First time attempting to collect wild material, advice please?

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First time attempting to collect wild material, advice please?

Post  Kewlo89 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:01 am

Hello all,
  I found this little beauty in the woods behind my house.
Height is about 16 to 20 inches.
Trunk is 2 to 3.5 inches.
This material has already gone thru so much on it's own and I find it mesmerizing!

FRONT


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I was contemplating on collecting this material but I must admit I'm a bit nervous and would like a few guiding words. I'm finding it hard to visualize the circumference of the roots nor how deep around I should dig to collect the largest amount of roots. I'm feeling unsure as to what feeding pattern I should use with wild material. I intend to allow it a very solid year to two years of recovery in a large container.


To the point, any advice I would greatly appreciate and I would love to read your thoughts on this first time project! Many thanks in advance!

Kewlo89
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Re: First time attempting to collect wild material, advice please?

Post  Xavier de Lapeyre on Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:07 am

In a few words TAKE YOUR TIME! Smile
Don't rush.

Here's an interesting tutorial on Yamodori : http://cartagenabonsai.blogspot.com.es/2013/11/yamadori-techniques.html

Xavier de Lapeyre
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Re: First time attempting to collect wild material, advice please?

Post  Zach Smith on Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:16 am

The tutorial linked talks about collecting a juniper from the wild. Your tree is deciduous and I've been collecting mostly deciduous trees for 25 years. Here's what I suggest:

1. If the ground isn't rocky, use a narrow hand saw instead of a shovel which is way too much work. If you plan to collected lots of trees, spring for a cordless reciprocating saw. I've made believers of my local club members.
2. You want to cut the large stabilizing roots way back, far enough so the tree can fit in its eventual bonsai container. Once you've cut these, get under and cut the tap root. The tree should now lift pretty easily.
3. This tree is way too tall as you've shown it, so the trunk needs to be chopped back pretty hard and regrown to create/enhance taper.
4. Clean all the native soil off the roots when you get it home. Clean up any ragged cuts you made, cut back farther if you didn't get it quite right in the field, then dust the cut ends of the large roots with rooting powder.
5. Pot in bonsai soil, even if you're going into a grow box or pot. Water thoroughly.
6. Seal the trunk chop and any cuts above the ground that are 1/2" and larger in diameter.
7. Wait till spring and see how you did.

I have found that trees growing in the woods tend to be weaker than those growing at the edge of woods or along fencerows, etc. where they get full sun. So there's a built-in risk associated with collecting from the woods. Should you use the "trenching" method and wait to collect the tree for a couple of years? Only if you can be sure to keep the roots moist. I have never used this technique so can't comment on its effectiveness. My overall success rate is probably 85%, and it varies from species to species.

Good luck!

Zach

Zach Smith
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Re: First time attempting to collect wild material, advice please?

Post  Kewlo89 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:02 pm

Zach and Xavier, I appreciate the input you have provided.

This will be my first time collecting wild material and I wish to be as informed as possible before attempting it. I have a deep respect for the art of bonsai but an even deeper respect for the trees being put thru the dwarfing process, the last thing I want is to make a silly mistake and end up killing the tree.

That being said, I am cross referencing what I currently know with all the pointers you guys are giving me and I feel a bit more at ease reading about techniques that I currently know and also techniques that are totally new to me but definitely worth noting.


UPDATE:

The soil the wild material is in currently is a very thick moist clay-ish soil. It is also within 6 Meters of a small river. I cannot recall where, but I did read that given the above soil conditions the root ball tends to be reasonably more compact (because of the constant moisture available) and thus increases the chance of success when collecting such material. Any thoughts on the above?

Kewlo89
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Re: First time attempting to collect wild material, advice please?

Post  Zach Smith on Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:05 am

If you're lucky enough to get fibrous roots near the trunk then so much the better. You may not get this, but I don't think it necessary ruins your chances for a successful dig. I usually don't get lots of fibrous roots near the trunk. If you stick to my guidelines you probably have an 80% chance of success.

Zach

Zach Smith
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Re: First time attempting to collect wild material, advice please?

Post  Kewlo89 on Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:45 am

I will definitely keep in mind all of the above.  thumbs up 

Now I am waiting for the right time to dig. The small branches appear to have dormant buds on them. Once I see that the tree begins to move energy to the buds I will give it about a week and begin the dig.

I am VERY EXCITED for this first dig and I am very thankful for the advice. Thank you very much guys I will post (off my phone) a few snap shots as I go through the process. KEEPING MY FINGERS CROSSED! cheers 

Kewlo89
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Re: First time attempting to collect wild material, advice please?

Post  kirk@localbonsai.com on Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:28 pm

My advice - just concentrate at recovering as many fine roots as possible - this may require a large shovel and some back breaking work, but could save you years in trying to regrow what was lost.

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Re: First time attempting to collect wild material, advice please?

Post  Zach Smith on Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:30 am

kirk@localbonsai.com wrote:My advice - just concentrate at recovering as many fine roots as possible - this may require a large shovel and some back breaking work, but could save you years in trying to regrow what was lost.
For deciduous trees I must disagree. It does not take years to regrow fine roots. Most species will produce amazing amounts of fine roots from the cut ends of the large roots common to in-ground specimens in one to two years. The only exception I've seen to this principle in 25 years is hawthorns, which sometimes produce sparse fine roots but seem to thrive regardless.

If you get lots of fine roots up near the trunk, great. It's not that common in most cases. Don't dig a massive rootball in hopes of getting lots of fine roots. Most of them, in most soils, are far away from the trunk. You must cut large stabilizing roots close enough to the trunk that they will fit in a bonsai pot in a couple of years. Otherwise you'll just have to do this down the road.

And once again, throw away the shovel except for cases where you have to pry out stones to get to the actual roots. Use a hand saw or cordless reciprocating saw. It's the best $75 you'll ever spend.

Zach

Zach Smith
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Re: First time attempting to collect wild material, advice please?

Post  Craig Cowing on Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:38 pm

Identify the species before you dig. Some species do better after being dug up.

Craig Cowing
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Re: First time attempting to collect wild material, advice please?

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