Clump/Live Oak Style Buxus

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Clump/Live Oak Style Buxus

Post  hometeamrocker on Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:34 am

I obtained two multi-trunked japanese Boxwoods that are to be styled as Live Oaks. They already have pretty good shape, just need to bring the foliage in towartds the trunk, I think. I would love to hear opinions on this one and what you think of it's potential. I know the trunks aren't huge, but the shape already reminds me of the Live Oaks I grew up climbing as a kind in South Georgia. Crossing my fingers that I've figured out the photo thing. Thanks for your thoughts, thanks for the great message board. Eli

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Re: Clump/Live Oak Style Buxus

Post  Russell Coker on Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:22 am


Eli, that's a nice start. I understand exactly where you want to go with this.

First things first, that pot is TERRIBLE. Boxwoods generally have a shallow root system, and the way you're going to style this it's going to need a shallow root system. Go to Home Depot and get one of those big black rectangular mortar mixing tubs and put some holes in it. You don't need the depth of the box it's in, but the surface roots need some soil on top of them. Live oak country is generally pretty flat with maybe some soft rolling topography, but you won't find many sitting on top of volcanos.

R

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Re: Clump/Live Oak Style Buxus

Post  hometeamrocker on Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:30 am

Thanks Russel. These guys came out of containers that they have been in for 9 years sitting on a busy downtown street. They were very root bound and have been affected by car exhaust and general pollution, with near black trunks and some spots on the leaves. So, I reduced the roots only by about 1/4 in depth, cut out some pie-slice shapes around the sides and did some light top pruning to match. I wanted to give them the rest of this season to rebulid their strength before more drastic work is done next year.

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Re: Clump/Live Oak Style Buxus

Post  Russell Coker on Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:00 pm



I figured it was something that you'd dug from a garden. And moving ahead with caution is always best.

But was it planted that high in the pot it was in before? The way it is potted encourages (forces) all of the roots to grow down instead of out. That can be hard to turn around and the sooner you fix it the better. The tree you're envisioning isn't going to look right in a deep clunky pot, or sitting on top of an Indian mound. Boxwoods are tough and can take lots of abuse, and this one has proven that. Even cut back hard and having the roots reduced (or pulled out of the ground with a chain), I've never seen one that didn't bounce back fast when its living conditions were improved dramatically. Of course, timing is important...

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Re: Clump/Live Oak Style Buxus

Post  EdMerc on Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:37 pm

@Eli - That's a nice start Eli. It is very reminiscent of the old oaks here in Central Florida. Keep us posted.

@Russell - I have a number of buxus in deep nursery containers, but I don't have much experience in working with this material. Not positive anyway. When would be a good time for working with these in our southern climate? I've heard conflicting things. I'm not sure when to do root work.

Thanks,
Ed.

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Re: Clump/Live Oak Style Buxus

Post  Poink88 on Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:10 pm

Ed, In my limited experience, it seems like they can be worked on any time as long as they are healthy and established. Like Russell, I also chop the roots of what I collect hard and make them shallower. No problem since all have tons or fine roots near the surface anyway. One thing you do before doing that though is to find the real base first (it could be buried). You do not want to be removing all the roots at that level from under.

Eli, That is a great looking tree. It should do very well. Have you considered thinning the foliage a bit? Now/Collection time is the best time to do it IMHO.

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Re: Clump/Live Oak Style Buxus

Post  Bob Pressler on Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:19 pm

Here in Los Angeles I've successfully worked on their roots from October through May on a regular basis. I've also dug some up in August when there was no other choice and all but 1 out of 20 made it. They are pretty tough.

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Re: Clump/Live Oak Style Buxus

Post  Russell Coker on Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:56 pm



There's nothing worse than trying to get an old, rootbound boxwood or azalea from a nursery pot to a bonsai pot. It's a slow process starting from the bottom and working your way up - and out. Eli got part of the process right by cutting wedges into the root mass, but imo didn't accomplish much by only reducing the bottom by 1/4 even in the stressed condition he describes. I'd have taken at least the bottom half off. And if you don't put it into a pot that's actually wide enough to encourage roots to grow OUT instead of DOWN you're just spinning your wheels. When a tree is planted too high it starts to abort those upper roots searching for cooler soil and moisture. Once that process starts it's had to turn around, and the mound gets higher and higher.

I think Bob's on target too, anytime between November and March would be ideal.

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Re: Clump/Live Oak Style Buxus

Post  hometeamrocker on Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:35 am

Again, thanks for your replies. So, I reduced the roots by another 1/4, deepened the pie cuts in the side a little, reduced a bit more foliage and planted deeper in the same containers. I just didnt have time to get or make new ones. There's plenty of room for them to grow and get healthy for a season or two. I feel good about it and I'm excited for the future of the trees.

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Re: Clump/Live Oak Style Buxus

Post  hometeamrocker on Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:24 am

Repotted and hacked back...




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Re: Clump/Live Oak Style Buxus

Post  Auballagh on Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:02 am

That looks like its got some great potential to be a really nice bonsai. Very Happy
Nice initial work, it really does look much better now planted OFF of the mound. One thing you can do to help insure a shallow, spreading root system is to spread a layer of fresh sphagnum moss on top of the soil. If you can keep the birds from attacking it, the moss will do wonders to help build a fine, shallow root mass.

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Re: Clump/Live Oak Style Buxus

Post  Russell Coker on Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:35 am

Auballagh wrote:That looks like its got some great potential to be a really nice bonsai. Very Happy
Nice initial work, it really does look much better now planted OFF of the mound. One thing you can do to help insure a shallow, spreading root system is to spread a layer of fresh sphagnum moss on top of the soil. If you can keep the birds from attacking it, the moss will do wonders to help build a fine, shallow root mass.


AMEN!!!!

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Re: Clump/Live Oak Style Buxus

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