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applestar
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this website maybe of interest

Discussions in this forum has peaked my curiosity about bonsai. In the past, I thought it's a rather tedious form of horticulture. I think of myself mostly as a casual gardener. :wink: But I'm starting to think this is do-able. So I've been poking around and found a neat website. The English is somewhat painful, but there's a lot of information there. I'm especially enjoying the diary/blog page:
https://mini-bonsai.com/c4/mainichi-e/

Now, I'm looking at volunteer tree and shrub seedlings and saplings in my garden from a completely new perspective. 8)

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Gnome
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applestar,

Welcome to the world of bonsai. Bonsai certainly is not for the impatient but I would not consider it tedious. From day to day most work involves watering and keeping an eye on things to avoid problems with pests or other unexpected events. In order to overcome the 'grow faster' mentality most growers have more than one tree so they spread their interest out and don't focus exclusively on just one tree.

Some liken bonsai to keeping a pet and there are definitely some areas of similarity. Each is a living thing that requires routine care to thrive. Many trees last for years, even decades and it is not uncommon for a tree to outlive it's owner. Most probably would not look upon the family dog and say that their care is tedious, if you love dogs you love their care. It is the same with bonsai. While having a fine specimen is obviously the goal the journey can be very rewarding as well.

Here is a page that should help get you started.
https://www.bonsai4me.com/index.htm

And another that is somewhat 'bare-bones' but is an excellent resource as well.
https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/articles.htm

Norm

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applestar
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Thanks Norm :D I'll definitely look thru those links. :wink:

So much to learn! But fortunately, I've several volunteers (Cherry, Black Cherry, Mulberry, Red Maple, Sweet gum, Rose of Sharon, European Plum, and Siberian elm) in my garden that I could probably experiment with. (Eventually, I think it would be kind of neat to create a grouping in a natural plant community -- not the E. plum or S. elm obviously -- with some moss or maybe sweet fern to look like understory fern....) There's some kind of a very old (4" trunk diam -- too old?) dwarf/weeping/trailing blue spruce (only 5' or so tall, growing sideways with spread of about 6') that needs to be moved/removed -- Spruce looks to be an "advanced" subject so I'll just start by "pruning" it lightly this winter to see what it does and maybe I'll trench a root quadrant. If I can manipulate its growth/form/habit in the ground, then I'll consider it a possible future candidate.

I've root trenched a couple of 3' and 4' cherry and Siberian elm saplings. Should they be potted in say a nursery azalea pot now, or should I wait until spring to pull them out of the ground at all? Would that be done while they're dormant? (I should tag them if that's the case in case I forget what/where they are) The little 5" seedlings, Rose of Sharon, and European plum, I'll definitely wait until spring to dig up. They'll be fun to just experiment with since I'll have no fear of lopping off their heads or cutting up their roots. :twisted:

I'm researching but it seems to me that one of the more difficult aspect of this hobby would be to properly overwinter the bonsai that are in shallow trays.... I don't think I'll actually start unless I know I have adequate method for protecting them --- I'd hate to lose them after all that work and care have gone into them. Also, how do you keep the trays from freeze damage/cracking? Are they only put in the pretty trays for show (i.e. "Enjoyment" during peak leaf, flower, or fruit) -- do you then put them back in "training" pots? :?: :?: :?:

Some of the more bizarre (to me anyway) techniques I've seen so far in the link I posted:
[27]2000/06/06 [Work] Stalk cutting -- would you DARE chop up seedlings like this!?
[25]2000/06/04 [Work] Leaf Cutting (3)Yama-momiji(Acer palmatum var.matsumurae) -- I thought THIS was drastic until I saw these:
https://mini-bonsai.com/c4/mainichi/index.html
(these are in the Japanese page of the blog (daily discovery/observation/work/enjoyment -- Japanese page goes to [500] entries)
[255] Reshaping Acer
[208] Pruning

And I thought this was a really simple way to enjoy seedlings -- I might try it with some of the maple and sweetgum seedlings:
[12]2000/05/22 [work] The seedling of this year is planted on the rock.
-- Of course *I* don't live on a volcanic island so I'm not going to find a rock like *that* lying around "while walking along a mountain road" :roll:

alexinoklahoma
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That's a lot of ?'S - and definitely browsing through evergreengardenworks.com/articles.htm is warranted first. Serious, like Gnome suggested :-) All these are dealt with there in detail...kind of a 'bible' amongst us that have been-there/done-that. Its much easier to help w/ what is not understood, LOL -)

A rule of thumb is that deciduous trees almost always do best when collected/potted/etc at emergence from dormancy (or a bit before, so to speak). A few exceptions, of course, but a good rule to begin for you :-)

Overwintering mostly consists of keeping the *roots* warm enough, which most of time (w/ me anyways here in a coldish Zone 7) is done by putting roots into ground, either in pot or just slipped into a hole and 'backfilled' w/ mulch/dirt/whatever. Snow/ice covering a tree is not bad as it helps insulate from even lower temps, blah-blah... So much to say, LOL... but its all in Brent's writings, I promise...

And it is so normal to worry about things, but w/ a bit of care/thinking, it all works out. Sometimes the 'care' seems brutal, though, huh? ;-)

Enjoy,
Alex

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applestar
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applestar wrote:There's some kind of a very old (4" trunk diam -- too old?) dwarf/weeping/trailing blue spruce (only 5' or so tall, growing sideways with spread of about 6') that needs to be moved/removed -- Spruce looks to be an "advanced" subject so I'll just start by "pruning" it lightly this winter to see what it does and maybe I'll trench a root quadrant. If I can manipulate its growth/form/habit in the ground, then I'll consider it a possible future candidate.
OK, I'm looking at that weeping blue spruce and thinking the upper branch has GOT TO GO. So I've looked around and decided to try air layering the top. [url=https://old.rngr.net/Publications/neftic/5th-northeastern-forest-tree-improvement-conference/air-layering-of-norway-spruce-and-blue-spruce/view]3% success rate by experts[/url] :shock: doesn't give me much margin for error at all, but it's better than chopping and discarding. :|

According to the linked paper, this is the right time of the year to do it, so here we go! :bouncey: :wink:

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Gnome
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applestar,

There's a Spruce of unknown species that I've had my eye on for a while. It's in a little patch of woods and has all the growth concentrated at the top. I think I'll make the effort to get an air layer started this year. Did you get yours started yet? What method did you decide on?

Norm

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applestar
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I was planning to do it today.
Since they said the 1/10" narrow strip worked the best, I'm basing my cut on that -- closer to 1/8" probably, but I was thinking of making it broken, rather than continuous strip... something like ___ ___ ___ ___ with 1/4"~1/2" connections at 4 places, evenly spaced, if I can manage to cut so carefully. (Best laid plans.... I think I'll start by sharpening my knife. 8) :wink:)

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applestar
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OK, I FINALLY got the chance to air-layer that blue spruce today. It turned out that I was out of sphagnum moss, and the first two garden centers I tried didn't have them. The one I visited today do stock them, so I'll have to remember that, though I did get a bigger bag than is strictly necessary. :wink:

The branch size and location led me to make three approx 1/8" gap sections, with 3 1/4" connected sections.
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6677.jpg[/img]

I took a cue from a commercial product for air layering, and cut open a quart size deli container and its lid to fit around the branch.
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6678.jpg[/img] [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6679.jpg[/img]

Opted against rooting hormone -- have seen for and against arguments -- soaked the moss in compost tea and a scoop of soil from base of the mother tree. Chopped and mixed some willow leaves and tips into the moss
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6680.jpg[/img]

and tied on the first layer wrap around the cut with a cotton string. Stuffed the rest of the wet moss in the deli container, secured the lid, and duct taped it closed.
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image6681.jpg[/img]

Wrapped the whole thing in aluminum foil to exclude light and hold in the moisture a bit more.

I've only ever air-layered rubber plants (Ficus elastica) before, so I'll be surprised and delighted if this takes... but I'm not holding my breath. :>

I took photos but am having technical difficulty with my camera upload. I'll update the post later with the photos. :wink:

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applestar
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OK. I added the photos to the last post. :D

fletch
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So and how is your layer of teh spruce working out?
Regards

Fletch

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applestar
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All I can tell you is that (1) the branch tip hasn't died and (2) the moss inside the cup hasn't dried out as far as I can tell. :|

I actually don't know when I should check it. Obviously, I can't leave it like this over the winter.... :o But I'm DEFINITELY not opening it in the middle of this drought. :)

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