I keep looking for a yellow leafed Barberry to use in Bonsai. I keep checking nursery’s for one and all I ever find are small ones with multiple trunks and thin trunks at that. I finally found one with a very nice trunk at Nicks Garden Center in Aurora in the summer of 2016. It a BERBERIS thunbergii (BONANZA GOLD®). Thumbnail courtesy of Pinterest.
I purchased her and brought her home for the rest of summer. I just trimmed her up and left her alone.
I have a smaller yellow Barbarry that I have been letting grow. Its going to be a lot smaller then this tree. I have found out that the yellow leaved barberries are not as hardy as the darker green/crimson leaved ones. So I keep them in the garage over winter and they do fine there.
I saw a beautiful yellow/green Bonsai pot on Chuck Iker’s website that I thought was big enough to hold the tree and look good at the same time. The pot arrived around 2pm and the tree was potted up about 3 hours latter. I bare rooted the tree out in the street with a strong stream of water and removed all of the soil. A chopstick came in handy to remove the soil through the fibrous roots. Most of the time spent on the potting the tree was bare rooting it. A lot of the fibrous roots were removed by a very sharp knob cutter. The pot was prepared for the tree by adding screening materials and 2 galvanized wires to hold the tree in place. Galvanized wire is not suppose to rust, I used to use bailing wire, which eventually rust and break. So far so good. I used standard Bonsai soil consisting of: Turface, Scoria, Pumice and mushroom compost. I mix the soil myself. I adjust the soil mix for the type of tree being potted. Lilac’s need more mushroom compost then other trees.
I placed the tree into the pot so that one of the 4 feet would be centered in front of the tree. I secured the tree by using wire and tightened it down to hold the tree in place and made sure the tree leaning towards the front of the pot. The roots had already been reduced more by removing almost all of the largest roots and leaving the smallest ones. The root ball was not level and the tree was trying to lean backwards during the potting process. Hence the need to secure it into the pot with wire. Soil was added to the side where it was not leveled and worked into the root ball with a chopstick. The wires continued to be tightened down and more soil was added/worked into the root ball. The root work was finally finished and the tree was not securely wired into the pot.
I did wire two branches to just improved the overall appearance of three. Barberry’s can be wired by the way, you just have to have a very soft touch when you do it. I completely wired a semi-cascade Concord Barberry one year. The tree made into the 2012 ABS/BCI International Bonsai Convention held in Denver, Colorado.
I am planning on adding some yellow Irish Moss to the soil surface. I took the tree down to the Denver Botanic Garden greenhouse to let it recover for a week. Larry Jackel, Bonsai curator, allowed me to keep it there until next week. I picked the tree up last Wed. (4-19-2017) and was very pleased to see the tree had already sprouted new small branches everywhere and was now blooming one week after potting the tree. The leaves have not turned bright yellow yet, but I expect them to do so.
Here are some photo’s of the tree, I will provide updates as the tree progresses.
I have added a yellow form of Irish Moss on the soil. I thought it might look good. Normally I do not like Irish moss and remove it from trees as soon I see it. I think this looks good, it does require frequent mowing by my scissors. I am hoping it will form a nice tight mass some day.
Gallery August 12,2017:
Gallery April 10, 2017: