Chojubai Notes: Part I
The last photograph here needs some explanation, since any use of a ladder and a roof reaches beyond usual bonsai technique… But to tackle the serious ‘middle part’ of this post first, I thought a series of notes about Chojubai might help get to know this little rascal a bit better because it is so little known.
This time we’ll talk about their bark. All Chojubai are not the same. There is not one single genetic out there. Among other differences, Chojubai have different speeds of bark development, from a rough-barked form that develops a corky looking bark within a few years to some that don’t seem to have appreciable checked bark even after twenty. For all of them, however, if we’re growing the tree hard for trunk caliper, then bark will not start forming until we slow things down and have it in a bonsai pot.
The following are a few photos of Chojubai bark:
Twenty-five year old tree with something common to older Chojubai, which is exfoliating bark near the base. The smooth areas are where older bark has flaked off. This is more common on thicker trunked trees. Thinner and multiple trunked trees have less of a tendency to shed bark.
Another older tree, maybe 40 years old, with a lot of bark coming off. To keep the tree strong and blooming well fertilizer is important, but one may wish to limit fertilizer a bit with older trees to minimize bark shedding.
Young branch, only two years old.
Another younger branch, several years old, with bark beginning to silver.
Older branches of about 25 years, with the checked bark that is typical of Chojubai. Other kinds of Japanese Flowering quince, such as Toyonishiki, do not create bark of this nature. On the upper branches of Chojubai checked bark can be maintained for decades as they do not develop in girth very rapidly.
All four reasons we grow Chojubai in one photo—brilliant flowers, checked bark, idiosyncratic branch patterns, and diminutive leaves.
Bobby about to attempt Chojubai Test #349, aka the Chojubai Roof Toss. This experiment was decided on after it seemed impossible to actually damage a Chojubai by physical means, after witnessing a few young branches cracked in half in the spring and they kept growing through a very hot summer without a blink. Hence the Roof Toss to test the outer limits of Chojubai, performance art, bad technique, and bad idea all in one go.
Very interesting… Will we be learning the finer points of performing this “Chojubai Roof Test” in a future seasonal? …Also, what is the best time of year to use this technique?
Dan, I was worried people would think we actually tossed a poor plant off a roof… no, it’s unlikely to be feature in a future seasonal. Great to see you guys at the last one! Thanks for coming out-
Lol! I hope you didn’t think I was serious. It was great being there again!
Actually, I rather favor a “Black Pine Pond Toss” to vent feelings built up from candle pruning, needle plucking, repotting, mychorriza in my hair…..
Oh dear, what have we begun…
On the roof with flip flops… shame on you Master.
A horrendous lack of judgement. Bobby’s convalescing nicely…
I’d love a chojubai but I’ve never seen one in the UK 😦
We don’t have many here either, but hopefully they will soon be more available-
so if toyonishiki is the/a cultivar that won’t develop checked bark, and it’s desirable, which cultivars do develop it?
As far as I know, checked bark is unique to Chojubai in the quince group. For chojubai, yes, it’s desirable because not all cultivars of Chojubai seem to develop it as well as others. I’m only growing those that I know do develop this lovely bark.
Nice Chojubai but it is in my backyard yet. 🙂 Looking forward a more detail Chojubai test result from you.
We balked. The Chojubai is resting peacefully on the ground now.
Hello…searching how to best propagate a larger branch from my chojubai besides air layering. I don’t have enough space in branch, it’s hardwood by now. Would appreciate any tips and best time of year to do this.
Hi Laura, I have tried large cuttings of chojubai in June, after the first flush of growth has hardened off. I got about 60% success, much less than the tip cuttings which can root 100% under mist. If you try a large woody cutting, definitely mist it often. Maybe some bottom heat, too.
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