floraAdore
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Location: Southern Maine

Beginner- cherry

I'm fairly new to bonsai. I bought my 3rd tree, a cherry, after keeping my 2 Serissa healthy & happy for 1/2 a year. These are "pre-bonsai". A few questions:
1 Serissa become "bushy" at top, w/ no definite leader, upon wiring (my 1st try!) I used rubber coated copper to swing the best candidate upward. Looks much better BUT, now there's an unsightly "bump". Should I just leave it it its current condition? I don't want to stress the tree too much. . .
Also, best place online (or best brand?) of bonsai snips (I'm sure they have a "proper" name- please excuse this novice!!) I can't really afford to spend a lot but reg bypass, no matter how sharp, aren't configured to move in & out of such tight spaces!!
New to H.G- I'd appreciate any help or advice!!!

tomc
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Re: Beginner- cherry

"Concave" cutter is I think the name of the tool you're wanting.

Stainless (steel) is the spendiest. Mine are plain-jane carbon steel (I got mine from evergreengardenworks) but shop around.

Bonsai-By-The-Monestary (Conyers GA) is closing down its mail order and may be another good option.
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floraAdore
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Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:03 pm
Location: Southern Maine

Re: Beginner- cherry

I will look for one, thank you! Hindsight being 20/20, I shouldn't have put it in its current pot right away. I need to thicken up the trunk & I've read the best way is to plant inground or lg container- since I'm zone5 the serissa will have to go to a lg container for awhile. What would you suggest for soil/ratios? It's almost as thick as a pencil now; I'm interested though in finding some trees I can plant outside!!

*the serissa's a fickle gal- lets me know how she's feeling! Lol!!!

tomc
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Re: Beginner- cherry

FD, your in Maine! get hunting for a ditch grown Tamarack (larch). They are in just about every wet ditch from York to Houlton. And free. Did I mention free?

And many times mowed short for decades. So all you gotta do is grow a top.

I use a part (scoop) granite grit and one part crushed pine bark soil conditioner. My local (NH) Blue Seal feed store used to keep both on hand, in 40's.
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floraAdore
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Location: Southern Maine

Re: Beginner- cherry

Great, GREAT idea!! Thank you so!! Love cheap, free? Even better! Ill google photos so I know what I'm looking for & update you! I am quite excited!! pass on any tips on what's species work outdoors for you, ANY ALL suggestions, help, criticism welcome & needed!! I adore bonsai w/ great nebari, exposed roots & would love to be able to accomplish such in a tree of my own! I don't have the $ for an old tree & it kinda takes the fun out of it!! I will have to start cultivating patience!
Ever been to New England Bonsai in Mass?? I've been wanting to check it out some weekend.
Have a great day!!! Look forward to further correspondence! New to the forum & am thirsty for knowledge!! (Plus my husbands, although he enjoys the trees is getting sick of listening to me drone on about tree biology!)
- I've picked up flat nose pliers & some sharp, narrow shears that will reach tight spots & make clean cuts. Neither are "bonsai tools". The less I spend on tools the more I can spend on trees :-()

tomc
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Re: Beginner- cherry

I moved to the northeast kingdom (VT) 1973, and to the lakes region NH in 1976, and down here to near to family in SE-OH in 2011.

So yes I am slightly familiar with new england;

Great specimen trees that can easily be collected in new england with a willingness to ask property owners nicely are: Larch, alder, black spruce, crab apple, mullberry, quince, boxwood, paper and gray birch (more on those two later) white oak, turkey and bear oak (both reds). Both upland and lowland blueberry. I think I'll stop there for now.

The first three (larch alder black spruce) and the last (upland blueberry) are most often collected from undeveloped property. Larch being foremost because it is willing to live and grow in wet ditches. Town road crews are often indifferent to your collection. (meaning they don't care how many you collect) but play nice and ask first.
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floraAdore
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Location: Southern Maine

Re: Beginner- cherry

Ever grateful for above list!!! I'd love to do a crabapple! In the neighborhood in which I grew up, they were everywhere! So, the carry some nostalgia for me. All of my in-laws own properties in rural areas about 40 min drive from me; I'm city dweller (if you count Portland ME, little city!) thankfully ;) I'm on good terms w/ them. Honestly, I feel like hunting some down NOW, take the dog & go! When I do find a specimen I'd love to share a photo w/ you; get your take on what style you think may be appropriate.
TY!!!

tomc
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Re: Beginner- cherry

Every Wallmart in NH had crabs. I collected fruit from several stores and still have some of their progeny.

I'm arguing that just about every Wally Werld in MA & ME will have crabs in the parking lot too.
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floraAdore
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Re: Beginner- cherry

Tom,So you grew some from seed!! What was that process like? How many years did it take till it resembled a tree? I mean, lignified trunk etc?
Also; what do you bring w/ you when you go looking for specimen? I've got a military style tri-fold shovel & bypass shears- should I bring a small handsaw? Roots will be pruned eventually so, if some go particularly deep is it ok to clip them as long as there's decent amount of more shallow roots? I saw 1 tree, a conifer not sure exactly! W/ the most beautiful trunk & some deadwood on my bro-in-laws property. The ground was soggy so it started to come up easily w/ a tug. I figured I'd come back when I had my shovel etc. 1 shallow root was accidentally 1/2 torn off but, I want to make sure I've got enough structure to support it. So, guidelines as to how much root structure I need? Can I prune roots then & there? (Making transportation & carring it out easier!)
& trees you've collected; about how thick were the trunks? Like , circumference of a toilet paper roll? Or smaller like the neck of a wine/beer bottle? My apologies if these are ignorant questions!!! Remember I'm a novice!

tomc
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Re: Beginner- cherry

My days of walking far afield are over. MS pulled the chocks on that.

A pack frame, to hold, ball of twine, a 6'X6' tarp, sheet rock saw, folding entrenching tool (shovel). Anvil pruner, in a five gallon pail that fits on your frame. Often some bottled water for the pack mule ;)

In recent years more than foraging in the wilderness. I'll hobble to the nearest human who has activity I wanna collect.

Town crews mow the shoulder of roads and ditches. Upland blueberry (at the top of the bank) and larch (in the bottom of the ditch), a happy face (about all I can muster), or a pretty face, is often all it takes to charm a few of the trees worth being tray-trained that they over-see.

Your could be on the good side of acer palmatum growth. Again ask nicely and collect (often) your bloodgood seed, plant them promptly let them overwinter outdoors in their pot.

I started collecting crab apple and apple-crab seed for homesteaders. Initially I collected larger fruited examples so they could make pectin. As I started wanting them for bonsai I picked only smaller fruited examples.

Plant apple seed in a shallow pan (with drainage holes) or sprouted saplings from your pomace pile,

Separate saplings 2 feet by 2 feet in beds and let them grow for a couple years. I ended up cutting out the strongest and longest leader every other year from bonsai candidates. By year six or eight I had a pretty massive stump.

A longer version is in "I never meant to do this" in the regular bonsai forum here.

The trees your most likely to need a back pack for are alder. Wellies or waders couldn't hurt either.

To one degree or another the best hearty trees for new bonsai hobbists tolerate wet feet. Serrisa figs and bald cypress are among the many.

Over watering is harder to unlearn than not watering.
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tomc
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Re: Beginner- cherry

The last two (boxwood) stumps I collected were being removed from a local service station. The landscapers allowed the more of them I took the fewer they had to haul off to landfill. Each one filled a 15 gallon tree pot nicely...

Craigs list or free cycle should also be good sources.
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floraAdore
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Re: Beginner- cherry

Tom, W/ spring here (although its currently hailing in So.ME!!) I've been seeing the town/city crews out & about. Since its been raining & hailing I spent time today collecting tools (ready to muster that aforementioned smile & batt my lashes if necessary, tee hee!!) i bought a tarp! & broke out my hunting pack, rope & canteen (packed away after, again, another year w/ no prize buck!) & stole a bar/lever from my husband. That got me thinking about hunting & there's 1 spot that's like a sm gorge, w/ "walls" of rock. I've read trees growing from crevices are easily removed due to compact roots.
Problem; if I find myself a nice trunk/stump somewhere, how would I go about identifying it? I ought to get a book on native trees. Many things are budding now, which helps. I was thinking study the bark & trees around/nearby? Suggestions?
You may not be exploring the bowels of the wild but, surely you have many big specimen by now & most trees (I've read) even the older ones can always be further improved upon!!! I'd LOVE to see ANY photos of trees you're growing or have had over the years! (Especially those crabs!)
This rain is good though! I've read a trees success is greater if its rained in the past few days of collection.
I visited a friend today who lives on a farm her family has owned for generations. They've got the loveliest apple trees 125yrs +!! Perhaps w/ time & education I could try layering ( I've read older growth doesn't root) some are tall but some ate like natural bonsai!) I'm not sure how or if, I could capitalize off this friends supply of ancient trees. . . .thoughts?

tomc
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Re: Beginner- cherry

floraAdore wrote: I visited a friend today who lives on a farm her family has owned for generations. They've got the loveliest apple trees 125yrs +!! Perhaps w/ time & education I could try layering ( I've read older growth doesn't root) some are tall but some ate like natural bonsai!) I'm not sure how or if, I could capitalize off this friends supply of ancient trees. . . .thoughts?
The compost pile where the sqeezed out bodies of cider apples go, is uber soft and fluffy. I have been able to lift out without digging seedling and sapling trees... Which is nigh to a lisence to print money.

Naturaly dwarfed trees will often need two or more trips to cut in place the roots. The last root cutting should be while tree is dormant.

Look around. orchards often have more going on than some decendents know about. Oh like mullberry or prunus.
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floraAdore
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Re: Beginner- cherry

I didn't know what pectin was!! Glad I mentioned the fact they've made cider the past 3yrs!!! I forgot, this all started w/ the homesteaders! I'm so glad we've got this communication going! Your experience & advice is priceless!! There is just SO MUCH info out there!! I read everything I can! I love this forum! Takes some of the guesswork out of the process!
Ill find out where the discarded apple mush, PECTIN pile & start there. I've got limited space (apt dweller currently) so any tree I collect will have to make do w/ a grow box. I have some backyard but, restaurants on each side of me & I'd be debated to find a drunkard kicked it over, stole it or someone just yanks it up & steals it! I DO have a tiny little deck area where containers can sit flat in the sun, ill just have to put up something for extreme wind.
I lost power last night! Hail & wind mustve snapped some branches.
Hope you'll continue to help educate me!! Hope you have a fabulous day!!

floraAdore
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Re: Beginner- cherry

I'd be DEVASTED (not debated! Lol)

tomc
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Re: Beginner- cherry

Start thinking about a bigger yard without a HOA.
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tomc
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Re: Beginner- cherry

Baskets and boxes with screen insets, permit air pruning of the roots. Better wooden ones are probably going to be built by you (or your significant other). They are spendy buy custon built by others (and equally spendy to ship).

Just know its possible even for a parsimonious old hippy like me to get a little shopping-drunk and fill to overflowing what ever bench space you do have.

Home Owners Association(s) can also interfere with bonsai collection. You was warned...
Think like a tree
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floraAdore
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Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:03 pm
Location: Southern Maine

Re: Beginner- cherry

HOA are against collection? Do they find it unsightly? One should be able to do what they want on the own property to a certain degree (you'd think!)
Sadly, we're awhile away from home ownership but, this is good to know.

tomc
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Re: Beginner- cherry

The exuberence of a new grower--collector is at times not shared by all neighbors. This can lead to your trees being condemned retroactively by the HOA.
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