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Thread: Starting Bonsai Help

  1. #9
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taliesin-DS View Post
    Copper has allrdy said most there is to say but i'd like to add some more things.
    Dont try to follow all the bonsai rules bec websites say you must, do it the way you like.
    If you like large leaved bonsai's, make one with large leaves imho :P
    Its not about making a proper "japanese" bonsai imho, but about what you like.
    I disagree with that..
    you *should* actually strive to "follow the rules" of bonsai..and not just go your own way..
    for the simple reason that if you follow the rules, you will end up with MUCH better looking bonsai! which you will enjoy and be proud of..
    but if you just "do whatever", you will probably be disappointed in the result..

    And I also disagree that you can use ANY plant..there are plenty of trees that are simply unsuitable for bonsai..Horse chestnut, Sycamore, Magnolia, and many others..
    the leaves and flowers are simply WAY too big, and cant be reduced much at all..

    Classic trees for bonsai include:
    Japanese maples
    Trident maple
    Hornbeam
    Beech
    Junipers
    Many, but not all, pines.
    and plenty more..

    probably 75% of native trees can be used for bonsai..but definately not all..
    and its simply better to begin, as a newbie, with one of the "tried and true" species..
    Personally im a big fan of the Japanese and Korean hornbeams..beautiful trees for Bonsai:

    http://www.livingbonsai.com/images/B218Exploded_004.jpg

    The key is you want a tree native to your climate, (or native to a climate similar to your own)
    so it can easily survivie outdoors all year long..yes, there is "indoor bonsai"..
    but for someone new, I would start with the more traditional "outdoor" bonsai..

    I agree that the best way to begin a bonsai is to grow it in the ground!
    the trunks really thickien up quickly that way..
    ("quickly" meaning 5 to 10 years before it can go in a bonsai pot!
    you have to cultivate patience with bonsai!

    For someone new, I would recommend buying one or two "semi complete" bonsai from a reputable dealer..like these:

    http://www.internationalbonsai.com/arboretumtour

    They dont necessarily have to be really expensive..I have bought very nice small trees from that nursery (link above) for $20 to $40..

    then you can have the enjoyment of actual nice bonsai, in bonsai pots, and you can then learn to trim and care for them..then if you want to try your own from seed or cuttings, you can start those in the ground..

    A warning..this time of year you begin to see the "mallsai" in stores, malls and big box stores:
    http://wiki.bonsaitalk.com/index.php/Beware_the_mallsai
    (Lowes, Home Depot, Target ect carry them year round)
    these are crap..
    Usually junipers, and usually actually DEAD when you buy them!
    junipers are used for this, because they stay nice and green for weeks and months after the plant is actually dead..so people cant tell..
    avoid these..they are junk plants..

    Scot

  2. #10
    Taliesin-DS's Avatar
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    Maybe i did not explain myself well enough.
    When i say do what you like, i think of artists like Walter Pall, who don't follow the japanese rules as a law, but make very good bonsai none the less (i like Walter Palls stuff way more then the traditional stuff):
    http://walter-pall.de/00gallery/index.html
    He also has a nice chestnut http://walter-pall.de/otherdhorse_ch...dir/index.html
    my growlist: http://terraforums.com/forums/showth...306#post976306
    My pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/taliesin-ds/

    <Exo> @Talie......You are the lord of all things blah....

  3. #11
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taliesin-DS View Post
    Maybe i did not explain myself well enough.
    When i say do what you like, i think of artists like Walter Pall, who don't follow the japanese rules as a law, but make very good bonsai none the less (i like Walter Palls stuff way more then the traditional stuff):
    http://walter-pall.de/00gallery/index.html
    He also has a nice chestnut http://walter-pall.de/otherdhorse_ch...dir/index.html
    oh ok..
    I have never heard of Walter Pall..
    what does he do that "isnt following the rules"?
    I know there is a developing "western" school of thought..
    but I have never seen anything that is radically different from traditional bonsai forms..

    Walters trees are amazing:

    http://walter-pall.de/supershotsbroa...dir/index.html

    But they look like classic oriental bonsai forms to me!
    im not seeing any departure from the traditional "rules"..
    in fact, those all look like they could have come straight from the Japanese masters!
    So im guess im not clear how he isnt following the traditional rules?

    Scot

  4. #12
    Taliesin-DS's Avatar
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    Afaik what he does that is different, is he doesnt always has the left right left right branching pattern exactly according to the rules, stuff like holes and deadwood on dedicious trees is also not japanese.
    So its not so different, just small details.
    Overall his trees more resemble beautifull wild existing specimens, while the japanese are more non existing perfect trees imho.
    my growlist: http://terraforums.com/forums/showth...306#post976306
    My pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/taliesin-ds/

    <Exo> @Talie......You are the lord of all things blah....

  5. #13
    Hear the Call of Nepenthes carnivoure12's Avatar
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    Hey everyone,

    Thanks for the great amount of information, especially scot, and copper! I'm aware that a ficus is totally unsuitable for outdoor cultivation in Canada. I guess I wasn't too clear, I had it in mind for an indoor application.

    So I guess I'll choose a tree from my dad's backyard, and treat the roots as has been described. However, don't the trees get rather tall after such a long time? leaving a big length of bare trunk. So that is what has had me confused, basically, the tree don't stay bushy, or is that what chopping the taproot does? Does that mean I should start with a rather small tree.

    Also would it be wise to start now, it's fall in Canada now. As for those fake wal-mart bonsai's, I've always steered cleared of them. especially those ficus bonsais that have really stubby thick trunk with one or two leaves on the top. They don't even look like a small tree!

    I really appreciate the information, please keep it coming, this information has helped a lot already.
    -Carnivoure12
    →Growlist

  6. #14
    Taliesin-DS's Avatar
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    bushy bonsais are often created by "trunk chopping"
    At a certain height (usually quite low) the trunk is chopped off and a new of existing branch is wired up to become the new trunk, over time this branch will become much thicker and then the branch/trunk is chopped again repeating the process.
    If done right, the chopping scars will be covered with new bark and it will look like a miniature version of a gnarly old tree.
    http://www.bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/ATd...sforbonsai.htm
    Chopping the taproot forces the tree to make new smaller roots that hopefully spread in such a way it would make a good nebari (roots just above the soil).
    Check out www.bonsai4me.com , the most informative bonsai site out there imho.
    my growlist: http://terraforums.com/forums/showth...306#post976306
    My pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/taliesin-ds/

    <Exo> @Talie......You are the lord of all things blah....

  7. #15
    Copper's Avatar
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    Scott is right. Do not buy the trees out of malls and department stores. They did not process roots at all and will be gone with in a month or two. Very sad for the trees, whole sale murder.

    As Scott said there are indoor Bonsai, but Bonsai are meant for the outdoors. They require sunshine and lots of watering. The best way to water is from below, that is submerging the pot. It will take in the water. If you choose to water from above make sure it is in a mist form. The mist would be about the size of raindrops to the small tree. My, my, we can get a strong Bonsai group going I think.
    I am just like a Super Hero, but without the power or motivation.................and the funky suit.

  8. #16
    Taliesin-DS's Avatar
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    There are many ways to grow bonsai imho.
    It will take years for a bonsai to be ready for a bonsai pot (thats usually the last part in bonsai development)
    Bonsais are just trees that are pruned often imho.
    I believe that anything good enough for trees is good enough for bonsais not in a bonsai pot allrdy.
    my growlist: http://terraforums.com/forums/showth...306#post976306
    My pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/taliesin-ds/

    <Exo> @Talie......You are the lord of all things blah....

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