Friday, 2 November 2012

Dispelling the myths Part 1

Travelling far and wide as I do, I get to meet a good cross section of the UK bonsai scene. In fact I would go as far as to say maybe only Alan Whicker or more recently Michael Palin, are more travelled than I am. For those of you too young to know Alan Whicker get me to explain next time you see me. But anyway I am digressing a bit. Where was I. Oh yes travelling hither and thither.
So meeting so many people I get a feel for what people know, and more importantly what is being taught or what information is passed on to others.
Which brings me to one of my pet gripes. The propagation of miss information. Which if I was a farmer, I would call this 'muck spreading'!

As an educator, which I see as part of teaching bonsai, I get very frustrated when I spend more time re educating people or correcting inaccuracies before I can give the correct information.
Some of the misinformation, is at times comical. Other times it is just unbelievable. Although I must say it gives me great material to use when going round the clubs. It's like I have my own comic gag writer. However the obstacle for me as a bonsai professional, is to be able to say that the information is incorrect, without doing a character assassination on the perpetrator of such rubbish. It can be very difficult to show restraint however, when the same names keep cropping up as spouting this waffle. These I refer to as the serial offenders. There waffle knows no bounds. To the novice or inexperienced, this authoritative waffle sounds believable as it is so confidently regurgitated to the unsuspecting masses. It would be stopped straight away though, if we had a way to name and shame. However with everything so PC this would never work,...........would it?
And so Richard Craniam gets to preach to more unsuspecting hobbyists. (I know you are all wondering who the hell is Richard Craniam. Try the short version. Got it?).

Now I am guessing you are all thinking, "so what is it that gets Tollster so wound up". So here we go.
1. The best way to get White Pine to back bud is to wire them. Really!
The only way that wiring a White Pine will encourage back budding is if you are so ham fisted you knock buds, needles or candles off. But then ask yourself, why you would be wiring a pine at the time of year that this would encourage the tree to release bud forming auxins. At this time of year the tree should already be wired. Also this technique would be going no where. Knock em off to grow em again. Nice one.

2. Quote. "I am cutting the wire off my tree to let it have a rest.   
Well all I can say here is that all my trees live in a pot or similar container so that they can grow.
Non of mine ever go off jogging or leave to join a gym. Some have won Noelanders Trophy Prizes and Ginkgo Awards but non have ever won a marathon. So why the rest?
So to give you the Sesame Street version so that everyone can follow me. Wire is applied to trees to allow us to manipulate the branch structure and sometimes the trunk to the desired shape we desire i.e. styling the tree. The wires stay on the tree until the desired shape is achieved i.e. the branches have set where we want them. Dependant on species and age this may take only months or sometimes many years. Now the important part. Trees grow and so at some point due to growth and the tree swelling, we need to remove the wires so as not to scar the tree. Remember the wire does not cut into the tree. The tree swells into the wire, a big difference but similar results I guess. So at some point we must remove the wire to avoid ugly scars on our trees. Now if when we remove the wire the branches are set into their desired position, great. If not we must rewire the tree to maintain the position of the branches we are aiming for. We do not leave the wire off so the tree can rest for a few years so that the branches can revert quickly to their original positions. All the time the tree was wired has gone out of the window. So in effect all that time has been wasted. So a tree must be wired to achieve and until it achieves the desired shape. Simples!
This is one of the reasons it takes people so long to get trees exhibitable.
For those who don't agree with me please get your local crime liason officer to pop round and fit some tags on your trees. At least you will know where they have been and it may shed some light on why they need that rest.

More to come! 

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