Bonsai Today

Online magazine for Bonsai lovers

Prunus

You can propagate and create bonsai from cuttings and by grafting, especially with unusual and interesting species.  We are creating a slanting style bonsai with a mountain cherry: Prunus jamasakura

SPECIES

  • Common name: Wild cherry
  • Genus: Prunus
  • Higher taxon: Rosaceae
  • Species: Prunus avium
  • Skill level: Beginner to advanced
  • Soil type: Medium rich, but well draining, with 40-50% fine gravel added to the mix.
  • Flower and fruit: Hermaphrodite flowers, having both male and female organs, and they are pollinated by bees. The fruit can be eaten raw, cooked, or used to make preserves.
  • Foliage: Leaves alternate, simple ovoid-acute glabrous matt, or sub-shiny green above, variably finely downy beneath, with a serrated margin and an acuminate tip, with a green or reddish petiole. In autumn, the leaves turn orange, pink or red before falling.
  • Bark: Smooth purplish-brown, prominent horizontal grey-brown lenticels on young trees and becoming thick dark blackish-brown and fissured on old trees.

1st – 3rd year

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Grafting February – March

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Grafting method

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Planting method

Soil mix: Akadama 7 – Kiriyu 3 – charcoal 0.5

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June – July

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Flower formation: End March – mid April

There is a variation in the colour of the new shoots, green, brown, red, yellow.

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Pruning: As the tree is developed mainly for the appreciation of the flowers, aim to prune back to shape after the flowers have finished. Flower buds develop on the short little branches from the previous year. They should be left on the tree, yet thinned out accordingly during the dormant season.

Fruit formation: May – June

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After leaf drop

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4th – 6th year

Transplant in early spring (March)

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Planting method

Soil mix: Akadama 8 – Kiriyu 2 – charcoal 0.5

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Wiring: June – July

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Prune during the dormant season

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7th – 10th year: Branch development: The year after pruning

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July – August: Development of flower buds

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Control of pests and diseases

May – September: Damage from cherry tree borer moth

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May/June and August/September: Damage from the Monema flavescens moth, found in Asia. Active twice a year.

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July – August: Damage from hairy caterpillar

Brown in colour, causes great damage to leaves, and will hurt if you touch it.  Control with pesticide

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Pruning: Cherry is a species that will suffer dieback when pruning large branches as the tree ages, so any large pruning must be done while the tree is still young and in development. If, for whatever reason, you have to prune a large branch on an older tree, make the wound slightly concave and cover with sealant.

March or September: Repotting

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Unnecessary adventitious shoots

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Fertilising:


April – June: Twice
July – August: Liquid fertiliser.
(Liquid fertiliser should be given three or four times)
September – November: two to three times

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Mountain cherry

Some tips and hints:

An iconic species in Japan, a species that everybody knows. There are many species of flowering cherry in Japan, both wild and cultivated varieties, with trees around Mt. Yoshinoyama being seen as representative of many of those species.

Cherry trees will develop their leaves and flowers at the same time in spring, with the shoots bursting out with vigour. The bark has a dull sheen and is a purple brown colour, which is inconspicuous. However, with age, large horizontal lenticels develop on the trunk. 

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HUSBANDRY


Propagate: With cuttings, or air layer.


Placement: Harsh winds and frosts should be avoided. Prunus is a strong tree and likes full sun, but protect against hot summer sun.


Pruning: New shoots will grow vigorously when the tree is young. If you wish to develop thickness in the branches allow them to grow, cutting back to leave one or two nodes at the base during the dormant period. After that, move into ramification. The shoots will be pinched in the spring and then wired so that movement can be put into the branches and positioned.


Repotting: Every two to three years repot in moist and nutritive soil mix. Spring is the best time just after flowering and before leaf bud break.


Watering: It is an extraordinarily water loving species, and will dry out quickly during the spring when leaves and flowers are developing. During this period, check the soil surface regularly and, when it shows the slightest sign of being dry, water thoroughly.


Wiring: Wire with aluminium wire, but don’t over style the tree, accept its wild nature. Clip and grow is the way to go.

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