My friend Gerry brought this large azalea bonsai over to my place this week to get some advice and to begin the work of shaping it into a really nice bonsai.
The first picture was taken last year on the day he acquired it from Wattston Bonsai. This is a fantastic tree with a terrific nebari but it has some issues. The movement at the top of the trunk is going in the opposite direction to the movement at the base.
The first task was to get it firmly planted in a suitable training pot. This was done last year at the time of purchase. The next picture shows Gerry with the tree immediately after we re-potted it.
One year later, it’s firm in the pot and it’s put on a lot of new growth also. Now is the time to take action to correct the unnatural movement in the trunk.
The next picture shows the impressive nebari which is the best feature of this tree.
The main trunk has to be reduced in height to correct the natural movement of the tree. The top of the trunk will make an interesting tree in its own right, so rather than cut it off, we have decided to air layer it.
The lower branches on the right hand side of the tree will be allowed to extend to accentuate the movement in the lower trunk
Close-up of the area that is being air layered. I will watch this air layer carefully throughout the remainder of the season and we plan to remove next year if all goes well.