Cotoneaster horizontalis/Cotoneaster Bonsai Progression Series

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This Cotoneaster horizontalis started life as a £1 sale plant, bought in 1994, to plant in the garden of the house I had just moved into. After a couple of years I had grown to dislike the natural herringbone branch pattern of this species, so the Cotoneaster was dug up and foisted on the mother-in-law's garden! In 2003, with my mother-in-law moving house, I had a look around her garden to see if she had any suitable plants I could use for bonsai. I discovered that the trunk of this same Cotoneaster had fattened up while growing in the ground and might well have some potential. It was time for the tree to move on again!

Cotoneaster horizontalis/Cotoneaster Bonsai Progression Series

This picture was taken not long after the tree was dug up from the mother-in-laws in 2003. The tree had produced 5 or 6 tall (6ft+) trunks/branches while growing in the ground. Unfortunately, all were useless for bonsai as they were too straight and lacked taper. I chopped all of these tall branches and trunks right back to stumps, leaving just one thinner branch that could be used to create a new trunkline in the future.

cotoneaster bonsai

June 2003: The base of the Cotoneaster was ugly and I decided to (air)layer it

cotoneaster bonsai

I carefully cut away the bark and cambium layer in a circle around the trunk and filled the pot so that the layering-area was below soil level.

cotoneaster bonsai

By December 2002 there were sufficient roots to support the Cotoneaster and the old root system was removed leaving a far more suitable trunkbase for bonsai.

Cotoneaster horizontalis/Cotoneaster Bonsai Progression Series

June 2004. Just over a year later and the tree had recovered and development of the new trunkline had begun. The new trunk was wired upwards with a guy wire.

Cotoneaster horizontalis/Cotoneaster Bonsai Progression Series

January 2005. The trunk was been chopped back again in order to prompt plenty of backbudding close to the base of the tree. The hard pruning during early 2005 prompted plenty of new buds to appear during the following Spring. These new shoots were then given an initial wiring during the Summer of 2005.

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