JoeLewko
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Rock Selection

As i have decided to do a root over rock style for my bonsai, i figured id better start looking for rocks. I came across this one, and since i havent done this before, does anyonbe have any thoughts on the rock i chose? To small? To big? any thoughts will be appreciated.

[img]https://img296.imageshack.us/img296/1541/bonsairock002qp8.th.jpg[/img]

Please Note, i put a white background for taking the pic...there is a window behind the tree.

Sharp
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Ive been doing some research with root over rock styles. I even went out and got some books on it.

Have you seen what your root structure looks like beneath the soil level?


It could be possible to pull it out, put it over the rock, softly secure it with wire and bury the roots...of course depending on what the root system looks like. Also if you have a better idea of the roots you can have a good grasp on what kind of rock you can use.

JoeLewko
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i actually havent seen the root system, since when i bought it, it came in a small circular pot, and the roots were bound to the soil in one giant clump. Also, i had no idea i was going to do a root over rock, so it didnt occur to me to look. Im hesitant to take the tree out of the pot until i repot it next spring. Do you think its safe to do now? because if i can get started now, that'd be great. I like your idea of using wire, another website suggusted using a type of tape, but that seems like more trouble than sucess. I guess the only thing id have to watch out for is the wire cutting into the roots. How long should i leave the wires there? I guess ill have to do some research on this myself, it seems like there are many different ways of acheiving root over rock.

Sharp
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Well if it came from a smaller pot then i wouldnt do it. The roots need to be longer, or perhaps get a smaller rock. It would be better to do it in the spring since the roots will be more encouraged to grow during that time (generally).

If you do, i would get a rock thats suitable only after you've inspected the root system. The process is best done by wraping the roots with the rock placed under the trunk/root ball. After securing the rock (i suggested wiring) then the entire rootball and rock are buried as so the roots can completey form over and around the rock, to give that feel that they did it naturally. Then in a few years the roots will grow well enough to either they surface over the top of the rock or you can raise the lvl for a more dramatic look.

Here is one im currently working on:



[url]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v299/sharp222/DSC00678.jpg[/url] This is in training in many ways. Its been wired above to be informal upright. Im kinda letting it grow some length then ill trim as needed to develop some back buds (hopefully lol) This guy was almost dead and had dropped some leaves. So im quite pleased its doing well.

Anyways, here is the roots/base of trunk.

[url]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v299/sharp222/DSC00677.jpg[/url]

Ive actually been training the roots over it, but I didnt want the rock completely under it. More of a tree against the rock type of look. The tree had a nice arial roots to it.

JoeLewko
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what ill probably do is put the rock under it next spring, and let it grow for a year or two. then ill plant it in a shallow pot, to get a dramatic look. I think it is hard to tell in the pic, but the tree is leanin towards the side/back. I read somewhere that once a ficus is set, it doesnt respond as well as other trees to wiring. I figure with the rock i have, i can make the tree slanted on the rock, to give the appearance it is straight....or maybe not..ill see how the tree grows. i think its always best to style the tree with the way its naturally growing. Ill see what happens.

your tree looks like it could develop some nice aerial roots. Just one question. Any idea how the person who raised this tree got the trunk/root ball to grow? Not that it really matters, but im curious...and i could comsoder growing it with some cuttings i am trying to root.

Sharp
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your tree looks like it could develop some nice aerial roots. Just one question. Any idea how the person who raised this tree got the trunk/root ball to grow? Not that it really matters, but im curious...and i could comsoder growing it with some cuttings i am trying to root.
The man i got it from had been doing bonsai for roughly 50+ years. I spoke with him when I purchased it, and if I recall he did his from softwood cuttings. I think he said that seedlings can take a long time.

Anyways, take a cutting that has several nodes. Cutt of the lowest leaves and the growing tip. Then on the larger leaves be sure to cut half to 2/3 off to prevent too much water loss.

Mostly what i read is to use a sandier soil mix, using a chopstick or equivilant make a hole for it. Put the cutting in about 1/3 its length into the soil.

Id suggest it in some sort of tray with a covering that allows light in to keep up the humidity.

JoeLewko
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i have been thinking, and i am confident that the roots will be suitable for root over rock training starting this summer. i mean if they really arent ready, i wont do it. But i was thinking, since i potted this plant so recently, (only like 3 weeks ago), is it ok to attach it to the rock? or is this too soon after a repotting? I don't want to kill my tree, but i would like to begin training it. i am also wondering, if i should train it this summer, should i do it at the begining of august, or wait until the last week in august? the reason for this is that the second to last week in august, i am going on vacation for a week, and i don't want to repot it too close to when i go on vacation, because it wont get the best care while i am away.

Sharp
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Im not sure to be honest. My mind tends to think that spring would be best. For the same reason repotting is done then, so that way the roots have the best chance of growth during that time. But maybe its do-able now, but since its a long term project anyways....

JoeLewko
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i really think its a matter of preference. I remember reading somewhere that ficus grow raipdly in the late summer...ill have to do some more research and make a decision....

Sharp
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Yea my ficus does seem to be growing faster and faster as the summer goes along.

Let me know how it goes for you. Im very interested to see the results.

JoeLewko
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i was reading on one site about a technique that rquires "peat muck", which is a thick paste of fine peat moss particles, and water. It also requiers that the roots and rock be above the soil, and arew insulated by only moss. It then says to cut back about an inch of moss every few months, and trimming away the fine roots, until the whole thing is uncovered. I like this method, as it is easier to monitor the root growth than the method of attach and then bury. I am not sure when ill do this, as the moss needs to be kept wet constantly, so the roots don't die, and if i go on vacation, i am afraid the moss will dry out. I don't really know anyone i can trust with this, but maybe i can find someone. So i probably wont begin training until the last week in august...or maybe next week. I really don't know yet. I still have to find peat moss, a good rock, and some regular moss. Ill keep you posted on the progress...(with pictures).

ynot
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JoeLewko wrote: Ill keep you posted on the progress...(with pictures).
Almost 3 months later[From the beginning of the thread]:
Time for an update Joe, Show us what you've got! 8)

JoeLewko
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after examining the root, ive realized i have to think this over some more...it may not be suitable for root over rock. i believe i described the root ball in another thread, but they way it was grown, in order to espose the main roots, the tree would end up at an angle facing foward. I'll figure out somethign to do with it, maybe stick it around a larger rock (the thing has two main trunks below the surface, from which roots sprout, kind of like a v with roots), and let the roots grow around it. something like a penjing. this probably will wait until spring.

ynot
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Joe,
Take a picture of it anyway please.
What soil components are you using? This will make {seriously} all the difference in how your roots develope.

Also, This is an indoor tree correct? There is no need whatsoever to wait until spring to repot it.
I have repotted [and trunk-chopped, rootpruned, ect] ficus at any time of the year with no difference in their recovery [Though they love being outside in a hot humid summer!]
Being a tropical it essentially has no 'seasons' in the same respect as a deciduous tree. Brief periods of slower growth-yes. But not seasons as such.

Most of the time when people say that their indoor trees slow down in winter it is due to less than optimal living conditions restricting growth vs any 'Natural growth pause' wrt the tree.

[Note: the following does not apply to plants that need 'cool spots'
Simply put: IF you provide an enviroment that will keep your tree happy, They will simply keep going.
Consider that if they do not keep growing well when you bring them in then something is lacking in their enviroment.
Growth will only occur in the amount equal to the resource required that is available in the least quantity.
ynot

Ps. Penjing is a landscape.

JoeLewko
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the soil is mainly large particles with soem fine. if i had to estimate id say maybe 70-30 large to fine particles. not sure though. i just repotted it, so i want to wait until the spring (why do it again if i jsut did), plus it will grow faster then, in optimal growing conditions, so i think i will have the best results.

ynot
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Repotted...
How recently?
I ask because if it has only been several weeks [say 3 or less roughly] The stress you induce would be worth the improved soil IMO.
Fines are not good in your bonsai soil as you know. [Not in any percentage IMO]
Take a good look at the soil of any of my trees and you will see it is not fines at all. I am telling you it works wonders.

Why do it again? To improve your trees living conditions, That's why. 8)

JoeLewko
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the soil is relatvly "fresh"..maybe 2 or 3 months. plus id ahve to find different soil...i just think its easier to take care of everythign in one shot in the spring

oh also i am going to repot my new juniper soon. (it's previous owner said it needed it in the cooler weather). do you want pics when i do it?

ynot
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JoeLewko wrote: oh also i am going to repot my new juniper soon. (it's previous owner said it needed it in the cooler weather). do you want pics when i do it?
Is it potbound? Why does it need to be repotted?

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Gnome
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Joe,

I know this thread started out as a question regarding rock selection but it seems to have evolved a bit and is the one that is current so I'll comment here. A technique that I have used to accomplish this involves an opened ended cylinder or sleeve.

The general procedure would be as follows. Locate a suitable training container, shallow and wide with adequate drainage. The actual dimensions will of course vary according to the tree in question. fill the training pot with your soil mix. Now position the rock in the same orientation and at the same depth that you intend for the finished composition.

The tree is positioned on the rock as desired, muck or some flat strips of cloth can be used to secure the roots to the rock temporarily. Put the sleeve around the tree and rock.

The sleeve should be tall enough to extend from the surface of the soil in the training pot up to the point of the existing soil line of the tree. It should be large enough in diameter to allow for the shape of the rock and leaving about an inch or so of room.

The sleeve is now filled with the same mix and water in well. As you water from above the soil is slowly washed away from the roots/rock. Depending on what the sleeve is made of it can gradually be trimmed down as the roots extend downward. This will of course take considerable time. This technique eliminates the moss and the need for unusual watering practices

I have only done this once but it worked exactly as described. Unfortunately I chose an inappropriate species and eventually undid my work. If any of this is unclear I will be glad to clarify.

Norm

JoeLewko
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ynot wrote:
JoeLewko wrote: oh also i am going to repot my new juniper soon. (it's previous owner said it needed it in the cooler weather). do you want pics when i do it?
Is it potbound? Why does it need to be repotted?
well the previous owner said it is pretty much entirely root in the pot, and there is vitrually no soil left.

thanks norm for the suggestion. like i said before, i need to figure all this out with a considerable amount of thought.

ynot
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Also Joe,

Click here: [url]https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=18254#18254[/url]
You will see a reply I made to another thread you have about RoR.
If you click on the photobucket link you can choose to watch the pics in a slide show. [It is an assembly of a RoR] I went a more traditional route than Gnome as I just used a bigger pot.
There are thumbprints of it later in development also.

The principle is the exactly the same either way.

A couple really good 'soil shots' in this one. :wink: [One shot dedicated to specifficly show it in fact.]

ynot
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[sorry for the delay-Just ran across this thread again.]

JoeLewko wrote:the soil is mainly large particles with soem fine. if i had to estimate id say maybe 70-30 large to fine particles.
What does this mean? :?

paddles
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I would secure the roots to a rock with budding tape, (Thats what I use anyway.) I'm slowly raising my Root over rock (Actually I used a terracotta ball) each year when I repot the tree, I raise it an inch, slowly exposing the roots. and I no longer have the roots wrapped at all, working on the theory that they'll attach themselves as they want. (its just in a normal black plastic pot) I'll go look and see if I've got a pic, but mines a very young trident maple.

paddles
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[img]https://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n146/Thepaddlepoplioness/rootoverrocktridentmaple002.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n146/Thepaddlepoplioness/rootoverrocktridentmaple001.jpg[/img]

ynot
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I have some tridents about that same size [Just growing along....8) ]

Those roots will continue to thicken [if that's what you want.] if you leave them buried by the soil. You could allways just spiral a bit of wire round it if need be to snug the roots up to the underside of the ball.
ynot

JoeLewko
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Re: [sorry for the delay-Just ran across this thread again.]

ynot wrote:
JoeLewko wrote:the soil is mainly large particles with soem fine. if i had to estimate id say maybe 70-30 large to fine particles.
What does this mean? :?
70 percent large particles
30 percent more fine material

ynot
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Re: [sorry for the delay-Just ran across this thread again.]

JoeLewko wrote:
ynot wrote:
JoeLewko wrote:the soil is mainly large particles with soem fine. if i had to estimate id say maybe 70-30 large to fine particles.
What does this mean? :?
70 percent large particles
30 percent more fine material
:shock: OH,.... IMO I would lower the % of fines by at least 30%.....
I am curious why you have such a large % of fines? [Actually, Why any at all?]
[Please get rid of those fines.]
ynot

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