Crouching Hibiscus, Hidden Nebari

I am sharing this post to show you how important it is to dig down around a trunk when looking at a tree. Even if it’s ugly.  You never know what you might find.

This one is part of my landscape.  Urban Yamadori, I guess.  It was here since before we moved in.  It’s ugly and looks like it’s crouching or that some big bear sat on it…..for a long time.  It didn’t always look this way.

When we first moved in it was about 3 to 4 feet tall.  My lovely lady didn’t really like it so she chopped all the branches off one day thinking she was going to kill it.  I would have stopped her, but by the time I saw…the deed was done.  I don’t have pictures before the hack job, but here is what it looked like on February 24, 2017:


It was planted and forgotten here by the previous owners.  Looks like it has been here a long time.  This spot is very windy though and covered from above by trees so it rarely gets direct sunlight.

It’s so windy in this spot that when the tree flowers, they keep getting broken off by the wind.  Talk about frustrating!  I have been contemplating digging it out but I have been waiting.

For one it was infested with aphids, scale, sooty mold and mites.  Every day was a massive struggle for this thing!  Being weak and stressed, cutting it out of the ground may have killed it.

Since February I’ve been fertilizing it heavily and have treated it for the pests a few times with insecticidal soap and Neem oil.  It’s also been given a systemic pesticide that will last for 12 months.  Pest management is for another post in the near future.

So after some recovery as well as getting a new stone garden put in place around it, here is the tree on 4/8/2017:20170408_110334

A few days later a brown bear had already made a den in the rocks.  These are native to Bass Pro Shops:20170421_102036

It’s been doing much better, but still has some issues.

This post has some issues……wasn’t this supposed to be about nebari?  All I see are some branches in the ground…..

I’m just letting the tree’s ugliness sink in before moving on so you get the full effect.  Now, when you dig sometimes you have to dig deeper than you expect.  I dug down 6 inches on this one and I feel like the trunk still went down another inch or two.

Enough with the suspense, after digging down here is what the nebari looked like: 20170417_195445

Damn!  This thing was bigger and older than I thought, and planted pretty deep.  There are 4 main branches and the two on the right have fused together.

The trunk has a nice flare. There is a root or maybe two in there that need to be removed, but all in all a good looking trunk.  It’s not getting dug out just yet though, maybe over the summer.

During training you want to keep most of this buried so it develops better, but once it’s ready for a pot this part will be above the soil.  When and how to expose the nebari is a whole lesson in and of itself….

This Hibiscus will make good material.  Most of the branches up top will have to be removed and new branches grown, but that is okay.  I will probably end up picking one of those 4 branches and chopping the rest off.  That will all be done in due time.

I wanted to share with you the surprises you will find if you look a little further.  So next time you are at the nursery or out looking for trees, take a closer look, you never know what you’ll find!   (hopefully nothing weird)


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