• Amused
  • Angry
  • Annoyed
  • Awesome
  • Bemused
  • Cocky
  • Cool
  • Crazy
  • Crying
  • Depressed
  • Down
  • Drunk
  • Embarrased
  • Enraged
  • Friendly
  • Geeky
  • Godly
  • Happy
  • Hateful
  • Hungry
  • Innocent
  • Meh
  • Piratey
  • Poorly
  • Sad
  • Secret
  • Shy
  • Sneaky
  • Tired
  • Results 1 to 12 of 12

    Thread: Bonsai Experiment 2014 - Hobby #47

    1. #1
      Fintastic's Avatar
      Fintastic is offline Senior Member
      This user has no status.
       
      Feeling:
      ----
       
      Join Date
      Oct 2013
      Location
      Virginia U.S.
      Posts
      273

      Bonsai Experiment 2014 - Hobby #47

      I have been eyeing the Bonsai hobby for some time and decided to experiment this year with it. I rummaged around and found a few bonsai pots I had used for cactus and a few cactus pots I thought might be ok for begining a few bonsai plants.

      Cactii was hobby #45 what I learned about that was:
      Once can never decide whether to water them or not
      Cactus grow tall and fall over
      Pruning a cactus is a study in futility
      Bushy succulents that look great at first turn into spindly messes
      With out the right light and rotation they never grow straight.
      Have tweezers handy when repotting
      Cactus often to grow into strange Phallic shapes that are best hidden in the garage when guests come over.

      Ok I digress! Back to the bonsai experiment
      Since i know very little about the hobby I will do my homework and since it is december I have plenty of time to study up.

      Heres what I do know:
      Controlled watering is key. Too much or to little is bad (Im getting I will be slave to that)
      Soil mix is important for moisture control. I must re-read on the mix although I think they have some nice premixes for sale.
      There's some fancy pants method of pruning I need to learn.
      Solid copper wire might come in handy. ( thank goodness I have bunch in the basement it would probably be $20 for a small pack at the garden store yeesh)
      Nifty bonsai gardening tools are insane expensive. ( Not any time soon!)
      Small leaved plants are better than big leaved :o)
      The more twisted and broken the plant is the better ( right up my alley )
      If a deer gets any where near my Bonsai I will tie it to the back of Santa's sleigh and let it get dragged all over the country.
      I will be dead and gone before any of my Bonsai become "remarkable" ( I will pass it on but i know it will be dead in 6 months in some elses care)
      I can cheat the above problem by tromping up to the mountians and rip out some forlorn mishshapen plant that has already been brutalized by nature already.
      They do say start with a healthy plant right? umm that contradicts the above. ( scratching head)
      If a dog lifts its leg on a Bonsai is it fertilized or Just doomed? ( imagine the Bonsai master gaping at hundred year old bonsai as it is "watered".)

      I digress yet again ! ok so it begins.

      Setting goals:
      Find good starter plants
      Get advice and do homework
      Avoid big dollers spent for premade "tree" at a nursersy ( ok maybe one or two )
      Tromp up to the mountians at least once for the "unlucky tree"
      Find "tools" that are not priced as if they were made of gold
      Make a plant live through its first year.
      Consider this a growing experience even though growing is the thing I am limiting here.

      Type of plants and styles i want to try
      maple of some type
      Juniper
      wisteria
      azalea
      miniture forest look
      Tree growing over rock look
      windswept look
      anything else that looks nifty :o)

      Any one want to Join in on this Bonsai journey? I would be happy to have some friends at these same initial steps so we can share trials and tribulations. I would welcome the input and see someone else worse off than I am (I find that some how encouraging)

      By the way. Merry Christmas !

      Photos below :
      Starter Pots I found
      A Nifty rock that seems perfect for a tree to grow over. I will start it mostly buried and let the soil recede slowly to reveal the roots.

      Bonsai pots-2 002.jpg

      bonsai rock-1 004.jpg
      Last edited by Fintastic; 12-24-2013 at 01:09 PM.
      If it's true our species is alone in the universe, I would have to say the universe set its sights rather low and settled for very little. ~George Carlin~


      Mark
      Front Royal
      Virginia

    2. #2
      icu2's Avatar
      icu2 is online now Administrator ~ WWKC Treasurer
      is usually here but if not I'm
      probably off flying
       
      Feeling:
      Piratey
       
      Join Date
      Feb 2007
      Location
      Poulsbo, WA
      Posts
      26,188
      I hope you'll keep us updated on your journey!

      I for one am totally envious of those that can create these works of art... I have
      tried and just don't think I have the "eye" to see what should be trimmed and what
      shouldn't. I can keep them alive, but they don't look much like "bonsai".
      --Steve
      Find more about Weather in Poulsbo, WA

      "It is far better to be alone, than to be in bad company." --George Washington

    3. #3
      Fintastic's Avatar
      Fintastic is offline Senior Member
      This user has no status.
       
      Feeling:
      ----
       
      Join Date
      Oct 2013
      Location
      Virginia U.S.
      Posts
      273
      I will. this should be totally amusing if nothing else. I am wondering the odds of any tree making it through a full year.
      If it's true our species is alone in the universe, I would have to say the universe set its sights rather low and settled for very little. ~George Carlin~


      Mark
      Front Royal
      Virginia

    4. #4
      Fintastic's Avatar
      Fintastic is offline Senior Member
      This user has no status.
       
      Feeling:
      ----
       
      Join Date
      Oct 2013
      Location
      Virginia U.S.
      Posts
      273
      I will begin getting thoughts on watering. From what ive read so far the watering aspect is extremely important. So having wet feet is bad becuase of root rot and fungus and possibly even drowning the plant. Too dry, naturally the plant withers and roots loose the abilty to asborb water. I also read that fine misting or a fine light spray is important not to loosen the soil and organics away from the roots. the watering process was discribed as an initial watering is enough to see water running out the base followed by a period of wait for that to absorb and then another watering to let the water be asborded and spread more evenly. Ok so all that makes sense.

      I will mention soil becuase its related to the watering aspect but im going to ask more about it later. so here are a few questions

      I have a high ph water and high water hardness from a community well. it not even close to being deadly to plants but it does make me wonder about bonsai. Do i try to control the Ph/hardness of the water going in or do I try to have more organics to buffer the PH/Hardness. Im certianly not excited about possibly "preparing" water all the time.
      I can provide my Koi water from the pond which would be prebuffered to some degree and contian some good things plants like.

      If Bonsai keepers use the pelleted mix why to they have to worry about organics washing away. it seems to have almost no fine organics. which doesnt make a ton of sense as far as nutrients but i can buy into the concept that it might be healther for root growth. So with the pellets/gravelmix I dont have to worry quite as much about having mist or fine spray as much correct?

      And how does one deal with rain in this whole equation. Hard to control how much there.

      Any thoughts?
      If it's true our species is alone in the universe, I would have to say the universe set its sights rather low and settled for very little. ~George Carlin~


      Mark
      Front Royal
      Virginia

    5. #5
      koiman1950's Avatar
      koiman1950 is offline Supporting Member
      is semi retired
       
      Feeling:
      Tired
       
      Join Date
      Feb 2008
      Location
      San Jose, Ca
      Posts
      19,488
      Watering is something that is individually "learned" as no two locations the plants are kept at are exactly the same. This not only has to do with the growing region you're located in, but the actual location within the immediate place they are kept. There's a "general" rule of thumb with watering, and a watering can with the proper rosette or spray end is rather important. But, basically, you water lightly once for the top layer, once for the middle and once for the bottom of the container. Provided you do this somewhat evenly around the base of the plant, once water starts to flow from the holes in the bottom of the bonsai container, it is enough.

      I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "pellet" medium, but yes, many soil mixes have little to no organics included. These are added by fertilizing once every one to two weeks, depending on time of year. Or, yes, you could use your pond water every time as the nutrients are diluted enough not to burn the plant with watering that often. It's basically diluted fish emulsion and as it is a "natural" fertilizer vs a commercial one, the plants seem to do even better at taking up the necessary nutrients, trace elements and minerals. Harder water or higher Ph water can be detrimental to some varieties especially types like the azaleas or varieties within the rhododendron species. These like a much more acidic soil condition and a bit more shade. You mentioned you'd like to have an azalea, but would caution you to wait for a while on this until you get the 'basic" skills down and understand the various watering and soil conditions needed for various plant types. Start with junipers, maples, larch and a few other more hardy species. They will have a better chance at survival during your "learning years".

      As to tools, believe me, the money spent on good quality bonsai tools is worth it. If you take good care of them they can last a lifetime and provide the proper cutting angles and such for proper pruning. The worst thing you can do is use the wrong tool/technique and cut a branch at the base of it where it meets the trunk and create an ugly scar right where the tree's focal point is located. It can ruin and otherwise really nice looking trunkline and the whole tree becomes worthless.
      Mike

      check out our website at: http://www.pond-life.net




      "Our goal is to assist with emergency and Koi health issues, as well as educate on best practices. Please help us gain a clear picture by giving the original poster time to answer our questions before offering opinions and suggested treatments."

    6. #6
      Fintastic's Avatar
      Fintastic is offline Senior Member
      This user has no status.
       
      Feeling:
      ----
       
      Join Date
      Oct 2013
      Location
      Virginia U.S.
      Posts
      273
      I will end up getting some quality tools. I just have to make sure im not getting something overpriced becuase of the impulse factor.

      It makes me think of of an example where a lawyer who gets invited to go fly fishing so he goes off to Orvis and buys the $450 flyrod and all the gear then stuffs it in the closet never to be used again when he gets back.

      I want to make sure the use is there as well as the value.
      If it's true our species is alone in the universe, I would have to say the universe set its sights rather low and settled for very little. ~George Carlin~


      Mark
      Front Royal
      Virginia

    7. #7
      Fintastic's Avatar
      Fintastic is offline Senior Member
      This user has no status.
       
      Feeling:
      ----
       
      Join Date
      Oct 2013
      Location
      Virginia U.S.
      Posts
      273
      I read up a good bit on soils over the past week. it seems like the obvious message is that the soil drains properly and allows root growth well. The only thing that varies is the amount of organics and that there is a good bit of tailoring the soil to the plant and the conditions it will be in. This also agrees with with several posts and makes good sense.

      The soil is made up of basically 75% inert materials and 25% organic. the inert materials can be several things. Hardened clay such as turface,haydite,lava rockor Cat litter of the sort this is only clay and no additives. These are porous agregrates. Non porous aggregates such as construction gravel,poultry grit( not of ground seashell, river rock, and fragmented granite. The organic choices seem to be pine bark as the favorite howver some use leaf mulch or potting soil. This is tailored for the plant and conditions as i stated earlier.

      The other important thing mentioned was the size of the particles. they are sifted down to 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch for larger trays and the very small pots 1/8 to 1/16.
      This is done by simply screening the material.

      The break down of the mix i read was:

      For the larger pot mix
      Haydite- (porous) 1part (haydite is expanded rock. it has been heated to 2000 degrees to allow it to absorb more water)
      River rock(non Porous) 1 part
      Turface-(porous) 1 part ( is Fired clay particles. Turface is commonly used on golf courses and may have an equal under another brand name
      Pine park (organic) 1 part

      Smaller pot mix
      Haydite (porous) 2 parts
      Turface (porous) 1part
      Pine bark (organic) 1 part

      I will be using kitty litter instead of Turface
      I will be also adding some bone meal as a Mild firtilizer and leaf mulch or peatmoss in the case of azaelias , rhoedendrums and wisteria.

      So that my soil picture as i see it. If im on a crash course with disaster let me know :o)
      If it's true our species is alone in the universe, I would have to say the universe set its sights rather low and settled for very little. ~George Carlin~


      Mark
      Front Royal
      Virginia

    8. #8
      skidad_2007's Avatar
      skidad_2007 is offline Senior Member
      This user has no status.
       
      Feeling:
      ----
       
      Join Date
      Jun 2013
      Location
      Wales - UK
      Posts
      1,863
      Sounds good to me - you've been doing a lot of research.
      Good luck.
      If you're not meant to eat animals, why are they made of meat?

    9. #9
      Fintastic's Avatar
      Fintastic is offline Senior Member
      This user has no status.
       
      Feeling:
      ----
       
      Join Date
      Oct 2013
      Location
      Virginia U.S.
      Posts
      273
      I was wondering how people obtain there starter trees. it seems a good many are already in pots and a ready to go. Starter trees not in pots seem harder to find. I didecided to go in several directions in this becuase I would likek to learn to both maintain already cultured trees and also start from scratch so I can work on my technique and be creative.

      I would like to try obtaining a few wild specimens to develop also. I have access to a very wild property on the top of low weather worn mountian in West virginia. Its very mossy and the young trees are often found growing on rocks, logs and patches of leaves in gaps between the rocks. The young trees grow very slow due to limited light, harsh weather and compition with other species for space. Some are aleady pre-twisted due to snow, wind, fallen branches and nibbles by herbivors. despite all this the soil is extremely rich in this old growth area. It is almost black with organics. There are hemlock,pine, oak,maple, beech and several other diciduous varieties. It is also home to countless fern varieties some growing 6 feet tall near the water. the Rhododendron grow 25 feet in height along the river. I am interested in the wild azalea that grows there it has beautiful yellow and orange flowers and the young plants can be found anywhere the sunlight reaches the forest floor. There is also mountian laural with white and pink blossoms but is a very slow growing plant with very hard branches. I should be able to find some interesting specimens among all that old growth. Right now it is probably under several feet of snow. I will have to be patient and wait for late spring to venture out for some specimens.

      Does anyone have good sources for there starter trees and or are any online sources trustworthy? Any suggestions?
      If it's true our species is alone in the universe, I would have to say the universe set its sights rather low and settled for very little. ~George Carlin~


      Mark
      Front Royal
      Virginia

    10. #10
      skidad_2007's Avatar
      skidad_2007 is offline Senior Member
      This user has no status.
       
      Feeling:
      ----
       
      Join Date
      Jun 2013
      Location
      Wales - UK
      Posts
      1,863
      Collecting trees from wild is good if you've access.
      Don't just look for young trees - they'll take a long while to develope.
      If possible search out trees that are weather beaten, maybe a little older, possibly broken or fallen by the weather - you may be able to source some chunky specimens.
      Remember when attemting to dig them out you'll require lots of feathery feeder roots for a successful transplant, and these may not be at the base of the tree - sometimes you have to prepare a tree for collection at a later date - cut a section of woody root away, wrap with sphagnum moss, and re-cover with earth, to encourage new roots to grow - of course someone may come along later and beat you to it! - ain't life a b****

      Look out for neighbours/builders pulling out hedges etc, always worth a visit for starter trees.
      Starting in this way is always going to take a long time for development/shaping, and is how I started, but soon wanted more established partially bonsai'd specimens.
      The choice is yours good luck - keep us posted.
      If you're not meant to eat animals, why are they made of meat?

    11. #11
      Fintastic's Avatar
      Fintastic is offline Senior Member
      This user has no status.
       
      Feeling:
      ----
       
      Join Date
      Oct 2013
      Location
      Virginia U.S.
      Posts
      273
      If i can make any of my trees look half as good as yours I will consider it a success. It truly is a hobby that will require patience. Im working on that. hurry up spring will ya!
      If it's true our species is alone in the universe, I would have to say the universe set its sights rather low and settled for very little. ~George Carlin~


      Mark
      Front Royal
      Virginia

    12. #12
      koiman1950's Avatar
      koiman1950 is offline Supporting Member
      is semi retired
       
      Feeling:
      Tired
       
      Join Date
      Feb 2008
      Location
      San Jose, Ca
      Posts
      19,488
      I would suggest starting with 1 gal nursery stock junipers/conifers just to get the basics of understanding the plants nutritional needs and how to root prune, wire/shape the initial shaping plan, and soil needs. Some folks recommend a bit of organics mixed in the soil and others don't, believing that using fertilizers gives them better control over feeding and also keeps the organics from breaking down within the soil, causing unnecessary water retention due to less porous conditions. Kitty litter is supposedly a good inorganic soil choice over turface, but there's a lot of discussion over certain brands that have a tendency to break down too quickly and, again, clogging the soil, causing waterlogging and root rot if not payed close attention to.

      Collecting trees from nature always sounds great. But, before you do so, learn the basics with some less sensitive plants before literally "digging in" and not being a responsible collector. Stay away from peat moss for any trees. It has a tendency to become either waterlogged or if dried out too much, will not retain the proper amount of water necessary for the roots. Like with koi, there are varying opinions on everything "bonsai". I firmly believe you'll need to start with the basics, find what types of soils work best in your immediate climates and go from there. Is there a bonsai club near you? If so, you may want to pay it a visit and talk to some of the members about all this. I really believe you'll learn more and much faster that way. Usually, you can even bring in a plant/tree and someone will help you learn to root prune, mix soil properly and get you started on the right path.
      Mike

      check out our website at: http://www.pond-life.net




      "Our goal is to assist with emergency and Koi health issues, as well as educate on best practices. Please help us gain a clear picture by giving the original poster time to answer our questions before offering opinions and suggested treatments."

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •