Advice for a beginner

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Advice for a beginner

Post  JamesEG on Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:47 pm

Hi, I'm new to the forum so this is my first post and I am completely new to Bonsai trees. I work at a garden center and I would love to start with a small Bonsai, I've done some research and I'm currently reading a 'Bonsai Basics' book to hopefully give me some more information. The garden center has a small Chinese Elm which is one of the best beginner trees according to my book and a few sites so I am strongly considering buying the tree.
To my overall question, if I were to buy the Elm what kind of things would I have to do? I've read about all the pruning and styling but I'm still not really sure what it all involves.
I also have a less important question, I'm under the assumption that most trees can be made to grow as a Bonsai, is this true or is that completely wrong? If this is true I'll have another question.

Thanks, James

JamesEG
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Advice for a beginner

Post  leatherback on Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:58 pm

Hi James,

You are absolutely right. Just about any woody species can be grown as a bonsai. most important would be whether the tree has leaves that are small, or can be tempted to reduce using the proper growing technique.

Pruning and repotting are not really special, The main thing you need to master is pruning the roots, and learning how to grow a plant in very coarse, well/draining soil mixtures.

leatherback
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Advice for a beginner

Post  JamesEG on Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:17 pm

Okay, have you got any particular advice for making a Bonsai from a cutting? I know I would probably have to wait a couple of years before I can have enough experience but I'm interested to find out more. I have an English Yew and a few Silver Birches around my house, after doing some internet searches they seem to be popular as Bonsais, how would you go about taking a cutting from those trees?

And thanks, are there any particular websites that you recommend for me to learn about the root pruning, it sounds difficult to me!

Thanks again, James

JamesEG
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Advice for a beginner

Post  Andrew Campbell on Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:24 pm

You can cut shoots of yew in late summer but you will have to put them in a greenhouse of sorts during winter for protection and you can take soft wood cuttings in early summer. I dont have any experience with birch as bonsai. Although they are my favourite tree I have stayed away from them due to there tendency to let a branch die off.

Personally I would buy a small yew from your garden centre rather than take cuttings. By all means take cuttings but your interest in bonsai will have dwindled by the time the cuttings are large enough to do anything with unless you have other stuff to play with.

Andrew Campbell
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Advice for a beginner

Post  JamesEG on Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:15 am

Okay thanks for the advice, I'm going to a specialised bonsai nursery soon so I can ask for some more advice there and I'll look for a yew tree if that's the best way to go, I imagine it is since I am a beginner!
If there isn't a yew what would be the best tree to look for? Just stick with the chinese elm? I want to get something that I could experiment with a bit and practice the skills.

Thanks, James

JamesEG
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Advice for a beginner

Post  JamesEG on Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:21 am

I'm also looking for more of an indoor plant, would a yew still be okay if I were to get one indoors?

Thanks, James

JamesEG
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Advice for a beginner

Post  leatherback on Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:44 am

Hi James,

Just to be sure: you dop not have to buy plants at a bonsai nursery, especially not when looking for commong plants like taxus. Particularly when you are just starting off, I would work with a plant from your garden centre; You will get it more affordable, and you may have first pick.

You want to look for a plant that has nice roots (The root flare should consist of roots all around, and not just on one side). The trunk of the plant itself should have some taper, and no inverse taper (The trunk should always get thinner as you go up in the plant).

Taxus is very strong, and I would think it is a very good plant to start off with.

Note that the term indoor bonsai is a very bad term (http://www.growingbonsai.net/glossary/indoor-bonsai/ ). As long as the weather allows it, all plants prefer to be outside over inside. Some plants really do nbot like our winters and will die (Basically all the tropical and most sub-tropical species) which is why we keep them indoors in winter. Most people keeping them for bonsai will keep them outside for at least part of the year. All temperate species need to be outside pretty much yearround. http://www.growingbonsai.net/glossary/indoor-bonsai/

leatherback
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Advice for a beginner

Post  JamesEG on Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:44 am

Okay thanks again for your advice, it has been very useful. Unfortunately there is only one really affordable bonsai at the garden center, which £11 and is a Chinese Elm so I will try and find out when we stock some more, although I'm pretty sure we don't get the trees such as yews.

James

JamesEG
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Advice for a beginner

Post  fiona on Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:50 am

James, go to the FAQs, Top Threads and Tutorials section of this forum and look for the one entitled Getting Started in Bonsai. It will give you pretty much everything you need to know up front including the web address for Harry Harrington's Bonsai4me site which is IMHO the best you can get for bonsai in the UK.

Some starter questions you need to address:

1. Can you only grow indoors? If YES, then you are restricted to trees that are tropical and require a bit more heat and protection from our winters. The yew that you mention will die indoors as will most non-tropical trees. If NO, then forget about indoors and go for the vast range of pines, yews, hawthorns that are native to the UK.

2. Where will you get your tree(s)? Decent bonsai starter material is best bought from a bonsai nursery. But don't overlook what is available at your own garden centre in the way of cotoneaster, pyracantha and the flowering cherry Prunus Kojo-no-mai which is currently in most garden centres as it is coming into flower. I personally would not buy what is sold as bonsai in garden centres and DIY stores as generally (no disrespect to your centre) they are inferior plant stock.

3. What do I do with it once I've got it? As you'll find in that tutorial thread, we routinely advise people to go to a club and get hands-on advice. There's also a link to FOBBS on that tutorial which will give you details of clubs in your area. Books etc are fine as are some of the videos you find on the internet. But beware videos - for every good one on the internet there are many that are poor and even more that are out and out garbage. We have a number of good videos on here. If there are any workshops happening, then that is a good step to take as it is very hands-on.

You don't need to spend a ridiculous amount of money at the beginning. Use your early years to develop skills on cheaper material then once you have confidence, work up to better material.

Hope that helps.

Fiona

_________________
"Espouse elucidation"
_____________________________________

my website

fiona
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Advice for a beginner

Post  JamesEG on Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:15 am

Yes that is very helpful Fiona, I'll take your advice and check out the FAQs, thanks!

James

JamesEG
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Advice for a beginner

Post  Sponsored content Today at 3:19 am


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum