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applestar
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Bewildered, I had a similar thought and I'm turning some of the Siberian Elm volunteers that keep popping up everywhere in my garden into my first test Bonsai subjects. I'm also eye'ing up other volunteers in my garden: Wild Black Cherry and Wild Cherry, Rose of Sharon, Sweet Gum, Red Maple or possibly Sugar Maple, Mulberry... 8) I also have a couple of Red Oak and Shagbark Hickory, but I'm not sure about them. :roll: I'm also finding tiny Juniper seedlings -- probably Eastern Red Juniper -- approximately 2" tall at the moment, and have been letting them grow. Oh, and I potted up a Japanese Maple seedling -- 4 true leaves so far -- that I'll try to keep alive. :wink:

"Weed" is in the eyes of the beholder. :lol:

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Bewildered,
Can anyone touch on wiring for me? It looks so complicated in the articles on that website, I mean is melting the copper (Annealing) really necessary? It seems a bit drastic to have to even prep the wiring. Is wire something that we must use or can tape be used instead? Where do I buy the proper wire if wire is needed? I don't see that wire would do much over time but damage the tree.
Wiring is only one aspect of bonsai, one that you need not worry too much about right now. As far as damaging the plant, wiring is only temporary and is used until the branches have set in their new position.

Wire will generally come already annealed, which is not melting but more like softening. Did you ever bend a piece of metal back and forth until it gets stiffer and stiffer until it eventually breaks? This is called work hardening and annealing reverses that hardening so that the wire can be applied easily.

Cynthia is correct, you should slow down a little. Know that first bonsai has to have a foundation in sound horticulture. If you can't keep a plant alive in a pot over the years wiring and the other finer points become moot.

Norm

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BewilderedGreenyO.o
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Thanks for the support everyone!! I am feeling much better after reading your replies. It is so nice to have a place to go with all my novice questions. Getting such informative answers from everyone is just what every beginner gardener should have and I truly thank you all for being so patient with me :wink:

Though alot of bonsai is still a mystery to me I've decided I just really need to take the first step and whatever happens after that will at least help me learn if nothing else. :wink:
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A good resource for learning the basics of bonsai is here on the Helpful Gardener site, but on the article side. It was written by our own HelpfulGardener, Scott. You may want to take a look his [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/bonsai/]bonsai articles[/url].

Good luck,

wm

linlaoboo
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Try looking for bonsai books in the library, it doesn't cost nothing unless u return the books late =)
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BewilderedGreenyO.o
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I Did It! I finally got my first plant to start bonsai'ing!!! So I checked Home Depot and didn't find anything that caught my eye so I headed over to Lowes and found a few plants that I thought would be great to work with. I was tossing around the idea of buying a Schefflera but everything I looked at had so many trunks... I was feeling overwhelmed by it ... so I decided to start simple and cross that bridge later.

So I got a Japanese Boxwood! There was one that caught my eye early on in the search and I ended up coming back to it and buying it :D Now I much admit I felt a bit confused while out there looking.. still not completely sure what I was looking for but definitely gave it my best go. I was having trouble deciding what size plant to get but read somewhere that getting a one gallon plant would be good. And also on alot of the plants I wasn't even able to see the nebari even when digging for it. A few others that I was considering getting were called the heavenly bamboo ( but again with so many trunks ) pink breath of heaven but wasn't sure of it and it said they were fragile so decided against it, China Doll, and Euonymus Japonicus.

So Japanese Boxwood It was! Yay! I've already been on google researching the Japanese Boxwood and have been looking for inspiration :) I took some photos of it that will hopefully show you overall how it looks and would love to here what you all think. I took my first step by getting the plant lets hope it was a good one :wink:

[img]https://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt261/NySnap/Plants/Bonsai/Boxwood/DSCN2623.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt261/NySnap/Plants/Bonsai/Boxwood/DSCN2624.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt261/NySnap/Plants/Bonsai/Boxwood/DSCN2625.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt261/NySnap/Plants/Bonsai/Boxwood/DSCN2627.jpg[/img]


So... Whats Next?

:lol:
Last edited by BewilderedGreenyO.o on Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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derkap10
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Hi Bewildered,

Nice looking little Boxy. Should be able to do well with it. Before you do anything at all to it spend a fair amount of time looking at it. Once you've looked at it a while you'll start to actually see where the tree wants to go. I've been working on a Boxwood for a couple of months now as a 'pre-bonsai'. Part of my 'Budget Bonsai" series. Here's some pics so you'll see how I've progressed with it since I got it.
Here's the tree right after buying it ($5.99) from, of all places, the grocery store...

[img]https://i920.photobucket.com/albums/ad43/derkap10_photo/Bonsai/Buxus002.jpg[/img]

Did some preliminary trimming to uncover the trunk and the inside of the foliage and get an idea of the shape...

[img]https://i920.photobucket.com/albums/ad43/derkap10_photo/Bonsai/Buxus005.jpg[/img]

After that I pulled it out of the nursery pot and worked on the roots. The whole bottom of the original pot was nothing but a really compacted mass of roots so I trimmed all of those off and trimmed some back on the larger roots. Then I moved it into a much larger plastic pot for the rest of this year (and maybe next, not sure yet, see how it goes) and ended up with this...

[img]https://i920.photobucket.com/albums/ad43/derkap10_photo/Bonsai/Buxus008.jpg[/img]

After that I put it up amongst some other plants on the back porch where it could get some well-filtered sun for a couple of weeks to recover. After that I trimmed off about 75% of the remaining foliage and wired some of the lower branches into a less vertical position giving a more 'tree-like' appearance...

[img]https://i920.photobucket.com/albums/ad43/derkap10_photo/Bonsai/ShrubBonsai001.jpg[/img]

About a week after that I started gradually moving it into a brighter position where it now gets about 5 hours of fairly good, direct, sunlight during the first part of the day and then the rest of the day it gets somewhat less direct, more diffuse sunlight. After about 2 months of working with it I've gotten to here...

[img]https://i920.photobucket.com/albums/ad43/derkap10_photo/Bonsai/MoBoxy002.jpg[/img]

If you look carefully you can see a good bit of back-budding from both the limbs and the main trunk. It appears to be going strong at this point. Will probably give a little more trimming here and there this year before winter. Also note that when I repotted I placed a couple of medium sized rocks directly below the trunk to encourage the roots to spread a little more radially in the hopes of developing a bit of nebari somewhere down the road. May go ahead and move into a 'bonsai pot' next year or may not. Gonna wait and see how it looks next Spring. Just wanted to show the progression that I, personally, used for a Boxwood. Hopefully helped ya get an idea of how you might want to proceed with your. Good luck and let us know how it goes. Thanks,

Allen
Happy little trees!

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Bewildered,

Allen is correct, take it slow. You can always cut something off later but once it's gone it's much more difficult to re-grow it. It's easy to cut something off only to regret it later.

A couple of thoughts come to mind as you consider your next moves. Boxwood are known to be relatively slow growers. This might seem to be a plus for bonsai but in reality it means that you are not going to have a thick trunk anytime soon. In fact by keeping it potted it will never really get thick. This does not mean you have done anything wrong in choosing this material just be aware that you will likely be designing a smaller tree.

Next, although Boxwood will back bud, be cautious about removing low growth. Since you will be designing a shorter tree (the trunk diameter kind of determines the height) the low branches will be important. Design the smallest bonsai you can with the material at hand. This keeps the trunk diameter and height of the tree in balance with each other.

Plan on spending some time just getting used to the plant. You must master the mechanics of growing trees/shrubs in pots before the artistic aspects become an issue. I killed so much material in the early years I literally cannot remember it all, with most of my failures be attributable to impatience. :oops:

https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Buxus.html
https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Buxus%20Indepth.htm

Norm

linlaoboo
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Derpak, That's some nice looking boxwood yo. I think you gave it justice. It definitely inspired me to try it. I tried it a few years ago on a boxy and it died after I punned and wired it. I think the cause was I did everything too soon before it acclimated to its new location. Curious, how soon did you start working on it after bringing it home?
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derkap10
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Hi Y'all,

To Linla: I actually worked on this tree the same day I got it. Mainly because it was bone dry. Since the store I bought it from is less than a mile from my house and it was in a shaded area very similar to the conditions on my back porch I figgered I'd take the oppurtunity to go ahead and hit it whilst it was so dry. But did wait for a couple of weeks before trying to wire. This was the first Boxy I've worked on. I got another Boxy a little over a month ago. RIP :( .

To Bewildered: Norm makes some good points. I just measured my tree and it's right at 10 inches from the soil to the top leaf. It may eventually get a little taller but certainly not by much. By putting it into a really large pot for a while I'm hoping to increase the trunk size a bit but have no expectations that it will ever get really thick. The lower branches are really, really, important. Almost every bit of the initial pruning that I did on this tree was to free up (and show off) those lower branches. That was my main consideration. Same when I wired. For me this tree is all about those lower branches. I feel that's one of the main thing that distinguishes a 'shrub' from a 'bonsai'.

Allen
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BewilderedGreenyO.o
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So far I have done very little to it... I went through today and made sure the soil underneath was fairly clean from fallen leaves... then took a couple tiny tid bits of branches off (tiny as in like one or two hahaha! ) ... I think I am a bit prune shy lol I am afraid of cutting something that I might regret cutting. I'm definitely not going to touch the bottom branches. They add such great design to the boxy already :) I literally sat down today with the pruners intending to make some cuts but couldn't seem to get myself to do it lol Beginners Boxy Block perhaps? :lol: How long is it suppose to take for a plant to "adjust" to its new home? I didn't think plants were effected by area change as much as they are from transplanting. Another thing I was wondering was if I need a special pair of pruners or if any regular pruner would work O.o ?
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Marsman
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Bewildered,

A sharp pruner is your friend. It will cut the branch instead of crushing it. [url=https://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Bonsai/DSC01270.jpg]Bonsai tools[/url] are designed for the job, but a nice set of [url=https://www.maxiaids.com/ProdImages/31004.jpg]toenail clippers[/url] could work just as well for now.

Don't be afraid to experiment. As Gnome said, look at the tree and see where it wants to go. Or, as a teacher once told me, look at the specimen and cut away everything that isn't a tree.

Boxwoods are fun. [url=https://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Bonsai/Boxwood/aa438e51.jpg]I have one[/url] and all I've done with is so far is trim the top, leggy parts off. I'm letting the tree back-bud and see where it goes. The limbs are already starting to spread out on their own.

As for books, you can find good deals at [url=https://www.stonelantern.com/]Stone Lantern[/url]. I've picked up quite a few over time and my library grows and grows. It's always good to have pictures to refer to and inspire you.

Are there any local clubs you can attend? Mine has been instrumental in providing hands-on guidance. Good luck and never stop asking questions.

linlaoboo
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derkap10,

Thanks for the info. Next time I won't wire it right away. I just noticed the brown texture on the trunk came out really good looking on picture.
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linlaoboo
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Bewildered,

From the picture you show here is what I see out of it. Either prune, grow and train toward the red triangle or toward having different clusters circled in blue. I'm sure there are other options looking from different angles too.

[img]https://i529.photobucket.com/albums/dd340/malagabee/DSCN2624.jpg[/img]
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BewilderedGreenyO.o
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Thanks Everyone1 for your advice, its truly great to have people who actually care and take the time to show that they do :) I'll definitely start looking around for a good pair of bonsai pruners, but haven't yet found a bonsai club or anything to join in my area. Even though that would be a lot of fun. :( I will keep that picture in mind while deciding how to go about pruning my tree Thanx again! <3
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Marsman
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Try this link:
https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&&sa=X&ei=iVE2TOD6B4O0lQfCqpzTBw&ved=0CCIQvwUoAQ&q=bonsai+san+bernardino&spell=1

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BewilderedGreenyO.o
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Marsman wrote:Bewildered,

A sharp pruner is your friend. It will cut the branch instead of crushing it. [url=https://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Bonsai/DSC01270.jpg]Bonsai tools[/url] are designed for the job, but a nice set of [url=https://www.maxiaids.com/ProdImages/31004.jpg]toenail clippers[/url] could work just as well for now.
Hey was just wondering if anyone out there had any recommended places or websites to purchase bonsai tools from. I really like the set that you linked Marsman where did you get it and how much did it cost if you don't mind me asking? I'm not looking to spend a great deal of money on the tools just yet as I really don't know if I will be any good at "bonsai" (Knock on wood) :lol:
But I would like a decent pair of Concave Cutters and perhaps a pair of shears if nothing else to get me started.

All I have at home right now are old pairs of branch cutters and old regular bush pruners... :|
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derkap10
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Hi again Bewildered,

Specialized Bonsai tools can be downright pricey. Google 'Bonsai Tools' and you should be able to find many hits. Almost anywhere that sells bonsai supplies will have a selection of tools. These can vary in cost depending on quality. Most concave cutters run between $20 and $60. A decent 'apprentice kit' will usually run around $100. Again, depending on quality. I will be the first to admit to lusting after a kit of super-high quality Japanese-made tools made of only the finest materials. But, like you, I'm not willing to invest just yet in that until I've got more experience and a good handful of nice trees going. But fear not! It is possible to do much more affordable workarounds until you decide to invest. Here is pretty much the whole of my bonsai tools...

[img]https://i920.photobucket.com/albums/ad43/derkap10_photo/Bonsai/BTools003.jpg[/img]

From left to right, a root rake (you're right, it's just a fork with the tines bent at a right angle, mostly just use my fingers anyway), a pair of very small scissors with slightly concave blades, pair of concave wire cutters (picked up at Wally World for about $5), a pair of small pruners (found in the bargain bin at a nursery along with the little trowel at the bottom for, I think, $3), a pair of 'super-shears' from my days as an EMT (use those for dirty jobs like root pruning), and of course chopsticks (asian section of the supermarket for a buck or two). Little toolbox cost about 4 or 5 bucks at Wally World. Probably less than $30 worth shown here.

[img]https://i920.photobucket.com/albums/ad43/derkap10_photo/Bonsai/BTools005.jpg[/img]

I'll probably invest in a nice set of Japanese-made bonsai tools in a year or so (just for the joy of handling such high quality gear) but for now these do quite well. Very basic but if on a budget will get you through. The wire cutters work well as concave cutters (I have a separate pair I use for actual wire cutting since I want to keep the blades on this pair nice and sharp). Just suggestions for basic kit.

Allen
Happy little trees!

linlaoboo
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any one tried the tool kits found on Ebay or Amazon yet? They run around $60 some. If I have more trees and live in a warmer region, will definitely shell out the money.
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Marsman
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You get what you pay for. I use [url=https://www.joshuaroth.com/]Joshua Roth[/url] tools and they run about $60+ a piece. I buy one at a time, when I can afford them and have accumulated some very nice, sharp tools. Any that I have bought on the cheap have turned out to be junk. My advice, don't waste your money.

[url=https://www.stonelantern.com/]Stone Lantern[/url] is always having sales on tools. I've bought quite a bit from them. They have nice stuff, and they have less-nice stuff. Just be careful what you buy.

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Bewildered,

Like Derek my kit has some everyday items that I have 're-purposed' but when it comes to actual pruning I agree with Marsman. My suggestion would be to start slow and get only a few mid-level tools at first. A decent pair of shears and a concave cutter will take you a long way.

https://www.dallasbonsai.com/store/concave_cutters.html

Norm

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BewilderedGreenyO.o
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Thanks Everyone For the Tool Tips! :D I decided to grab my regular bush pruners, clean them up, and go at it!! (btw this was my first time "Ever" pruning "Anything" ) :lol: while out there I found myself needing something smaller to prune the smaller branches that the regular pruners couldn't reach well... so as suggested :wink: I grabbed the handy dandy toe nail clippers! :lol:

So, Excited as I am to have given my Boxwood its first haircut I want to inform you all that I brought home another project to work on as well. Its an Escallonia!! :-() And boy was it a wild one! I'll post pictures :wink: Whats Even better is that I gave them *Both* haircuts today! wewt! :flower:

Anyhow I'll post the Before and After pictures And would love some feedback on them :D

*JAPANESE BOXWOOD*

::BEFORE::

[img]https://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt261/NySnap/Plants/Bonsai/Boxwood/DSCN2624.jpg[/img]

:: AFTER::

[img]https://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt261/NySnap/Plants/Bonsai/Boxwood/P1010476.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt261/NySnap/Plants/Bonsai/Boxwood/DSCN2658.jpg[/img]

*ESCALLONIA*

:: BEFORE ::

[img]https://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt261/NySnap/Plants/Bonsai/Escalliona/P1010483.jpg[/img]

:: AFTER ::

[img]https://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt261/NySnap/Plants/Bonsai/Escalliona/P1010488.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt261/NySnap/Plants/Bonsai/Escalliona/P1010492.jpg[/img]
Last edited by BewilderedGreenyO.o on Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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linlaoboo
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that's awesome yo, i think u did a great job
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linlaoboo
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Thanks Marsman,

Next time I'm in Japan, will definately look for some there.
Marsman wrote:You get what you pay for. I use [url=https://www.joshuaroth.com/]Joshua Roth[/url] tools and they run about $60+ a piece. I buy one at a time, when I can afford them and have accumulated some very nice, sharp tools. Any that I have bought on the cheap have turned out to be junk. My advice, don't waste your money.

[url=https://www.stonelantern.com/]Stone Lantern[/url] is always having sales on tools. I've bought quite a bit from them. They have nice stuff, and they have less-nice stuff. Just be careful what you buy.
ficus, maple, elm, juniper, pine

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BewilderedGreenyO.o
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I think that perhaps my boxwood and Escallonia are root bound or close to it but not completely sure. Should I repot them even though I just gave them a good prune? If so should I trim up the roots? Will this kill them? I'm not sure how to know if they are root bound or not. I know allen said that he trimmed his Boxwoods roots after he pruned it but it didn't state how long he waited between the pruning and the root trimming. Also I have a cluster of flowers on my Escallonia at the moment... should I cut it off? or would it make any difference if I left it on there?
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Marsman
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Bewildered,

Can I come hang out at your pool? :)

Nice job on the pruning.

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BewilderedGreenyO.o
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Haha! Good Idea! I think I'll go for a swim :wink:

I think next time I get a chance I will take them outta their pots and see what kinda mess the roots are in..

Anyone have any Tips for me Before I Do?

:flower:
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Marsman
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Keep a mister handy to water the roots while they are out of the pot.

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BewilderedGreenyO.o
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whelp ... I did it... I root pruned my Japanese Boxwood :shock: It was super scary and hopefully my lil' Boxy will pull through it :| It took a long time and ran into some things that I really wasn't really expecting like... worms! :eek: ... not being able to easily get to the base of the trunk to put a rock under it ( which eventually I did ) and the amount of roots I lost that I was not intending to lose... plus the way that my bush now leans due to the fact that the base was positioned in the pot crooked so that it appeared to be straight when I purchased it at the store ( oops ) :lol: All in all I think if this lil' boxy can pull through this then it'll still make a great Bonsai :D

"After The Root Pruning"

[img]https://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt261/NySnap/Plants/Bonsai/Boxwood/P7120509.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt261/NySnap/Plants/Bonsai/Boxwood/P7120512.jpg[/img]
Confusion at its Finest :D
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BewilderedGreenyO.o
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Today I Root Pruned My Escallonia. What A Mess!!!! It was extremely rootbound and there were roots everywhere! I could not believe what a mess it was and really couldn't fathom how there were so many large thick roots within one bush!

Well with a bit more exploring through the roots and just as I was about to quit because there were so many when I realized something that I really hadn't even thought of before... I noticed that the stem that I thought was one trunk was actually two!! So I fiddled with it a bit and moved some of the larger base roots around a bit and sure enough the two trunks came apart and BAM! I had two separate plants... ( talk about conjoined twins :wink: )

For a moment I had thought that perhaps I should have kept them together to maybe bond and eventually make one large trunk but really... the roots were so messed up that I really think they would do better separately. To my surprize the soil was incredibly sandy and dry even though having watered it just that morning. I bet that those plants were just suffocating. I will be incredibly lucky if they both survive the traumatic repot and root prune :cry: Unfortunately I am still in the learning process and anything is fair game atm.

If they do end up dying I will have to be a bit less aggressive next time and do things different. Here are my Escallonia as they are now in separate pots. Hopefully they will both make it and grow to become beautiful Bonsai. Since they were in the same pot and I split them up I decided to name them... :wink: I named the main one with the flowers on it "Bloom" and the one without flowers on it "Grow" hehe AKA "Bloom & Grow"

"Escallonia After Root Prune and Separation"

"BLOOM"

[img]https://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt261/NySnap/Plants/Bonsai/Escalliona/P7130520.jpg[/img]

"GROW"

[img]https://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt261/NySnap/Plants/Bonsai/Escalliona/P7130521.jpg[/img]

As you can tell from the photos I am still a bit confused about pot size. I couldn't decide whether to put them in small or big pots ... so I put one back in the same pot I took it out of and the other in a larger pot. I dunno if I'm suppose to be putting them in big or small pots :lol: :lol: :lol:

BONUS PICS:

[img]https://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt261/NySnap/Plants/Bonsai/Escalliona/P7130513.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt261/NySnap/Plants/Bonsai/Escalliona/P7130514.jpg[/img]

While Taking photos my cat Calli decided she wanted to jump in and get pictures taken by the newly replanted Escallonia :wink:
Confusion at its Finest :D
I'm rooting for you!

*USDA Zone 8b :: Sunset Zone ?*
https://bewilderedgreeny.weebly.com/

Victrinia Ridgeway
Senior Member
Posts: 264
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:46 pm
Location: Bremerton, WA

Sorry to be joining the party late... ;) (Welcome by the way...)

You'll want to make sure the trees are both in more shade than might normally be needed for the next few weeks while those roots establish themselves... once it looks like it's growing again, feed them...

It looks like you have them in potting soil, so you'll have to watch out for keeping them too wet, but the nice thing is that they'll have soft soil to push new roots into.

With the hard pruning they have had, if you have a lot of heat, make sure you mist them several times a day. With the reduction in roots the activity involved in transpiration will be greatly hampered. You can slow that down and maintain moisture in the foliage by misting. Of course this also means the soil will tend to stay wetter longer, so make sure you are only watering when needed.... which could be daily depending on your temps. Had you used a traditional porous substrate for you soil, you would be watering daily and misting. In your case, misting will be important, and not overwatering so that the roots don't rot.

Healthy roots require the presence of both air and water in the soil... because plants absorb water and nutrients in the form of vapor, not actual water. Which is why substrates like lava/pumice/calidama/akadama are used in soil components, and also why you want a uniform size in your soil. Because you have used a high organic matter medium, you'll just need to make sure it doesn't compact too much or as I said, stay too soggy. ;)

Good luck...

Victrinia
La belle cose prendono tempo... (Beautiful things take time...)

User avatar
BewilderedGreenyO.o
Green Thumb
Posts: 471
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 6:02 am
Location: San Bernardino Mountains, California

Yay! Another person to respond to my many many questions!! Nice to meet you V and thank you so much for the response. The more responses the more I can learn and absorb the information.

We've been having triple digit weather lately so right after I read your post I ran outside to mist my traumatized plants LOL! It felt like I was stepping straight into an oven. Few! :cool:
Confusion at its Finest :D
I'm rooting for you!

*USDA Zone 8b :: Sunset Zone ?*
https://bewilderedgreeny.weebly.com/

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