Beginners asking for the basics (and tree ID perhaps)

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Beginners asking for the basics (and tree ID perhaps)

Post  bonsaifromroots on Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:49 am

Hi there, we're new to this forum today, and probably the once a week headache newbies who frequent the forums, asking for the long drawn out answers to life as a bonsai trainer Embarassed So apologies if that's us.

Here is a link to a blog we started today, with a specimen plant we collected, it's all in the link:

http://bonsaifromroots.blogspot.co.nz/2015/01/our-first-potential-bonsai-to-be.html

Our questions are as follows:

- Can we create a successful bonsai from the plant as it is without further growth in the ground? By this I mean thickness of trunk etc.

- If so, what is the next step? considering it is mid-Summer here in New Zealand Smile

- Would we be better to find a new specimen more developed as beginners, and if so, what should we look for?

Basically just a fish out of water here, huge plant life fan, but clueless as to how we take a plant life form, and turn it into such a miniature marvel of the full sized real deal trees we see every day.

Cheers for the help, hoping to learn and in the process teach others in the long run.


bonsaifromroots
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Beginners asking for the basics (and tree ID perhaps)

Post  Kev Bailey on Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:46 am

Hi there and welcome. It does look like a type of Maple. Similar to the Sycamore that we have in the UK, but perhaps not exactly the same. It can be used to practise on but doesn't make a particularly good bonsai as the leaves are very large and reluctant to reduce and the internodes, distance between leaf pairs and therefore buds, are very large. You would be much better off using a species like your national tree, Kowhai, or any of the southern beech, Nothofagus, if they are available. All have smaller leaves and shorter internodes which make them much better bonsai subjects.

If you like maples, start growing some Japanese maples, either from seed or specimens from nurseries, under your mature trees. Acer palmatum love part shade and after a few years growth can be lifted and potted up easily.

_________________
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” - Charles Darwin.

Kev Bailey
Admin


Back to top Go down

Re: Beginners asking for the basics (and tree ID perhaps)

Post  kcpoole on Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:00 pm

Possibly Liquid ambar variety?
The leaves also remind me of a large fruiting fig I had in the garden at home.

Let it recover and hopefully send out new growth, then you can use it to learn about keeping trees alive in containers and pots.
In a larger pot it will slowly thicken but only if you let it grow wild and put on as much growth is it can without trimming.

IMHO you would be better looking for stock already in pots of known successful varieties and you can use this wiki page for a good list to start with.
http://www.ausbonsai.com.au/wiki/index.php?title=Starter_Bonsai

Check out Ausbonsai, we have a few NZ members there, and our wiki pages to help you get started.
http://www.ausbonsai.com.au/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page

Ken

kcpoole
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Beginners asking for the basics (and tree ID perhaps)

Post  JimLewis on Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:46 pm

Yes. It is sweetgum -- Liquidamber. There are a few different species. Some have been made into passable bonsai, but they're not easy. As other have said there are better trees to work with.

_________________
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

JimLewis
Member


Back to top Go down

Questions cont.

Post  bonsaifromroots on Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:36 pm

Thanks for the help everyone, I guess there are upsides and downfalls to going out and collecting specimens in the wild as you can grab something not so suitable, especially for beginners like us, so is there anything we should be looking for to signify a plant that would make a good bonsai in smaller form?

Last question and this is one that worries me. If the aim of the game is to increase trunk girth by putting a training tree in the ground, how then do you not so much control growth, as that would I am assuming slow girth growth, less leaves = less need for larger trunk after all, so how do you keep the plant from shooting off up into the air, and encourage small growth near the base of the tree that can later be first branches etc when you remove it from the ground? I just get images in my head of this nice wide trunk of a couple of inches, but no growth to work with near the bottom of the plant. I'm guessing there is some sort of light pruning technique that doesn't take too much off to inhibit trunk girth, but encourages the plant to become somewhat 'shrubby' until later training.

Cheers Smile Thanks for the help so far everyone!

bonsaifromroots
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Beginners asking for the basics (and tree ID perhaps)

Post  bonsaifromroots on Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:41 pm

kcpoole wrote:
IMHO you would be better looking for stock already in pots of known successful varieties and you can use this wiki page for a good list to start with.
http://www.ausbonsai.com.au/wiki/index.php?title=Starter_Bonsai

Check out Ausbonsai, we have a few NZ members there, and our wiki pages to help you get started.
http://www.ausbonsai.com.au/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page

Ken

Cheers kcpoole, being that it's basically just a hotter New Zealand sharing most plants, this site will be quite helpful Very Happy

bonsaifromroots
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Beginners asking for the basics (and tree ID perhaps)

Post  kcpoole on Sat Jan 24, 2015 3:15 am

bonsaifromroots wrote:
Last question and this is one that worries me. If the aim of the game is to increase trunk girth by putting a training tree in the ground, how then do you not so much control growth, as that would I am assuming slow girth growth, less leaves = less need for larger trunk after all, so how do you keep the plant from shooting off up into the air, and encourage small growth near the base of the tree that can later be first branches etc when you remove it from the ground? I just get images in my head of this nice wide trunk of a couple of inches, but no growth to work with near the bottom of the plant. I'm guessing there is some sort of light pruning technique that doesn't take too much off to inhibit trunk girth, but encourages the plant to become somewhat 'shrubby' until later training.!

That my friend is the difficult bit.
Essentially it is a staged process.
Grow the trunk ( an Nebari) to the desired size with taper but letting the tree grow rampantly and trunk chopping every few years ( depending on species).
Lifting from the ground and working roots and replanting every few years to build nebari.
once you have the trunk the desired size then build your branching a similar way, Grow out then cut back, Repeat as necessary to build ramification in the tree.

The above process is really for deciduous trees as you can cut off branches used for sacrifices to build the trunk diameter and start again. Pines and junipers do not backbud on old wood so you must build the branching at the same time as the trunk.

Ken

kcpoole
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Beginners asking for the basics (and tree ID perhaps)

Post  Precarious on Sat Jan 24, 2015 3:37 am

Vance Wood has a good contribution on this subject(and nice trees), if he would respond (hint hint Wink ). He describes his preferred method as finding the tree with the trunk already how or close to how you like it, at a nursery or in the wild, and begin the process of pruning and growing to get the branches proper in relation to the trunk.

Precarious
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Beginners asking for the basics (and tree ID perhaps)

Post  bonsaifromroots on Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:30 am

Funnily enough I appear to have found exactly the plant you describe as Vance's method today! Not a deciduous as well, @kcpoole, cheers for the advice! I believe THIS specimen doesn't require Nebari growth method, assuming by that you mean (after quick research) the growth of roots to be more aesthetically pleasing, and in the process I am sure thicken the trunk.

The link to the latest find.

So now to be a complete pain I will change the direction of the advice again. Reason I find this not painful is that I see this as advice that people reading through will also benefit from Wink

So that tree there, assumedly some kind of juniper or cypress, commonly known as cedars. it has the trunk girth I am looking for and low branching growth. So:

-Do I remove it this season? (mid summer)

- Do I put it into a training pot of some description to prevent extensive root growth? if so what size?

- How long do I wait before pruning? I am guessing at least a whole year until active growth in summer next time around as the roots will have to take time to adjust.

- Oh yeah, if anyone can ID the tree that would be grand as well Very Happy

Man I am demanding Twisted Evil

But yeah I am thinking currently, unless I am mistaken, I will attempt to move the tree into a pot of decent size to accomodate, removing the unwanted roots in the best way you guys think necessary and trimming others to promote more of a fine root ball growth for the future. Then I will leave it at least for a year, if not more if you guys think so, and then think about pruning to a shape and wiring. But then the question of whether we let it grow rampant in that time? So many questions ...

bonsaifromroots
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Beginners asking for the basics (and tree ID perhaps)

Post  Sorcertree on Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:23 am

Mate,

If The forest is yours, you can train it as it stands. Leave it in the ground. One problem, the shade of the forest. I'd go up and remove or just move that problem so it gets good sun.

. The 3-4 trunks emerging at the bottom will cause a bulge, I'd pick one and chop it to it. One with good movement and close branching. Leave the other stumps till you figure on a Jim or shari design.

It seems to have a decent Nebari. I would saw off the biggest root after a fork first. Followed in a year or so by the next, and all around till they are of good almost same size.

Fertilize it in place, work it down, dig it in a few.

Don't forget to look up too! You can have a lot of good starts via airlayer. It's easier to find good taper and branching in branches!

Good day.

Sorce

Sorcertree
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Beginners asking for the basics (and tree ID perhaps)

Post  kcpoole on Sat Jan 24, 2015 10:37 pm

It hard to identify the tree but either way i would not collect in summer.

you could cut some of the roots now and then leave them for 12 months to develop roots back closer to the trunk. Next year do the others then clollect the year after that.
Collecting trees Unless you are very experienced and select the correct species that will tolerate it, is not a matter of just walkign our, finding one and then digging it up. To collect sucessfully it takes time and planning to collect the tree and then care to allow it to recover.

If the tree is a juniper then it will most likely not back bud on old wood. any foliage needs to be close to the trunk to be useful in the eventual design of the tree.

it has been said that it takes just as long to make a bonsai from a larger collected tree, as it does to grow from seedling.
ie nether route is fast

Ken

kcpoole
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Beginners asking for the basics (and tree ID perhaps)

Post  bonsaifromroots on Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:35 am

Sorcertree wrote:Mate,

 If The forest is yours, you can train it as it stands. Leave it in the ground. One problem, the shade of the forest.  I'd go up and remove or just move that problem so it gets good sun.

Unfortunately I can't remove the tree/s or branches around it and they are very close to where the specimen is, so I a wondering whether I should move it in winter then?

Sorcertree wrote:The 3-4 trunks emerging at the bottom will cause a bulge, I'd pick one and chop it to it. One with good movement and close branching. Leave the other stumps till you figure on a Jim or shari design.

Ah yes I will do that as well, taking into account that it looks to be that I will be moving the plant into a pot in winter, or whatever time is best (I really don't know when to haha), I guess that should be done after the specimen has had a year to adjust to it's new home? and I guess you can't remove branches and roots at the same time as well.

Sorcertree wrote:It seems to have a decent Nebari. I would saw off the biggest root after a fork first. Followed in a year or so by the next, and all around till they are of good almost same size.

would it be possible to remove the specimen to put into a container, and remove a deep root at the same time?

Sorcertree wrote:Fertilize it in place, work it down, dig it in a few.

Will definitely fertilize the specimen haha, I don't know what to use as such, but the Bonsai teacher I visited once was using a bluish ball shaped pellet on the surface that kinda looked like Wonka Nerds, do you know what that might have been?

Sorcertree wrote:Don't forget to look up too! You can have a lot of good starts via airlayer. It's easier to find good taper and branching in branches!

Will definitely do so Very Happy

But basically at this point I am thinking this all means I will be waiting 'til winter here, digging it up, removing strong vertical roots that will grow straight down and make it difficult to grow as bonsai in the future, then potting it up for a year. In a year's time I think this means I will start pruning roots to forks, one per year or so, and once that is complete in a couple of years, will be pruning the top, removing the bunched up trunks that you mentioned, Sorcertree, near the base, unless you think I would be able to somewhat prune top and bottom simultaneously or at different times of the year, say if the best time to prune a branch was early spring (just guessing) and then the roots in winter, that would shave off a couple of years.

not to mention the fact that I would want to begin training the trunk as well to shape, and somewhat preparing the shape of the growth to appear more like a large tree, more horizontal branches and so on with wiring.

I guess what I am asking for here, is someone to tell me step by step what is involved per year in taking a specimen like this, and when to remove roots, branches, repot and train with wire, which in the Bonsai world is basically asking for the answers to life haha, I just feel as a beginner I need to be almost led by the hand and told what I should expect to be doing and when bounce

If that is too much to ask for, I apologize, because if I was in a bonsai expert's shoes, I'd probably tell me to get lost at this point haha Razz I am also afraid I am occupying a space on the forums I shouldn't be ...

Cheers for the help thus far though, from everyone, greatly appreciated.






bonsaifromroots
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Beginners asking for the basics (and tree ID perhaps)

Post  bonsaifromroots on Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:43 am

kcpoole wrote:It hard to identify the tree but either way i would not collect in summer.

you could cut some of the roots now and then leave them for 12 months to develop roots back closer to the trunk. Next year do the others then clollect the year after that.
Collecting trees Unless you are very experienced and select the correct species that will tolerate it, is not a matter of just walkign our, finding one and then digging it up. To collect sucessfully it takes time and planning to collect the tree and then care to allow it to recover.

If the tree is a juniper then it will most likely not back bud on old wood. any foliage needs to be close to the trunk to be useful in the eventual design of the tree.

it has been said that it takes just as long to make a bonsai from a larger collected tree, as it does to grow from seedling.
ie nether route is fast

Ken

Thanks for the help, Ken, I am at this point after previous advice from Sorcetree just a little worried that leaving it in the forest now is not the best, as it is shaded, so if there is any way in the realm of possibilities I could get it out of there before I begin any kind of work on the specimen, that would be fantastic.

I am also worried about when it comes to pruning roots whilst leaving the specimen where it is (as I know when you lift a plant, the underground tells a different story to what you see from the top) and finding out after a couple of years that by leaving the specimen there and pruning roots back I have strengthened a very large vertical root right under the base that has become basically the only root of strength for the plant, which digs DEEP into the ground. This would not be ideal haha.

I'm definitely in no rush to have anything resembling a Bonsai, but a little concerned about where it is currently.

Thanks so much for the help, all of you guys have been amazing thumbs up

bonsaifromroots
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Beginners asking for the basics (and tree ID perhaps)

Post  M. Frary on Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:43 am

My thoughts.
First. This is to be your very first bonsai correct?
Second. If so digging up trees for bonsai is not really the way to go.
Third. I think you are referring to Vance taking large trees and cutting them down to make bonsai. Correct? If that's the case choose a tree with a large trunk from the beginning. It doesn't really matter how tall it is. Most of that gets cut off anyway.
If you dig up small trees and transplant them to grow a trunk large enough to be a suitable candidate takes time.
I strongly suggest going to a nursery and looking at plants in the 1 to 5 gallon containers. They will already have lots of roots and are used to growing in containers. Not to mention the trunks that are fat enough to make decent bonsai.

M. Frary
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Beginners asking for the basics (and tree ID perhaps)

Post  bonsaifromroots on Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:00 am

M. Frary wrote:  My thoughts.
First. This is to be your very first bonsai correct?
Second. If so digging up trees for bonsai is not really the way to go.
Third. I think you are referring to Vance taking large trees and cutting them down to make bonsai. Correct? If that's the case choose a tree with a large trunk from the beginning. It doesn't really matter how tall it is. Most of that gets cut off anyway.
  If you dig up small trees and transplant them to grow a trunk large enough to be a suitable candidate takes time.
 I strongly suggest going to a nursery and looking at plants in the 1 to 5 gallon containers. They will already have lots of roots and are used to growing in containers. Not to mention the trunks that are fat enough to make decent bonsai.

Apologies for the late response, have been working!

I appreciate the feedback, M. Frary. I understand that for a beginner, wanting to learn how to do everyhtin, working on a plant that requires so much work in other ways along with training is not idea, but I feel I want to rise to the challenge, and if I fail, then so be it! This will by far not be the only specimen I attempt to train at once.

I have a tree with a large trunk in mind already, just it is growing in the ground, I guess I am missing something, but basically I just need a straightfoward yes or no answer to whether I can transplant this tree, in case you didn't see it already:

http://bonsaifromroots.blogspot.co.nz/2015/01/maybe-better-shot.html

-In one go, without trimming roots or anything, and putting it into a container, whatever size the container may have to be to accommodate. Reason being is this specimen is destined for death otherwise, what with where it is growing, and not wanting it to be in the woods any more (my parents' wishes I have now been told).

So I am at this point going to attempt to dig it up early fall, as nicely as possible without disturbing the roots, and put it into a large container, leaving it until the growing season the following year to do anything to it at all Smile If it handles the move, awesome. If not? Oh well haha.

Also, me and my girlfriend are going into the city tonight to peruse the garden centers for suitable plants in 1 to 5 gallon pots! So thanks for the heads up on what to look for Very Happy

bonsaifromroots
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Beginners asking for the basics (and tree ID perhaps)

Post  Sponsored content Today at 11:33 am


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum