Peach-leaf Willow (Salix amygdaloides) Root over rock style
One day last year while wading in the river behind my house I spotted a small sprout, complete with catkins, in a sand bar. Turns out this was a twig that fell off a nearby Peach-leaf Willow tree (Fig. 1). It basically is a natural cutting. Wanting to get into bonsai I immediately transplanted it. (Fig. 2) I decided I wanted to try the ÂRoot Over RockÂ style. Just 4 months later the tree was already getting root bound. I transplanted it and selected a weathered rock I had brought back from a mountain trip. Since the tree was so young I had to do things slightly different than the normal root over rock steps. I had to add a thin layer of dirt around the rock then wrap it up, leaving the bottom open. The roots of the tree were yet to be long enough to reach the bottom of the rock. I then filled the bottom of a large container with soil, placed the tree and rock on it then filled the rest of the pot up with pebbles. (Fig. 3)
The tree grew very rapidly. During the winter it had about 75% die back. This spring it sprang back to life like crazy. I repotted it again as it was already root bound. (Fig. 4) After about a week of watering and eroding the soil from the rock I wrapped the roots and rock again, this time without soil. (Fig. 5) I wish I had taken a couple pics between wrappings. The root growth is impressive. Now all I have to do is wait 3 more months before I have to repot it again.
Peach-leaf Willows grow very fast it seems. IÂm sure IÂll have to replant it once every 3-4 months. They love water and can survive up to a year in standing water. They also love full sun. In fact, they need full sun in order to survive in the wild. Other trees crowd them out easily. Pruning makes them explode with new buds. If you feed them you might want to stand back for how fast they will grow. lol These trees do not have the long droopy leaves other willows do and seem like perfect trees for beginners.
This happens to be my first serious bonsai. So far, IÂve made one mistake. I was absent mindedly talking while getting ready to cut the trunk. Instead of picking up the small saw I picked up a pair of side cutters. >_ItÂs funny, all the online info I can find on Salix amygdaloides says it doesnÂt grow in my state. Yet, there are hundredÂs of them all over where I live. Has anyone else here ever used a Peach-leaf Willow for bonsai before?