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Casuarina A New Comer in Bonsai in Malta By Dr. Alfred Grech M.D.

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Presentation on theme: "Casuarina A New Comer in Bonsai in Malta By Dr. Alfred Grech M.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 Casuarina A New Comer in Bonsai in Malta By Dr. Alfred Grech M.D.

2 Today I would like to invite you to make a journey with me. Today I would like to invite you to make a journey with me. Let us all start growing Casuarina and train it for bonsai. Let us all start growing Casuarina and train it for bonsai.

3 Why Casuarina? It back buds easily It back buds easily It grows vigorously It grows vigorously Leaves = multi-jointed branchlets; can be shortened to create nice foliage pads Leaves = multi-jointed branchlets; can be shortened to create nice foliage pads

4 Humble beginnings from seeds

5 Honourable Final Destination

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12 What do you think? Is it worthwhile of giving it a try? What do you think? Is it worthwhile of giving it a try? What other tree does Casuarina looks like? What other tree does Casuarina looks like?

13 Casuarina is a tree with a superficial resemblance to pines. Casuarina is a tree with a superficial resemblance to pines. But it is a completely different tree. But it is a completely different tree. In Malta we have difficulty in cultivating our native Aleppo Pine as a pristine bonsai. In Malta we have difficulty in cultivating our native Aleppo Pine as a pristine bonsai. I think that our only alternative option is the Casuarina. Just look at some more pictures of magnificent Casuarina bonsai. I think that our only alternative option is the Casuarina. Just look at some more pictures of magnificent Casuarina bonsai.

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24 Other valid reasons to start bonsaing Casuarina The tree grows well in Malta The tree grows well in Malta Master Peter Chan encouraged us to grow it Master Peter Chan encouraged us to grow it Indonesian Casuarina bonsai are very prestigious and noticeable at many international conventions (thinking of the next generation of Maltese bonsaists) Indonesian Casuarina bonsai are very prestigious and noticeable at many international conventions (thinking of the next generation of Maltese bonsaists) Many countries are training Casuarina Many countries are training Casuarina Fast results possible Fast results possible

25 October 18, of 1995 Ernie Kuo

26 October 30, 1997 = 2 years of training Ernie Kuo

27 Casuarina is also known as: Australian pine Australian pine Beefwood Beefwood Forest oak Forest oak She-oak (The name 'she-oak' was given in allusion to the timber, which is oak-like in appearance but was considered inferior in strength to English Oak). She-oak (The name 'she-oak' was given in allusion to the timber, which is oak-like in appearance but was considered inferior in strength to English Oak). Horsetail tree Horsetail tree Ironwood (very hard wood; wrecks saws) Ironwood (very hard wood; wrecks saws)

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29 There are 3 main species of the genus Casuarina: There are 3 main species of the genus Casuarina: 1. C. equisetifolia 2. C. cunninghamiana 3. C. glauca

30 A large evergreen tree resembling conifers, with thin crown of drooping branches and with leaves reduced to scale. A large evergreen tree resembling conifers, with thin crown of drooping branches and with leaves reduced to scale. Is a most rapid grower; as high as 80 feet in a ten year period. Is a most rapid grower; as high as 80 feet in a ten year period.

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32 Casuarina usually grows in the tropics and sub-tropical regions. Casuarina usually grows in the tropics and sub-tropical regions. It is native to Australia and the Pacific Islands. It is native to Australia and the Pacific Islands. In many countries it is considered as an invasive species. In many countries it is considered as an invasive species.

33 Casuarina is highly tolerant to many adverse conditions and climates. Casuarina is highly tolerant to many adverse conditions and climates. The leaves are jointed or segmented and one can break them off anywhere, so you can have a long- or short-needled bonsai as you wish. The leaves are jointed or segmented and one can break them off anywhere, so you can have a long- or short-needled bonsai as you wish.

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35 Propagation Seeds Seeds Stem cuttings Stem cuttings Air-layering Air-layering

36 Propagation by Seeds An easy method An easy method Early training of seedlings to desired style is possible Early training of seedlings to desired style is possible Does not cost a lot of money; just dedication, patience and time Does not cost a lot of money; just dedication, patience and time Very rewarding Very rewarding

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45 Trees begin bearing seeds when they are 3-5 years old Trees begin bearing seeds when they are 3-5 years old Mature trees produce tremendous numbers of small, winged seeds which are dispersed by wind and water Mature trees produce tremendous numbers of small, winged seeds which are dispersed by wind and water They also are spread by birds They also are spread by birds

46 Trees are dioecious ( both sexes being usually on the same tree e.g. C. equisetifolia) or monoecious Trees are dioecious ( both sexes being usually on the same tree e.g. C. equisetifolia) or monoecious Male flowers appear in spikes at branchlets tips Male flowers appear in spikes at branchlets tips Feminine flowers in round heads at the bases of branchlets Feminine flowers in round heads at the bases of branchlets

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51 30-80 percent of the seeds can be expected to germinate 4-8 days after planting. 30-80 percent of the seeds can be expected to germinate 4-8 days after planting. Seeds usually remain viable for only a few months, though they may survive up to two years under ideal conditions. Seeds usually remain viable for only a few months, though they may survive up to two years under ideal conditions.

52 The staminate born in spikes and the pistillate in dense heads The staminate born in spikes and the pistillate in dense heads The inconspicuous flowers are wind pollinated The inconspicuous flowers are wind pollinated Fruit are dry light brown cones (1-2cm in diameter and 2-3cm long) Fruit are dry light brown cones (1-2cm in diameter and 2-3cm long)

53 Fruits (cones about 2-3cm long)

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55 The insignificant flowers are followed by small, spiny cones, less than 2-3cm long

56 The cone bracteoles are nearly always appressed to each other, enclosing the samara, when fresh; once the cone is removed from the plant, the bracteoles separate.

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63 Stem cuttings Stem cuttings root easily Stem cuttings root easily Take semi-mature wood in autumn Take semi-mature wood in autumn Gaining some 1 or 2 years when compared to seed method. Gaining some 1 or 2 years when compared to seed method.

64 Air-Layering Again a good method like stem cuttings Again a good method like stem cuttings A good potensai in just a few years is possible (maybe 2-3 years) A good potensai in just a few years is possible (maybe 2-3 years)

65 Yamadori In Malta not advisable In Malta not advisable In Indonesia it is one of the best and fastest method. In Indonesia it is one of the best and fastest method.

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68 Important biological features Allelopathy Allelopathy Non-leguminous symbiotic nitrogen fixation Non-leguminous symbiotic nitrogen fixation Mycorrhiza Mycorrhiza

69 Allelopathy (plant chemical welfare) Tree produces a thick layer of fallen needles on the forest floor because the needles are not eaten by other organisms. This profuse litter smothers native seedling development. Tree produces a thick layer of fallen needles on the forest floor because the needles are not eaten by other organisms. This profuse litter smothers native seedling development. An allelopathic substance released by the needles retards seedling germination and growth of other competing plants. An allelopathic substance released by the needles retards seedling germination and growth of other competing plants.

70 Non-leguminous symbiotic nitrogen fixation Roots of Casuarina form nitrogen-fixing root nodules (actinorhizae) in symbiosis with the actinomycete Frankia

71 Mycorrhiza Mycorrhiza is a mutualistic, non-pathogenic association of a fungus and the roots of a higher plant. Mycorrhiza is a mutualistic, non-pathogenic association of a fungus and the roots of a higher plant. In a mycorrhizal association the fungus may colonize the roots of a host plant either intracellularly or extracellularly. In a mycorrhizal association the fungus may colonize the roots of a host plant either intracellularly or extracellularly. Having its roots colonized by fungi benefits a plant in a number of ways. Increased nutrient uptake Increased nutrient uptake Increased disease resistance Increased disease resistance Enhanced water relations (drought resistance) Enhanced water relations (drought resistance) Increased soil aggregation Increased soil aggregation

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73 Potting Mixture Should be porous for good drainage. Should be porous for good drainage. So likes sand and coarse gravel. So likes sand and coarse gravel. Likes salty, calcareous soil Likes salty, calcareous soil

74 Repotting Avoid severe root disturbance Avoid severe root disturbance Avoid any major root cuttings Avoid any major root cuttings Mix some old soil with the new soil. Mix some old soil with the new soil. Plant needs the root nodules (for nitrate production) and the mycorrhiza (for phosphorus absorption and other minerals). Plant needs the root nodules (for nitrate production) and the mycorrhiza (for phosphorus absorption and other minerals).

75 Some recommend periodic soil changes from around the edge of the pot (not a complete repotting). Some recommend periodic soil changes from around the edge of the pot (not a complete repotting). After repotting, avoid sunny places; keep in shady place until new shoots appear, then move to a more open area. After repotting, avoid sunny places; keep in shady place until new shoots appear, then move to a more open area. Do not over water; keep just moist; spray whole tree. Do not over water; keep just moist; spray whole tree. Best time: End of January / Start of February Best time: End of January / Start of February

76 Pruning Tree takes pruning very well and since it is fast growing = quick results Tree takes pruning very well and since it is fast growing = quick results Simply pinch overgrown leaves Simply pinch overgrown leaves Can be done throughout the year Can be done throughout the year Never defoliate completely Never defoliate completely

77 First take care of the style and rhythm of the bonsai, by disciplining the main trunk and main branches. First take care of the style and rhythm of the bonsai, by disciplining the main trunk and main branches. Then structure the sub-branches and twigs. Then structure the sub-branches and twigs. Better to use the clip-and-grow method. Better to use the clip-and-grow method.

78 Finally, start work on the foliage pads to create the canopy. Finally, start work on the foliage pads to create the canopy. Each cluster is formed by leaving a bunch of the needle-like leaves at the tips of the twigs. Each cluster is formed by leaving a bunch of the needle-like leaves at the tips of the twigs. Unwanted needles are removed. Unwanted needles are removed. Long needles are shortened. Long needles are shortened. Never use shears to cut the leaves (if not brownish tips) Never use shears to cut the leaves (if not brownish tips)

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87 Styles Casuarina can be styled in any style that Pine trees can. Casuarina can be styled in any style that Pine trees can. And more, since Pines for example cannot be made into rafts while Casuarina can. And more, since Pines for example cannot be made into rafts while Casuarina can.

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89 Watering Grows well given saline water or salt water spray. Grows well given saline water or salt water spray. It is recommended to periodically put salt on the soil around the plant. It is recommended to periodically put salt on the soil around the plant.

90 Fertilizers Although Casuarina is tolerant to infertile soil conditions in its natural habitat, fertilizing is recommended when in a pot. Although Casuarina is tolerant to infertile soil conditions in its natural habitat, fertilizing is recommended when in a pot. Growth rate responds well to phosphorus. Growth rate responds well to phosphorus. Nitrogen is not needed because it produces its own nitrates with the help of bacteria in its root nodules. Nitrogen is not needed because it produces its own nitrates with the help of bacteria in its root nodules.

91 Position Full sun or bright shade and likes slight to moderate wind Full sun or bright shade and likes slight to moderate wind Very shady conditions cause slow growth; the leaves grow weak, weepy and unhealthy. Very shady conditions cause slow growth; the leaves grow weak, weepy and unhealthy.

92 Usage Windbreak or barrier or to provide beachfront shade or privacy. Windbreak or barrier or to provide beachfront shade or privacy. Widely cultivated for erosion control and soil nitrification. Widely cultivated for erosion control and soil nitrification. The pulp has been used to make paper. The pulp has been used to make paper. Outstanding fuel wood; recommended for biomass energy plantations. Outstanding fuel wood; recommended for biomass energy plantations. The wood has been used for powering locomotives and firing brick kilns. The wood has been used for powering locomotives and firing brick kilns.

93 A decoction from the astringent bark has been used as a remedy for diarrhea, beri-beri, sore throat, cough, headache, toothache, sores, and swellings. A decoction from the astringent bark has been used as a remedy for diarrhea, beri-beri, sore throat, cough, headache, toothache, sores, and swellings. Extracts from the bark are also used for tanning hides and staining and preserving fishing lines and fabrics. Extracts from the bark are also used for tanning hides and staining and preserving fishing lines and fabrics. The wood ash has been used to make soap. The wood ash has been used to make soap. The "cones" are used in novelties for the tourist trade. The "cones" are used in novelties for the tourist trade.

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95 Carved & Embellished Cyclonic Bowl- Sheoak

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97 I hope that I have transmitted my enthusiasm about this tree onto you. I hope that I have transmitted my enthusiasm about this tree onto you. So happy Casuarina bonsai growing. So happy Casuarina bonsai growing.

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107 The End


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