Last spring I began to layer an ugly Hackberry (Celtis sinensis) which had a terrible root base but which had loads of potential as a broom styled tree. A year later and I am ready to remove the layered tree from the donor plant.
Layering is a very useful technique whereby good starter stock can be obtained from an interesting branch of an ordinary garden tree or perhaps a portion of an existing bonsai which has the potential to be turned into a bonsai itself. One of the great 'cheats' about layering is that you start off with a thick trunk already so it's much faster than a cutting. Another great thing about layering is that if done successfully, all the roots emerge at the same level which gives you a great start towards developing wonderful nebari.
In this blog post I will ground layer a Hackberry which is destined to become a broom style bonsai. The nebari of broom styled trees should be very impressive, radiating out from the trunk in all directions, something which this Hackberry definitely does not have, but something which we are going to change.