leverage point to pop the tree out of the pocket.Image 5Done got the tree out with plenty of small surface roots.Image 4Rootball tightly wrapped in shrink wrap and with bunji cords strapped to my very old Trapper Nelson back pack. My roll of shrink wrap slides nicely over my digging shovel. What you see is all have for collecting secatuers and a small folding Silky Saw in my pocket. Stanfields wool overshirt Nylon pants if they get wet they dry out quickly jeans stay wet all day. Good pair of MEC boots and a wool toque.Image 3Peter Woodland pulling out a nice pine.
IMG_1434Fall Yamadori hunting in October presents a few problems I went out yesterday collecting in the sub-alpine. A week ago there was 4 inches of snow which melted when we had a change in weather. I left home on a sunny no cloud morning but upon reaching the higher elevations was fog and wind.IMG_1435The wind was so cold that all the trees had ice on the foliage on the windward side.IMG_1436I cut back some branches on this one so I can the trunkIMG_1438Flat sprawled out Mt Hemlock, something I would ignore in the past but….IMG_1439View from the sideIMG_1440Secatuers showing some scaleIMG_1442There is a decent sized trunk in there somewhere. This tree in a few years will make fairly decent Shohin after cutting back a lot of the branches.IMG_1443Here is the tree dug out and a lot of small branches taken away. As you can see it has a nice thick trunk. It was growing over a rock so the root mass is spread out and in the future (2 to 3 years) I will be able to expose the nebari and have a decent Shohin tree ( less than 12″ tall) IMG_1445If you look closely you can see Sam sitting on the rock on guard watching over me. We did run into a black bear earlier he was foraging on the remaining blueberries