where do you get your trees?

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where do you get your trees?

Post  Forbes on Fri Oct 24, 2014 5:16 pm

I searched the forum but couldn't really find what I was looking for... if I have searched incorrectly, just let me know and I'll try again... if not, perhaps someone can offer me some suggestions.

I am still fairly new to bonsai. The longest I've kept a living bonsai is a little over a year. One juniper and one Chinese Elm. I was careless with them over a harsh winter, and the sustained cold/snow was more than they could handle. I think poor soil (held way too much water) also played a factor. I'm in the process of starting again. I like to think I've learned from some of my mistakes, and I'm trying to seek out information pro-actively, and more importantly, I'm trying to become more patient (this is the hard part for me).

My main question is, where do you all get your bonsai "stock" from? I have contacted nurseries within driving distance from me, and have yet to find one that sells small trees. I could go to Lowes or Home Depot and buy normal trees that are 6'-10' tall and cut them back, but is that the best option? I have found a few places online that claim to seel "pre-bonsai" trees, but at $10 or more a piece, that seems a little high. I know I could just buy some seeds and start the growing process, and I probably should do that, but at the same time, I'd like to have some actual trees to work on before seeds would be ready (2-3 years, i'm guessing?)

I read a lot of forums and posts where people say they have a lot of trees that they work with. It seems like maybe this is common, but I don't know. Do most of you just have two or three trees that get all of your attention, or do you have 20, or 40, or 100?

I don't want to bite off more than I can chew obviously, but knowing I AM new, and still learning, I'm guessing I may lose a few more trees before it's all said and done. I just wonder what others are doing.

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  leatherback on Fri Oct 24, 2014 5:51 pm

I personally get them anywhere where I get my hands on them.. from hedgerows, backyards, hardware stores..

The idea is often that you indeed start with a much bigger tree, and reduce them to create a pleasing balance between trunk caliper and tree height. Often a ration of 1:6 to 1:12 works best.

10 u$ for a true bonsai starter tree is no money at all. however, I am guessing this price would be for one year old cuttings. Do not let yourself be tricked into starting with those (or with 'bonsai seed', which is nonsense!).

Have a read on the forum, and see what others are using to start a bonsai off with and you'll get the idea.

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  kevin stoeveken on Fri Oct 24, 2014 7:27 pm

if you only have a couple of trees the only work you will be able to do on a regular basis is to work on not working on them Shocked

seriously, for the most part, AND GENERALLY SPEAKING, when starting out you want to restrict yourself to one major activity per growing season, i.e. repotting and root pruning OR heavy top pruning as the tree will need time to recover between these actions and it will be hard to just sit back and do nothing... which is why i have so many trees... i have only been in this for a couplafew years and i probably have 30 +/- trees with very few duplicate species...

just start raiding the home depots and lowes, especially during fall clearance, clarence !

grab some juniper shrubs, some boxwoods, small spruces, azaleas, or whatever grows well in your area...
just grab one or 2 of each, look for ones that are trunkier rather than shruberier, and of the small leafed variety...
read up a bit on each one and dive in...

head first...

the waters fine.

heres an example... not only of what you can find
but also what kind of help you can get on this forum:

http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t16018-dwarf-blue-spruce-what-can-i-get-away-with

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aka beer city snake
link to ARBOR ARTS COLLECTIVE BLOG

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  ironhorse on Fri Oct 24, 2014 7:55 pm

Yes, what Kevin said. I have had a few trees for 15-20 years but the majority have been obtained in the last 2/3 years in anticipation of retirement (which came sooner than planned!) so I have 100+ in various stages including garden foundlings and rooted cuttings, and a lot of nursery clearance stuff - always have a good root around your local places as there are bargains to be had at all times of the year. Unsold small Christmas trees in January can be had for very little money and they are great for practice material, I may even get a half decent bonsai from one at some time. The real advantage of having a lot is that there is nearly always something to do to one or another

Dave

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  LanceMac10 on Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:00 pm

I've got sixty or so trees.....so my watering hand is strong, if not well used. My neighbor/landlord has a like amount. Needless to say the pool area is quite a sight come spring-time. Work on keepin' a plant alive with good horticultural practices, styling will come....and use whatever materials you can get your beer..er...sweat-soaked hands on.

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  Forbes on Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:05 pm

Sounds good... thank you all. Guess I'll just keep my eyes open and pick up what I can when and where I can.

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  steveb on Sat Oct 25, 2014 1:51 am

I've been growing bonsai for 7 years now so am new to this as well.  Very Happy   I also killed every tree I started my first year, but don't worry, I've read that this is common.  I have about 20 trees on benches and 15 in the ground.  Most of the 20 are in training boxes.  During the spring and summer I spend an average of about 3 hours a week watering, wiring, and pruning.  During the winter less.  You can spend as much time as you want reading and studying about bonsai.

What I would recommend is to keep trees at different levels of development.  You may want to buy a couple mature bonsai, more pre-bonsai, and many more "starters".  You can work on the more mature trees while watching the others develop.  You may also want to consider how fast the tree develops when deciding what to buy (i.e., buy more mature bonsai that develops slowly, and starter bonsai that grows quickly).  For instance, I bought a couple of nice Shimpaku junipers at a bonsai show a few years ago.  They grow slowly but are close to reaching a mature look already.  If I planted Shimpaku seeds or cuttings, it may take 20 years before I could start really enjoying them.  On the other hand, I bought trident maple seedlings off the internet 5 years ago, put them in the ground and watched them grow.  They are now ready for their first trunk chop and should start looking decent in 5-7 years.  

Hope this helps.
Steve


Last edited by steveb on Sat Oct 25, 2014 1:54 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : typo)

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  M. Frary on Sat Oct 25, 2014 2:54 am

I get a lot of my trees from the wild. I also scour nurseries when I get a chance and have the money. And the third place I get trees are from reputable bonsai nurseries online that sell pre bonsai. For the online purchases I save for a good while to get a species that are hard for me to obtain by other means like shimpaku juniper or seiju elm.
Of all of my trees I enjoy the ones I dig up the most. Prob ably because I only have sweat invested and not a couple hundred dollars.
Next year when I add to my collection it will mainly be collected trees again. I've found almost 200 trees to dig. Tamarack,hornbeam,hawthorn,elm,scotch pine,jack pine and some spruces. I will have way more than enough trees to keep me busy for a while.
One last thing. Free trees are the best trees.

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  leatherback on Sat Oct 25, 2014 7:56 am

M. Frary wrote: I've found almost 200 trees to dig.

Hm.. When I read this I get worried.. Unless you are a professional collector collecting for re-selling (A bearpit I do not wish to enter), 200 trees is too many imho. Rather, I would select the best ~20, collect those over the next 2 years and get really good trees out of them..

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  JimLewis on Sat Oct 25, 2014 1:39 pm

Hm.. When I read this I get worried.

Me too. PLEASE only take those with real bonsai potential and that you know you can care for!

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  M. Frary on Sun Oct 26, 2014 10:54 am

I read that other thread. I should have been a little clearer. We'll 200 trees is pretty clear. I have a job clearing under and around powerlines. Jim you saw the picture of one of my collecting spots on B-Nut. I can't post pictures here or it would be here too. Beautiful spot with thousands of tamaracks from 1 year old to 100. River running through it ,beavers splashing, birds singing. All of those small tamaracks under the powerlines get mowed and all of the big ones along the side 40 feet in are being cut down. Progress. So why not dig up a load. All other species of trees I dig up for the most part come from places like this.
And don't worry too much about me being able to take care of them. I worked at a nursery for 3 years and I was in charge of the tree stock. From the thousands growing in the ground to the hundreds of bare root trees we got in every spring that we put in buckets.
Of the 200 trees I dig up next spring I'm only keeping around 140. 60 of the tamarack are going to be given to a bonsai club in my state. The rest do stay with me. The year after I plan on cutting the number of collected trees to around 100 or so a year. I have the room and technology to do this.

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  JimLewis on Sun Oct 26, 2014 1:58 pm

Not particularly worried about you; its whatever nincompoop reads the post and takes home the wrong message. (And, sorry, I saw, but haven't read the thread on B-Nut. Not particularly interested in where others collect -- especially if I'll never get there. )

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  leatherback on Sun Oct 26, 2014 6:02 pm

M. Frary wrote:  I have a job clearing under and around powerlines.[SNIP]All of those small tamaracks under the powerlines get mowed and all of the big ones along the side 40 feet in are being cut down. Progress. So why not dig up a load. All other species of trees I dig up for the most part come from places like this.
[snip]
I worked at a nursery for 3 years and I was in charge of the tree stock. From the thousands growing in the ground to the hundreds of bare root trees we got in every spring that we put in buckets.

OK, makes more sense now Very Happy

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  M. Frary on Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:56 am

Everything's cool you guys. I either dig some trees or they get cut down is all. No need for apologies of any sort. I've worked with trees in some fashion or other my whole life.
And you're right Jim. People shouldn't to attempt to dig up any tree unless they know how to successfully get it out of the ground (actually the easy part) then provide proper after care to insure survival.

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:37 am

Ha ha - seeds and seedlings from the drains. No need to destroy anything, as well as cuttings.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  Forbes on Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:37 pm

Awesome ideas... and thank you. I won't be digging up that many trees for a long time. lol.. I do have about 30 wooded acres at my disposal if needed... but it's mostly sycamore, oak (black and white), Maple, maybe an elm here or there and maybe a cherry tree here or there. Most of the saplings I've seen have been sycamore and maples. I LOVE sycamore trees but from what I have read, they are not very good for bonsai because they keep their large leaf size.

I'll keep my eyes open for tree material (along with deer and squirrels) the next time I hit the woods!


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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  Dave Leppo on Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:15 pm

look for those Red Maples , forbes.  They collect well, can have interesting trunks close to the base, and the leaves will reduce.

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:16 pm

Forbes,


Full sun - fertiliser - well watered

look closely - Seagrape [Cocoloba uvifera ]
Later.
Khaimraj ------------------------ dare to dream




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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  JimLewis on Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:44 pm

I think sea grape is a bit of an odd case, Khaimraj.   I doubt the North American Sycamore would do the same. I can't tell if you battered tape measure is inches or centimeters, but sycamore leaves are better than twice the size of sea grape.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:04 pm

Jim,

the tape measure is in both inches and centimetres.

http://hort.ufl.edu/database/documents/pdf/tree_fact_sheets/plaocca.pdf

says - 8 to 12 " for leaves

http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/database/documents/pdf/tree_fact_sheets/cocuvia.pdf

says 8 to 12 " for leaves

Later.
Khaimraj -------------- dare to dream

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  ogie on Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:22 am

Nice one Khai.. Long time no talk

ogie
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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  Forbes on Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:43 pm

Red Maples are VERY abundant around here... They are absolutely beautiful right now as well! It's a beautiful time of year to be in the Northeast. Smile

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  Dave Leppo on Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:57 pm

acer rubrum is our north american red maple, btw

i have also collected beech (fagus grandifolia), shadbush (amelanchier), Eastern red Cedar (juniperus virginiana), Hornbeam (carpinus caroliniana)

I'm new, too, so any one of these could have problems unknown to me as of yet.

get a good tree id book

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  JimLewis on Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:56 pm

Dave Leppo wrote:acer rubrum is our north american red maple, btw

These are bonsaiable.  Most will have to be a fairly large bonsai and you will have to keep on top of pruning and pinching or the internodes will become too far apart.  Petioles on the leaves are quite long, so the tree will never (I suspect) look as neat and well groomed at the trident or Japanese maples we see.

i have also collected beech (fagus grandifolia), shadbush (amelanchier), Eastern red Cedar (juniperus virginiana), Hornbeam (carpinus caroliniana)

I'm new, too, so any one of these could have problems unknown to me as of yet.

The American beech leaves are a bit large and are difficult to reduce.  The tree usually only has one spring growth period, so you can't really pinch and prune as you might with other trees.  They backbud readily, though, but seldom where you want them, and the buds tend to grow out at all sorts of odd angles.  Best bet for better branching is thread grafts, either with its own branches or with one or more trees sitting beside it.  

Shadbush (Amelanchier) is an ideal North American species and should be used more often.

Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is used as bonsai, but they are a bit difficult.  Best colleted from pastures where livestock has been "pruning" them vigorously for some years, or from exposed cliff faces where the weather has done the same.  Be careful of bulls or of falls from great height.

The hornbeam is very useful as bonsai, but again in North America is better as a large one because of leaf size.  Leaves will reduce, but they're good size to start  with.  Fall color in American hornbeam is much better than the European version -- at least the ones I've seen[/quote]

get a good tree id book

Peterson Field Guides - Eastern Trees -- by Petrides and Wehr.  Audubon Society Field Guide (eastern) is OK.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: where do you get your trees?

Post  Lost2301 on Sat Nov 01, 2014 6:50 pm

I like to buy collected trees from experienced collectors. I also like visiting local nurseries and visit them frequently. Stock changes all the time and you just might find something that just came in. I found a Japanese Snowbell tree a couple of months ago at a nursery that I normally do not go to. It should make a nice tree some day. You can also spend hours looking on line for trees. Our local bonsai club has a Bonsai Vendor page that may help you find some trees your interested in: Bonsai Vendors

Mike

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Re: where do you get your trees?

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