When I get home tonight I will be working on this tree. It’s a black monkey thorn. I have worked on this tree extensively the past few months: repotting, winter pruning and wiring the tree. I want to show this tree at our bonsai exhibition this year in November. I think this tree is ready now. I change the tree quite a bit after I bought it about 4 years ago. I bought this tree at a auction for R450.00. It was a bargain. It was the first tree I bought at a auction so it has a very special place in my heart.
During the winter of 2017 I winter pruned the tree and restyled the tree. It was a huge risk. With these trees they do not throw off all their leaves during winter. They hold on to there leaves and only shed a few. Just before the growing season starts the old leaves will fall off. So the new growth pushes out the old leaves to make way for the new leaves. It’s a semi Deciduous tree… I knew that the tree throws of it leaves but only discovered after I pruned the tree that it kept some on to survive. Needless to say that by removing all the leaves last year I slowed the growth of the tree. The tree took a while before I started to see any signs of growth it was only in November of 2017 that I started to see any growth. This is two months into spring. I thought I lost my tree when I took so long to recover.
At first there was a few leaves that came out. They then died off due to the heat and the drought we experienced at that point I was sure the tree would not make it. But I just kept on watering. A few weeks later the tree was fulled with new growth. The tree made it and it’s now time for me to remove the wire as the branches are now set. Took long enough.
As you can see the wire is covered with foliage. This is going to be a very slow process not only do I have to take great care not to damage the leaves but the tree has thorns. It’s not normal thorns that just prick you. These have a curve and tend to hook you. This is the trees defense mechanism. It also releases a scent which is the smell of a chemical that the tree releases to make the leaves bitter. The tree does this so that animals do not eat it. A interesting fact if you have a group of these trees next to each other and you damage a branch of one tree all the trees around that tree releases the chemical so that the animals do not chew on the trees in that area. This chemical also makes your hands itch so I’m not really looking forward to removing the wire.
I will have to remove the wire today if I want to be ready for the show in November. So I will be putting on my gloves of courage to tackle the task at hand.
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