Interested in Bonsai, don't know where to start.

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Interested in Bonsai, don't know where to start.

Post  imtheproof on Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:20 am

I've loved Bonsai trees for a long time, and I want to try growing them. I need advice though, in which trees would be a good place to start and if I should buy special equipment or not.

I live in Michigan near Detroit.

Can I please have recommendations on which tree to use? At the place I work we have a Ever Red Japanese Maple that is about 2-2.5 feet tall right now, would it be possible for a complete beginner to turn it into a bonsai tree? I know they are slow growers though, and Japanese Maples run pretty expensive for someone who could very possibly end up killing it in a year or so.

Thank you.

imtheproof
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Re: Interested in Bonsai, don't know where to start.

Post  Kev Bailey on Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:43 am

You could start with a Japanese maple but it's best to try easy local species first. I don't know Ever Red but most maple varieties can make good bonsai. Faster growers are better as you need their vigour to provide you with the options as you trim and shape. Slower growers develop as bonsai much more slowly.

You don't need specialist tools to begin with. Books are more important until you have enough knowledge. Herb Gustafson's "The Bonsai Workshop", Harry Tomlinson's "The Complete Book of Bonsai" and Sunset Books "Bonsai" are some very good introductions to the art.

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Re: Interested in Bonsai, don't know where to start.

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sat Jul 30, 2011 10:53 am

I found the Sunset "Bonsai" book for 49 cents on Amazon, plus shipping, of course.
Also some libraries have a number of Bonsai books.
Remember, Bonsai are outdoor plants.

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Re: Interested in Bonsai, don't know where to start.

Post  JimLewis on Sat Jul 30, 2011 12:21 pm

There are several editions of the Sunset book. Not all are worth owning. Look for the 1994 or 2003 editions. It is currently out of print, but copies are available on Amazon or at www.abebooks.com.

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Re: Interested in Bonsai, don't know where to start.

Post  Jim Doiron on Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:27 pm

When I first developed an interest in this I went to the library and checked out every book they had, which, if you haven't already done that might help you come to some conclusion just by seeing something that you have to have. I know I would go through books and make lists of trees I would like to have based on the trees I liked in the books and while most of that never panned out it got into my head what to keep an eye out for in the nursery stores and the landscape. I would go to local nurseries and just look around for whatever looks like it might interesting instead of looking for a particular tree. You might spend all your time looking for a particular tree and miss something that, while a little different, might be great. You may also want to check with these folks. I'm sure they would have a good suggestion for you area.
http://www.fourseasonsbonsai.com/index.html

Hope this helps.

Jim Doiron
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Interested in Bonsai

Post  bonsaisr on Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:53 pm

While Japanese maples are good trees for a beginner, if you buy one from a garden center, don't buy one that is grafted.

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Re: Interested in Bonsai, don't know where to start.

Post  imtheproof on Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:02 am

I'm pretty sure the 2' Japanese maple is not grafted, and the trunk is only about 1.5" in diameter right now. If I do buy this tree, should i wait to do anything to it until next spring?

also, this tree is NOT already a "bonsai" tree, it is just a young japanese maple.

thanks for the replies.

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Interested in Bonsai

Post  bonsaisr on Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:20 am

Don't do anything to it until you know what you are doing.
Iris

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Re: Interested in Bonsai, don't know where to start.

Post  Mitch Thomas on Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:24 am

First of all welcome to the fourm and bonsai.
I will pay forward to you and advise you to find a bonsai club in your area and get advise from them first hand on trees to grow in your area. They will know best. Also they will more than glad to show you the way. In the long run you will learn more first hand than any books.
Mitch

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Re: Interested in Bonsai, don't know where to start.

Post  imtheproof on Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:25 am

ok, ill go to the library and dig around a bit, get some books, and start reading before anything else.

edit: just saw your post mitch, ill start looking around for that also, even though im not sure if it will be possible without going an hour away or so.

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Re: Interested in Bonsai, don't know where to start.

Post  Jim Doiron on Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:20 am

The link that I posted is for a club that is less than 30 minutes away at most. http://www.fourseasonsbonsai.com/index.html
There is one out of Ann Arbor too http://www.annarborbonsaisociety.org/

Jim Doiron
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Re: Interested in Bonsai, don't know where to start.

Post  imtheproof on Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:28 am

ann arbor is a bit too far away, but that 4 seasons bonsai club at telly's greenhouse is one i am looking in to. It is about 25-30 minutes from me.

tomorrow, they are having a meeting with this description at 2:00.

July 31, 2 p.m.
Focus on Beginning Techniques. 3 demonstrators will show must-see techniques for bonsai beginners. For experienced members, treat this as a BYO (bring-your-own) workshop.

i will try to go to this.

once again, thanks for the help everyone.

taryn

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Re: Interested in Bonsai, don't know where to start.

Post  Jim Doiron on Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:02 pm

Just in a nic of time. Hope you make it.

Jim Doiron
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Re: Interested in Bonsai, don't know where to start.

Post  imtheproof on Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:23 pm

Not going, my brother doesn't want to head out there.

The greenhouse has "bonsai workshops" though, I think they are $35 for a 2 hour class. I'll probably get more out of one of those.

"Bonsai Workshops
In this hands on worshop, you will work through all the steps of creating your very own bonsai! Topics include selecting a plant, matching a plant to a pot, root combing, root pruning, proper potting, pruning, basic styling techniques, and bonsai care. These workshops are fun, informative & casual, & run about two hours. Questions are encouraged. The workshop fee is $35, and includes everything you need to leave with a bonsai the day of the class. Class sizes are limited & spots fill quickly, so register today! Pre-registration is required, as is pre-payment to hold your reservation. Call for details, or to register by phone."

imtheproof
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Re: Interested in Bonsai, don't know where to start.

Post  Jim Doiron on Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:24 pm

Too bad, maybe the next one. It might be worth contacting the club to see if anyone is involved from your area maybe you could hitch a ride next time. The workshop would be a good start too. Good luck.

Jim Doiron
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Re: Interested in Bonsai, don't know where to start.

Post  imtheproof on Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:04 pm

getting a ride wasnt the problem, i just didnt want to go alone. I emailed the director of the club last night about it and got no reply yet. I also emailed the greenhouse that it takes place at about the workshop because they don't list times/schedule on the website.

is the Sunset book a highly-recommended one for bonsai beginners?

imtheproof
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Re: Interested in Bonsai, don't know where to start.

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