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Bonsai

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by lefty, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. edinatlanta

    edinatlanta Senior member

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    Thanks dude, now that I "know" what I'm doing and looking for the results speak for themselves. Had a workshop last week with a guy who specializes in shohin (my favorites) and he was saying that I've got a really good eye for selecting high quality small stuff which is good because really,I still have no idea what I'm doing, so the instincts are there.
     
  2. lefty

    lefty Senior member

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    You're doing better than I am. When I moved to SanFo I left all my trees with an "experienced" friend who begged me for them. And I left specific instructions including where to place them on her property.

    Came back to find them all dead. Some trees that were 50+ years old.

    She saved me the pots though.

    lefty
     
  3. edinatlanta

    edinatlanta Senior member

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    Well at least she's considerate.

    Are pots still available?
     
  4. lefty

    lefty Senior member

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    Sitting on the potting bench on my new terrace and waiting for spring.

    lefty
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  5. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    Do you guys have any resources for the noob? I have a juniper that one of my friends was killing, so he gave it to me.
     
  6. edinatlanta

    edinatlanta Senior member

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    Junipers are pretty easy. Just water when the soil is dry. Pinch off new growth in the spring but not all of it once. There's a club in your area, go to their meetings. Also, be very careful. This hobby does a much better job of eating your paycheck than SF does. Don't buy everything you see that you like
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  7. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    Lol, thanks ed. I'll post pics if it starts to come back to life in the spring.
     
  8. edinatlanta

    edinatlanta Senior member

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    Also, if you are interested in bonsai, my I suggest attending this: http://artisanscupofportland.com/


    Every bonsai professional I've talked to is going to be there, seemingly everyone who seriously practices it is too. It will be like nothing ever done in the West before. You will never see a collection of trees this exceptional (until the next one).
     
  9. idfnl

    idfnl Senior member

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    Had no idea we had this thread. I trained a Bonsai yesterday, here are some pics.


    I started with a Blue Star Juniper in a 5 gallon pot. Here is the before an after:


    [​IMG]



    Here is the plant after I cleaned up the underside to survey its structure:

    [​IMG]



    I did a first pass on pruning inner foliage that wasn't wanted and started to train the trunk with some wire:

    [​IMG]



    Here is is after another pass of pruning and defining the final shape with more wire:


    [​IMG]


    Here it is after repotting in a Bonsai pot:

    [​IMG]


    And in its new home. It needs a fair bit of further pruning, but I did not want to shock the plant too much in the first pass. Its pretty traumatic to chop off 3/4 of its roots and most of its foliage. I may post another pic once its ready for another pruning and I remove some of the wire and start the 2nd pass on training. My goal is to let it extend during the summer where I can leave it outside and then trim and train the inside so the effect of pads take hold. It will take 2 or 3 years before it has its final shape, but I think it turned out ok for a first pass. Any advice is welcome.


    [​IMG]
     
  10. edinatlanta

    edinatlanta Senior member

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    Get a better pot, work on the top but not the bottom, find a different planting angle, you have one branch that is perpendicular and perfectly straight which draws the eye away from the other branches and doesn't look good in bonsai, get better at wiring, lose the dead branches at the bottom and the one poking straight out in the middle of the front, also put it in bonsai soil.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013
  11. idfnl

    idfnl Senior member

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    What's wrong with the pot? Its zen :satisfied:

    The vertical branch is going to be trained down and to the left, but I was afraid of snapping it so I only moved it 1/2 way.

    The branches at the bottom are rooted, and I think shoots will emerge from them now that light is getting in. I thought I could do something interesting with it if shoots do emerge. The others, ya, I'll snip them.

    I was afraid to remove even more soil, I didn't want to kill the plant. I think I will move it in a year or so, at that point I can do more. I've seen people wash the entire root structure out until there is nothing left. I don't have the balls for that.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013
  12. edinatlanta

    edinatlanta Senior member

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    Its a boring pot and doesn't quite seem to work with the tree. Finish wiring the tree in its entirety. Cut off the bottom branches, they don't work with the tree. In fact upon closer inspection get rid of all branches below that first turn to the left in the trunk. It is ok, with bonsai what is not there is as important as what is there. By having fewer branches at the bottom it will draw the eye up the trunk and to the rest of the tree. As it is, the eye just stops at the bottom. Move the tree when it tells you to. If you cut the rootball to 1/3 it'll survive. There are 1,000-year-old trees that people bare-root. Junipers are fast enough growers to where you'll be fine. The green foliage acts as solar panels and fuels root growth.

    ETA: the other problem with the pot is that it jumps out color-wise drawing attention to itself, and is very formal where your tree is not. Look for a brown unglazed pot, probably round and with a dragon design might be nice. It'll be hard to tell. If you can, go to Julian Adams, he lives in Va and see what he says. There is a club near you, visit them.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013
  13. idfnl

    idfnl Senior member

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    Hmm. Are you saying I should bare root it?

    I'll check out J Adams. Didn't know about it. Maybe tonight I'll revisit the plant. I didn't want to be too decisive at first pass, I wanted to settle with it for a few days and decide, I definitely agree it needs more work.

    Also, when I was wiring, I started to hear cracking, that was a signal to stop, no?

    I recently took some cuttings from my yard and a few neighbors (I asked :) and I have them in water with rooting hormone. A Wheeping Willow, a Dogwood, cant remember the others off the top of my head. I have a magnolia in a 10 in pot that I will grow all summer and see what to do. Not sure if a Magnolia will take to bonsai, I will have to research that.
     
  14. edinatlanta

    edinatlanta Senior member

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    You can bare-root it no problem. Do not be afraid to snip away. Cutting plants triggers growth hormones. If you do go back to your tree do it tonight. Don't go back and forth with major styling over several days, it all has to be in one go. It really is OK to snip away. When you have fewer branches it makes it a better tree--you can see what's going on.

    With the cracking it is OK. You can stop for a bit and come back, it the cracks are really visible when you're done you can seal it with glue (no joke) but preferably wood sealer.

    Some magnoalias work like star magnolia. The southern magnolias do not. Neither the leaves nor flowers miniaturize (and I think it has a long taproot).
     
  15. lefty

    lefty Senior member

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    Ed is pretty bang on. Too much going on with the lower branches, the pot is a little too deep, and the tree i misplaced in the pot. Other than that it's a nice little tree.

    Look at the movement in this tree:

    [​IMG]

    By the way, junipers are pretty tough, but do another pass asap.

    lefty
     
  16. edinatlanta

    edinatlanta Senior member

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    BTW the photo lefty linked to is in the permanent collection of the North Carolina Arboretum. Second week of October they do a huge bonsai expo, biggest in SE. Really worth going to.
     
  17. idfnl

    idfnl Senior member

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    Thanks, guys. What do you recommend for a soil mix?
     
  18. lefty

    lefty Senior member

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    If this is your only tree just go buy some from a decent supplier. Tell them it's for a conifer which needs less water retention. If you want to mix go find some turface and add a little bit of bark. That, along with the soil around the roots, will be fine.

    lefty
     
  19. edinatlanta

    edinatlanta Senior member

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    Imma make it even easier for you. GO to bonsaimonk.com and order their monastery mix. Its pretty foolproof and good for just about anything. Most decent mixes will be pretty straight up and probably designed for conifers.
     
  20. idfnl

    idfnl Senior member

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    Ok, so I went at it again. I'm down to 3 main branches. I also went at the roots, that shit takes forever but I managed to unlodge most if the old soil.

    I went out and got some bonsai soil mix and used a chopstick to tease it into the roots. I also changed the location of the plant in the pot. Sorry, same pot. This stuff can get more expensive than clothes if you're not careful. Anyway, how did I do? One branch I wanted broke, so I had to compromise.

    Should I do moss?


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013

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