any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

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any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

Post  king1022 on Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:14 am

i dug this one up wild last year and this is how it looked when i got it compared to how looks now after a fresh trim today



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Re: any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

Post  JimLewis on Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:34 pm

Congratulations at successfully digging one of these!  I suspect digging anything larger than this one would have been virtually impossible.  I suggest leaving it be pretty much for 2-3 years.  Some wiring might be called for to put a bit of movement in trunk or branches, and trimming unwanted shoots, but it needs to grow and mature before you do much.

And "United States" isn't to helpful of a hint as to where you are. Something a tad more specific will help you get the right folks to give correct advice.

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any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai's out there?

Post  ironman on Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:29 pm

I was growing one but gave the tree away...
The issue here is the tree you show is NOT a mesquite!

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Re: any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:49 pm

i was wondering if it wasnt some type of locust  scratch 

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Honey Locust

Post  Wander on Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:02 pm

You're not alone Kevin. I saw this and thought, "Gee, Mesquite looks just like the honey locust I planned to dig up.".

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Re: any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

Post  JimLewis on Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:24 pm

There are 44 species of Mesquite, and they are legumes (pea family) just like Mimosa and Locust.  They all have compound leaves with very small leaflets much like these.  It's entirely possible that this is a Mesquite or a locust, etc., but don't rush to judgement -- especially if you are from somewhere that mesquite is not a native species.  This one -- presumably from where it IS native -- is pretty young, so it won't have that typical mesquite bark.

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Re: any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:44 pm

aint nobody rushing to anything... just throwing out some maybes...

but i did learn something already...
i didnt know mesquite grew that far north !
maybe thats why NC BBQ is so dang good !

as an aside, mesquite reminds me of the beginnings of a country song i am fleshing out...

the chorus:

"im gonna text my ex in texas
gonna tweet my ol sweet in mesquite
ill send her a kiss on myspace...

anything but talk face to face" 

pig 



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Re: any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

Post  king1022 on Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:16 am

im here in Corpus Christi Tx where we have lots of native Mesquite. As far as i know it is a Honey Mesquite, or a Screw bean Mesquite. Both trees were growing in the yard i pulled it from. This one was directly under the Honey. wont ever know for sure till it flowers. and this young the bark does look like this.

As far as pruning ive only cut unwanted shoots to promote new branching to form a fuller canopy, ive even pruned the roots 3 times. they seem to take to the pruning really well as ive never had it even looked shocked. as far as wiring it ive only just now ties the branches down to keep them from trying to grow up.

I currently have 2 others, ones a little farther along then this one when i first pulled it at a few main branches forming and the other is a new sprout from seed, the sprout is a honney mesquite for sure and the larger one is most likely a screw bean. if yall got em post pix




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Re: any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:01 am

king1022 wrote:im here in Corpus Christi Tx where we have lots of native Mesquite.

well then i reckon thats enough outta the peanut gallery from up north  Wink 

curious to see how these develop (or if someone has some more developed) because i been looking at the honey locust that is everywhere here and thinking about it, but one of our guys didnt think the leafs would easily reduce because they are as jim described...

still might give one a try though if i stumble (or trip) over the right one.

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Re: any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

Post  king1022 on Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:20 am

well the cool thing about mesquites and their relatives is the leaves never get to big. i wanted to see if any one else had tried them and had any photos. ive only found photos of 2 trees online and almost no info. i really am impressed with how well its taken to pruning and how its taken a Formal Upright form without any real training.

dose any one have any suggestions on the style i should go with for the other 2?

heres the only photos i have found online of Mesquite trees being bonsai'ed. they started with much older trees. i would like to do this as well i have just never gotten around to looking for one. also i have feared trying to pull up a older tree do to the fact that Mesquite tree have very deep tap roots, and i have never figured out how to cut that down to fit in a pot without killing the tree. thats why i started with sprouts so i can manage that tap root from the start, and trust me they grow lots of roots fast. i trim them when i start to see them growing out of the bottom of the pot. that has worked for me so far.

only trying to grow bonsai for little over a year im mostly learning from the net and just seeing what works best with my trees. my big Mesquite is my pride cuz ive grown it from such a small size and have really enjoyed watching its progress      




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Re: any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

Post  Leo Schordje on Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:30 am

Thanks for the post and the images. I've seen screw bean mesquite when I was walking in the desert outside Las Vegas, Nevada. I thought the trunks and the rough bark were really cool.

The individual leaflets of the legume family leaves are usually plenty small for bonsai, but the whole leaf, meaning the collection of leaflets can be a problem. You get these little straight line arrangements of leaflets all in a row when you try to arrange foliage pads. Look at the photo you posted of an older mesquite bonsai. Little arrows of foliage. To someone that lives in the desert, used to seeing these trees in nature, that might not be a problem worth worrying about. To someone that usually is looking at maples and elms, this is disturbing. So that is the main source of the "issue" with compound leaves. One solution I heard was to shorten each compound leaf to exactly one set of leaflets. This seems a bit too much like work to me, but it is one way to get rid of the straight rows of leaflets. While I have never seen mesquite used as bonsai, it should give similar results as Acacia and Tamarind.

Majority of trees in the Legume family have similar leaflets. So for inspiration for how to style your mesquite - look at acacia and tamarind bonsai, also Leucaena leucocephala and Albizia bonsai. All will show similar growth patterns.

I had a Leucaena for many years, it never 'trunked up' for me, but part of the problem was trying to grow a tropical that wants full sun in a climate where it can only live outdoors maybe 4 months of the year. I believe there was an Acacia in the National Exhibit in Rochester NY in 2012. Worth checking them out.

It is always good to try locally native trees. You know they will tolerate your climate.

About collecting them. It might be a matter of timing. Traditionally trees are dug in late winter. Perhaps this is not the best time to move them. You might experiment, and keep notes. You may learn that they can be moved easily at the right time of year. (like some have discovered mugo pines do better repotted in middle of summer, rather than early spring.)

Good luck and keep up posted.

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Re: any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:26 pm

as another aside, and i will be corrected if wrong, but GENERALLY when removing material from the ground and transferring it to a container, it no longer needs that tap root, which is basically its anchor (or maybe in the case of mesquite, it seeks deeper water that might not be available at the surface)... SO, if it grows new roots as quick as you say (assuming you are referring to fine roots), and it doesnt need to seek deeper sources of water, then i wouldnt sweat the removal of the tap... and pretty much all of it at that.

its the fine roots that make fine bonsai  Wink 

and no i dont live down there, but some things make sense no matter where you live.

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Re: any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

Post  GKEhrlich on Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:11 pm

You have pulled me out of lurking, as I'm also in Corpus Christi.  The Leucaena leucocephala are all over town and I've started a seedling or two.   They seem to be very easy to work with.

The Corpus Christi Bonsai Club had a workshop with mesquite when they hosted the state convention 10 or 15 years ago.  Whether any of them lived or not, I don't know.  They have a reputation of being difficult to transplant.  You have apparently proven the experts wrong.

The Club has a Facebook page if you would like to do a search for it.  Yvonne Padilla was the president and has a boatload of knowledge about Texas Natives.

Thanks for posting the pictures of your larger mesquites.  I think they are cool!
GKE

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Re: any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

Post  JimLewis on Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:29 pm

You get these little straight line arrangements of leaflets all in a row when you try to arrange foliage pads. Look at the photo you posted of an older mesquite bonsai. Little arrows of foliage.

But so do bald cypress and dawn redwood, etc.

As far as me recognizing mesquite, I have lived in the S. California and Ariz. deserts and have gone back for visits as often as possible.  The desert is my most favorite habitat (but, alas, not Jackie's). You on't find any mesquite in North Carolina.

I was at that Texas convention.   One of the better ones I've attended.  Did a Podocarpus workshop.

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Re: any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:40 pm

JimLewis wrote:You on't find any mesquite in North Carolina.

didnt THINK so... neither in wisconsin  Wink 

(i too have spent a bunch of time in the west and southwest: a chunk of my military time in texas along with several vacations there (love austin), and a bunch of time in AZ, NM, CA, etc)

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Re: any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

Post  king1022 on Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:55 pm

ya as GKEhrlich said they are every where in this part of texas, most consider them weeds on their property. but many people down here to keep them in their yards. i just have a interest in Mesquite particularly the Honey Mesquite because it has so many uses.

as far as re-potting it, i have done it a total of 6 or 7 times since ive had it and pruned roots 3 times.

but from the post so far i take it not to many are trying them. if any ones interested in trying a Mesquite and they are not native where you are, i would be happy to mail out seed pods near the end of next month when the honey mesquite are seeding. if u dont plant them you can always just make tea from the seed pods lol

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Re: any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

Post  JMcCoy on Thu Jul 24, 2014 1:02 am

Hey, those are my Mesquite up there!  Smile  The first one was collected in 2012 and the 2nd in 2010, so they are young trees as Bonsai.  Here is the latest pictures on these two.





I had heard the curse of Bonsai folks for years about how they will not live after collecting and how they will not make a suitable bonsai.  Both of these survived transplant from the wild just fine.  I only collect in the early Spring (usually Feb) and usually only dig as much root as will fit in the average sized bussing tub.  The bigger hurdle has been finding suitable material.  Most of the ones you find in the wild look like a bouquet of broomsticks - not something we want.

I like the compound leaf and don't know why someone would want to shorten it. If you want smaller leaves, just grow a Huisache instead. By the way, the 2nd tree is actually a phoenix graft (tanuki), using a sprout from the base. It has only now fused and begun to roll over the deadwood. It took a little while for it to fill the cavity carved in the wood. Another 7 or 8 years and it should look more natural. Mesquite will sometimes die back to veins as Junipers do as well, so this isn't an unusual thing to see in nature.

I've had fun with this species and I'm glad to hear others are playing with it too!

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Re: any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

Post  Auballagh on Thu Jul 24, 2014 2:11 am

I've heard that further out west where it gets really dry, the larger Mesquite trees are much harder to collect. I guess that would be closer to Midland or possibly the Odessa, Texas area? Tap roots on many of the trees there that can go down 60 or more feet?
But by comparison, Corpus Christi is pretty hot and humid, so it would make sense the trees wouldn't have to go such lengths to find water - and would be easier to collect as a result. I lived in Lovington and Hobbs, New Mexico as a young lad, and remember those mesquite trees growing naturally there quite well.
And, though it gives some Bonsai Purists the 'vapors' or something to see material with compound leaves - I've never had a problem with that tree type and have seen some very nice Bonsai trees developed with compound leaves.  Cool 

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Re: any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

Post  king1022 on Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:14 am

ya i just repotted my 2nd biggest one yesterday and pruned the roots. they always seem to look real strong right after they get in a bigger container with less roots. i know most will say never to prune more than 20% of the roots off but as long as i have been messing with my Mesquites ive cut 50% or a little more off. i just have to be selective of what i cut. i never take off anything to thick if its near the trunk and i allways leave a nice ball of feeders. ill post a photo tomorrow

ive also notices after pruning branches, within a week each branch i pruned has developed 4 new shoots each comming out from the base of nodes. im surprised at the speed it gets new growth after being cut back a little

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Re: any one else doing any Mesquite Bonsai out there?

Post  king1022 on Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:00 am




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