It’s not uncommon to have a less than stellar base or rootage on your bonsai. This Chinese privet, Ligustrum sinense, is a good example. The tree is nice, for sure, and will be just about fully developed next year after a good start this year, but there’s an issue at the base in front that just doesn’t add to the tree’s appearance. In situations like this you’ve got a couple of choices: carve until it looks better or “work around” the objectionable area.
Privets don’t lend themselves to carving, especially low on the trunk, as the wood has a tendency to get punky and rot out after a few years. If you do utilize carving on a Privet specimen, be sure to have some PC Petrifier wood hardener on hand. You’ll need it sooner rather than later.
So in the case of this tree, I’ll need to “work around” the problem at the base. And what better way than to layer the tree?
You’re probably wondering if this is a good time of year to do this work. For most species the answer would be no. Privet is semi-deciduous down South, so there will be active root growth through much of the winter. If I’m lucky, by the time spring gets kicked off next year it won’t take long to produce enough roots to allow me to separate the layer. I’ll update when that happens.
You’ve been following the development of this Water oak (Quercus nigra) since last year. The tree was collected in February of 2018, but failed to bud except in one spot. The obvious answer was to make bonsai lemonade out of that lemon.
Here’s the next Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) that gets styled. I’m always amazed at how fast they grow.
I lifted this Chinese privet, Ligustrum sinense, in Winter 2019. Here is it in late March, just pushing new shoots.
Here we are, two and a half months later. Privet is very vigorous. You literally can’t take your eyes off them for long.
More pruning, especially the conflicting branches on the inside of the tree. I’ve got that third trunk down to a single leader … and, I’m not sure that trunk does anything for the composition.
Working our way up. That left-hand trunk ended up with only its new leader, and that’s where all of the new growth is needed.
And a few minutes later, we’ve got our initial design. The tree will push lots of new buds in the next week, so it will flush out again by early July. I’ll post updates, unless of course someone wants to take over. This tree is available at our Chinese Privet sale page.