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Intriguedbybonsai
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Will a tree still mature if placed in a bonsai pot?

I've got a 2 year old key lime tree. Would planting it in a bonsai pot stunt it's growth, and prevent it from flowering? By flowering I mean bearing fruit.

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rainbowgardener
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full sized tree in bonsai pot

Well I usually stay out of the bonsai forum, because it's not something I have ANY experience with. But off hand, it seems the whole idea of bonsai is to stunt the growth of trees that would ordinarily be much bigger. So yes, keeping a full sized tree in a little bonsai pot will stunt its growth -- if it doesn't kill it. The people who do bonsai have a whole art and science to it. They don't just put trees in little pots, they prune the trees and the roots. A regular tree, not root pruned, in a little pot will quickly get potbound and the roots will start to smother.

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Gnome
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Intriguedbybonsai,

I believe that there are two distinct questions here. As RBG stated, part of the bonsai process is regular root pruning. This is necessary in order to keep returning the tree to the same pot for years on end. Without root pruning this would not be possible, the tree would lose vigor and die. This continued pruning, roots and foliage, greatly slows a trees growth.

Flowering trees are kept as bonsai and some are very impressive indeed. The thing is though, that they are generally grown out to flowering age/size before their life in a bonsai pot begins. Once they are in a bonsai pot the development phase is ending and the refinement stage begins.

It is a misconception that bonsai are created in bonsai pots, that is seldom the case. Often years of training are carried out before young material is transitioned into a bonsai pot. During this time growth is not restricted, but encouraged. Sometimes this takes place in generously sized containers and sometimes in the ground. Other, more mature, trees are collected from various sources in a more advanced state but still undergo a transition period before they see a bonsai pot.

Norm

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Intriguedbybonsai
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How do you know when the time is right for root pruning? Is this an annual procedure that must be done? I'm assuming you pull the entire tree/soil from the pot, and start to trim at the rootball?

arboricola
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Need a little more info. What size pot is it in right now and how tall is the tree?

Unpot the tree, soil and all, and check the roots to see if it's rootbound. Run a knife around the outside of the pot and lift it out in one piece..

Phil...

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rainbowgardener
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good book?

Sounds like some of all you bonsai experts should recommend a good book to help people get started....

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Intriguedbybonsai
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They advertise a few books at the bottom of this page, but which one is the best one? I'm a real amateur when it comes to bonsai. Lately I've been going by tips, techniques found at this site, and other various sites. I want something with step-by-step instructions. Something that explains a creation method from the ground up. A guide that specifically explains how to create the different styles of bonsai. Informal upright, cascade, root over rock, etc... Basically what I need is a "Bonsai for Dummies" kind of book. Lol.

kdodds
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By far, I think the best practical and all-around book is "The Living Art of Bonsai". It's not only chock full of information and pictorial guides, the whole front section is eye-candy inspiration of masters' trees.

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