Water Gum (Tristaniopsis laurina) is a great choice for bonsai, particularly in the Sydney area where it is commonly used as a street tree and thrives with little or no attention. Shiny, attractive foliage with bronze tips in spring, easily reducible leaf size, clusters of small yellow flowers and beautiful bark which flakes off in late summer are some of its desirable features for bonsai.

Over the last five years, the Water Gum below had gradually developed an interesting shari which certainly needed work to stop the decay but had not been tackled.

Water Gum

Water Gum (Tristaniopsis laurina) 2019

At Tree Makers (http://treemakers.com.au) last week, after trimming and wiring the tree, the dead wood work was discussed (a very time consuming and daunting task for the inexperienced) and Hugh Grant suggested that his newest piece of equipment, an AEG compressor with a spray gun attachment (think sandblaster equivalent), could be the solution. Suddenly a daunting task became very achievable and in a relatively short time.

Decision made, Hugh bagged and taped the tree’s foliage and covered the soil to protect them from the abrasive ‘sand’.

Readied tree

man working on a tree

Hugh at work

The spray gun actually uses very fine glass (like sand) to remove unwanted material and clean the wood.

Hugh carefully cleaned out the hollow, removing the accumulated moss and rotted wood revealing the beautiful texture below. Wood hardener, now needs to be applied to preserve the wood.

finished bonsai tree

Finished result- thanks Hugh Grant