Red Pine / Ponderosa on Rock-

One of the bonsai benefits of living in the volcanic Pacific Northwest of the U.S. is the geology. There are many dark, irregular rocks out there for rock plantings.

This pine was originally a Ponderosa, Pinus ponderosa. About seven years ago I grafted it with Red Pine, Pinus densiflora. This spring we were casting about for a container—I send students out to hunt for the right pot for a tree—and one came back with a rock. (10 points to Gryffindor…)

This is a photo essay of that adventure-

The Red Pine before placement on a rock

Seasonal students investigating the possibilities

Our newcomer to Crataegus Bonsai—apprentice Jarryd Bailey, who hails from Tasmania.

The lava rock and assorted paraphernalia, including our anchoring compound, PC-7

Wire loop imbedded in the PC-7, attached to the rock. In the old days lead was used.

After attaching the pine with wire

Adding soil behind the muck wall

Chopsticking in

The completed Red Pine planting on a lava rock. We added chopped up live moss to the muck, which will create a fine layer of live moss shortly. The pine will be styled this fall, but for now it will be allowed to settle into its new home.

 

17 Comments

  1. Peter . says:

    Thanks for the series. How is your success with PC7? is this the first time you’ve used it for anchoring wire to stone?

    Peter

    ________________________________

    • crataegus says:

      Peter, I’ve used PC-7 before, and I like it. The compound does need to set for at least one day, two might be better. It can get incredibly hard, while being resistant to cracking like some of the cement solutions can be troubled by.

  2. Dennis says:

    What is pc-7 and what is the muck composition?

    • crataegus says:

      PC-7 is an epoxy putty, and it’s a 1-1 composition. It is kneaded like clay until consistent.
      The muck we are using now is a three part mix of sphagnum moss (not peat), akadama dust/fines, and corn starch in roughly equal parts. The corn starch is microwaved/cooked until it has a jelly-like consistency, then added to the mix. The starch holds it all together and firms up even more after a day or two.

      This muck has, in my opinion, better permeability and water retention than the keto from Japan.

      • Dennis says:

        Thanks very much, is PC-7 readily available and where might we find it?

      • crataegus says:

        I think it’s still out there, and it’s an old product line, I had some old jars of it that date back…20 years at least. Still work fine. I’d try hardware stores.
        But there are other products too. A friend just suggested J-B weld SteelStik. I’ve not tried this, but sounded very good-

  3. Michael – do you let that PC-7 cure overnite ? it would seem advantageous to mount the anchor loops once the tree was out of the pot and it looks like that stuff sets up in about 45 minutes which may allow for more precise placement with the tree being free from its pot… although this may be a bit long to have the tree out of the pot… (even with root misting) ?

    • crataegus says:

      Yes, the PC-7 is best left alone for a couple days to cure. So the placement does need to be thought out ahead of time. Multiples do help a lot, even if you don’t end up using a couple of them.

      The wires had pigtails on the ends of them that the PC-7 was squished around.

  4. David Wheeler says:

    thank you for the wonderful step-by-step pictures……..hhhhhmmmmmm – still trying to fit in a more serious endeavor at your work place…. Dave (still doing the Thurs. at the Garden…looking forward to the next Bonsai ‘season’) On Thu, Mar 8, 2018 at 9:19 AM, Michael Hagedorn wrote:

    > crataegus posted: “One of the bonsai benefits of living in the volcanic > Pacific Northwest of the U.S. is the geology. There are many dark, > irregular rocks out there for rock plantings. This pine was originally a > Ponderosa, Pinus ponderosa. About seven years ago I grafted” >

  5. Jim Stimmel says:

    Muck receipe is interesting, never heard or thought of using it.

    • crataegus says:

      The basic idea I overheard somewhere, someone on Hawaii was using it. I’ve used it now for several years and I much prefer this to keto.

      • Shawn says:

        How much water do you mix with the corn starch before you microwave?

      • crataegus says:

        The water amount is…mysterious…at least to me. I mix it until it’s a bit watery. Then in cooking, if I’ve added the ‘right’ about, it gets gelatinous. I often need to add a bit more water and re-cook. One could certainly use the stovetop I guess-

  6. Brian says:

    Micheal
    Your corn starch idea is Fabio. My mix is a little different. I have access to clay where I live so every once in a while I will make my mix with added composts, etc and let t sit for a year or so . So I will add a little of yours to mine.
    Thanks
    Brian

  7. ceolaf says:

    Hey Michael,

    Shawn asked a really improtant question: How much water?

    • crataegus says:

      Thanks, it is a good question, I did finally get around to answering:
      The water amount is … mysterious … at least to me. I mix it until it’s a bit watery. Then in cooking, if I’ve added the ‘right’ about, it gets gelatinous. I often need to add a bit more water and re-cook. One could certainly use the stovetop I guess-

  8. Ann says:

    Ha ha – I love the ‘mysterious’ amount of water – very specific and I look forward to creating my own muck with a measure of mysterious!

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