The hidden bonsai: Casuarina – Part 3

By September 2, 2017 No Comments


Today we will be dealing about hands-on three pre bonsai Casuarina as Part 3 from the series ‘The Hidden Bonsai – Casuarina’.  In part 1, I gave general information about the Casuarina Equisetifolia, while in part 2, I shared with you my personal experience when dealing with my first Casuarina species as bonsai.  This third blog on the subject is an extension of the hands-on: I will give you information on how I dealt with three other pre bonsai Casuarina trees.  The work I carried out on these three Casuarina’s is based on the experience I gathered with my first Casuarina, discussed with you in part 2 of this series.

To complete the cycle,  I will do my best to collect some Casuarina cones and plant some seeds.  Although seeds takes longer time to grow to a pre bonsai, but I will use my knowledge to encourage their growth by planting them in the fields and give adequate fertiliser.  This will be another blog for the future.

Three new pre-bonsai Casuarina

On March 2017, I had the opportunity to buy three new pre bonsai Casuarina trees.  This time it was not a point blank decision, but I was glad that I had this opportunity, since I knew how the tree will react to the various training process, thanks to my first Casuarina.  Each tree had a different shape, thus I had to find the right style that fits the actual shape of the tree.  For the purpose of this blog I will be naming each pre-bonsai as per the new style I was giving to each.

  1. Twin Trunk:  The first tree was a twin trunk, with the main trunk thicker than the second trunk.
  2. Slanting Trunk: The second one had a long thin trunk.  I decided to change it’s position to a slanting style.
  3. The Thick Nebari:  The third pre-bonsai had a thicker nebari.

The three pre-bonsai Casuarina species

An invasive tree like the Casuarina species, means that it will not easily die due to some false move or harsh pruning, so the day I decided to give them an initial shape.

The process

  • Once I removed each tree for the original pot since it did not have adaquate soil mixture, I also noticed that each of the pre bonsai had thick roots that  will create some problems in the future when potting the bonsai in a shallow pot.


Thick roots that I had to eliminate so as to have less problems when potting in a shallow pot
  • I removed the tap root and in also removed the lower part of the root area to achieve a flat bottom and also to encourage new roots to emerge from the cambium at the cut line.  I could do this since the tree has enough roots, and I was certain that the trees will withstand this harsh root pruning.  Removing too much roots might kill the tree.

With a flat bottom the tree could easily be potted in a shallow pot
  • Repotting each tree in bonsai in a large pot,  using 60% Pumice, 10% Acadama and 30% compost as soil.  I wanted water to drain quickly.
  • I turned my attention to the foliage.  I had to balance the foliage with the roots.  I left only few branches, this started the new style fo each tree.  I was very aggressive since I knew that the Casuarina is an invasive trees so it will withstand the harsh work I did.
  • Once repotted, I also dared to do some deadwood using an electric tool on each of the trees.  Once foliage will grow back, it will be more difficult to create any Shari or deadwood.  Another good reason is that once the tree starts to heal itself, it will create a more matured trunk texture.
Initial styles for each tree (March 3rd 2017)

The progress of the casuarina trees.

Three months after (June 12th 2017)

Notice that the ‘Slanting’ tree had an abandant of new foliage while the ‘Thick Nebari’ tree had fewer new buds, and they grew on the trunk and not on the branches I intentionaly left.

Three months after (August 8th 2017)

See what a difference of the new buds in just under 3 months.

I will share with you how these trees reacted to my styling and show you step by step what I will be doing in a future blog.

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Martin Abela

Author Martin Abela

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