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Bonsai grow your own trees & plants . Bonsai advice & thought please

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Bonsai grow your own trees & plants . Bonsai advice & thought please

Post  plantoid on 12/21/2015, 7:59 pm

30 or so years ago I gave Alison a small packet of seeds ( two or three seeds ) for a Chinese elm tree along with the bits & bobs to grow it in .
 After stratifying the seed for a month in the fridge she sowed them in the compost in the training pot  . Every day she looked at it , one day she noticed the arrival of the one & only shoot to appear in the pot.
 This little tree was her baby , it got more care and attention than me some days I'm sure.

 She grew it for five or six years and asked our good neighbours if they would gently water it once every three days along with half a dozen other plants that I'd set down on some capillary matting in the bath whilst we were away on holiday . The bath plug was hung over the taps and wrapped round one so if the tap started to dip  any excess water would drain away .
 

We came back after 16 days to find all our house plants & the tree stood in 2 " of water in the bath and rotting. Nothing  survived , Al was heart broken ,for the tree seeds  were the first present I purchased after she moved in with me .

 Move on 30 years , .. Last year for her birthday I gave her a nine year old Chinese Elm in a nice little bonsai pot & a set of four bonsai tools & a reasonable book on it that also had plenty of pictures and diagrams of how things should be done.
 Nothing much happened  till the beginning of November 2015,  when , as I was driving along I saw a rough  hand made sign by some over grown bushes that said
 Free bonsai open day her Sunday 8 Nov .. free refreshments.

 I turned the car round and went and found out more .
 A rundown looking nursery , glasshouses neglected and getting filled with junk . Inside the first glasshouse there were twenty or so folk ranging in age from about 19 to 70 or older .  Most of them had  some sort of bonsai tree  on benches in front of them . I was fascinated  to see what was happening  ,  so asked if I could book a place at the open day for me & my wife .
 HollyRobyn was due to be having a sleep over at her friends so we had a kid free day booked as well  ( They can be really nice when the kid in question is female &  nearly 14 yrs old  Laughing ) .

 Having got Alison to dress for cold wet weather on the Sunday I started to drive to th Black mountain about 10 miles away .. you should have seen her face when I swung into the dilapidated nursery yard  . I got out the car , opened her door and  waited for her to alight . Her face lit up when she saw a new open day sign and thr4otyb to forty folk swanning around plus oodles \& oodles of different bonsai trees etc.
We spent a very pleasant four hours or more there , were invited to appraise sixty to  seventy exhibits that had been prepared for the event . As well as bieng well provided with all manner of homemade cakes, pastries and pies etc.

 Alison has now joined th club and has started to slowly buy in a few new ready grown plants that cost around £ 5 each ( $ 8 .00 USD ).
 Mean while I've purchased several sorts of common seeds that are good or bonsai so I can use my skills to provide the baby plants for her to train .

 One seed in particular is the Cupressus Cashmeriana ( kashmir Cypress ) and I havi g difficulty in deciding how to get it to germinate . The instruction paper that came with the seeds from the USA  say , " Soak seed for 24 hrs , sow 1/8 " deep  , keep warm & moist but not wet.

 I've been trying to get six seeds to germinate  doing just that for over a month .  Nothing appear to be happening . On taking out a sown seed it has not germinated but is soft skinned .
 This has led me to go on line and check out the Royal horticultural society website for more inf and also several official governmental USA sites .. all say scarify in a cold fridge foe 1 to 3 months after sowing th 24 hr soaked seed in a basic growth medium. then  take it into a 60 o F warm place  , put it in a poly bag and kep checking  to se if it germinates and becomes a plant .


 Has any one grown such seeds ?
If so how long did you scarify them in the fridge  & at what temp did you do it ?.
How long did it take for the germination to show to be successful ?

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Re: Bonsai grow your own trees & plants . Bonsai advice & thought please

Post  sanderson on 12/22/2015, 2:41 am

I would guess that growing bonsai is a bit like growing orchids, needing special knowledge and special care. Wish I could help.

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Re: Bonsai grow your own trees & plants . Bonsai advice & thought please

Post  plantoid on 12/22/2015, 5:29 pm

Nah ...
More like pruning a bit of shrub in a plant pot ,  it being bend round some soft wire and a repotting  every few months to get the shape .
 Then taking  sharp  tools & scissors or a  Dremmel to scar the bark to give it an old look sort of thing  once the damage has healed .

 Anyone can do it ,  it's getting the stock plants going that  can be a bit tiresome . Cuttings and air cuttings are a common way so is growing from seed  as well as tip & layering , but these Cypress  seeds I have  appear to give conflicting ideas .

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Re: Bonsai grow your own trees & plants . Bonsai advice & thought please

Post  Yardslave on 12/22/2015, 7:00 pm

If you want to try, scarification works, but they must be germinated in a large grit sand/ loam mix that is about 60% sand, garden soil won't work-holds too much water. I've grown bonsai for 30 years and most bonsai start as field plants, cultivated in soil, roots pruned to stunt plants, and pruned into shape, then potted up. That takes anywhere from 10 to 30 years from seed to finished bonsai. Most "starters" are potted nursery stock that are pruned and wired. Another more popular, quick alternative is air layering a mature limb, or by grafting to achieve an acceptable shape or style . Pruning is done on the outer branches and also on as much as 2/3 of the entire root ball every dormant season for vigorously growing stock and every 3-4 years for established plants. They receive light feeding with low nitrogen fertilizer to increase trunk and branch dimension, not profuse foliage . They are considered outdoor plants and will only tolerate a few weeks inside.

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Re: Bonsai grow your own trees & plants . Bonsai advice & thought please

Post  sanderson on 12/23/2015, 12:23 am

We have someone experienced with Bonsai!

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Re: Bonsai grow your own trees & plants . Bonsai advice & thought please

Post  AtlantaMarie on 12/23/2015, 8:15 am

10 to 30 years from seed to plant???  I would never had guessed!

Plantoid, what a wonderful gift for Alison...!  You're very thoughtful...!!!!!!

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Re: Bonsai grow your own trees & plants . Bonsai advice & thought please

Post  plantoid on 12/23/2015, 7:08 pm

Thanks Yardslave,
 
 I'm using home made MM with 50 % added by volume chopped weathered coir for the few seeds I've done already .

 I think it's dry enough as I have controlled the amount of water in it very carefully ( by weight )
 However I'll see if I can get some of the low nitrogen seed growth medium from the club.

 I'll also  take a pint of my own MM and then add a pint of peat or so to it then soak the whole thing in water for a week or so , stirring it every day to disseminate the existing NPKetc.  to get it down to a more diluted level .

 Do you have any typical NPK & other trace element figures for such a Bonsai seed growing medium ?

I have a fairly good comprehensive soil testing kit & would like to play at trying to get the growth  medium to such an agreeable  set of readings .

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Re: Bonsai grow your own trees & plants . Bonsai advice & thought please

Post  Yardslave on 12/24/2015, 12:17 pm

For feeding, keep the N-P-k numbers below 5, even if you have to dilute the fertilizer. You can get away with higher nitrogen in the spring to stimulate leaf and branch growth, but that growth will have to be dealt with in late summer to maintain shape and proportion. During summer and  fall hold the nitrogen down to help the plant develop hardier roots and trunk. Fertilizer teas are pretty effective and can be brewed from the basic MM. Often times pellets or balls of food can be made from small wads of MM or cotton seed meal or soybean meal used in livestock feed. These nuggets are placed below soil level, usually low at the corners of the pot. Hold back on adding more coir or peat, the blend has to have a loose sandy soil with coarse sand that promotes vigorous, 'hairy" roots that will boost plant vitality.The annual root pruning you will have to do in the future to stunt growth and prevent run-away branch structures requires a hardy plant. If the plant isn't prepared to have 1/3 to 2/3 of its bottom roots cut off annually, during the first 5 years of training, it can ruin all your efforts and the plant will die. It's not just about trimming leaves and wiring branches to make a bonsai.


Last edited by Yardslave on 12/24/2015, 12:26 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : grammatical error)

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Re: Bonsai grow your own trees & plants . Bonsai advice & thought please

Post  plantoid on 12/24/2015, 3:54 pm

Thanks,
I found out today that the club has several different nutrient levels of small feed beads for sale  Some are left on the surface others like you say are below the ground.

 Most of the stuff Alison will be using is 100 % outdoor plants,  that may or may not be over wintered in our cold glasshouse , for she says she eventually wants to end up with a 17 x 20 foot tiered " L" shaped outside display wall to about four feet at the top shelf .
 Alison has also set her sights on having an independent ,  fairly large three , five or seven  walled  pergola with a three foot three high shelf set up full of pea grit  & a fancy roof with a Chinese type finial atop .

The pergola being made of treated green coloured thin hit and miss cross lattice larch strips in arched frames  or made from red western cedar instead as it has a richness & weathering ability that she likes .
( More construction work for me .............. just when I thought I'd finished doing such things in the garden Laughing ) .

 I'm thinking of trying to use the heated misting bed innth glasshouse to draw hair roots out as well as use home made " Delrin " plastic ( on my lathe ) conical humps with tie down holes  anchor points etc . Putting them under the centre of the plant to  anchor them through the hump & the pot base  to start shaping the roots for growing some root flare above ground ,,,,aka  Nebari ( sp?) .

 One thing I've noticed , is that since Alison was shown how to anchor the bole of the tree through the pot , the two she did on her own have both come on apace .. I never quite realised how such little rocking movements made when moving them from their normal place of standing , taking them over to the kitchen sink's drainer & putting them in a shallow watering in a tray of water was retarding the plants .


 Yard Slave . what is your first name ? ..I feel uncomfortable calling anyone a slave.

 Have you tried any of the Mycorrhizal Fungi granules for  your Bonsai  that are used in the planting hole at planting out time  to develop a massively strong hair root system on almost any plant you chose to plant out ?

 I'm experimenting with it on two 18 inch tall Chinese larch plants that are currently starting to break dormancy .. there are some lovely lower branches to develop in the offing if it works out well .

 Dave

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Re: Bonsai grow your own trees & plants . Bonsai advice & thought please

Post  Yardslave on 12/25/2015, 10:59 am

Your on a roll Dave... funny that's my name too!

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Re: Bonsai grow your own trees & plants . Bonsai advice & thought please

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