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Joined: Tue May 08, 2012 6:51 pm
Location: Hemet, CA

Start a Bonsai from a Large Tree? Need Advice

So I really want to give Bonsai Trees a shot. The only problem is, the local nursery (the only one for quite a few miles) has the soil, the pots, the trays and all that good stuff. However the trees they have that you could potentially Bonsai are too large for the pots. Is there a way to transplant an already large tree? Or is it better to just get a Bonsai tree all set up?
Why not Zoidberg?

Greener Thumb
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Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

It's better to get a book first. I like "The Living Art of Bonsai". This way, you'll have some basis for tree selection. Not all species are well suited to bonsai, and it's nice to know which ones are suited to what you want to do before you buy them. For instance, do you plan on keeping it inside or out? What style are you planning on? Do you prefer needle-leaved trees? Flowering trees? And so on. The answers to all of these questions, and so many more, are well beyond the scope of forum conversation, as their are entire tomes devoted to their answers. And, some of those answers are highly personal (only you can answer them), and without a bit of knowledge, you won't even know to ask the question. With that said, you could very well be talking about wanting to "bonsai" a "corn plant" and we have know way of knowing if this is what you're asking or not.

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Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:03 am
Location: Escondido, CA (USDA Zone 9-10)

Start out small. I wouldn't invest a large sum of money into something extravagant until you have first learned the basics. Don't get discouraged if you kill some trees along the way. Everyone has done it, but it's part of the learning experience. Your juniper is the usual entrance way for beginners wanting to learn more about bonsai. Check out bonsai books from your library, join a bonsai club, join bonsai forums, watch youtube videos by Graham W. Potter, or Bjorvala.

I wish you luck with journey into bonsai.
I am Quintin, the one who became inspired, informed, and intrigued by bonsai. But I also like gardening too. :D

Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Pruning a landscape sized tree into a tray for display as bonsai, is the activity of several years.

If you do not have a barrel (or three) dedicated to, and filled with soil components, and some training pots, then working collected trees is not going to begin. if you do have these things, then collecting craigs list, or freecycle bounty becomes possible.

How much your soil or trees cost is only dictated by your foraging skills.

Volunteers from a boxwood hedge ripped out and offered on craigslist, and pruned back to tray sized trees, can be the activity of a half dozen years.

Only then would I start the hunt for suitable pots, which for a larger stump could cost you some real money.
Think like a tree
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Greener Thumb
Posts: 1436
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

And before you can even hunt down those "bargain" trees (wild or ex-landscape), you DO need to know quite a few things.

Is the species appropriate to bonsai? If it is, how do you go about digging it out? How will you transport it? What size container should be used? Can it be chopped back or will this kill it? Does it prefer more or less organic soil? How much of the root ball do you need to take? What do you do AFTER it's been collected? After you get it home and pot it? Does it even show any promise as a bonsai specimen? What style will it be and how will you get it there?

If you can't answer these questions, and oh so many more, if you're lucky enough to be able to keep it alive, usually what you'll wind up with is a glorified potted topiary that only you will call a bonsai. Heck, there are even some people selling these topiary style potted trees as bonsai, including some "bonsai" nurseries. If that works for you, hey, have at it. :)

Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:31 pm
Location: New Jersey Shore

Bonsai From Large Tree ?

Being from Ca. there are many Bonsai clubs that you should join one to get started with advise which everyone will be more than willing to give you so you'll feel more comfortable. Then I'm sure you have your pick of bonsai nurseries out there compared to the one we have in NJ. But if you want HD or Lowes have wonderful junipers in 1,2,3 gal containers to get started on w/o a lot of $ so if it dies OK? and they're good sizes for beginning to get use to working on them. I also like her book but for a beginner or everyone else I always recomend Harry Tomlinson Bonsai.

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