Frustrated Trying to Find pre-Bonsai Material

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Frustrated Trying to Find pre-Bonsai Material

Post  bilbo on Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:34 pm

I’m new to bonsai but have almost immediately hit some obstacles.

Not the least of which is material, decent, workable, pre-bonsai plants.

Oh, there is no shortage of Green Mound Juniper and Butterfly maples in pre-bonsai state.
But other than that? Zilch.

Perusing the local nurseries, I’ve managed to find a few oddball items, but on a much larger size scale.

There’s a seller on Amazon who has a wide variety of conifers and maples, but they are all 1 to 3 years (very small) and mostly grafts.
And then there’s “Bonsai Boi”…

I talked to a buyer in a very reputable nursery about special ordering from Monrovia and I left with the distinct impression he could care less and wasn’t too worried that I left with that impression.

There is one local Bonsai business ( say local but remember that is on Texas scale) about 60 miles away that has some small bonsai they sell but it has all already been potted and styled.

Am I missing something here?
Are the legitimate pre-bonsai sellers keeping to an exclusive club only accessible on the dark web?
Where are the 5-8 year pines, spruce, and cedars?
And what’s with all the obscure dwarf cultivars?
There’s a ton of Japanese Black Pine dwarf and colored cultivars but what about just plain old Pinus thunbergii?

Any credible insights from the experts would be greatly appreciated.

bilbo
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Re: Frustrated Trying to Find pre-Bonsai Material

Post  John Quinn on Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:36 pm

If you have the opportunity to associate with a club you may find the members to be a good source of pre-bonsai that they will sell or give to you. It may be worthwhile to review the basics of selecting nursery trees:
https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/bonsaibe.htm
http://www.bonsaidilettante.com/2013/12/selecting-good-nursery-stock.html

As you become more skilled be aware that decent pre-bonsai can be air layered from nursery bought trees.
I have no affiliation with New England Bonsai (other than a purchase many years ago) but they do list some pre-bonsai trees for sale that may be of interest.

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Re: Frustrated Trying to Find pre-Bonsai Material

Post  bilbo on Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:18 pm

Thanks for the tips!
I'll check them out.

bilbo
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Re: Frustrated Trying to Find pre-Bonsai Material

Post  bilbo on Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:28 am

John Quinn wrote:As you become more skilled be aware that decent pre-bonsai can be air layered from nursery bought trees.

That's interesting you mention this.

I am an OLD HAND expert at air layering/cloning/cutting propagation (what ever they're calling it these days).
In fact, I obtained all 8 of my current ficus bonsai from one single 6' ficus I bought at a nursery.

Air layering has been heavy on my mind.
I've been keeping my eyes open around town for various Japanese maples, some Texas redbuds, etc.

I already own a 5' Blue Atlas Cedar I heavily considering layering.

Do you have a tread topic on air layering? What works, what doesn't?

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Re: Frustrated Trying to Find pre-Bonsai Material

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:26 pm

put air layer or airlayer in the search box for this site... no shortage of threads.

also, consider going local = MESQUITE can make some very cool gnarly bonsai

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Re: Frustrated Trying to Find pre-Bonsai Material

Post  Bruce Winter on Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:11 am

I would venture to say that there is more bonsai stock flying around the country from Facebook auction sites than any other source. I know, some folks have a thing about FB, I was one of them, but I've sold a lot of pots and tools and bought some too and would love to have some trees I've seen but nothing green can enter or leave Hawaii.

Good you are doing layering. I'm always on the look-out for interesting branches, and trunks to ground-layer.

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Re: Frustrated Trying to Find pre-Bonsai Material

Post  bilbo on Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:34 am

Bruce Winter wrote:I would venture to say that there is more bonsai stock flying around the country from Facebook auction sites than any other source. I know, some folks have a thing about FB, I was one of them, but I've sold a lot of pots and tools and bought some too and would love to have some trees I've seen but nothing green can enter or leave Hawaii.

"Facebook auction sites"?!
Can you elaborate on this please?
I'm on Facebook and have looked for some Bonsai related pages/groups, I haven't seen anything I'd call an auction, or even outright sales.

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Re: Frustrated Trying to Find pre-Bonsai Material

Post  Bruce Winter on Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:47 pm

Sure. Bonsai Auctions, Bonsai classified, Bonsai Pot Auctions, 99 cent bonsai, (under $75.) Bonsai talk.

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Re: Frustrated Trying to Find pre-Bonsai Material

Post  Lost2301 on Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:16 pm

I don't seem have any trouble finding decent nursery stock for Bonsai. I found a 10-12 foot Barberry around 3 weeks ago at a nursery. Big trunk on it to. I cut it off right at the nursery to around 6' to get it into the car. The key is you just have to spend a lot of time looking. I go on a frequent basis and that is the key. Perhaps your not looking at smaller nursery stock in the right light to. I have a bunch of very nice smaller nursery stock Bonsai, so it pays to look at everything. I have one nice cascade that is getting ready to be put on display at the Denver Botanic Garden Bonsai Pavilion as soon as it starts blooming. I paid around $10-$15 for it. Its a great tree and pretty small.

I found a very nice Barberry in the back of a nursery center, there were around 10 of them in huge pots. It seems the nursery ripped out the Barberry hedge out in front of the nursery. I spent sometime looking at them in the spring and took one home. I did not get the ones with the biggest trunks either. I took home the one with best form, not biggest trunks. It is getting ready to be put into a pot now. The nursery threw out the rest of them the next year!! Some time its just the timing of your visits. Frequency of visits is the key.

I have a tree vendor page on my website that will help you find pre-bonsai from all over the US. Here is a link to Nursery material for Bonsai trees on my website, it might help you:  Nursery Material

One of my best finds was a $3.75 azalea (Hot Shot) from a box store. The finished tree made it into the BCI magazine a couple issues ago. It is just now getting ready to bloom for the first time in a Bonsai pot.
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