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SHS
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bougainvillea from nursery stock

I jumped again!

Well after looking at several outstanding examples of the above mentioned species I decided to look for my own. We went for an outing today at a local nursery and found what I think is a potential nice bonsai choice.
[img]https://i819.photobucket.com/albums/zz114/id_shs/Bonsai/029.jpg[/img]
She is in a 7 gal pot with an approx 3+" trunk.
So I decided to do a bit of trimming tonight.
[img]https://i819.photobucket.com/albums/zz114/id_shs/Bonsai/028.jpg[/img]
After trim...front and back TBD
[img]https://i819.photobucket.com/albums/zz114/id_shs/Bonsai/032.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i819.photobucket.com/albums/zz114/id_shs/Bonsai/031.jpg[/img]
Not completed but it is a start.......
Comments and suggestions welcome.
Last edited by SHS on Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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djlen
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Both of your new acquisitions will make nice material for informal uprights, one of my favorite styles. Good luck with them both.

I am also very jealous of all that green grass in the background. Up here we are suffering through the worst Winter in memory and I am going to appreciate that first warm spell in Spring much more so than normal.
Regards,
Len

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SHS
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I remember the winters of Wisconsin and the summers (all two days).

The weather down here has been cooler than normal as well, so much for global warming....at least for the last 6 months.

I am a fan of the informal upright as well. I guess that is obvious by the raw material I choose.

I will periodically update the individual threads as these guys transform from a "bucket bush" to a tree worthy of being called bonsai.

Scott

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SHS
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boggie-ville

Well I did some prunning tonight.
Looking for pot now......
[img]https://i819.photobucket.com/albums/zz114/id_shs/010.jpg[/img]
Oh and BTW my perception REALLY stinks, the trunk is NOT 3" is is not even a full 2", I guess I was skewed by the size of it all before trimming. Lesson learned, I will measure before opening my trap next time!!!

TomM
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Hi Scott, Nice 'bougie'. Unless you are planning to thicken the trunk don't be afraid to chop way back. They have the amazing ability to sprout back from little stumps, thus creating better taper - when grown in warm climates like yours. I wouldn't try that where I live. Though I do grow them under lights.
We had Erik Wigert in Rochester for the First National Bonsai Exhibition. He did amazing things with bougainvillea demos. Erik is famed for his tropical bonsai. His nursery is in North Ft. Myers and site is www.wigertsbonsai.com. If you can you should take a class/workshop or at least visit.
Meanwhile enjoy your trees and thanks for sharing with us.
TomM
PS - an observation tells me that your tree will soon develop "reverse taper" with all those thick branches radiating from one point on the trunk. That region will thicken more than the lowest part of trunk. You might consider lobbing off the whole top and starting over with 'selected' new branches. :o

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SHS
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Thanks for the link it has some great articles. I did not know I could be so aggressive with this.

I plan to go tonight to my first club meeting. I want to buy a few pots right away and hopefully some other items I am having a difficult time finding in retail stores.

I trimmed a rather large branch and you can see a bit of the scar at the right side under the branches. I did not get it close enough to the trunk and I think it needs to be shaved back to help prevent reverse taper.

I was wondering if I could take some of the larger branches and expect recovery, good to know and thanks again for the tips.

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Bring the tree to the club meeting. I know at my club meetings, folks love to look over new material and give advice.

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SHS
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Ok, a few questions before I get chop happy.

Will it back-bud if I trim below the first bud? (I am speaking of cutting down the limbs closer to the trunk.) I am asking if I can do this to the whole plant at once or do I need to keep at least some green growth at all times?

Should I keep it in this pot until it recovers or is it better to go ahead and root trim then put in a bonsai pot?

She will be kept outside, at least in the forseeable future.

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SHS,
Should I keep it in this pot until it recovers or is it better to go ahead and root trim then put in a bonsai pot?
I don't have any experience with these specifically. In general it is better to leave the roots undisturbed if you are doing major pruning up top. The stored energy in the roots helps the plant recover. This species maybe able to withstand such harsh treatment but I usually allow 'only one insult a season'

Norm

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Scott, I agree with Marsman and Gnome. I hope you take your tree to the local club meeting. The club 'elders' (in your area) are sure to have plenty of experience with bougainvillea and should be able to answer your questions and guide you through the early stages of development. I always encourage club membership when feasible. Please report back on anything learned there. We all benefit from the learning experience.

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SHS
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I just returned from the meeting and there was very good information to be gained.

I brought my Juniper and my Boxwood and it was a workshop in this meeting. I was able to get some one on one instruction from very experienced members.

I also asked about the 'Bougie' and as a few of you mentioned it is hardy and able to take major prunning, even back to the trunk. I will look at this more during the evenings this week.

I need to study more as well. Some of what I saw followed what was perceived as a strict form over what I would call beauty. I know there are several forms of bonsai and there are many styles from various cultural influences. Some of them I am struggling to appreciate right now and maybe it is just my personal preference as I am sure all bonsai growers have their favorites.

I found that I am still struggling to "see" what the bonsai wants to be or at least what others thought they should be.

Overall it was a good and eye opening experience and not unexpected.

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Hi Scott,
You are getting some good advice here. And it is always good to get views from others, particularly in your club where they are familiar with the plants that grow well in your area.
Listen to the voices of experience........then study and get your own idea of what you envision for your particular tree, going forward. It's your piece of are to create.
Regards,
Len

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SHS
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I still don't like the lines. There are several areas of concern. I do not want to cut this all the way back but the symetry is off to me.

[img]https://i819.photobucket.com/albums/zz114/id_shs/002-1.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i819.photobucket.com/albums/zz114/id_shs/004-1.jpg[/img]

I thought it would come together a bit for me if I put it in a pot.

I still see the long section that forms the apex as non tapering and too long. I might cut that way back and hope for sprouting/budding near the tip. The two branches on one side are too close together and at certain angles they cross, depends upon which "front" is chosen.

Since this is a fast growing specimen I am going to let it grow now in this pot and hopefully it will recover. New growth should add more possibilities.

Some important lessons I learned here (and now they seem so obvious) - SO FAR:

> Check to make sure the nebari starts where you assume it does.
This one had recently been repotted and the trunk went several inches below the surface before roots were present which indicates to me it was moved from a 5 gal to a 7 gal pot sometime in the last few weeks.
> WAIT! for any branch pruning until it is showing the complete trunk and nebari if available. This may change your idea of the front. It also may change styling completely (I am finding it hard to un-prune)
> I am sure that other things will become clear as I move forward - right now I am waning from my insomniac driven forum foray.

TomM
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I like your tree. From your pictures it is difficult to determine which way branches are bending (to front or back - a 2 dimensional view). I think what is bothering you, like you say, is the strong thick trunk line to the apex. I would probably remove it. I would also use 'cut paste' on all cuts. This will aid in the healing and help blend the color so that the cut areas don't "stare at you" in the pictures.
Could you remove more soil at the base line to reveal your nebari more?
Nice start Scott. Now be patient. With a round pot you can turn your tree 360 degrees on your turntable until your tree reveals its best front. It WILL talk to you - you must listen. :wink:
TomM
Last edited by TomM on Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:51 am, edited 2 times in total.

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SHS
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There are some interesting nebari just under the soil line. I kept them covered for now to promote thickening.

The pics from other angles to show the limbs are below. I have been looking for cut paste but all I have found is the "black tar" stuff that seems as if it will stain permanently.

Do you have suggestions on where to buy this locally? Is it a putty? a paste? a liquid? applied by brush? formed by hand?, you know ....the "I ain't never heeerd of that there stuff before" directions.

Top views, a few angles
[img]https://i819.photobucket.com/albums/zz114/id_shs/002-2.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i819.photobucket.com/albums/zz114/id_shs/004-2.jpg[/img]

Oh, and you can see the nebari a bit as I brushed away some of the soil covering it. Notice I was forced to wire over it because the root structure was rather weak to support this weight of tree. I mean wiring over the other roots was breaking them not supporting the tree. I don't like the fact that I had to tighten down on it some to hold it but I don't know what else to do, it has to be stable.

Nebari
[img]https://i819.photobucket.com/albums/zz114/id_shs/006-3.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i819.photobucket.com/albums/zz114/id_shs/008-2.jpg[/img]
not much on this side
[img]https://i819.photobucket.com/albums/zz114/id_shs/009-1.jpg[/img]

Thanks, Scott
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PS; A few hours have passed so here is my most recent effort. I still suspect the apex needs to be pruned back ( I cut a good 1.5 inches off) but I think I will wait for new growth. (this time longer than a few hours :wink: )

[img]https://i819.photobucket.com/albums/zz114/id_shs/012.jpg[/img]

TomM
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OK - the new photos (angles) help a lot. Three dimensions now. Ahh, hmm! I still think I would take out the top of the trunk as mentioned earlier - but no rush. It's your call.
Here's a couple suggestions for you bud. For cut paste - I usually get it from vendors at bonsai shows, symposiums. And I like the kind in tubes rather than the harder types in jars. It's a paste, kinda like a sticky toothpaste colored brownish or green, and you dab a little on to seal the wound. For the web you can try www.dallasbonsai.com and 'search' for cut paste. OR, in a pinch just mix a little mud (yes mud) with Elmer's wood glue - like a 50/50 mix (not too wet) and apply it with your fingertip. Of course it should be applied at the time of cutting for best results. NOTE - Nick Lenz reports that Preparation H works very well.
For your tie-down wires - to protect the roots/nebari - go to the local hardware store and get some small plastic tubing, slip it over your wires at the points where it touches the tree and it won't cut in and scar the tree. You can also use this stuff when wiring or tying down branches.
I hope that helps.
TomM

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djlen
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Hi Scott,

Well, I guess I'll add my two cents in here as well. The tree is coming along nicely and it appears that you've got the start of some nice Nebari going on there.
From the last picture I'd say that something is a bit out of proportion. It appears that the two lowest branches....the one one the left and the one on the right....are a smaller diameter that the three up top, at least from the angle that picture is taken from.
Since you want the lower branches to be the thicker and a tapering down as the eye moves up the tree, it appears to my eye that something should change.
Let's label the branches for ID purposes (please excuse my 'artwork'):
[img]https://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c145/djlen/ScottsBougiea.jpg[/img]

Branches A & B appear smaller in diameter than at least C & D. Without knowing how they radiate from the trunk it's tough to know what to do, but all things considered if this view point is going to be the 'front' of the tree as long as the two lower branches remain as they are (thinner) the tree will look out of proportion, to my eye. Only you, being there and seeing the tree from all angles, can make the call as to what should/could be done(or not done) to correct this. There are options.
It will be interesting to see what you choose to do. :)

Following up on Tom's suggestion for protecting your wired tree parts, I use aquarium air line (the soft green stuff) found in most pet shops and it does a nice job of keeping the wires from cutting into the tree.
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
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SHS
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Thanks Tom and Len.

I cannot disagree with anything either one of you have stated. I hesitate though to keep cutting back for a couple of reasons.
1) The more I trim the lower branches the more out of scale it is.
2) I had initially wanted a full canopy with this but it seems as if I will need to readjust my vision. This is taking time to accept.
3) If I remove the center branch that forms the apex as Tom suggested it moves the center of the tree to an unknown as yet for me. Even though this is still preliminary work it seems it would throw the balnce off completely.
4) I want the branches to be from the thickest on the lowest limbs and progressively smaller and it ascends. However, this little tree refuses to give me everything I want. (me think it female)
5) Maybe the most important reason - I have traumatized this little guy quite a bit and I think it needs to be stabilized for a season and review the major changes again next year.

Any comments on these thoughts are as always welcome.

Scott

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djlen
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Scott,
Your vision can and will be fulfilled if that's what you want for this tree. They are extremely forgiving and quick to branch back and right now you are working on the framework for it.
Patience is the key for any Bonsai project and if at this time you feel it's time to wait and give it some time, that's the way it should be.
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
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SHS
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Is this what you guys are talking about?

[img]https://i819.photobucket.com/albums/zz114/id_shs/012a.jpg[/img]

FLBonsai
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Here is another rendition (poorly done I might add lol) that may give you something to chew on.

[img]https://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a303/Pootmasta_P/bouganvillacopy.jpg[/img]

When the trunk and nebari develop over time it will be an amazing informal upright.

josh1812@live.com
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This in my opinion will be the best bet, bougies are very tolerant of being cut back hard, I personally have seen an artist cutting all the way back to the bare stump, it will barely be a few weeks until it buds, it will be for the best. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO CUT BACK HARD


[img]https://i834.photobucket.com/albums/zz267/Nero1997/ScottsBougiea.jpg[/img]
HI

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SHS
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Yeah - I am not so much digging the last suggestion although I see the intent.

I spent WAY too much time last night in Paint playing with possible scenarios. I like your idea FLBonsai and I am waiting for Tom and Len to weigh back in and give clarity to their suggestions.

Until then I am going to take care of the Nebari with a better/more forgiving material to hold the tree.

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djlen
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SHS wrote: Until then I am going to take care of the Nebari with a better/more forgiving material to hold the tree.
Do yourself a favor and pickup some of that airline tubing I mentioned earlier to avoid the marking up of your Nebari.

[img]https://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c145/djlen/ScottsBougiea.jpg[/img]

I like FlBonsai's rendition a lot keeping 3 of the 5 that you've got to work with. When I labeled the 'limbs' I was thinking keep either A, B & D with the two branch starts at the top of D working up high. This would be my first choice. The other option would be keeping C, D & E, but I don't like that nearly as much as the first option.
Ofcourse, I'm looking at the tree from New Jersey and can't put it on a turntable and study it from all sides or see the way they radiate out by looking at it from the top. I'm looking at a one dimensional view of the tree. If you can achieve balance by using the A, B & D option that would be the way I'd go with it.
This would be your framework with many more back-buds on the way, to work with. :)

Another suggestion. Invest in a Japanese made concave branch cutter to remove the larger limbs. The difference when using one is amazing. Totally flush.....no lumps or bumps. I just bought one....my first actual "Bonsai tool" and I've been chopping at trees since 1966.....and I'm so happy I did. I think it's probably the only Bonsai tool I'll ever have to buy, but worth it.
Also, to develop the Nebari you can use ceramic tile right under the base of the trunk to force the roots to grow out instead of down. I use 4" tiles because I have a ton of them left over from my Kitchen work last year, but you can use 3" or even 2" ones for that purpose.
You can do this next Spring as your Bougie will need a re-pot at that time.
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
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SHS
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There are a few other pics on the first page showing views from the top.

I am taking off the rest of today through Monday so I should have time to rewire this and add the tubing. Do you think it would be a good idea to go ahead and put tile in at this time?

I am leaning very hard toward the option that FLBonsai outlined, I think it give good future options as well.

Thanks all for the help!!

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djlen
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Are you going to pull the plant out of the pot again? If so you could put a tile under it. Is it still in that sort of amber color pot that shows in the first picture? If so, that's a pretty shallow pot. I don't know.....your call.
Now, having looked back at the top view, it appears that the three we talked about are pretty evenly spaced. I think that that's the way I'd go with it.
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
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SHS
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It is in the pot from the most recent pics. It is an oval shape and kind of shallow. I think I will try to avoid removing it from the pot but I will have to see if I can reuse the wires. I picked up some 1/4" tubing used for irrigation that is rather thick walled and soft to pad the wiring on the nebari.

TomM
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Hi Scott - I'm back. Yeah I think I'm partly responsible for getting this ball rolling. Hope you're not cussing me out!!??! I'm with you guys on the plan, except for this which I don't think has been mentioned. IF branch "E" is kept I would consider cutting it back to the fork in the "Y" to help with taper or ramification. Do you see where I mean?
Glad you will be padding the tie-down wires over your roots/nebari. Have you found any cut paste solution?
I agree with Len's suggestion for concave cutters - a wise investment, though there are some on this board who would not agree. If used properly they will leave little or no scarring-once the tree has time to heal.
TomM

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SHS
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Nah, no problems here, if I don't agree with folks I just don't do it....just ask my 2 ex wives.

I understand and agree about branch "E".

I looked again at Home Depot for cut paste but no luck, I am looking for home remedies for now. One guy at the Bonsai club said he NEVER uses cut paste and it works for him. I guess everyone does things a little differently with various experiences.

I am just starting to piece together my tools and I agree to the need for concave cutters.

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djlen
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Scott,
Certain plants are more susceptible to open 'wounds' and for those it's a good idea to use a cut paste or similar. Actually, I think it's a good idea to use it as often as possible. To get into sort of a habit. An example is that some plants draw and are susceptible to borers, especially in the fall and they can do some damage. I think it's a good idea and incidentally I've used
Preparation H with success.
The more I think about it in lieu of the fact that you have it in a pretty shallow pot and you may be doing still more pruning up top, I'd leave the plant in it's pot and let it grow out for another year before going the tile route.
I don't know why anyone would not be interested in a good pair of branch cutters (Japanese made......[url=https://www.dallasbonsai.com/store/concave_cutters.html]Dallas Bonsai[/url] has nice ones) and as I said previously they are the only actual "Bonsai Tools" I feel are needed. Most other tasks can be performed by everyday clippers, shears, etc., that are less expensive than going out to buy practically the same things labeled for Bonsai specifically.
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
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