Raft style bonsai mimic a natural occurrence when a tree topples onto its side due to heavy winds, a flood, or soil eroding beneath the tree. Branches along the top side of the trunk continue to grow as a group of new trees. Sometimes, roots will develop from buried portions of the trunk. Raft-style bonsai can have sinuous or straight-line trunks, all giving the illusion that they are a group of separate trees creating a unified apex.
Advantages of Raft style
Are that it is not seen often. We have the ability to use a large main trunk and create multiple trees off of that line. This is great because it shows great age as if the tree was blown over a long time ago, re-rooted itself and kept on thriving; Each branch becoming its own tree and creating its own apex. It is really intriguing to see a raft style bonsai and is a real advantage to presenter when created correctly. The trees will balance off each other like in a forest planting, but in this style we have the ability to display it as one tree instead of multiples as in a forest.
Disadvantages of Raft style
Are finding a suitable tree. Yamadori raft style is very rare and prized. Creating a raft style bonsai takes years and patience, but it can be done. It is easier to create this style with deciduous materiel because of its ability to sprout roots from exposed cambium very easily. Coniferous materiel will take much more time and patience. Plus you will have to expose lots of roots if you are planning on using nursery materiel, to turn the tree on its side. But if it’s done properly it can be a show stopper.
- Juniper (Juniperus sp.)
- Quince (Cydonia sp.)
- Spruce (Picea sp.)
- Ficus ( Ficus sp.)
- Olive (Olea sp.)
- Jasmine (Murraya paniculata)
- Japanese Zelkova (Zelkova serrata)
- Brush Cherry (Eugenia myrtifolia)
- Beech (Fagus sp.)
- Crab Apple (Malus sp.)
- Pomegranate (Punica granatum)