Buttonwood Question

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Buttonwood Question

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:04 pm

As previously noted in Pests & Diseases, I got rid of the scale.
You don't want a picture yet, as the tree looks like Donald's hair. It has been doing well under lights for the winter and will soon go outdoors. It will not be repotted until the weather gets warmer. Meanwhile, it only has three branches to bless itself with, & could use a couple more, at or near the top, & at another elbow. My plan is to prune drastically about the time it is repotted and hope for back-budding. I don't think there is anything I could use for a thread graft. The question is - should I prune before I repot or after?
Iris

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Re: Buttonwood Question

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:10 pm

We usually prune and repot at the same time, in August.

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Button Wood

Post  Mitch Thomas on Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:40 pm

Hi Iris
Here in south Louisiana,I usually repot and hard prune in the spring just as soon as we have a average tempurature of 80 degrees. Buttonwoods back bud eaisier when they are repotted and hard pruned at the same time. It also seems to help backbudding if the pot is partily summerged in water until buds appear.

I never had the reason to thread graft they back very easy

Hope this helps.
Mitch


Last edited by Mitch Thomas on Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:42 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added)

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Button wood

Post  Mitch Thomas on Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:55 pm

Here is a shot of mine from last spring.






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Buttonwood Question

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:41 pm

Thank you for the suggestions. Because of branch and shari placement, I don't think this tree is going to produce a leader, but trying to thread graft on a 7-inch (18 cm) shohin specimen might be too risky. Buttonwoods don't follow strict rules, anyway. clown
Around here, the hottest season is about early July, but I will probably repot a little before then, to give it plenty of time to recover. Depends a lot on the weather.
Iris

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Buttonwood Question

Post  bonsaisr on Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:59 pm

<<the tree looks like Donald's hair.>>
For those of you from a different culture, Donald Trump is an American phenomenon, something of a laughingstock, with a notoriously unruly mop of hair.
I am about to prune & repot it, & will post a picture shortly.
Iris

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Buttonwood Question

Post  bonsaisr on Sat Oct 08, 2011 6:26 pm

I have the answer to my question, the hard way.
As I have mentioned before ad nauseam, growing tropicals under fluorescent lights in the North is an entirely different planet from growing them in Florida or other low latitudes. Here are a few things I've learned while killing buttonwoods. Some of these findings also apply to other tropicals. study
Do NOT cut back severely and repot at the same time. It may work in Florida, but here it may kill the tree. Better to cut back and let it recover before you repot.
Avoid buying a tree with an undeveloped root system. Under my conditions (under lights winter, outdoors summer), the top may grow and flourish, but a weak root system will stay weak for a long time.
Don't start with a large tree, even if it fits in your setup. Shohin or chuhin (under 12 inches, 30 cm) will work better, because you need a lot of light reaching the lower branches and the nebari. Keep it right under the tubes.
Buttonwoods like lots of water, but need a very free-draining mix. A high-organic mix, like they use in Florida, induces root rot here.
One rule you have to obey is only pot in midsummer, even if you think you can get away with it under lights. You can with Ficus, not with buttonwood.
They like full sun, but put them out in full sun gradually in the spring. They are susceptible to sunburn.
Being a glutton for punishment, & hoping I've learned from my mistakes, I ordered one last buttonwood from Erik Wigert. I normally don't like to order an expensive (for me) tree by mail-order, but Erik has an impeccable reputation. I will post a picture when it arrives.
Iris

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Re: Buttonwood Question

Post  drgonzo on Sat Oct 08, 2011 6:46 pm

"Do NOT cut back severely and repot at the same time"

I find this to be true of MANY trees, I have a few dead Azaleas that would second that. I now try to do basically one or the other in a growing year but not both, regardless of species. For me doing both has been the quickest way to dead Bonsai land.

Looking forward to the buttonwood, is it direct from him or off his Ebay store, he has wonderful stuff.

Good for you not giving up, I've learned the most from the dead ones.
-Jay

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Buttonwood Question

Post  bonsaisr on Sat Oct 08, 2011 7:42 pm

<<Looking forward to the buttonwood, is it direct from him or off his Ebay store, he has wonderful stuff.>>
This is directly from his web site. He was kind enough to send me several pictures of buttonwoods at various prices, so I could get a better idea of what I wanted & could afford. Anniversary is coming. cheers
Iris

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Re: Buttonwood Question

Post  drgonzo on Sat Oct 08, 2011 8:57 pm

I hope he makes it up to Rochester next year I'd get a kick out of meeting him.

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Re: Buttonwood Question

Post  Mitch Thomas on Sun Oct 09, 2011 7:30 am

Iris
Here a couple of techniques that you should try. First is to use a very high organic mix for button wood also in the winter keep the pot submerged in a tray of water. Use a tray large enough to place a aquarium heater in it and set it to 70 degree . I have done this for a number of years with great success. They love heat and water on their root systems. They do need to be out in the sunlight at some time or another in the heat of summer.

Mitch

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Re: Buttonwood Question

Post  Mitch Thomas on Sun Oct 09, 2011 7:40 am

Iris
Also Billy was right to say we prune and repot at the same time, but as always only on a healthy tree. On any tree repotting and or pruning has dire consequences. I suspect you tree was already weakened and that finished it off. Although you were right in thinking about your timing buttonwood should never be pruned or potted unless there is a very active growing going on. They cannot recover if there is not enough heat to spur on the growth needed to recover.

I do admire your persistence of the zonal envy holy Grail!!!

Hope this helps

Mitch


Last edited by Mitch Thomas on Sun Oct 09, 2011 7:45 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Spelling)

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Re: Buttonwood Question

Post  Mitch Thomas on Sun Oct 09, 2011 7:58 am

Iris
Sorry for the multiple repost. One last comment I don't think it is possible to root rot a button wood in this scence they are much like Bald Cypress. Also I don't think a healthy BW can not be sunburned, after all they do live a high sunlite and heat environment in nature, which I am sure you cannot replicate in your zone. I have been keeping mine in suibans or water trays for years. Mine have survived where many other locals have lost theirs. I have mine for near 10 yrs. By far my oldest trees, and only hurricane Katrinia survivors.

I hope you re- think you assessment on potting medium and water and sunlite.
Hope this helps

Mitch


Last edited by Mitch Thomas on Sun Oct 09, 2011 8:08 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Content)

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Buttonwood Question

Post  bonsaisr on Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:24 am

Oh, dear, I guess the message didn't get through. Believe me, I have been growing many kinds of plants under lights (and outdoors in summer) for over 50 years, bonsai for 22. Whenever I have tried to grow a plant, orchid or buttonwood, the way they grow it in Louisiana, Florida, or Puerto Rico, it died. My growing methods are based on my experience. For more details, see International Bonsai magazine, 2007-2008.
Iris

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Re: Buttonwood Question

Post  Mitch Thomas on Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:43 am

Pardon me, my answer was a insomnacs early morning rant. Sorry I didn't mean to offend the post was stated as a question and I deffenitly wasn't doubting your expertise. I just didn't want to see you kill another one. ButtonWood are a fickle beast.

Like I have said before on this fourm.

From a no body from no where, my personal experience.

Mitch

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Re: Buttonwood Question

Post  BrianG on Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:46 pm


From a no body from no where, my personal experience.

I wouldn't say your that my friend!

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Buttonwood Question

Post  bonsaisr on Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:02 pm

Thank you.
Iris


Last edited by bonsaisr on Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:40 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Eliminate request no longer necessary.)

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Re: Buttonwood Question

Post  Norma on Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:12 pm

Hi Iris,

My buttonwood, which I adopted 13 years ago, has been very forgiving with all my research and the experiments that came with it. I've learned what is best for my zone 4 Minnesota and this rare tropical.

You've heard me talk in years past about the buttonwood's need for HID sodium lights when it is inside. The lights also provide warmth which all tropicals love. My plants including the buttonwood do not sit in water but in an orchid tray that has grids above the water. The humidity from the water in the trays plus a small fan has been sufficient for health and growth during cold winters.

After much research I've found a potting medium which is alkaline using haydite, chick grit, and coir. Coir for garden use is finely shredded coconut shell which is sold in blocks. The longest time between repotting has been 4 years but I think every other year would be best!
Before the tree was repotted in early July, I removed 1/2 the old leaves and cut most of the others plus I did a small amount of wiring. The tree is doing well and now in it's winter quarters.

I wrote about my journey with the buttonwood in the November,2010 issue of our club's online newsletter. If you wish this is the website:

www.minnesotabonsaisociety.org

Best regards,
Norma


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Re: Buttonwood Question

Post  Mitch Thomas on Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:33 pm

Hi Norma

Wow zone 4 that's quite a accomplishment. I have conversed with some growers in Canada.
I think your dead on with the high pressure sodium lighting for light and heat. I have found that the trick is heat on the roots. Before I had my greenhouse I used metal halide with good success. At the time they produced the highest quality light spectrum. I am sure with all the advancements in electronics now there may be a better choice. In my greenhouse my aquarium heaters are much cheeper to operate. Farther up north I suspect much more hest is needed.

Mitch

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Re: Buttonwood Question

Post  Mitch Thomas on Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:51 pm

Hi Norma
That is a awsome web site and a very good article. I am impressed with your BW. It is elegant and I am sure it is a eye Catcher person.

We also use haydite and coconut fiber in our mixes. It is under utilized as a organic additive.

Mitch

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Re: Buttonwood Question

Post  Norma on Sun Oct 09, 2011 7:50 pm

Thanks, Mitch....I'm pleased to hear someone else uses coir. And also glad you like my buttonwood!!

In Sept. 2010, I was asked to show the tree in a three point exhibit which spawned a lot of discussion. The judge, Jim Gremel, saw the exhibit pretty much as I. The shoji screen was too small for my tree but understood my reasoning for the tree being on the right side of the scroll.
In question was the direction of the apex which I saw as left; I'm now working on the structure so it is more evident to others. Also the left branch is now wired to grow along the lines of the trunk and I've turned the tree so the right lower branch is to the back.

Here's the photo:




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Re: Buttonwood Question

Post  Mitch Thomas on Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:00 pm

Norma
Now your just showing off!!! Lol I don't know much about 3 pt. displays but it looks great to me. May be a bit crowded.

How do you take care of the terminal bud explosions, if I had a dime for each ha ha. No seriously what is your regiment on bud removal and leaf reduction?

I too agree about lowering the left branch to pararell the trunck line.

I am thinking about a restyle on mine. I posted a shot earlier on the thread. I will wait to repot and restyle next summer.

Any way looking good and keep us up on it.

Mitch

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Re: Buttonwood Question

Post  Norma on Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:46 pm

Mitch,

Terminal bud explosion!!!! WOW .... No explosions in Minnesota and the leaves are smaller and yes there is terminal bud growth but remember, they have a short natural growing season so I pinch during this time.

Your tree is beautiful....very healthy and vibrant! Have you done any carving on the deadwood?

Iris,

I'm eager to hear about your new buttonwood, when you get it I hope you show a photo....!

Norma

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Re: Buttonwood Question

Post  Mitch Thomas on Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:24 pm

Ms Iris sorry about the thread hijack I just love talking BW

Norma
Oh yea I forgot about the change in lattatude. Here I have to check every single day from march till august then I just let it go.
The only carving was to rearrange a distracting whales tail just above the soil line. I will try to post another picture if you like.

Can you suggest a book on the three point display, I must know more!

Mitch

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Buttonwood Question

Post  bonsaisr on Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:14 pm

I believe there is a book on tokonoma display. Ask Bill Valavanis. wnv@internationalbonsai.com
Iris

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Re: Buttonwood Question

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