Cherry Tree: Growth and Renewal [Bonsai]



Dear friends,

Most people who follow me know I enjoy sharing photos of my bonsai trees once in a while. Welcome to my backyard. I, @creativetruth welcome all.

Today I am sharing the growing developments on my cherry tree.


Way back in February the buds on this tree were already swollen green. By April the tree had already fully leafed out. It was a very wet month followed my a month of early heat in May.

Unfortunately this led to a disastrous condition for my two bonsai cherry trees to become diseased. They both started to bleed a rusty sap from the bud joints. Much dieback on the branches occurred, and many leaves wilted and turned yellow. Not sure what to do, I moved them to the shade, and carefully removed the training wires. I pruned anything seriously infected off and rinsed off the watery rust coating from the bark. One of the two Cherry trees did not survive.

I am not certain why this happened. It could have been the ice storm we had in late February that injured the green flesh of the trees. As I understand, many cherry trees across the US are dying of disease spread over recent years, so consider yourself lucky if you still have any.


In late May I had been ushering the remaining tree back to heath by letting it grow under the shade. This also allowed it to be watered less frequently, and probably helped it to recover from any rot problems caused by heat and moisture.

One my other theories on what can cause a tree like this to become diseased is if the tissue is too swollen with hot moisture (we had an unusually hot Spring) from daily watering and direct heat. If the tree cannot adapt to the temperature changes fast enough by thickening the green stems with bark, the plant tissue can pop open, and bleed out, allowing for infection deep into the tree, such as bacteria, insects, and fungi.

New green leaves have pushed out to replace the ones from early Spring that had died away.


Looking at it, I felt this was a good day to finally prune the tree without risk of causing further bleed damage. So I snipped off all the blackened branch tips and plucked off the dead leaves.


Here is the resulting tree form. It still has the curvaceous design of the main branches. Leaves are clustered more tightly near the main trunk, rather than stretching out so far away, which I prefer. The old wire scar on the front gives the tree a gnarled, aged appearance.

Historical Information

ID: 0031
Nickname: George Washington (Tree of Truth)
Type: Cherry
Age: 4 years
Grown: cutting from branch
Last repotting: March 29, 2020
Wired: Approx. April 15, 2019

Past articles featuring this tree:


Post Beneficiaries:

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Let my success also grant you some happiness too.

Photos in this post are all #originalworks by @creativetruth, unless stated otherwise.

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Do you have any advice for starting a new bonsai tree from a cutting? It seems every time I get a cutting to root in water and then transfer it to a small bonsai pot they die. They probably get shocked, I'm thinking.


Good question.

Trees don't normally grow directly in water. I've only had that work with Willows. Even after removing them from a water jar, and transferring to soil, they can stress out and die. I think this is because water roots rot very easily when the ground temperature changes, and bugs are eating the juicy, rotten roots. In soil, the cutting would normally develop a stronger taproot first with a better callous.

Actually I pruned limbs I did from this tree, I put them into my rooting soil mixture, and they are already sprouting fresh new leaves. I was incredibly surprised. Lots of wet sand is best, as it holds things tightly in place, and holds moisture throughout. Coco fiber and peat is also good, but does not grip as well and dries out fast, and this seems to be working on my Chinese Elm, Gooseberry and Grape cuttings. Horticulture sand (thicker grain) has incredible results for most cuttings. Bonsai soil is also good, but the most expensive choice.

The rooting tub I use is a mixture of all these, and I haven't really refreshed it in years, so it has all sorts of natural microbes and such mixed in I am sure.

Another miracle choice I have tried is burying a cutting deep under a mound of compost. Only leave one bud barely exposed so leaves can find the light, and a leaf stem will emerge like a seedling. Chinese Elm loves this.

I usually do not use any rooting hormone, unless I only have a few precious cuttings I am hoping will root. I prefer to soak willow cuttings in water, or lay them on top of the soil, to allow the Indolebutyric acid to trickle down as a natural rooting hormone over the cutting I am attempting to root. Willow grows so fast, it is easy to collect cuttings year round and use it as a rooting hormone when needed.

I have not found any solutions for conifers yet that work in my collection. Still learning!


Wow thank you for all the advice! I should start growing a willow! I think I will try the compost method. I have a fresh batch that I mixed with some biochar earlier. I love it when little organisms like springtails move in to my pots. I don't don't like the fungus gnats though but if I apply diatomaceous earth then everything goes.