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  • Results 1 to 17 of 17

    Thread: in case you ever wondered... Bonsai Technique for Root over Rock

    1. #1
      dick benbow's Avatar
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      in case you ever wondered... Bonsai Technique for Root over Rock

      Bonsai Technique for
      Root over Rock


      Initially when you view a completed bonsai in the root over rock style, it is difficult to believe that such a thing could exist in nature. But walks through the Cascade Mountains will quickly confirm that this does happen, and often enough to be easily found.Winds have a way of depositing seed atop a rock. As the tree grows, it sends its roots over and down seeking the sweet nourishment of good forest soil. The event often takes centuries to accomplish. However, in the lifetime of a tree, it is but a short period of time indeed!
      While your wondering how a Bonsai Artist could accomplish such a feat in their lifetime, let me assure you that it can be completed in less than 4 years.
      To accomplish this technique, you will need to select a subject in springtime before the new growth begins to swell. Usually itís a Scottís or Mugho Pine that can be easily acquired at a local nursery. You will find them growing in a plastic one gallon container.
      The height and spread of the foliage should be in the eight to ten inch ranges. Your subject is removed from the pot and bare rooted. A way to safely accomplish this is to pop it out of the pot and place the root ball and soil in a bucket filled with water. Let it soak for a while and then begin to gently to remove all the soil, down to the bare roots.
      Next a pre-selected rock is used to rest the pine tree atop. Carefully spread the roots and divide them into the fissures of the rock. The rock itself should barely fit into
      The bottom of the one gallon pot and appear a bit bigger than it should with the scale of the tree. As the tree grows, it will soon become of a size that blends perfectly in scale with the rock. Something too small will leave the impression that the effort is under whelming.
      After you have encouraged the roots to spread naturally down the face of the rock, the crevasses are filled in with muddy clay soil. Then the entire rock is covered with wet raffia, a dried grass that is available in craft stores. This binds the roots and clay to the rock and the tree and rock are carefully lowered into the nursery container. Within a few years this natural material will begin to break down and will not have to be removed. Soil is added to completely cover over the rock and roots and the tree is grown on for that year in itís new position. The following spring with a heavy pair of scissors, the pot is cut lower down to an inch and a half below the soil line. The soil is then brushed away to expose the top of the roots. The tree is cared for the following season of growth. The delicate roots exposed to the sun, darken and take on the look of the bark on the main trunk. This pattern of cutting and exposing more and more of the root is carried out until all but the last inch and a half of rock is exposed. It is then that the tree is removed and planted with its rock in a proper bonsai pot. Bury enough of the rock to keep it and its tree stable within the pot.
      Dick Benbow
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    2. #2
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      Thanks,

      Great lesson. Always want to try, have a small Japanese maple root over rock. Have to report this spring, when is the best times to repot a Bonsai maple tree.

      Thanks

      pete

    3. #3
      dick benbow's Avatar
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      when they're dormant, prior to leaf budds swelling. Now and the next few weeks is good. trident maples are the most hardy
      Dick Benbow
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    4. #4
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      Dick what a wonderful project... it's tempting!!

    5. #5
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      Very interesting. I always wondered how that was done or if it was a fluke of nature.
      Susie


    6. #6
      dick benbow's Avatar
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      If we wanted to go a step furthur I could show you the lea side of a rock and how to position the tree to look like it was swept into place by the wind and begin to grow.
      This mindset of what happens in nature helps you to find a nicely shaped rock. If you could picture a hump hump camel, if that was a rock the tree would grow out from behind the first hump because that's where swirling winds on a mountain top would place it. The tree would tend to lean away from the protection of the rock as the tree cleared it's sheltered location and was exposed to prevailent winds.
      Dick Benbow
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    7. #7
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      That was an absolutely great lesson. I am going to try that soon. Now I have to copy and paste into one of my folders. Thanks!



      Live on the edge of forever!


      Jeannette

    8. #8
      dick benbow's Avatar
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      kinda like magic tricks, once you know the secret

      Sometime this week I get a ponderosa pine to work on and i'm looking forward to that. always so much to learn, so little time....
      Dick Benbow
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      Meg is offline Senior Member
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      I am just now seeing this as I am searching and trying to decide what to do with a pretty little red maple I found.
      is it to late in the year to start this?
      Attached Images Attached Images  

    10. #10
      dick benbow's Avatar
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      It's too late to repot now that leaves have budded, best to do that in February prior to bud swelling. that is if youir intention is to put in a bonsai pot. You can always get it out of the nursery pot by gently massaging it around so you can lift from the pot and put directly into something bigger.

      Don't fertilize until mid summer or the internodes will be too extended in this year's growth. meaning they grow out of scale with what happened in previous years.
      Dick Benbow
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      Meg is offline Senior Member
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      so a gentle move now to a nicer pot for the summer is ok....but to add to a rock and start that process wait till fall.......... after leaves drop?
      and this guy stays outside all year, here in NW FLa?

      this gives me some more time for planning and thinking and finding just the right rock
      thank you for the quick reply Dick, I have been following your bonsia hobby and was excited to find a tree I thought I could start with.
      Meg


      internodes?...sorry I am a clueless newbie, terms are just now starting to gett familiar

    12. #12
      dick benbow's Avatar
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      you can look at a tree or bush and see how the previous years have treated it by the spacing of the leaves. The new growth on lean years can have even shorter spacing or can be extra long distances between leaves on "fat years." For bonsai it is important that this spacing of lengths between leaves are uniform from year to year.....that's internodes. It would be like looking at the rings on a cut trunk. close rings mean lean years widder gaps mean the years were good......
      Dick Benbow
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      Meg is offline Senior Member
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      got it!.....thanks for the explanation.
      so consistancy is the key with bonsia

    14. #14
      dick benbow's Avatar
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      Meg, it is whn your trying to get similar growth cycles so the tree has a uniform look.

      Similar in a way with water changes for our koi. better if we charted water quality to have a straight across look even if it was lower than we wished, than have it up a day or two and dropping steadily the next several days.....thereby spiking up and downs on the graph.
      Dick Benbow
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    15. #15
      Meg is offline Senior Member
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      makes perfect sense Dick.
      next question for my little tree...
      when I re potted it I left it up on the deck, and it is greener now than the red it had, my first thought was it has more shade now is why. not sure it that really is the reason but it got me thinking that I need to find the right spot in the garden for it. How much sun a day is best for my little japanese tree?
      and come winter it stays outside? should I wrap the pot to protect the root when we have a freeze?

    16. #16
      dick benbow's Avatar
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      Japanese maples do well in shade, especially the cooler eastern exposure where the sun is not has hot. So if you house points east and west put it out for an eastern exposure and proitected from western afternoon sun. Yes the winter concern is root protection. You can bring in deciduous trees ( those that drop thier leaves) in a protected place to winter like the garage if extreme temperatures happen. best to keep it close to the house where it can still get moisture from the rains and cover the pot up with insulating dirt. If during an extreme cold snap don't forget to water if in the unheated garage for more than a few days. Some folks have been know to use a coldframe for winter where the lid is open during the day and closed at night. Again care has to be that it does not get too dry
      Dick Benbow
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      Meg is offline Senior Member
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      great, so I am on the right track, it is wonderful to have a mentor for conformation when having doubts.
      thank you very much Dick
      you are the best.

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