ynot
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Growing a Flat Nebari & Video of Fast Draining Soil

Nebari are the surface roots of your tree.

When they are thick and spreading in an even radial fashion [Typical for an upright tree.] they really do help to give your bonsai that 'Aged Big Tree' look.

As John Y. Naka said: "Don't make your tree look like a bonsai, Make your bonsai look like a tree."

Here is a Ficus b. cutting that I recently pruned back hard.

[url=https://img529.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ficuscuttingflatnebari0001mc5.jpg][img]https://img529.imageshack.us/img529/3674/ficuscuttingflatnebari0001mc5.th.jpg[/img][/url]

A better shot of a soil ingredient to show the particle size, This is a handful of {mostly} pine bark, [The organic component of my soil. Yes, It is wet.]

Nothing in my soil is any smaller than this. It's chunky as you can tell.

[url=https://img527.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ficuscuttingflatnebari0002xp6.jpg][img]https://img527.imageshack.us/img527/4259/ficuscuttingflatnebari0002xp6.th.jpg[/img][/url]

See how flat it sits on it's own? This is an attribute that will be very helpful when the time comes to put it in a very shallow bonsai pot. [1" deep, Perhaps 3/4"]
[url=https://img110.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ficuscuttingflatnebari0003os5.jpg][img]https://img110.imageshack.us/img110/8830/ficuscuttingflatnebari0003os5.th.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=https://img110.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ficuscuttingflatnebari0004ze3.jpg][img]https://img110.imageshack.us/img110/900/ficuscuttingflatnebari0004ze3.th.jpg[/img][/url]

The root system is very lateral and has not grown straight down into the pot. The root system looks very healthy and fibrous with no large storage roots.
[url=https://img128.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ficuscuttingflatnebari0006ut9.jpg][img]https://img128.imageshack.us/img128/183/ficuscuttingflatnebari0006ut9.th.jpg[/img][/url]

Sorry about the focus here but I wanted to show the bottom of the root system. It consists of small healthy feeder roots, No large storage roots taking up space.

[url=https://img124.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ficuscuttingflatnebari0005un1.jpg][img]https://img124.imageshack.us/img124/104/ficuscuttingflatnebari0005un1.th.jpg[/img][/url]

Why did it happen this way? Here is the answer:
[url=https://img112.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ficuscuttingflatnebari0009gc1.jpg][img]https://img112.imageshack.us/img112/795/ficuscuttingflatnebari0009gc1.th.jpg[/img][/url]
Sitting to the right of the ficus is what once was the bottom of a bottle of cherry coke [The size you get for a dollar from the vending machine.] It has been cut off and trimmed to about 3/4" high.

The ficus was planted on this dome and that forced the roots to grow outward to the edges of it before they could head into deeper soil.
The picture is for illustration only, There was/is soil in-between the tree and the bottle bottom.
This principle is commonly used in training pots or when planting trees out for growth. [Using a slab beneath the tree to promote lateral root growth And hence excellent nebari.]
[url=https://img66.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ficuscuttingflatnebari0008pr0.jpg][img]https://img66.imageshack.us/img66/5060/ficuscuttingflatnebari0008pr0.th.jpg[/img][/url]
This has now been potted into a 4"x4"x3.5"d pot where it will continue to grow unrestrained. This growth will thicken the nebari and later it will be root-pruned to fit into an appropriate pot.

Here is a video of me watering another ficus, This one is a root over rock though I doubt you can tell due to the fact that 90% of the rock is buried. This one is in a much more typical soil mix for me: 85% inorganic/15% organic Soon this will be getting chopped down to just 3.5" or 4" high off the rock vs its current height of 8".

[url=https://s7.photobucket.com/albums/y291/novusordo1/?action=view&current=FastSoilVidForHG.flv][img]https://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y291/novusordo1/th_FastSoilVidForHG.jpg[/img][/url]
You can see I am pouring as almost as quickly as it will go, Yet the water does not overflow the rim of the pot.
It simply drains right through.
Notice how soon the water comes out the bottom of the 5"x5"x5" pot. It was just a bit more than half a gallon of water poured through the pot in under 30 seconds.

This is well draining soil. And it is all due to the size of the soil particles. Here is a view of the soil:

[url=https://img113.imageshack.us/my.php?image=pa041774ra8.jpg][img]https://img113.imageshack.us/img113/8405/pa041774ra8.th.jpg[/img][/url]


[url=https://www.interworx.com.au/users/brian/]Did you know that little bonsai do not grow up to be big bonsai. Read about it here.[/url]

[url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3343]Need Bonsai inspiration? Click here.[/url]
[url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3557]Here are tips on taking better pictures of your Bonsai.[/url]
As always questions, or comments are welcome.
ynot
Last edited by ynot on Sat Apr 28, 2007 9:51 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Gnome
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Ynot and others,

Here are a few more pictures to further illustrate the creation and refinement of a flat nebari. This first pic shows a Privet that has just been removed from its pot. The soil was easliy removed by using a garden hose, another advantage of using proper soil. This is obviously not the first season this rootball has been worked on. This years work was performed during the first week of April when the buds were just beginning to break.

[url=https://img207.imageshack.us/my.php?image=prrp1ys3.jpg][img]https://img207.imageshack.us/img207/6044/prrp1ys3.th.jpg[/img][/url]

This picture shows the amount of roots that have been removed. Privets are strong growers and removing this much root mass on a yearly basis is not a problem, in fact it is necessary if it is to be replaced in the same pot. Note that the tree sits flat.

[url=https://img228.imageshack.us/my.php?image=prrp2sb8.jpg][img]https://img228.imageshack.us/img228/2263/prrp2sb8.th.jpg[/img][/url]

And finally a shot of the bottom of the roots. Notice the radial arrangement of the roots and also the old wound at the center of the rootmass where the taproot was previously removed. The fresh wounds from this years work can be discerned more readliy. Roots that grow down must be removed in order to promote a flat nebari.

[url=https://img176.imageshack.us/my.php?image=prrp3yu3.jpg][img]https://img176.imageshack.us/img176/9240/prrp3yu3.th.jpg[/img][/url]

The large thick roots do not absorb nutrients, that is done by the fine feeder roots. In the future the heavy roots will be worked back a little at a time until I am satisfied with the balance between the exposed nebari and the feeder roots. Every time that you repot your tree is an opportunity to improve the nebari.

Privets are an excellent tree with which to begin learning this type of work. They are very forgiving and vigorous growers that put on a lot of growth each year and respond well to aggressive pruning of branches and roots.

Norm
Last edited by Gnome on Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

ynot
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Thank you for posting this Gnome, It will benefit many trees

Gnome,
Put simply: Outstanding

A fine example, Explained well, With great pictures.

Excellent post.
ynot

ynot
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New Improved Video!

If you followed a link to the video in the initial post, Please check it out again.

The original video has been replaced with one of better quality.
ynot 8)

Anonymous

Thanks for the great post

Thank you for the really great post! It is really informative and well done. Also the photos and video are very clear and helpful. I really enjoyed it!

ynot
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Not trying to speak for Gnome, Though I assume he agrees. ;)

[img]https://img89.imageshack.us/img89/352/thinkeo9.gif[/img]...[img]https://img83.imageshack.us/img83/9915/ideacx6.gif[/img] :arrow: [img]https://img95.imageshack.us/img95/8359/cpusmlyls7.gif[/img] =
ruth wrote:Thank you for the really great post! It is really informative and well done. Also the photos and video are very clear and helpful. I really enjoyed it!
[img]https://img88.imageshack.us/img88/3873/talllredhs6.gif[/img] Glad they helped ruth, The feedback is much appreciated. 8)
Thanks,
ynot

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tarian
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another tip to growing good nebari is to put a pebble from a stream/river (smooth) under the tree/cuting/sappling/watever this encourages them to grow on the surface

ynot
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tarian wrote:another tip to growing good nebari is to put a pebble from a stream/river (smooth) under the tree/cuting/sappling/watever this encourages them to grow on the surface
A larger obstruction than a pebble is required.

Given enough time it will simply be absorbed by the continually growing tree and this will not effectively accomplish the goal of a flat radial nebari.

IE: A Ficus + Time. =

[url=https://img291.imageshack.us/my.php?image=taprohmyy5.jpg][img]https://img291.imageshack.us/img291/8472/taprohmyy5.th.jpg[/img][/url]

ynot

EDIT: I do not completely endorse the next post as I would dispute the stated timing of the removal [Too early IMO] - Do what you will...
Last edited by ynot on Sun Jun 24, 2007 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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tarian
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sorry for the long reply but don't forget that once the nebari have started to show then it;s time to remove it + you would be able to keep tabs on it in you'r annual re-potting

alisios
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This is all very informative. Thank you for taking the time to post your findings and techniques - you are all very skilled.

However, if I had soil that drained that fast here where I live, bonsai would die in 20 minutes. Here, the air just sucks water out of everything - especially plants in little pots. Peat moss is needed to slow it down a bit.

Thanks for all the great information and expertise! I'm still learning and a beginner, and all of your info is of great help - thanks for hanging out here.

ynot
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alisios wrote:This is all very informative. Thank you for taking the time to post your findings and techniques - you are all very skilled..
:D
However, if I had soil that drained that fast here where I live, bonsai would die in 20 minutes. Here, the air just sucks water out of everything - especially plants in little pots. Peat moss is needed to slow it down a bit.
While I agree you may require more organics in your soil to have adequate moisture retention, I disagree entirely with the green statement above.

There are other more suitable organic components which will effectively retain moisture without the problems inherent in peat moss.

IE: The tiny particle size which limits both drainage and aeration as well as the difficulty wetting it and the length of time it remains wet.

Personally, I don't use it. :evil:
Thanks for all the great information and expertise! I'm still learning and a beginner, and all of your info is of great help - thanks for hanging out here
Welcome, You will learn much here :).

ynot

alisios
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Thanks ynot for the response...
ynot wrote: There are other more suitable organic components which will effectively retain moisture without the problems inherent in peat moss.
'

I'm curious as to what is another option to peat moss for retaining moisture? - is this why you use pine bark - keeping in mind, of course, that here in the high Sonoran Desert of Arizona, if you don't have needles, spikes or a tap root that goes down 100 feet, you ain't going to survive as plant :)

little bonsais are eaten for breakfast!

Burner
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I'm curious also. I live in the same area. I'd have to guess we're in a pretty tricky environment. VERY dry and hot.

alisios
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Hey Burner -

The very few people I've talked to in an arid environment such as ours all agree that a soil that drains well is best (which we all agree) - in addition to course lava rocks and granite, they all use a potting soil too- which has peat - if our soil drained as fast as ynot's ficus, we'd be looking at firewood in an afternoon... our humidity levels (10-20%) just wreak havoc on us...

so, we'll blaze a trail for us desert dwellers and experiment with a good, water retaining, but fast draining mix... I think DE, pine bark, potting soil (cactus?) or other as yet to be discovered element -
Cottonwood, AZ is also very windy - so it's tricky

Anyhoo - the search continues for us - let's keep each other posted - and stick to desert plants! It's cool to see you going for it on your collection! It's fun, isn't it?

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