A Happy Seedling
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How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

Okay, so I want a bonsai. And I want to make it myself. So, I was thinking I could get a young tree from outside and "bonsify" it. But how??
When I wait 3 months for my mango seedling to sprout, and then it damps off.
:evil:

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

I do think that is the best way to get to bonsai - you learn more about bonsai technique and end up with a better tree than just buying one of the little baby bonsai sold in the store.

There's a wealth of information already here about it. In this post I suggested to someone else that that is what they should do and linked to a couple articles about how to do it.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... ai#p352257

This thread is recommended books on bonsai:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... =36&t=4139
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

Trees-shrubs potentially local to you, that if'n I was in pursuit of a new bonsai to get into training. Some mught come from my own yard, some from others remodeling (alla craigs-list or freecycle). Any alder, boxwood, blueberry, bald cypress, japan maple. Now a "Hime" Japan maple would make a better one, a bloodgood is often free.

Its OK to collect a tree and stick it in your own garden for a year or six.

A good generalization (#1) is never cut off all the leaves-needles on any branch, if you do that branch may not come back. (#2) as above, so below. If you only bring a few fine roots with your collected tree, only leave a few leaves.

This last does tend to create a rather baseball bat looking stump. Thats OK, you just have to stop there for this year. (see also only one insult)

(#3) Bonsai soil looks like a bag of gravel with a few bits of bark mulch drug through it. Big box stores sell cactus soil; which will do for your first tree in a pinch.

(#4) Soil for your to-become bonsai first if you are not planting back into a garden.
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imafan26
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

Good advice from tom

I would add that most bonsai trees are outdoor plants, if you want this plant indoors most of the time
I would go with small leaf ficus, or jade as beginner plants. Stay away from junipers unless you can keep them outdoors most of the time.
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A Happy Seedling
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

It could be outside, since I have some large enough pots for bonsai.
When I wait 3 months for my mango seedling to sprout, and then it damps off.
:evil:

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

"Large enough" pots isn't usually the issue for bonsai, depending of course on what the tree / shrub you start with is like. If it has a thick enough trunk already, then you will want to put it in a basic nursery pot, 1-2 gallons, depending on the size of your specimen. Then as you cut the tree down, you will be gradually putting it in smaller and smaller pots until it ends up in a bonsai pot. Sort of the opposite of the "up-potting" gardeners usually do when things are growing.

A rough guideline on trunk thickness is that the height of the finished bonsai would be about 6 times the diameter (thickness) of the trunk. So you can see, if the trunk diameter of your specimen is only 1/2 inch, then you would be limited to making a tiny 3" tall bonsai.

So if you want to thicken up the trunk, you need to put it in as large a pot as you can or put it in the ground as tom mentioned, and just let it grow out and thicken up for a few years.
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A Happy Seedling
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

I want it tiny. Three inches is good. First, any ideas on where to find a young tree??? I do have woods.
When I wait 3 months for my mango seedling to sprout, and then it damps off.
:evil:

tomc
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

Gosh didn't you just post about collecting an ivy?
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

If you have woods, you have young trees! Walk around and look. My woods pops up maple, elm, redbud, and buckeye seedlings like crazy...
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A Happy Seedling
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

Yes Tom, why would you ask? And thanks, I will look for seedlings.
When I wait 3 months for my mango seedling to sprout, and then it damps off.
:evil:

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

the mention of ivy is because mature ivy gets quite woody and some times thick stemmed and nice bonsai can be done from it.

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https://dupuich.smugmug.com/Bonsai/Exhib ... eRFu-S.jpg
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A Happy Seedling
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

Hmmm...does English Ivy make a good bonsai? I will look into it.
When I wait 3 months for my mango seedling to sprout, and then it damps off.
:evil:

tomc
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

It has a woody stem and will mimic a more-or-less vase shaped (elm) tree.

To repeat-expand posts I have already made for you. Ivy makes runners if you cut those back to two leaves, and reprune the next new runners back to two leaves you will create a more or less vase shaped looking tree. I tie my new cuttings up to a BBQ skewer to get things started.

Buy cactus soil or make your own soil first. Bonsai starts at its feet.
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A Happy Seedling
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

Thanks! That helps! I think I'll keep one ivy as an ivy, and take a cutting for a bonsai.
When I wait 3 months for my mango seedling to sprout, and then it damps off.
:evil:

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

well "good bonsai" is somewhat in the eye of the beholder. Bonsai purists wouldn't call these bonsai at all. But they are woody stemmed and can be trained in to tree shapes.

This is English ivy:

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https://images.bidorbuy.co.za/user_image ... elix7b.jpg
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A Happy Seedling
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

Ok, you are referring to Hedera helix?
When I wait 3 months for my mango seedling to sprout, and then it damps off.
:evil:

tomc
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

A Happy Seedling wrote:Ok, you are referring to Hedera helix?
I know I am, and I'm pretty sure RBG is too. But he can stick his own two cents in.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

She is also referring to hedera helix. :)
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

Young trees are usually for beginners. Most people in bonsai, are looking for older trees to cut down. In bonsai, mimicking nature in miniature, flow, style, and making the tree look aged or stressed is makes it interesting.

When you select a tree, look for a nice shape to the trunk. The more character the better.

Look for a tree that grows slowly and is flexible. If you want it to be miniature, it probably needs to be small. Small leaves are better to keep in scale with the tree.
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tomc
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

rainbowgardener wrote:She is also referring to hedera helix. :)
Oops!
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A Happy Seedling
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Re: How to Bonsify A Young Tree?

Lol, ok. I have got the English ivy going well, but no tip buds yet.
When I wait 3 months for my mango seedling to sprout, and then it damps off.
:evil:

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