salix melanostachys as bonsai ?

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salix melanostachys as bonsai ?

Post  Tom McCue on Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:29 pm

What do you think of Salix Melanostachys (gracilisyla) as bonsai. They have some rather nice ones up at Home Depot for $15.00. Do you think it might be worth a go or forget about it.

Thanks Tom

Tom McCue
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Salix melanostachys as bonsai ?

Post  bonsaisr on Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:12 pm

That's Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys.' It is a welcome sight in the dead of winter, actually March around here. I think it's been tried as a bonsai, but willows in general are iffy. I have been trying to grow 'Rokkakudo' off & on for years. Go with it; you have very little to lose. It should work as a clump style.
Iris

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Re: salix melanostachys as bonsai ?

Post  Tom McCue on Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:45 pm

bonsaisr wrote:That's Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys.' It is a welcome sight in the dead of winter, actually March around here. I think it's been tried as a bonsai, but willows in general are iffy. I have been trying to grow 'Rokkakudo' off & on for years. Go with it; you have very little to lose. It should work as a clump style.
Iris

Thanks Iris

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Re: salix melanostachys as bonsai ?

Post  RKatzin on Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:29 am

Hi Tom, willows for the most part are unruly and cantankerous guests. They can be tamed to some degree, but require constant tending or they simply grow right out of the pot. The pussy willow varieties are worse than some. They drink copious amounts of water and I keep mine in a pan of water in the summer. I've been growing two varieties of corkscrew willow, S. matsudana, a standard green one (windswept/ror) and a scarlet curls (upright hollow trunk), for a few years and they're just begining to settle down some. A six inch cutting I took in the spring grew to almost six feet in one season in a short six inch pot. There are other varieties of willow that are a bit more bonsai friendly. Salix purpurea nana, Dwarf Purple Willow, and Salix polaris, Dwarf Arctic Willow, some say they're the same, I think the purpurea is a domesticated polaris, are two that are fun to play with. I've done root-over-rock, broom, fused trunk (they both have small trunks), windswept and one I wired into the shape of a dragon. Fun to play with and the small purple stems make nice tight baskets. Salix repens, S. retusa, S. rigida, and S.arbuscula are all dwarf varieties worth trying. Have fun. Smile

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Re: salix melanostachys as bonsai ?

Post  Tom McCue on Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:06 pm

RKatzin wrote:Hi Tom, willows for the most part are unruly and cantankerous guests. They can be tamed to some degree, but require constant tending or they simply grow right out of the pot. The pussy willow varieties are worse than some. They drink copious amounts of water and I keep mine in a pan of water in the summer. I've been growing two varieties of corkscrew willow, S. matsudana, a standard green one (windswept/ror) and a scarlet curls (upright hollow trunk), for a few years and they're just begining to settle down some. A six inch cutting I took in the spring grew to almost six feet in one season in a short six inch pot. There are other varieties of willow that are a bit more bonsai friendly. Salix purpurea nana, Dwarf Purple Willow, and Salix polaris, Dwarf Arctic Willow, some say they're the same, I think the purpurea is a domesticated polaris, are two that are fun to play with. I've done root-over-rock, broom, fused trunk (they both have small trunks), windswept and one I wired into the shape of a dragon. Fun to play with and the small purple stems make nice tight baskets. Salix repens, S. retusa, S. rigida, and S.arbuscula are all dwarf varieties worth trying. Have fun. Smile

Thanks for your response

Tom McCue
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Re: salix melanostachys as bonsai ?

Post  bonsainotwar on Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:22 pm

RKatzin wrote:Hi Tom, willows for the most part are unruly and cantankerous guests. They can be tamed to some degree, but require constant tending or they simply grow right out of the pot. The pussy willow varieties are worse than some. They drink copious amounts of water and I keep mine in a pan of water in the summer. I've been growing two varieties of corkscrew willow, S. matsudana, a standard green one (windswept/ror) and a scarlet curls (upright hollow trunk), for a few years and they're just begining to settle down some. A six inch cutting I took in the spring grew to almost six feet in one season in a short six inch pot. There are other varieties of willow that are a bit more bonsai friendly. Salix purpurea nana, Dwarf Purple Willow, and Salix polaris, Dwarf Arctic Willow, some say they're the same, I think the purpurea is a domesticated polaris, are two that are fun to play with. I've done root-over-rock, broom, fused trunk (they both have small trunks), windswept and one I wired into the shape of a dragon. Fun to play with and the small purple stems make nice tight baskets. Salix repens, S. retusa, S. rigida, and S.arbuscula are all dwarf varieties worth trying. Have fun. Smile

Don't forget many willows do not take kindly to pruning,and a whole limb can often die back to the trunk if you cut a twig or two,and willows in containers often need extra protection to make it through the winter.I find they are more trouble than they are worth.

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Re: salix melanostachys as bonsai ?

Post  RKatzin on Sat Apr 24, 2010 11:54 am

Seems to be the general opinion on willow. I have not had any problems like that with the dwarfs. The Scarlet Curls does respond as you say, but you can monitor you cuts to allow for the die back, cutting an inch or so longer than you want and after the back budding remove the dead stub. The standard mastudana does not die back like the hybrid does. Here in SW Oregon, winters are mild enough to not need extra protection, but I imagine where you are everything need some winter protection. I would add that the Scarlet Curls was a free-bee and I'm not looking for another. The Purpurea nana is a much more managable tree and really fun to play with as they can be trained almost any way you can imagine. I suppose some pics are in order. I just went through and topped most, but I'll take some when the sun rises.

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Re: salix melanostachys as bonsai ?

Post  Guest on Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:14 pm

Simon Temblett, had a really good article on Willow in Bonsai Focus. Simon struggled with one for years, suffering from dieback and lack of vigour. He tried out a drip feed/ watering system and he has had brilliant results. Kev Bailey might have more information on this.

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Re: salix melanostachys as bonsai ?

Post  Tom McCue on Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:40 pm

thanks to all.

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