Newbie - Help with some trees please

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Newbie - Help with some trees please

Post  Martin82 on Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:48 am

Hi everyone

New to bonsai and this forum

Any ideas and tips on these trees? some of them inherited from my deceased father.

Thanks in advance


1) Trident maple - approx 0.80 meter hieght



2) Wild fig - approx 0.60 meter height



3) Witstinkhout - approx 1 meter height



4) Wild olive - approx .40 meter height

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8086/8370354910_51064ff300_b.jpg

5) Carob tree - approx .40 meter height

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8325/8369295715_8054bdc5db_b.jpg

6) Bougainvillaea - approx .40 meter height

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8214/8369300431_2e207bc3c4_b.jpg

Martin82
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Re: Newbie - Help with some trees please

Post  Stan Kengai on Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:53 pm

Rule #1: Do not plant bonsai in potting soil, garden soil, compost, clay, or dirt. They should be planted in an open, free-draining mix that includes little to no organic material. Common inorganic planting media includes: calcined clay, calcined diatomaceous earth, scoria (lava rock), expanded shale, and volcanic pumice (should constitute 80-100% of substrate). Coarse sand can be added to one or more of these to improve drainage. Common organic media includes: chipped pine or fir bark, coarse peat, and sphagnum moss (should constitute 0-20%). Planting media should all have nearly equal particle size, generally somewhere between 3 and 7 mm. The larger the particle size, the faster the soil dries, and the more organic matter, the slower the soil dries.
It will be easier for you starting out if you could find some pre-made potting mix locally. But make sure it conforms to the above general description. Your third pictured plant appears to be in good media.

Rule #2: Bonsai are not constantly manicured and perfect looking. Most are trimmed only once or twice a year. Let them grow.

Rule #3: Learn to keep them alive for a while before you worry about styling them.

I'm sure others will chime in, but that should get you started. Good luck, and enjoy your new-found hobby.

Stan Kengai
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newbi help with some trees

Post  moyogijohn on Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:52 pm

Welcome,, First, do you have a friend or local club for help ?? My opion only, you have some nice trunks to start with but the trees are too tall.. also the limbs need to be cut back to get new buds to make more limbs closer to the trunk. when you repot with the better soil you will see a difference in them growing. check with someone and cut them all back hard get some more limbs growing.. not trying to be negitive at all. you can have some nice trees...take care john

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Re: Newbie - Help with some trees please

Post  Just Mike on Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:44 am

so it looks like father didnt use wire, but instead chose to go with clip and grow training...he also had his own style he prefered as you can see in the repeating theme...the trident maple looks prime for air-layering if you ask me...but you are going to want to eliminate atleast 1 of the 4 branches spoking out on the top portion...even numbers for the most part (with the exception of the number 2) are not desireable...partly because of cultural reasons and the association of even numbers with bad luck...

really, as others have already pointed out, the first thing is to get them into a different mix and repot them...then just let them grow strong with a good fertilizing program for atleast 1 season...i know its hard, but the very first step in bonsai should be learning how to care for your trees and learn about the species you are working with...after you feel comfortable doing the day to day things required for raising healthy material, then you can start learning the ins and outs of pruning and styling...this is also a good opportunity to decide weather bonsai is something you would like to pursue, and if so to what extent...i only mention that because this is one of those hobbies that 99% of it are what some people would consider a mundane, and at time tedious task...for those of us who find the raising and caring for of plants pleasurable...well...then this can be one of the most interesting and rewarding paths a person can take...just my opinion.

Just Mike
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Re: Newbie - Help with some trees please

Post  Andrew Legg on Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:39 am

Martin82 wrote:Hi everyone

New to bonsai and this forum

Any ideas and tips on these trees? some of them inherited from my deceased father.

Thanks in advance

Hi Martin,

I'd strongly recommend first learning to care for them, and then you'll need to decide whether you wish to keep them styled as they are (for sentimental reasons), or change them to a style that you want. One thing you will get is a lot of folk telling you that there are all sorts of faults with them, but hey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder right. Start by getting your watering correct. They should be well watered, never being allowed to dry out completely, but also not permanently soggy. Remember that you are watering the whole soil volume and not the top 3cms, so ensure that when you water you water well. Feeding is also important, so use a liquid feed and dilute is twice as much as recommended and feed every second or third week. Try to find a local bonsai club in Witbank and see if they have a beginner's course.

Cheers,

Andrew

Andrew Legg
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newbie help with some trees please

Post  moyogijohn on Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:36 am

How are the trees doing ?? has any thing helped yet?? sometime just looking at trees ,turning them around ect helps with a desion about what to do...take care john

moyogijohn
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Re: Newbie - Help with some trees please

Post  Martin82 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:49 pm

HI John. Have decided to have a look at the soil and repot where needed. Then ill just let it grow for now. Still trying to figure out what dads style / idea was with these trees. Im not really a fan of big, tall trees. Smaller with with older look is more my taste. Maybe ill cut the Witstinkhout back, meaning cutting the whole top part off. I honestly feel he messed up the maple by creating that huge gap between top and bottom part. maybe ill cut that back too. The others ill just repot in the correct soil and feed and let grow for a season

Martin82
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Re: Newbie - Help with some trees please

Post  Martin82 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:59 pm

John

If you have a little spare time. could you maybe take one of the trees and draw some lines and show me where you would cut / shape or in what direction you would go. If it were your trees and you got them as present. or maybe you would cut them up for firewood? i dont know.

thanks in advance

Martin82
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Re: Newbie - Help with some trees please

Post  Just Mike on Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:26 pm

Martin82 wrote:John

If you have a little spare time. could you maybe take one of the trees and draw some lines and show me where you would cut / shape or in what direction you would go. If it were your trees and you got them as present. or maybe you would cut them up for firewood? i dont know.

thanks in advance

we are going to need a lot more camera angles for that...

i wouldnt firewood any of them, especially since they were your dad's, but, in my opinion ALL of the trees need to be grown vigorously and then hard pruned (or air layered) to see what kind of backbudding you can get...as they are right now, there arent really enough branches in the right places...and the ones that are there also need some backbudding...

i would repot ALL of them into grow boxes or larger pots in spring and go back to the development stage for these trees so you can get them growing very strong in preperation for hard pruning...im also funny about soil, and would rather re-pot something into a mix that i know whats in it, rather than trying to guess around a mix i dont...i would also plant the root-over rock fig into a deeper container and see if you can induce more roots...the roots that are there now dont look very natural to me...by that i mean, one has reverse taper, and the other 2 have no taper, and none of them have any branching...also, just the way it is placed on the rock looks more like a tree put on a rock than a root-over rock bonsai...heck, if it was me i would eliminate, or replace the rock too...i can tell just by the picture that it desperately needs to be re-potted anyway...get used to re-potting ficus...they grow roots very quickly and in most cases should be re-potted every year...this is also a bit of good news though because you can encourage a ficus to grow new roots from just about anywhere...sorry if that critique was too blunt, this is all just my opinion, and each person has there own particulair style, so ultimately its about what is pleasing to you...

Just Mike
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newbie help with some trees

Post  moyogijohn on Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:11 pm

Martin,, I would like to show pictures but i have no camera to post them.. the maple i would use the lower pa.rt ,chopping the top off and wireing one branch up for new trunk .. the fig is there a root on the back over the rock ?? replace the rock with a more round one when you re pot.. maybe use the lowest branch for a new trunk.. just a thought..take care john

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Re: Newbie - Help with some trees please

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