The 18th Bonsai Academy last class. In the past 4 years, we have training over 200 students. All of them will be pretty well in the feature.
Topic of this class was refine a common Landscape Juniper to be a poetic tree!
Celtis japonica, Ulms pauifolia and Zekova
serrata all belong to the Ulmaceae Family.Celtis japonica grows widely in East Asia area, north from Honshu,
Shikoku, Kyushu of Japan, south to Taiwan, and west to Southern China.Celtis japonica is classified as deciduous
tree specie, it can be cultivated in many different zones.Such as the temperate zone, tropical and the
subtropics.It is one of very popular
bonsai species in South East Asia.It is
even on the cover of the 80th Kokufu Ten commemorative book.
bonsai has only been cultivated in Taiwan for about 50years.Although the history of growing celtis as
bonsai is far less than that of Ficus (300years), but there are many top
quality celtis bonsai in Taiwan.In order
to become a recognized bonsai master in Taiwan, you must learn how to cultivate
celtis.Celtis , Ficus and Taiwanese
Juniper are three most representative bonsai species in Taiwan.And, celtis is the king of deciduous tree
among them, since celtis is the only one has seasonal change.
The style of celtis bonsai has been evolved
as fast as the development of Taiwanese bonsai.The early style of cltis bonsai in Taiwan was very standard and
traditional, most of celtis bonsai were the replicas of some famous pine or
sazuki stylebonsai in Japan.The main focus characteristics were the
amount of fine twigs, small braches and ramification of the bonsai.Celtis bonsai had the most small twigs and
branches were recognized as masterpiece.Bonsai enthusiasts had ignored the nature beauty of the celtis
bonsai.After many years of trying and
searching, we have finally found the inspiration and teacher.There is a celtis forest located at Xinzhu County of Taiwan.There are celtis trees that are more than 300 years old.These trees are the true inspiration for the
celtis bonsai creation.
Those celtis trees show in Picture S1 are approximately 30 - 50
years young trees.The trunks of these
young celis are straight with less trunk movement and their barks are
smooth.The overall impression of these
trees is elegant but does not have the characteristics of old, ancient
tree.These trees are not our
inspiration.In the left side of picture
S2, there are some three hundred years old celtis.The trunk lines of these old celtis move and
twist in all directions, they truly show the spirit of an ancient old
tree.When comparing this old giant with
these young trees in the right side of picture S2, it is obvious to know which
tree should be our teacher and inspiration.The spirit of bonsai art is to create trees with characteristics that
surpass the limit of time and space.We
want to create bonsai shown all elements of an ancient old tree.In pictures S3 and S4, these are the
characteristics of the ancient old trees. , this is where we draw our
inspiration from nature.When I traveled
to the west coast of United States couple years ago, I saw some big old oaks
with twisted trunks similar to the old celtis in pictures S3 and S4.Maybe one can create Celtis is bonsai with
characteristics like an ancient old Oak or vice versa.
S1: Young celtis in Xinzhu County of Taiwan. About 40 years old. 鳳坑年輕毛朴，約40年生。
S2: Celtis forest in Xinzhu County of Taiwan. 300 years old twisted trunk celtis and young straight trunk celtis. 鳳坑毛朴紀念林，從左面約300年最老、扭曲、變化多端的紀念樹，到右邊年輕細皮而呈直幹的毛朴。
S3: Detail view of 300 years old celtis.
S4: Detail view of 300 years old celtis.
The main characteristics of Celtis bonsai are similar to different
style of Chinese calligraphy.The root
base is steady and strong like formal style.The branches should twisted and turn in all directions like cursive
style.The fine twigs are neat with
distinction like printing style.I think
most of bonsai friends probably are not used to see celtis bonsai in this kind
of design at first.The first impression
will be messy because trunks and braches are everywhere.And the silhouette is not triangular shape as
we see at most of traditional bonsai style.However, if you look at this bonsai in more detail and study the trunk
lines and braches structure.You will see
the beauty of this great celtis bonsai.
Let us analyze the design of this
bonsai.Starting from the main trunk,
there are five different size trunks grown in different directions and move
gracefully.These trunks are everywhere,
but they compromise each other, the overall design is very similar to the wild
celtis trees shown in picture S3 and S4.Comparing this bonsai with these old celtis trees shown in pictures S3
and S4, you will see the message that the artist wants to convey.A true bonsai is like an ancient old tree
grown only in the fairy tale, not like the tree that you can see at the
The silhouette of this bonsai is very unique.The silhouette of Most of bonsai is
triangular shape, but the silhouette of this celtis bonsai has many crowns like
clouds in the sky.If each crown
represents one tree, then this bonsai is like the image of a forest.
celtis is very easy to obtain in the wild or nursery.However, most of seedling has fine branches
die-back and poor branch ramification problem.The best celtis material is from the root cutting of celtis trees with
good ramification and well branch development.
Wiring and styling can be done when the new
leaves are harden on May.If the tree is
in good condition, celtis can be defoliated twice or third a year.The first in May when leaves turn dark green
, second and third defoliation can be performed on early July and September in
Taiwan.Celtis in Taiwan starts its
dormancy around November and sprouts new shoots at beginning of February.Seven to ten days after the defoliation, new
leaves will start to grow.Wiring is
very effective way to train celtis.
Fungal disease is the primary disease for
celtis.After long rainy season, it is
very important to spray fungicide to prevent fungal infection.Scale insect is another common disease for
celtis.You normally will see scale
insects appear during the hot and humid summer season.Once you find scale insect on your tree,
brushing them off and apply insecticide to prevent further damage.
Celtis grows very fast, it is recommended
to repot specimen bonsai annually.Trees
in training can be repotted every two to three years.Early Spring is the time to repot
celtis.Once the leaf buds are swollen,
you can repot your celtis in confidence.