Saturday, February 4, 2012

Jeff Carr of Staselwood Bonsai Discusses Soil, Pots, & Tree Qualites at February Meeting

ACBS enjoyed some in-depth discussions with Jeff Carr, well-known Ohio bonsai artist and owner of Staselwood Bonsai Studio In the past, Jeff has given the club some noteworthy lessons. In September 2010, Jeff's extreme bending demonstration was especially well received ( see post

Jeff Car of Staselwood Bonsai in Newark, Ohio
Jeff went into much detail about creating an effective soil mix for bonsai.  He talked about how it was important to keep in mind your needs when considering a mix.  First, there's the unpredictable Ohio weather. And there are also considerations about our life-styles.  Because most of us work full time, it may not be practical to expect to be able to water daily.  This piece of our daily routines translates into a mix that includes sufficient organic material, such as pine bark, into the the soil.  It allows us to care for our trees without having to do constant watering. He noted that due to this watering issue, he uses the same soil mix for nearly all of his trees.  Some of the ingredients Jeff talked about were the organic components.  He prefers pine bark mulch which he sifts to get an appropriate size and eliminate dust particles. For inorganic he likes to use material like haydite (fired shale) or forms of hydroponic fired clay. He also believes that sharp types of inorganic, such as grower size turkey grit, are important for both root development and good drainage.

Jeff discusses ways to improve ACBS trees from past shows
Jeff also discussed artistic qualities to consider when selecting a pot for a tree.  He discussed proper proportions of the trunk thickness with the thickness of a pot, as well as paying attention to the the direction of energy that the tree's movement displays.  Branches extending beyond the pot, as well as the front of the pot that is about the same size as the crown.  He also took time to discuss things to think about when choosing the color of shape of a pot: dark ones tend to look heavier, rounded ones tend to have a more "feminine" quality.

Jeff also took the time to make a brief study of pictures from our past shows, posted on our gallery site    He pointed out issues to consider when placing a bonsai on a stand-- off center with the energy moving to the longer side.  He discussed pot arrangements that might improve the character of some trees, as well as other design issues, such as
older trees having more rounded crowns, and a rule of thumb on the direction that the crown faces: if the tree begins by bending to the left, the tree look more balanced if the crown bends to the left.

Thanks again to Jeff helping again to improve the skills of our club members.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoy every time i come to the club to present! i look forward to the next time. Thanks for the kind words