"MAHALO" - Part 3
 By Jerry Meislik


In 1986, the Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation was formed to complement Fuku-Bonsai Nursery activities and as a public bonsai collection. The MPBF co-sponsored the Hawaii State Bonsai Repository to keep specific bonsai in the public domain. Beginning with the bonsai donated by the family of Sadakichi Sugahara, the repository has steadily grown to include a number of memorial bonsai to honor past Hawaiian bonsai grower-trainers.

The Foundation includes trees trained by prominently known bonsai grower-trainers at Fuku-Bonsai or in major bonsai conventions or demonstrations. The impressive list includes Haruo "Papa" Kaneshiro, Saburo Kato, Shinji Ogasawara,  John Naka, Tom Yamamoto, Pius Notter, and others. 

In May of 2004, I worked with David Fukumoto on the initial design of this Ficus microcarpa, a gift from the late Hiroshi Ikeda MPBF President Emeritus, to the Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation's Hawaii State Bonsai Repository. Mr. Ikeda approved the concept of inviting qualified individuals to work with high quality materials as visiting bonsai teachers and instructors. I was the first bonsai instructor to be so honored. The tree that I styled, called Mahalo, remains in Hawaii in the repository and continues to be trained by the able staff of Fuku-Bonsai under my direction.

David Fukumoto viewing Ficus microcarpa before any work, 2004.

Trimmed back to its basic structure, 2004.

Four to five months later foliage regrown, 2004 .

Branches and foliage trimmed back, 2004.

Mahalo, June 2007.

The tree has been growing tipped to the left in a large growing container as shown above. If the tree were maintained in its original orientation the apex would grow strongly but the #1 main branch would hardly thicken. This tipping allowed the main lower branch to grow as quickly and strongly as possible. The large growing pot allowed the entire process to speed along.

Basal suckering, June 2007.

Lower portion of the tree showing many suckers sprouting from all over the basal trunk as well as from the roots. These suckers will need to be removed.

Aerial roots growing from the trunk will be lifted and moved to the trunk and replanted into the soil.

Virtual of Mahalo indicating size, key branches and directions for branches, 2007, David Fukumoto.

Virtual of Mahalo in a large training pot, 2007. Black star shows heavier, lower left counter-balance branch.

The tree recovered nicely from its initial drastic shaping in 2004. It is now reaching a point where more detailing may begin. The following lists the next steps to be achieved.

1. Move the tree to an upright position as the main branch is now thickened enough. Plant the tree into an interim, deep container to keep the tree growing for its final shaping. Use a plastic separator in the training pot to keep the roots well controlled for later final potting to a smaller, final container.

2. Remove basal suckers to redirect energy to the parts of the tree that need growth.

3. Trim and wire the #1 main right branch and sub-branches.

4. Move aerial roots to the trunk and secure them with tape. Replant the aerials roots.

5. Major thinning of the apex is needed. Wire of the left side of the apex to form the counter-balance branch and perhaps a heavier and lower counterbalance, see black star in picture above. Keep the apex suppressed to help develop the main right branches.

We look forward to helping direct the future of "MAHALO" and continued thanks to David, Mike and the great staff of Fuku-Bonsai for making this possible.

Much more information is available on Fuku-Bonsai's website.

To see "MAHALO - Part 2" by David Fukumoto click here.

To see more possible futures for “MAHALO” click here.

To learn more about the Mid-Pacific Bonsai Repository click here.


To see David Fukumoto's review of my book "Ficus: The Exotic Bonsai".

To see my "Water Jasmine" article on Fuku-Bonsai's site click here.

To see my article on "Growing Bonsai My Way".

More of Mahalo's development will follow.

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All Rights Reserved © 2007 Jerry Meislik