I collected this Mayhaw, Crataegus aestivalus, in 2010 and potted it in this beautiful Byron Myrick oval in 2012. It’s grown, from a bare trunk, pretty happily since I first got it. I did a thread-graft to create a second branch (on the left) back in 2011. I think it could be separated now but plan to wait another year or two; there’s no need to rush.
I got a little dieback up the trunk at about the 2/3rd point. You can see the dark area. My plan was to carve this area back to live wood as part of the general repotting and pruning process. I also needed to find out how far down it ran. The tree is exfoliating bark this year, and it can be a bit challenging to tell the difference between the underlying live bark and dead wood.
Here’s the tree trimmed back and carved. The dead wood only went down a short distance, terminating in a V shape which is ideal.
I need additional thickening at the transition between the original trunk chop and the new apex. I cut the leader back hard and will let a new shoot run during this growing season. Getting the proper thickness is going to take another three to five years. But again, there’s no need to rush.
Here’s the root mass. As is fairly common with hawthorn, the roots are not as dense as you’ll typically find with other species. Hawthorns don’t seem to mind this a bit. I’ve seen them grow amazingly well with very sparse roots.
This is a large and deep pot, so I put a layer of pea gravel in to help with drainage. I water frequently, especially in summer since it gets very hot and I have lots of sun. Drainage is a vital factor in keeping your bonsai healthy.
Next, a layer of horticultural charcoal. I’m experimenting with charcoal this year to see how it affects the growth and health of some of my trees. I’ve heard good things, but it’s always best to check for yourself.
Finally, the tree potted in fresh, well-screened bonsai soil and watered thoroughly. The buds are already swelling on this tree, so I expect it’ll begin pushing shoots in one to two weeks. I’ve got buds on most of the new hawthorns I collected this season, so spring is pretty much upon us.
This tree has a 4″ trunk base and is 28″ to the chopped tip. Finished height will be about 32″.