Good beginner trees

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Good beginner trees

Post  Lea2109 on Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:09 pm

Hello,

I am busy reading all I can about the art of bonsai and so far am enjoying the books that I borrowed from the library. One question I have from all you experienced folk out there is what sort of tree is suitable for a beginner. I haven't yet looked into what trees might work in our climate, but if I had a list of the type of trees that you think is great for a beginner then I can look around at the nurseries and gardens to see what works for our climate. One type of tree I think looks absolutely magnificent is the maple with its vibrant autumn colours.

Another question - when you get nursery stock, does it go straight into your bonsai container or do you first keep it in a normal pot for the first year?

I don't want a bonsai that is too big, so not sure what is a realistic size to aim for.

I'm hoping to join up with a club (even though they are not all that close to us), but haven't yet heard from them, so they must still be on holiday.

Also if you have a blog where you share photos of your bonsai adventures - I'd love to have the link Very Happy

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Good beginner trees

Post  Guest on Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:16 pm

Hello Lea and Welcome. Japanese Maples would be a good place to start. New Zealand exports Japanese Maples on a vast scale, so they obviously grow very well in your climate. Transfering to a bonsai pot should only be done when the tree is dormant. The root system takes well to being heavily reduced. Joining a club is a good idea and good luck.

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Re: Good beginner trees

Post  JimLewis on Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:26 pm

One way to learn what would do well as a bonsai in your climate is to wander the neighborhood around you and look at trees and shrubs growing in the yards. Anything with reasonably short needles, or small (under 2-4 cm) leaves is a candidate.

Will mentioned Japanese maples. Others include various elms (Chinese elm is a very popular bonsai). Casuarina is a great southern hemisphere plant. I have an English friend who was reared in NZ. She says there are a lot of typical UK plants there, so hawthorn might be a good choice, too. Almost any juniper is a candidate. Whatever are grown and harvested as Christmas trees in NZ is another probably candidate. Then there are the privets, the azaleas, the camelias, the gardenias -- all are flowering plants that make beautiful bonsai.

Only a lack of imagination will limit your choices of plants to use as bonsai.

_________________
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

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Re: Good beginner trees

Post  kauaibonsai on Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:55 pm

while touring NZ, recently, I thought I saw sheep browsed hawthornes in many parts of the country.

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Re: Good beginner trees

Post  Lea2109 on Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:07 pm

kauaibonsai wrote:while touring NZ, recently, I thought I saw sheep browsed hawthornes in many parts of the country.

Whereabouts in NZ did you tour? We've lived here now for 6 years and really enjoy it. I'm not familiar with the names of most of the trees except the obvious like the pohutukawa. I know where we live now there are a lot of trees, but I'm not sure what they might be called so will probably have to take some photos to a nursery and try and find out.

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Re: Good beginner trees

Post  Lea2109 on Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:26 am

I visited a nursery today that seemed to have quite a good selection of trees and shrubs. Just to look and see what is out there. Am not ready to buy anything just yet. I saw a japanese maple which looked cute and nice, but I must say it is quite hard looking at it and seeing that it might be suitable (or not) as a bonsai. What do you look for when you look at nursery stock? Does anybody have any photos of a tree / shrub that they took before they started pruning / cutting / styling it?

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Re: Good beginner trees

Post  Guest on Thu Jan 06, 2011 3:33 am

Hello Lea. The most important thing to consider when buying good bonsai material is the trunk. A well tapered trunk with a good radial spread of roots and some low branches to start with as this can be difficult to rectify for a beginer. I dont have any good pics of nursery material,but Im sure others will help you out.

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Re: Good beginner trees

Post  kauaibonsai on Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:59 am

we travelled by coach for 2 weeks so moved around the country extensively. I think the sheep browsed material was outside queenstown on the way to the kawarau bungi jump site. pohutukawa would make magnificent bonsai. the leaves are small, wild growing trees so gnarly, and the red blossoms- oh my!

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Re: Good beginner trees

Post  JimLewis on Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:10 pm

Look here for info on selecting nursery plants: http://www.evergreengardenworks.com/nurserys.htm

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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

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