Creating New Nebari for Bonsai by (Ground)Layering

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After 2 years growing in the ground the Larch were lifted; here you can (just) see the green wire tourniquet, the old root system below it and the new root system above it.

Larch bonsai

After removal of the old root system and the trunk below including the tourniquet. Here it is possible to see how the new rootsystem is shallow and consists of many lateral roots. It is also possible to see the increase in trunk diameter of the trees after only 2 years growing in the ground.

Dave Paris Pomegranate

Dave Paris Pomegranate

Dave Paris read this article and applied it to a pomegranate. A year later and he has kindly sent some images of the great success he has had.

'The tree is a Dwarf Pomegranate; Punica granatum cv. "Nana Emperor" and was procured from Bill Valavanis at International Bonsai in Rochester, NY, USA. It traces its lineage back to cuttings taken from a tree owned by the Emperor of Japan (hence the "Nana Emperor" cultivar name). The trunk on the tree in the images is between 5/8" and 3/4". '

'The tourniquet was applied approx. 1/2" above the existing, weak nebari and was created from 2mm anodized aluminum wire, tightened sufficiently to cut into the bark. The tree is currently potted in an 8" nursery "bulb" pan filled with coarse bonsai soil and roughly 20% (by volume) sphagnum peat to retain moisture so the new roots don't dry out as the top of the bonsai soil dries.'

Here is a further example of using a tourniquet, this time to create a new nebari on a field maple/Acer campestre;

new nebari on a field maple/Acer campestre

This tree was planted in the ground as a young sapling and has been grown on for 3 to 4 years. Unfortunately, it has a very poor trunkbase/nebari so before being planted back into the ground, a wire tourniquet is applied in order that a new nebari can develop over the next few years.

After two more years growing in the ground, I lifted the tree and found that there were plenty of new roots growing just above the layering point/tourniquet. I pruned the old rootsystem very hard to promote stronger growth in the new roots.

new surface roots

This is the appearance of the same tree 3 years after the tourniquet was applied. As can be seen, the new surface roots have numerous fine roots to help support the health of the tree and the old root sytem has barely healed or developed since it was pruned back a year ago. This means that the tree is being supported solely by the new roots. The entire base of the trunk (below the tourniquet point) can now be removed.

old root system has now been removed using a saw

The old root system has now been removed using a saw. The trunkbase of this tree is around 2"-3"/5-7cm in diameter. The wound at the base of the trunk is given a thin layer of vaseline but in all honesty, it is not necessary to try and 'protect' or 'seal' the exposed wood.

PART TWO OF THIS ARTICLE Creating New Nebari on Bonsai Part Two Developing a Multi-Trunk Bonsai on a Tile or Board

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