This photo is from Michael Hagedorn's Crataegus Bonsai blog. It was taken just after restyling by Micheal and friends. The tree is a Ponderosa pine that is called 'Stampede.' The story is below.
If you think we're featuring Michael Hagedorn a lot these days, you are correct. There are two good reasons why; Michael is one of our favorites when it comes to Bonsai knowledge and wisdom, and we are now Pre-Selling Michael's new book, Bonsai Heresy which is due to arrive in early May
Two for one. This post features a story about a Ponderosa pine named Stampede (see below) and some very useful insights on removing and not removing wire. Both are borrowed from Michael Hagedorn's Crataegus Bonsai blog
Here's Michael's photo from You Don't Need to Remove ALL the Wire
And here's some of what Michael has to say on the topic... "Fall is a good time to check on what wires may be biting in on the branches. If you see some, don’t go for the default of taking it all off. That is very often a simple waste of your past work, the work you did putting it on."
"To make it simple, the question of when to remove wire is actually broken down into two questions:
1. Is the tree a conifer or a deciduous tree
2. Is the wire biting in?
And the answers are, if the tree is a conifer, we need to let the wire bite in a little bit before taking it off. If we don’t, the work will be worthless. We’ll have wasted our efforts.
If the tree is deciduous, try (this is nearly impossible, but try anyway) to take it off just before it bites in. If a wire bites into a branch on an old deciduous tree, you might as well cut it off and start again. If it’s a young deciduous tree or young branch, it might grow out of a modest wire scar just fine.
The reasons for the difference? Conifer branches are springy, and need more cambial growth and wood production to ‘set’ the branch. Deciduous branches will set easier, and need less time. Also, conifers tend to mask their branches somewhat with year-round foliage and often rougher bark. Deciduous trees are shy when naked, and prefer to be viewed sans-scars."
A close up of the Ponderosa trunk
And now for the tree's strange name... "There’s a story about the name ‘Stampede’. The Backcountry Bonsai guys enjoy naming the trees they collect, and having received several with memorable names I asked if this Ponderosa Pine had one. I only got an abbreviated version by text and maybe not the full story, but I gather it involved some galloping extraterrestrials or horned animals that were shooed away by Steve Varland, saving the pine’s life. Dust cloud from retreating herd of mysterious animals…mountain peaks…a man bent over, worrying over an old tree…you can sort of see the ageless moment there. And the name Stampede was born."
Michael Hagedorn's much anticipated second book
is due here in early May
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