3 Question about starting a bonsai tree from a back yard Maple (Acer) seedlind

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3 Question about starting a bonsai tree from a back yard Maple (Acer) seedlind

Post  jjrbell on Tue Jun 22 2010, 16:09

I need some advice and help understanding if I am starting this bonsai correctly. I have three questions to begin with. First let me give you a little information about what I am attempting for the first time. I am new to this and I know that I will probably make some mistakes but I want to learn. I have read a little bit about bonsai but can not find much about starting from seedlings. (I assume some of you will be cringing when you read below). Thank you for any help and advice.

I have taken two small seedlings 3" tall from my back yard (gutter) actually, about 4 weeks old and twisted them together and planted them about an inch and a half deep 3 weeks ago. I have planted them in a small teracotta pot 3" tall by 2 1/2" in diameter using regular garden soil. They both seem strong as they have leaves the size of quarters at the top of the now 4 inches with new leaves growth half the size of a dime on both seedlings a total of 3 levels of leaves.

1. How should I prune these or should I just leave them alone and continue to water frequently?

2. When should I change the soil type?

3. When should I put these in a proper bonsai pot?

Thank you again for any help and advice.


Last edited by jjrbell on Tue Jun 22 2010, 16:15; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : sentence structure)

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Re: 3 Question about starting a bonsai tree from a back yard Maple (Acer) seedlind

Post  Kev Bailey on Tue Jun 22 2010, 16:39

Hi JJRBell,

In the intial stages of developing bonsai, especially from seed, you are aiming at maximum growth to thicken the stem and create an illusion of age. A small pot will not allow you to do this. You need to plant them in the ground or a large growing box once they are large enough to cope. I'd pot them in a larger flower pot for now.

Trees in pots grow better in an open soil mix. Garden soil is usually too heavy and the lack of air in hte mix leads to root rot. Mixing grit or Turface in would help.

Please take your time and read widely. You will soon find that most bonsai people don't start from seed, due to the time involved. I'm not one of them, but it is a darned long winded way of developing material. Many of my trees are 15 to 20 years from seed and only now are they approaching bonsaihood.

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“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.

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Re: 3 Question about starting a bonsai tree from a back yard Maple (Acer) seedlind

Post  jjrbell on Tue Jun 22 2010, 16:50

Kev,

Thank you for the advice. Would you suggest using kitty litter or sand as grit? I will move the trees this weekend. Wanting stem growth, would I then want to prune the leaves and keep it short for the begining of its life (1 year)?

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Re: 3 Question about starting a bonsai tree from a back yard Maple (Acer) seedlind

Post  Kev Bailey on Tue Jun 22 2010, 17:48

Sharp sand or aquarium grit, something like that. Kitty litter isn't often a good choice as there are hundreds of different types made from anything from wood pulp to stuff soaked in chemicals.

I'd just let them grow and learn how to look after them. If they survive, you can start cutting them back after a year of so to make the framework of a small tree.

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Starting a Bonsai from a Backyard Maple

Post  bonsaisr on Thu Jun 24 2010, 00:07

This tree may be fun to practice on, but if it is a backyard seedling in Chicago, it is unlikely to be suitable for bonsai. Contact Matt Ouinga. He specializes in maple seedlings for bonsai.
Iris

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