Arborvitae bonsai

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Arborvitae bonsai

Post  Orion on Tue May 10, 2011 8:46 pm

I haven't seen any posts on this topic, but has anyone any luck working with arborvitae as bonsai material. It's certainly easy and cheap to come by, yet it doesn't seem to be a popular species. I know that the folliage can be a bit tough to work with and it doesn't always bud back where you want...are there any success stories, and if so, what are its limitations as bonsai stock?

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Re: Arborvitae bonsai

Post  EdMerc on Tue May 10, 2011 8:57 pm

If you search for Thuja bonsai, I think you'll find what you are looking for.

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Re: Arborvitae bonsai

Post  Orion on Tue May 10, 2011 9:06 pm

Thank you Ed, it answers a lot of questions. I take it from the number of threads on the topic that it's not too popular.

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Re: Arborvitae bonsai

Post  EdMerc on Tue May 10, 2011 9:24 pm

I've never actually seen one in person, but there are some nice example to be found if you Google "Thuja Bonsai".

I wouldn't consider it common though.

Hope this helps,
Ed

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Re: Arborvitae bonsai

Post  Randy_Davis on Tue May 10, 2011 11:05 pm

Orion wrote:Thank you Ed, it answers a lot of questions. I take it from the number of threads on the topic that it's not too popular.

Orion,

Thuja occidentalis (American - Eastern white Cedar) is used quite extensively in the North Eastern parts of the United States. It, or some of it's cultivars are readily avaliable in nurseries world wide. Here is a link to a picture of a nice one in the ABS Reference Image Library.

Randy

http://absbonsai.org/gallery/displayimage.php?album=12&pid=518#top_display_media

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Re: Arborvitae bonsai

Post  Orion on Tue May 10, 2011 11:53 pm

Thank you Randy. And you're 100% right in that up here they are a dime-a-dozen...I guess I never really gave them much thought until now because the branches seemed to spindly in proportion to the trunks. As per Ed, I googled it and got some interesting hits, so it may be interesting to take a crack at them.

Thank you both for your help.

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Re: Arborvitae bonsai

Post  Dave Murphy on Wed May 11, 2011 1:19 am

Nick Lenz devotes an entire chapter in his book,"Bonsai from the Wild", to their collection and bonsai development.

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Re: Arborvitae bonsai

Post  elroy on Wed May 11, 2011 1:32 am

Some Thuja from Montreal

http://www.bonsaimontreal.com/index/expo2008/img_3106_b.jpg
http://www.bonsaimontreal.com/index/expo2008/img_3095_b.jpg
http://www.bonsaimontreal.com/index/expo2008/img_3102_b.jpg



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Re: Arborvitae bonsai

Post  LSBonsai on Wed May 11, 2011 3:20 am

Daves advice to check out Nick Lenz's book is good.

Thuja (eastern white cedar/arborvitae) make outstanding bonsai, although good Thuja are only usually seen in the North East, as mentioned above.

This is primarily because the only Thuja worth working with are rugged collected specimens with exciting deadwood and rugged bark. Nursery material and the average specimen in the wild are usually straight and boring... although I have seen one or two nice Thuja developed from nursery stock. In my opinion Thuja are tied with american larch for the best native material east of the Rockies.

It is sort of like Rocky Mountain Juniper. No one would go get an RMJ from a nursery and train it for bonsai. But if you know where to collect them, you could have some world class material. For this reason, the best RMJ come from the west coast, as the best Thuja are on the east coast.

The foliage of thuja is also kind of a pain, and requires years of scissor pruning and wiring before it behaves. But it is worth the work if you have the right material.

One of my favourite Thuja from the Bonsai Quebec website:
http://www.bonsaiquebec.com/logo.htm

Some more of my favs from members of the Toronto bonsai society

https://picasaweb.google.com/reigoe/TBSShowMay2010?authkey=Gv1sRgCIiY74Gt74PaxwE#slideshow/5474694942373348306
https://picasaweb.google.com/reigoe/TBSShowOct09?authkey=Gv1sRgCPuQ-PqkmMDegQE#5391792351019650514
https://picasaweb.google.com/reigoe/TBSShowOct09?authkey=Gv1sRgCPuQ-PqkmMDegQE#5391789677930658082

And if you want to see more outstanding Thuja, check out the Toronto Bosnai Society's website
http://torontobonsai.org/

Browse through Galleries --> Cedar and/or --> Shows to see some great Thuja bonsai

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Re: Arborvitae bonsai

Post  Guest on Wed May 11, 2011 3:51 am

WOW

I'm starting to get the bug too I must admit!

I was at Lowes today and just Like I always do I dutifully ignore the arborvitae, I know at the end of the season they sometimes have some of the big guys (the 7 footers) left over and they discount them. I may certainly have to give this a second thought after seeing all those pictures. Yeah they're everywhere up here.

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Re: Arborvitae bonsai

Post  Orion on Wed May 11, 2011 5:02 am

You guys should be awarded a ph.d. for this stuff. As a2khalid pointed out, I was always used to the garden center variety material which may have developed a substantial trunk over time, but no branch potential, yet I never was familiar with the material from the wilds. I did read on a website the substantial amount of time necessary to train the material, especially when it come to shaping through wiring and until now I was never sure as to the potential for deadwood. This would make a very interesting project in finding yamadori of what seems to be an unsung hero of bonsai material. I'll certainly have to check out the Nick Lenz book as well.

Just to give again my sincere thanks for all the knowledge and help.

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Re: Arborvitae bonsai

Post  NeilDellinger on Tue May 17, 2011 11:50 am

Just making a plug for Bill Valavanis' 2 National Exhibition albums. There are several nice thuja in there. Suthin has a couple nice ones that come quickly to mind.

Neil

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Re: Arborvitae bonsai

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