I bought this Sawara Cypress from David Easterbrook. For those who don’t know David (if that’s even possible), he has over 40 years in bonsai. Curator of the Montreal Botanical Garden’s bonsai collection from 1982-2011, David is respected world wide as a top level bonsai practitioner, sensei, teacher, judge, appraiser, author and more.
If I remember correctly the tree was a cutting that David cultivated and then it went to one of his students. They had it for many years before it came back to David and now to me. Below is a photo journal of the tree over the short period time I have owned it.
When I first bought the tree last winter.
Cleaning up. Kinda like when you buy a used car…
Lots of algae and moss
Using my teacher’s pressure cleaner. How do people do this without one?!
Ok that’s as far as we will go with the cleaning!
In the above image, you may notice that the soil surface is lower in the front middle. This is because it has become compacted. It was even more evidenced when watering the tree. Water would pool up in that location but drain freely everywhere else in the pot. The loss of percolation can be solved without repotting. Mirai has a great video on Ryan’s vacuum removal of compacted soil technique as well as improving percolation. This was needed and much less invasive than a redundant repot. I performed the technique slowly and the result was flawless. Using a chopstick and shop vac, I gently removed all compacted organic material and stopped disturbing as soon as I started to see fine roots and friable soil. Roots cant grow in the compacted soil so we have to dig down until we get good friable soil. I then replaced with new soil mix. Now when watering , the percolation is fixed and even across the pot. The soil surface being even was also more pleasing to the eye.
Below is a time lapse video (no sound) of my first pruning on the Easterbrook Juniper. It was more a matter of getting to know the tree and balancing energy before the spring push.
As you can see in the progression of photos / video, the tree has started to regain balance and is showing good response to the late winter pruning. The few weaker branch sections are elongating and gaining strength while the rest of the tree has grown and filled out evenly.
In terms of the future and wiring of the tree, I think the overall vision is explanatory and I’ve made a few minor tweaks of my own to expand on that. I will definitely bring the tree to David soon for a chat. I plan to selectively wire the tree since lots of tertiary branching and would like to avoid excessive wiring.
In the time being I will keep my eyes peeled for its next pot!
Stay tuned for better photos !