We’re about six weeks away from the end of the 2015 growing season. There’s still some growth left on my bonsai, though the rate has slowed for most and we’re seeing typical signs of summer heat stress. Sometime in September will come the fall thickening in our trees’ branches, so any wire still on them will have to be watched closely and removed before it causes problems.

Today it was time to do a little trimming and cleaning up of a few sweetgums. Pots needed some scrubbing. Soil, a little top-dressing.

Sweetgum8-9-15-1This tree is really developing some good ramification in its fourth year of training. I’ve got an issue with the first right-hand branch (the only one not in the crown); it’s weakened in the past year and isn’t likely to survive into next year. Pretty standard shading out, given the slant of the tree and nature. I do have a very small shoot that arose this past spring where another right-side branch once was; I’m hoping it’ll strengthen next year and allow me to rebalance the design.

The trunk base on this bonsai is 3″ in diameter. It measures 25″ to the tip of the crown. Pot is by Paul Katich.


Here’s my sweetgum forest I just built this year. The two replacement trees survived and are growing. Oddly enough, the weakest tree of this group was the main one. But I think they’ll all be with me come next spring.

There are 11 trees in this forest. The overall height is 36″, with the largest tree sporting a trunk base of 1.75″. Pot is by Byron Myrick







Finally, there’s the small bunjin specimen that appears on my Sweetgum Bonsai sales page. As with tree number one above, this one is developing nice ramification – but in only its first year of training. And the leaf size has reduced surprisingly well. Only a few leaves are 1″ in length; most are less than that, with some only 1/2″. Not bad for a species that sports 5″ long leaves in nature.

This one has a 1/2″ trunk base and is 19″ tall. Pot is by Chuck Iker.