Horticultural question

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Horticultural question

Post  Jaco Kriek on Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:44 am

Dear all

Let's say a specific tree can grow to about 100 years of age. If I take an air layer of a large trunk by the time the tree is 80 years old, does it mean I've got a tree who can live another 20 years or did I start with a young tree?

Regards

Jaco Kriek
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Re: Horticultural question

Post  Kev Bailey on Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:05 am

That's a very interesting question. Firstly, a tree that only lives for 100 years is a very shortlived tree. Bonsai are not subject, in the same way, to the aging process as full sized trees are. Some trees in old age get branches that are too large and heavy to be carried. They break off allowing insects and rot to take hold, eventually leading to its demise. By keeping the tree small and controlling growth, they should never suffer that fate. They are more likely to suffer other problems, if care is inadequate though - drying out, inadequate feeding etc.

On the other hand, if you air layer a tree that has matured enough to flower and set seed/fruit, the air layer will also be at that stage of maturity.

I'm just guessing here, but I think that if care is good, your air layer should outlive the original tree.

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Re: Horticultural question

Post  JimLewis on Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:17 pm

Generally, many/most/all trees don't die of "old age." They die because they get too large and can't transpire efficiently, weaken because of that and are attacked by pathogens or insects. They die from weather related issues -- lightening (then insects attack), wind (ditto); drought (ditto). They die from other outside causes: nearby construction (or other activity -- man made or natural) damaging roots, trunk, or limbs, etc. Causes are many, but most are outside of the tree's own biology.

Theoretically, a tree could live forever. In the hands of an expert bonsaiest (or series of bonsaiests), theory could become reality (though that's unlikely).

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Re: Horticultural question

Post  Joao Santos on Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:23 pm

Jaco Kriek wrote:Dear all

Let's say a specific tree can grow to about 100 years of age. If I take an air layer of a large trunk by the time the tree is 80 years old, does it mean I've got a tree who can live another 20 years or did I start with a young tree?

Regards

Hi,

The layer you plant will be a new tree. The "counting" starts the day you plant plus the average of the layer.
You're age counting started when you where born and not adding you're mother's age Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil


Joao Santos

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Re: Horticultural question

Post  gordonb on Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:21 am

I wonder if you could say that the age of the tree is that of it's roots? In which case, the layer is essentailly a new tree, with a bit of a headstart.

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Re: Horticultural question

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:48 pm

I'm not sure you can accurately age a "part" of a tree, without cutting it open and counting the rings.

The overall age of the total tree is one thing, but if you air layer a branch, you would have to know when that branch emerged as a bud and start counting years from there.

Technically, if you air layer a branch, when you cut it from the parent tree, count the rings in the cut of the remaining piece of the branch and tht would give you a fairly sound point to begin backing up and counting the agre of the air-layered portion.

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Re: Horticultural question

Post  EdMerc on Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:16 pm

Jay Gaydosh wrote:I'm not sure you can accurately age a "part" of a tree, without cutting it open and counting the rings.

Actually, you can. Dendrochronology can be achieved with a core sample. It's the way the the Methuselah tree has been aged without destroying this unique specimen.

Ed

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Re: Horticultural question

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:35 pm

Where would ou have this core sampl;e taken, who does the analysis and what would it cost?

I think it would be easier and cheaper just to cut off the air-layered branch and count the rings on the stump left over.

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Re: Horticultural question

Post  AlainK on Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:50 pm

Sorry, but I don't see the point: age is a criterion for business, when you want to sell a supposedly "100-year-old bonsai", isn't it?

As has been said before, layering can be interesting because the new tree will mature quicker if you want flowers or fruit.

And as Vance reminded us, in theory and if properly cared, a bonsai is eternal. So age is relevant for "historical items", but to my mind it isn't a relevant criterion to appreciate a bonsai "per se"...

Cool

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Re: Horticultural question

Post  JimLewis on Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:52 pm

But what is the FIRST question you get asked when you show your trees? alien

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