Just starting and could use some tips

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Just starting and could use some tips

Post  johnnypalmer89 on Thu May 13, 2010 3:29 pm

So im just starting out in the world of bonsai but I still need some advice from others, if anyone feels an interest in commenting on any photos please feel free! Thanks!


on the hibiscus I used a fire and ice hibiscus and i cut off the leaves to create the "dormancy" effect so the new leaves will be smaller. crossing my fingers, I am on my last nerve hoping it will survive

Dwarf Crepe Myrtle



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A bit of encouragement

Post  pmjos on Thu May 13, 2010 3:50 pm

Hi Johnny

I would just say welcome to Bonsai and well done for putting up your pictures. The people on this forum are some of the most knowlegable and friendly you could want so good move for joining. You might also visit www.bonsai4me.com or www.bonsaibasho.com for free info and articles. You can get a really good backdrop of bonsai by going to www.bonsaifarm.tv where a guy called Lindsay Farr has put together over 30 short films about bonsai in Japan and China. As fo your trees they will come along in time, better than my first efforts!


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Re: Just starting and could use some tips

Post  Kev Bailey on Thu May 13, 2010 4:12 pm

Hi Johnny,

Great that you are making a start and asking questions. I'm not familiar with the species you are using so won't comment on specific trees. You do need to do some reading around wiring technique, as the way that you have used wire is likely to cause you some problems in a very short time. When wiring it is important not to cross wires, as the one closest to the bark will be forced into it as the tree grows. This quickly scars the bark which, for most species, is undesirable and can take many years to grow out.

There's some basic info here


and here


Your wire looks like copper and will most likely need to be carefully cut off, as it work hardens when bent so that removing by uncoiling usually leads to damage to branches and buds.

Don't be discouraged by this. Wiring, unwiring and rewiring is a process that most people have to do when they begin, in order to practise and improve their technique.

If you are keen to learn more there's a video of a day of wiring and styling a pine edited down to six and a half minutes here (it's after the first two and a half minutes of show footage). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHHjt1PR39U

“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

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Re: Just starting and could use some tips

Post  Joe Hatfield on Fri May 14, 2010 7:21 am

My words of advice are easy to say but hard to stick by. "Don't sweat the small stuff" You are gonna kill lots of trees during this whole process and your going to have to cut a lot of branches you first thought were necessary in the final design.

Bonsai is a fun road to travel but if you go to fast you'll miss some stuff.

Oh yeah, and start saving some money now. Your gonna want to buy some much cool bonsai junk! There is so much cool bonsai junk to choose from. Smile



Joe Hatfield

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just starting

Post  alex e on Fri May 14, 2010 10:59 am

The best advice I can give is to join a club if you ain,t already ,books, dvd,s
even IBC are fantastic and a wealth of knowledge study but to be around
like minded individuals hands on[ooh er misssus Laughing ] getting down & dirty
to coin a phrase has no substitute ThumbsUp

Alex e

alex e

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Re: Just starting and could use some tips

Post  RKatzin on Fri May 14, 2010 4:16 pm

Hi Johnny, welcome to the world of bonsai. I can see that you're doing exactly what I did some years back starting out myself. I've learned, through all the sites mentioned and lots of trial and error (mostly error), a lesson I'd like to pass on to you right out of the gate. Simply stated, bonsai trees do not grow in bonsai pots and putting trees in small pots before they're properly prepared through years of training is the best way I've found to kill trees. I like to refer to those early training days as my slam dunk bonsai craze, when i took anything I could get my hands on and cropped the roots and slammed it into a bonsai pot. I think most folks, whether or not they'll admit it, went through a similar phase stating out. Ah, but you got lucky Johnny, you came here and may be able to avoid the old adage that states that the path to bonsai is paved with dead trees. Oh, you're going to lose some trees and it's painful, every one, but with the advice here you can learn how to keep that to a minimum. Most of my 'slam dunk' trees lasted for a few years before perishing, those that did survive were replanted into grow-pots or into the ground to continue their development toward being bonsai someday. This was a hard pill for me to swallow, but when I compared my work to what I was seeing as what I wanted to accomplish and asked, how do they do that, well, they do that by allowing the trees to grow freely for five to ten years and then make bonsai. Even trees with good trunk size and all need a couple of years training minimum before being committed to bonsai. I worked alone without a net (no www) for many years, with little success, in my Frankensteinian bonsai world, but we're making progress here. If I may suggest, without treading on anyone's delicate sensitivities, you should remove the wiring and plant your trees into good size pots until they grow into something you'll be proud to call a bonsai. Please don't be offended when I say that there are no insta-bonsai. It's a long, enduring process that requires saintly patience and a world of knowledge. You're at the right place for learning, the patience you have to develop on your own. Smile


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Re: Just starting and could use some tips

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