how do I turn young trees in to bonsai trees? I have about 20 maple trees all about 3 weeks old and want to grow them into bonsai trees.

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how do I turn young trees in to bonsai trees? I have about 20 maple trees all about 3 weeks old and want to grow them into bonsai trees.

Post  bryanlawrence19 on Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:36 am

They are appx. 6-8inches tall and I'm new to this, any advice.

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Re: how do I turn young trees in to bonsai trees? I have about 20 maple trees all about 3 weeks old and want to grow them into bonsai trees.

Post  Reiner Goebel on Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:40 am

Wow. All of three weeks?

Come back when they are 30 years old. Smile That will give you plenty of time to learn what to do with them. For right now, just keep them alive.

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Re: how do I turn young trees in to bonsai trees? I have about 20 maple trees all about 3 weeks old and want to grow them into bonsai trees.

Post  bryanlawrence19 on Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:17 am

how do you keep them alive? Do you use certain soil, leave them outside, etc...

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Re: how do I turn young trees in to bonsai trees? I have about 20 maple trees all about 3 weeks old and want to grow them into bonsai trees.

Post  DaveP on Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:33 pm

Hi Bryan,

I would recommend picking up some introductory books on bonsai. I'm not sure where in Buffalo you are, but there are two bonsai clubs located there. I have experience with the Buffalo Bonsai Society (http://www.buffalobonsaisociety.com/) and can recommend them. They are one of (if not the) the longest contiguous-running clubs in the country and are a knowledgeable, friendly group.

The questions you're asking are the very tip of the large, immensely enjoyable iceberg we call bonsai. Very Happy

Please feel free to private message me for information regarding other bonsai resources in the Buffalo & Rochester areas of New York.

Kindest~
-d

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Re: how do I turn young trees in to bonsai trees? I have about 20 maple trees all about 3 weeks old and want to grow them into bonsai trees.

Post  Guest on Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:39 pm

You should read this blog post by walter pall.

http://walter-pall-bonsai.blogspot.com/2009/07/bonsai-from-seed.html

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Re: how do I turn young trees in to bonsai trees? I have about 20 maple trees all about 3 weeks old and want to grow them into bonsai trees.

Post  bryanlawrence19 on Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:46 am

Thanks. I bought a book and read the article. I have to say I don't like Walter. He comes off as very arrogant. What does being from Europe have to do with calling it as you see it. You should encourage people to try something challenging. Mistakes are generally the best way to learn something. I've only been here for a little over a day, but there seems to be alot of egos and negativity. In a hobby which I associate with peace and beauty.
Anyways does anyone have a recommendation on soil type for a maple tree. I'm going to leave then in the ground until then transplant them to pots in late October early November.

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Re: how do I turn young trees in to bonsai trees? I have about 20 maple trees all about 3 weeks old and want to grow them into bonsai trees.

Post  fiona on Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:19 am

Hiya Bryan. I'm not by any means an "expert" at bonsai and like you say, a lot of what I have learned has happened through making mistakes - sometimes this is the worst of learning methods but sometimes it is actually quite beneficial.

Anyway, I think the thing to bear in mind here is that, for at the very least a couple of years, what you're going to be doing with your new maples is, essentially, horticulture as opposed to the finer work of bonsai styling. There are myriad books and/or articles on the internet about propagation of trees from seed and you will find plenty specific to maples. Be careful to select ones that are relevant to the climate of your area as this is very important in all things horticulture and bonsai and be sure you know which type of maple you have. Seedlings are prone to a number of things - damping off (essentially the stems rot through too much water) and like all young and tender living things they can be less tolerant of fungal diseases and other such things. This makes it difficult for us to comment on whether you should plant out in the ground immediately as our own growing climated are different. If it were me, sitting here in a wet but not particularly cold climate (we seldom get frosts below -5 Celcius) I would do the following to get seedlings up and running in preparation for their long journey to becoming bonsai. If they were grown in seed trays, I would pot them into 5litre pots when they had begun to turn woody (ie not green sappy shoots). They would sit there in a sheltered area (wind and frost free if possible) until they are about a year old- or at least until they have developed sufficient roots to be able to withstand ground planting. Then they go in the open ground for as long as it takes to get them to the girth I want. In the ground I can do some basic work if needed, eg branch selection, but to do this you need an idea of what your tree(s) will look like. then just let the babies grow, grow, grow.

As you can imagine, this is not a quick process. The larches I have coming through just now were in seedling pots for about a year, and have been in the ground for 2 years now. Only now are they beginning to look like trees rather than sprigs. Just now, all they could be used for is a forest group planting where you actually want tallish and thinnish (I am growing them for this purpose so they are planted closer together than normal). If any one of them was to be considered for an individual tree, I would be leaving it in situ for a few years more to let it fatten up to a decent trunk thickness (girth).

Don't be put off growing from seed - it is very rewarding to own a good bonsai which you know you grew entirely yourself. But it will take a good number of years to achieve. Always remember that what we are trying to do is create the impression of an ancient tree from relatively young material. Factors which make a tree look old most definitely include the thickness and texture of its bark. You can never create a good bonsai using very young material as it will always look spindly and the bark will nearly always remain looking juvenile i.e. smooth rather than textured.

I hope this helps. Why not consider what most of us did - buy yourself a decent quality bonsai to have on display while your seedlings come through their initial cycles. That way you can learn the maintenance techniques and then move on to styling when you're ready. Go along to a club like DaveP suggested - there you will get help a plenty in what to look for when choosing trees. The very best of luck!

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Re: how do I turn young trees in to bonsai trees? I have about 20 maple trees all about 3 weeks old and want to grow them into bonsai trees.

Post  Guest on Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:13 pm

fionnghal wrote:Why not consider what most of us did - buy yourself a decent quality bonsai to have on display while your seedlings come through their initial cycles. That way you can learn the maintenance techniques and then move on to styling when you're ready. Go along to a club like DaveP suggested - there you will get help a plenty in what to look for when choosing trees. The very best of luck!

You should visit Bill Valavanis in Rochester and buy some good material. For a couple hundred dollars
you could probably get some good material. Walters point, I believe, was that it is silly to grow from seed when so much good material is out there. It would take much longer to get a show quality tree from seed than good material. So you might ask, what is good material? You first of all want to look for what intrests you. Whether that be a certain style, species, or etc. Next you want to look at the trunk. Does is
have good taper, shape, and/or girth. When you are looking at stock, you need to think about what the tree could become. Remember that things change. Branches can grow just as
well die. If you visit Bill he can help you find something that suits you.
Another thing to remember is that nursery matieral should be planted
into training pots, not bonsai pots. This is something that most people do wrong. If
you really want to learn bonsai, go see Bill, buy decent stock, and join a club.

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How to turn young trees into old trees?

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:09 pm

Buy young trees...

wait a really long time...

voila!

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Re: how do I turn young trees in to bonsai trees? I have about 20 maple trees all about 3 weeks old and want to grow them into bonsai trees.

Post  Kev Bailey on Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:13 pm

I happen to like growing trees from seed, just as much as I like creating bonsai from them after a really long wait, but that's just me. Different people, with larger disposable incomes might like to shortcut the process, but I still recommend that beginners tackle both, if they can. They can learn a lot about horticulture and plants needs from growing seedlings succesfully. It doesn't make much sense not to have some larger stock to work on while you wait though, as interest would inevitable wane.

Growing from seed also allows some of us to replace a few of those removed from the landscape occasionally.

_________________
β€œIt is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” - Charles Darwin.

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How do I grow seedlings into bonsai trees?

Post  bonsaisr on Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:55 am

Bryan, you are getting some conflicting advice, so take what makes sense to you.
You really should check out the Buffalo Bonsai Society.
August 22 β€” Buffalo Bonsai Society, picnic at Hollow Creek Bonsai. For information, info@buffalobonsaisociety.com, 716-880-7441.
Hollow Creek is another place to buy bonsai stock and supplies.
What kind of maple are your seedlings? If they are Japanese maples, they will be very good to learn & experiment with. If they are silver maple, Norway maple, sugar maple, or some other large street tree, you may find that you are wasting your time.
I have to admit that some of us bonsai people have huge egos (I know I do). But there is nothing more peaceful than spending time with your trees.
Enjoy,
Iris
Smile

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How do I grow seedlings into bonsai trees?

Post  bonsaisr on Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:36 am

My apologies. I don't think we answered your original question, although there have been some general hints. Assuming your seedlings are from maples that grow in the Buffalo area, prepare a growing bed as if it were a vegetable garden, lots of humus, peat moss, or compost, etc. It should get some sun but should be out of the wind. Plant your seedlings there now, disturbing the roots as little as possible. Feed them lightly at first then a regular schedule until fall. For the winter, protect them this year with burlap, bury them in compost or leaves, etc. Next year just leave them there, water & feed them heavily. In subsequent years you will spread them out, lift them, prune the roots, & turn them around. After another couple of years you can start pruning & shaping. A this point, books will help & you can ask the Buffalo Bonsai Society.
Iris

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How do I grow seedlings into bonsai trees?

Post  bonsaisr on Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:38 am

PS. After the first year plant them in full sun.
Iris

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How do I grow seedlings into bonsai trees?

Post  bonsaisr on Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:05 pm

It is very important that you find out what kind of seedlings you have. Where did you get the seeds? It would be a shame for you to lavish all that care only to find out you are growing the tree equivalent of crabgrass.
Iris

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