New Acquisitions

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New Acquisitions

Post  Ashiod on Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:52 am

(Questions at bottom of text, sorry for poor picture quality)
This may seem like an odd practice to some, but every year for my birthday(I got my first AARP application this year!) I indulge one or two interests that I have either never pursued or quit pursuing for one reason or another. This year I decided to pick up some pencils and work a bit in my old sketch pad, and also to get my hands on a few larger trees for my collection of what will hopefully become more than sticks in pots. As it happened, a local-ish bonsai enthusiast has been thinning out his collection as well as selling some old workshop trees for his club. I had the opportunity to visit his home and peruse his trees for sale as well as his private collection which held some impressive specimen. I took the opportunity to ask questions and watch him repot a tree while I looked for what would become the newest addition to my collection.

After some internal struggle, I decided against the massive(by my standards) ficus that I had intended to buy and settled on a scraggly, s shaped, beat up looking chinese elm that he said originated in the bargain section of a large southern bonsai nursery and a moderately sized cork-barked Portulacaria afra cascade. I was also somewhat awestruck by the variegated Portulacaria in his personal collection and was fortunate enough to get a cutting from it for a reasonable price.

I chose the elm despite my dislike of s curved trees for its large size and the fact that it is practically vomiting new growth everywhere I look. It has a large cut scar near the top which is half healed over, as well as a few large roots wrapped around the base of the trunk, and what looks to me like an awkward, unbalanced branch structure.
I chose the Portulacaria because of the unusual style. I've never seen a cascade style jade plant and thought that my current group could use something that isn't upright style. While I like the tree, there are three branches growing up from the base of the trunk that seem a bit out of place, and there are a few branches that seem either oversized or out of place.

I'm told that both trees have established root systems, and from what I can see it is true. My major question is whether anyone has styling advice, or tips on improving the success of propagating Portulacaria cuttings over what can be found easily through google. I think the best route with the elm is to just let it grow out for a while, but the jade seems primed and ready for some work.
Any help is greatly appreciated, and as always, you guys are my heroes! Very Happy 

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Also, anyone want to hazard a guess as to why the AARP is sending me applications when I'm only turning 24 today? Seems like some seriously preemptive recruiting to me.Laughing 

Ashiod
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Re: New Acquisitions

Post  Rick36 on Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:32 am

Morning Ashiod. Perhaps I can help with Portulacaria Afra propagation. (BTW - this is not a "jade" plant, even though it is often called such). If you have read on Google that all you need do is detach any piece - leaf or stem- place it in very sharp draining medium such as cat litter - and wait till you see new growth, that's about right. Give it a little moisture, VERY little, every 6/7 days, and in 3/4 weeks you will have a new one. It really is that easy. If you are trimming the one you acquired recently plant all the trimmings and you'll soon have a forest (or two!). Indoors or out doesn't seem to matter, although I do mine in a cold greenhouse, as long as it is frost free. Good Luck.
P.S. If you look up "bonsai mary portulacaria" on Google and follow the info and links, you can't go wrong.


Last edited by Rick36 on Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:38 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Adding p.s.)

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Re: New Acquisitions

Post  Ashiod on Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:07 pm

Thanks for the tip on bonsai mary's guide. It was pretty helpful. I guess I'm just naturally wary of things that seem too easy, I really didn't expect it to be as easy as ficus cutting propagation. After thinking on it a bit and looking at some other cascades that are around, P.afra and otherwise, I've decided to remove the three branches near the base and have started to think on the large branch at the trees left side. As you said, it could make a nice little forest planting, maybe I can even get my father into growing trees with something this easy to work with.
Any other ideas are more than welcome. I know there are some seriously skilled individuals on here that I would like to hear from Very Happy .

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Re: New Acquisitions

Post  Marty Weiser on Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:46 am

What about air layering the elm to create 2 trees and eliminate the S curve if you don't like that aspect. This would also lead to better taper. If you keep it full height, I would prune the top back a bit to encourage the lower branches and also clean up the top cut for a better transition.

The reason you got the AARP invite is that they heard you had won the lottery and retired to become a full time bonsai hobbiest. Smile

Marty Weiser
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Re: New Acquisitions

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