5 MINUTE RAFT PLANTING
(and a 5 minute article to go with it)
What on earth are we going to do with this?
The branches are all on one side, and theres no taper in
Why did I collect it in the first place?.
Ah, well, at first glance the prospects look dim but this
is in fact perfect material for a raft planting.
This tree was growing on a shale bank and as a consequence
the growth is mainly on one side of the trunk.
A raft planting is based on what happens in nature when
a tree is blown over and continues to grow. In time the
former trunk puts down roots and each branch takes on a
life of its own and behaves like a new tree.
||To encourage our trunk to produce roots a strip
of bark is removed along the length of the underside. Make
dure that the cambium layer is scraped away or healing will
take place rather than rooting,
||Next wire the branches. In some cases the trunk
will be thin enough to bend into desirable positions but in
this case the trunk is to remain straight and only the branches
are wired. Since at this stage all I wish to do is to shape
the branches, only the bases are wired. Detail wiring will
follow at a later date.The branches can be bent to position
at this stage before planting. Avoid alternate branches and
use your imagination as to what you want to achieve at the
end of the day
||Next the existing roots are examined. In this
case there is plenty of fibrous root on the underside and
the thick roots growing in th wrong direction can be removed.
If this was not the case then allowances must be made in making
a temporary container to hold the roots.
The stripped portion can be dusted with rooting hormone
powder if you have it though this is not essential.
Then the whole thing is wired into a tray, a normal seed
tray will do and the whole tree is given a good haircut.
A cut off plant pot can be useful if you have more original
root that needs covering.
So there you have it, more than 5 minutes work but less
than 30 and that includes taking photos. Detail wiring can
now continue at leisure and a season of pinching will hopefully
transform this throwaway material into something pleasing.
I have also found that new roots can be encouraged by scraping
the soil away gradually around the original root ball. How
quickly you do this depends on how confident you are. Watering
sparingly at this end also can have a positive effect.
Eventually the original roots can be removed altogether
but err on the side of caution if in doubt about the amount
of new root produced.
I know that I have not covered everything
so if you have any further questions then please feel free to
drop me a line.
Mark Kennerley Jan 2005
WHAT IS BONSAI?
- A brief introduction defining Bonsai
GETTING STARTED - A few simple
pointers to get you going
TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES
- An outline of the basic requirements
THE CHINESE ELM
- Everybody starts here, some home truths
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - A whimsical
look at some common problems
- What to do and when to do it
- DEVELOPING THE EYE - Slightly more advanced but essential
5 MINUTE RAFT PLANTING
- A simple project
OF BONSAI - More food for thought
LINKS TO OTHER SITES