hackberry bonsai??

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hackberry bonsai??

Post  momcat66 on Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:37 am

Has anyone used a hackberry for bonsai? I have a huge, don't know how old hackberry in the corner of the yard. You can't stop this tree from self-propagating because they come up all over the place. I probably have dozens of varying size, some of which are now about 20' tall. I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience with this tree. It certainly appears to grow fast and easy. I figure since I have so many, I can experiment.

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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  Russell Coker on Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:01 am

Yes. I don't have one, but I'd like to. Guy Guidry displayed a beautiful native hackberry cascade at the BCI convention in New Orleans a few years ago. They seem to be popular in Taiwan too. Maybe Jose Luis will see this and share some pictures. There is even an African species. Definitely an overlooked native tree.

R

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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  Mr Miyagi on Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:03 am

Hi, Check out Walter Pall's Blog!
http://walter-pall-bonsai.blogspot.com/2011/06/cutting-back-european-hackberry.html
and
http://walter-pall-bonsai.blogspot.com/2010/11/large-hackberry.html

Hope this helps
Sam

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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  momcat66 on Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:07 am

Wow, that's impressive and inspiring. I wonder how they do with trunk chopping? I think I shall have to try. The big one is starting to drop its leaves, so I guess early spring would be best time to trunk chop huh?

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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  momcat66 on Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:09 am

Russell Coker wrote:Yes. I don't have one, but I'd like to. Guy Guidry displayed a beautiful native hackberry cascade at the BCI convention in New Orleans a few years ago. They seem to be popular in Taiwan too. Maybe Jose Luis will see this and share some pictures. There is even an African species. Definitely an overlooked native tree.

R

I obviously don't know yet how they do in a pot and shipped, but if you want a starter, let me know, and I will do my best. Maybe I should dig up a couple of smaller ones and put them in pots, see how they do.

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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  Todd Ellis on Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:21 am

I killed everyone (3) that I collected. I was told by a seasoned grower that they don't like their roots disturbed and if you do dig them make sure they have plenty of fibrous roots.
Best,
Todd

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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  bontailo on Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:27 am



My Hackberry that used in 2010 Christmas.
Lo

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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  momcat66 on Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:04 am

Thank you Todd, I will remember that.

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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  reg-i on Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:14 am

they do very well with trunk chops I have a spot where im going to collect in January you should'nt have a problem digging them up if you do it at the right time, I keep 2 species right now

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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  reg-i on Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:17 am

bontailo wrote:

My Hackberry that used in 2010 Christmas.
Lo
Is that celtis formosana I really wish I could find that species somewhere any help would be great (seeds?)

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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  momcat66 on Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:52 am

reg-i wrote:they do very well with trunk chops I have a spot where im going to collect in January you should'nt have a problem digging them up if you do it at the right time, I keep 2 species right now

What is your January like? Average highs for me in January is probably in the 50s or 60s. I guess any tree should still be dormant at that time, and that's the point I guess right?

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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  JMcCoy on Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:01 am

Hackberry trees can make great Bonsai, just like an Elm. They are a little fussier than the native Tx elms (Cedar Elm) in that they need more sun and you're right that they don't like their roots messed with much. They need well-drained mix and lots of water or they'll suffer from fungus easily too. But on the plus side, they ramify really well and leaves will reduce to tiny things. One problem I'm still working on is that they tend to drop some of the fine branching in the winter (at least here in Austin). I've been told that some people overwinter them in a greenhouse or wrap the tops with plastic to keep the chill winds off and preserve the ramification. Will have to see how that works. Here is a photos of one of mine. I wish to find material like Walter showed in his blog and I love that tree belonging to Lo! It shows that we should be looking to our native Celtis as material to style too.

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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  momcat66 on Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:07 am

Okay, I'm sold. I shall be digging a ton of these up in a few months. How old is that tree? None of mine have trunks anywhere near that size.

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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  Oliver Muscio on Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:35 am

I have one (celtis occidentalis) that I grew in the ground for several years, and dug up and planted in a grow-box this spring, along with a winged elm (ulmus alata). Unfortunately, I did not do a good job of developing good taper in the trunk of either of these while they were in the ground, so they have fairly stout trunks with thin developing leaders at the top. The celtis, especially, also has large scars from trunk chops and removal of branches that had been allowed to become overgrown.

After being dug up this spring, the celtis sprouted new growth, then sulked for a while, and then took off vigorously as it apparently established roots.

I actually dug up and boxed two elms this spring. Both put out new growth, but one ultimately died as it failed to establish itself, while the other took off.

I let the celtis and surviving ulmus grow freely this season, so each is a mass of green, and not amenable to photographs that would show anything. I will take pictures this winter/next spring and post them for suggestions on how to proceed as I look at branch selection.

Oliver

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hackberry , 20 years , seedling

Post  abcd on Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:16 am


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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  bontailo on Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:56 am

Hi Reg-i
Celtis sinensis.
The best variety is from a cutting, from seed easily to die back!
Lo

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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  EdMerc on Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:17 pm

Sugarberry (Celtis laevigata), is a form of Hackberry. I have one and it responds wonderfully to all the normal bonsai techniques.

If I recall correctly, there is a page in John Naka's Bonsai Techniques I dedicated to photos of the nebari of different types of tree. One of the trees shown is a Hackberry. Just like my sugarbery, the photo of the hackberry shows a very swollen spread where the tree meets the soil.

Good luck,
Ed

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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  JMcCoy on Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:35 am

Okay, I'm sold. I shall be digging a ton of these up in a few months. How old is that tree?

That one, Celtis occidentalis, is probably about 10 years old or so. It started off as a weed tree, growing in a ligustrum hedge next to the house. It was cut back continually for about 6 years until at long last I cleared the debris at the bottom and found a trunk. All that cut and grow randomness worked well. Since it's still young, it has a very smooth bark. I have a few other collected wildlings that have the corky bark you see on mature ones. One thing to keep in mind with Hackberry - they will not heal over large cuts, so plan for that ahead of time either using some deadwood or creating hollows. Another wierd thing.. no airlayer has ever worked on this species (C. occidentalis) for anyone I know. Has anyone else had success?

Here's another fun one, bunjin with lots of turns, collected a couple of years ago along a fenceline. Don't have a recent pic, it has "twigged up" a bit more.


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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  momcat66 on Sun Oct 02, 2011 12:39 am

Thanks! That's good to know. I have these EVERYWHERE. I mean, including the little seedlings, there are probably at least 50. I suspect the birds eat the berries and then "share"

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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  JMcCoy on Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:51 am

I have the little seedlings too. Animals have a great way of seeding them in every pot and each piece of ground they can find. I sometimes let a seedling or two grow on in a pot (as a weed) for a couple of years, cutting them back hard every now and then. Next time I repot I pull them and have some starter shohin sized ones which get shared with others.

It's funny because I'll hear some people who "ooh and aah" about the Chinese Hackberry say they wouldn't grow the native variety because it's considered a "weed tree". Really the biggest issue I have with them is finding good candidates to collect that have taper and movement, they like to grow straight as a broomstick. But I suspect that's an issue with any Celtis around the world.

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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  momcat66 on Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:03 am

I am terribly new to bonsai, but can you cut it back in such a way to introduce movement? I have observed the broomstick nature of them here as well.

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Re: hackberry bonsai??

Post  JMcCoy on Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:14 am

can you cut it back in such a way to introduce movement? I have observed the broomstick nature of them here as well.

Yes, and if they're in the ground, you'll get growth, taper and heal-over of the wounds much much faster. If it's a big cut (2" and over) you'll never heal the wound, so expect a hollow, but if you start young and make lots of cut backs, each just a little higher than the last, you'll get an interesting wiggly trunk eventually. It may take a couple of years, but if done in the ground it'll look like 20+ years growth in a pot. Since you have so many to work with, try different techniques on different trees and see what happens.

By the way, on your trees are the leaf edges smooth or toothed? I understand that the Sugerberry (C. Laevigata) has a smooth leaf, while the Hackberry (C. occidentalis) has a serrated edge. We don't have Sugerberry in this area (that I've found), so some of the horticulture may be different. There is another type of Hackberry which grows from San Antonio, south, and this has VERY rough, sandpapery leaves which are more like an Anaqua tree (Ehretia anacua). The leaves are thicker on this variety too, and it is less prone to fine branches dying off in the winter. I've never heard if it has a distinct name, and it's hard to tell the difference in the types unless you have them side by side.

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