Design Advice

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Design Advice

Post  Tyler on Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:47 pm

Im fairly new to bonsai, and would like some design advice on my outdoor tree.

Its a Canadian Hemlock, and I am in Canada. It's near 2 years old, harvested from a forest, and has done stunningly this winter. I am hoping to pick the collective conscious, for design advice, and as to weather or not you would find it appropriate to wire this upcoming spring?

TyGuy



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Re: Design Advice

Post  fiona on Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:07 pm

Hi Tiberious. (A real name would be good - makes us feel more comfortable)

The short answer is no. I'd be putting that into the ground for a couple of years and letting it fatten up and develop some more foliage. (I'm assuming that a Canadian Hemlock is hardy in Canada). You can do the odd bit of directional pruning on it when it's in the ground, but to get it along the road to being a bonsai it needs to get some girth.

That way, you will have a lot more to work with when the time comes, and that in turn means the potential for a much better bonsai.

Regards

Fiona

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Re: Design Advice

Post  fiona on Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:26 pm

Thank you for the name change.

If you haven't already discovered it, you might find the Bonsai4me site helpful. You can find what he says about Canadian Hemlock by clicking HERE

Hope that is of some use to you.

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Re: Design Advice

Post  Tyler on Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:28 pm

Smile Learning the ropes

Im guessing i;m reducing the trees ability to grow girth, even while in a larger pot?

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Re: Design Advice

Post  fiona on Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:36 pm

You're right in making the link between restriction of root growth in turn restricting girth, although a fairly big tub like the one it's in will always be better than a small bonsai pot. But to give it the best chance of getting there quicker, the open ground is best.

And also, if it's in the ground you won't be tripping over it every day as it sits on your patio or whatever. Very Happy

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Re: Design Advice

Post  Tyler on Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:52 pm

It's not so much in the way, but I'll have to wait until the ground thaws before putting it back.

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Re: Design Advice

Post  Fore on Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:58 pm

Boy Fiona, I was really surprised to see that Canadian Hemlocks make good bonsai. I had heard their long very flexible branches don't hold a shape after wiring is removed. Any thoughts on this. Bonsai4me doesn't even mention this.

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Re: Design Advice

Post  Chris Cochrane on Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:25 pm

Hi Tyler... I see Fiona has shared wonderful advice & a good link, but I would caution you to not assume overpotting will enhance growth.

If not barely overpotted in nursery mix-- or possibly slightly-more overpotted in a fast draining bonsai soil mix (hopefully you recognize the considerable difference-- overpotting is more likely to lead to soggy soil and reduction of plant health than to growth. Potted plants including bonsai thrive when their fine roots reach all the soil in the pot. Nurserymen growing container plants move from small containers to slightly larger in a series to develop them. A single plant in a overly large container can't push roots fast enough to uniformily remove water inside the container. It is a problem, especially for potted plants in water retentive soils, plants/bonsai grown indoors or plants watered as a group rather than monitored individually. A fast draining soil allows more leeway.

In the ground, water has endless opportunity for drainage. Additionally, there is continual access to water (even at modest root depth) that isn't saturating the soil. There is little similarity to growth by overpotting relative to growth in the ground, though it seems intuitively related when looking at a small plant & dreaming of its future.


Last edited by Chris Cochrane on Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:02 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Design Advice

Post  fiona on Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:58 pm

Fore wrote:Boy Fiona, I was really surprised to see that Canadian Hemlocks make good bonsai. I had heard their long very flexible branches don't hold a shape after wiring is removed. Any thoughts on this. Bonsai4me doesn't even mention this.
I wouldn't presume to know an answer to that one as it's not a species I have ever used. That is why I merely passed on the information on the Bonsai4me site - and even that is written more for hemlock in general rather than one particular species. It would be good if someone who has used Canadian Hemlock in a similar climate zone to Tyler could comment as those are the experiences that are really valuable.

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Re: Design Advice

Post  PeacefulAres on Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:12 pm

It looks to me like it has a bit of a windswept motif going on. I don't know if you would want to start working on it to much, but I'd keep that in mind.

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Re: Design Advice

Post  Tyler on Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:34 pm

I will defiantly be putting this guy back in the ground come spring, as to your advice (thank you all). Bonsai4me specified wind as a hazard for other varieties but I had applied the same principal and was able keep the tree out of the winds this winter. I would be welcome to any advice, whether it be from people with direct experience or just the community at large.

As per the branches, they are quite flexible-springy even-, but I'm hoping the with some size comes some rigidity.

Any thoughts on replanting, perhaps on an angle to encourage the windswept motf?

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Re: Design Advice

Post  JimLewis on Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:47 pm

I wouldn't get fixated on windswept. It's much too early to decide a style for that tree, but windswept would be an unnatural style for a hemlock in any event. They are forest trees.

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