Bonsai beginner

Discussion in 'Maples' started by kgeezy20, Apr 17, 2021.

  1. kgeezy20

    kgeezy20 Active Member Maple Society

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    I know many of you on the board have experience with bonsai and are quite talented with it. I have a few trees (one A. truncatum that I already cut back to about a foot, and several older palmatum rootstock that look to be good candidates, but are yet to be touched) that I would like to bonsai. Are there any good threads here or elsewhere that kind of outlines the entire process? I’m starting with trees that are already close to an inch diameter, so I know they must be cut back and allowed to sprout out.

    thanks,
    Kyle
     
  2. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    There are many personal websites, forums too where you can find useful info and advice.

    Since you're in the States, I'd suggest Bonsai Nut It's a large community, and there are members from Tenessee, maybe some who live next door to you ;-)

    Alain
     
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  3. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Good morning Kyle, there are some excellent Bonsai growers on the forum and you have already heard from one in Alain. I myself even after growing maples in pots and in the ground for over 43 years now, am only just starting out on Bonsai, so have a lot to learn.
    So one YouTube set of videos I have been watching is from Herons Bonsai. A Peter Chan who is very down to earth with his tuition might be of help to you. He has helped me.
    I will watch this thread to see what other suggestions come forward, as I am also interested.
     
  4. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Yes, Peter Chan's videos are very interesting among others.

    And Bjorn Bjornholm is to me one of the best American bonsai specialists and his videos are great resources :
     
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  5. Shin-Deshojo

    Shin-Deshojo Well-Known Member

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    Good morning,
    I think @AlainK and @Acerholic answered and pointed out the best advices (forum+youtube)

    If i can add some suggestions,
    You could have a look at these 2 books that i appreciate a lot and which i think could be a good ressource to get you started with japaneses maples:

    "Mini bonsai: the japaneses maple" by 'Kyôsuke Gun'.
    It is a mini book full of illustration and very educative and fun to read.
    Unfortunately i think you won't find it in English.
    It is available in french and japanese only as far as i know and could be difficult to find in the U.S unless you import it.

    And another one is "Bonsai with Japanese Maples" by Peter Adams.

    As internet is full of informations that can be time consuming if you are looking for specific starter guide on japanese maples , i think you will need to ask your own questions on a forum and the one that has been suggested is probably the best.

    If i can give you my advice reguarding the level of trees you seem to have as material, i would focuse and start my researchs on the roots/ 'nebari' developpment ,and the soil subject as i think it's the first thing to do if you want good bonsais in the futur.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  6. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    I enjoyed that video Alain, I hope Kyle does. The age of trees he works on for clients must need sone high end insurance!!?
     
  7. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    It does for me I.
     
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  8. Nik

    Nik Rising Contributor

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    I think I will give it a shot at bonsai for this naturally twisted atropurpureum seedling.
    I enjoyed that video too. And D, I have watched a lot of the Peter Chan’s videos too.
     

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  9. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    So many of us are getting hooked on Bonsai. Something to watch over the coming years on the forum. All good fun!!
     
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  10. Shin-Deshojo

    Shin-Deshojo Well-Known Member

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    I'd like to say that i always try to avoid talking too much bonsai on the forum to preserve the seriousness and high quality posts that have obviously been built on UBC which makes it a very special and enjoyable place to be, and i would be very sad if by somehow my fault this forum became full of daily posts of random beginners questions about bonsai.

    But at the same time, i have personally always thought that having big japanese maples in the ground or pots in the garden with the addition of their childs as bonsai companions is a great thing and doesn't harm at all as the main theme is always the fascination and the love we share for the japanese maples.

    So i have to admit that I like this thread and I think he should keep going on : )
     
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  11. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    I don't think you will get anybody arguing with that I. They are all maples, whether big or very small in pots. Good post I.
     
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  12. Shin-Deshojo

    Shin-Deshojo Well-Known Member

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    Thank you D,
    So let me share a japanese youtuber that is really entertaining.

    His videos are short and never boring and he always brings high quality momiji(acer palmatum) and Kaede(trident/Buergeranium).

    He's not teaching everything, but his videos are very educational and you can learn some tricks here and there.

    It is also very pleasing to watch as it is a very passionated Japanese and he obviously know what he do, has access to a lot of nice shohins and it's a pleasure for the eye...

    https://youtube.com/c/BONSAIBOSSA

    I'll share more youtubers from time to time if it interests more poeple.
     
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  13. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    So now if anybody puts Bonsai in the search box, this thread will come up. So all the avid Bonsai enthusiasts like yourself, now have a thread to put these informative postings on.
    I will have a look at the link you have put on here through the week.
    This could be a big thread for little trees , lol.
     
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  14. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Yes, the joy of growing bonsai ! ;-)
    It shows the interest of layering to get a good "nebari", star-shaped roots.

    And there are two words I understood : "akadama" (when repotting), and "kaede" (at the end). :-)
     
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  15. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I wouldn't ;-)

    (To me) a "bonsai" should look like a real tree in nature. when getting on in age, the branches will be far from this twisted base, it will look very un-natural.

    I think it's better to start with another one. The "nebari", the base of the tree, the roots, is the essential feature, the rest of the tree can be shaped by pruning, a bit of wiring, not too much to my taste for it might look like "spaghetti alla bonsai".

    See what I mean : the curves at the bottom (1) and the distance to the first buds (2) are very disproportionate :

    spaghetti.jpeg

    This will never look "elegant", it will always look awkward - ;°)

    Better start with a straight one. Wire it or prune it (clip and grow method) or both. When starting from seed, it will anyway take a loooong time. 5 years to get a "starter", 10 years to have the beginning of a "bonsaï".

    I really don't want to start a thread on "maple bonsai", time flies away you know, and there are so many very good websites and forums for the young ones... ;0)
     
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  16. Nik

    Nik Rising Contributor

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    Point taken! I’ll try with a different one. I don’t care so much for getting a decent bonsai quickly, I just would enjoy doing it myself from a seedling that sprouted under my care.. it would be my ‘baby bonsai’.
     
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  17. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Bonsai grown from seeds are called "misho". It's really not the most common way to grow bonsai, but I confess I'm one of the few who like it.

    OK, I have these 4 2020 seedlings from 'Ryusen', but they're just like plain Acer palmatum :

    acer-misho_210419a.jpg

    "Misho 1" :

    acer-misho-01_210419a.jpg

    Can be wired to give it some movement (but not over-twisted, I HATE that !!!) because it's still very young :

    acer-misho-01_210419b.jpg acer-misho-01_210419c.jpg

    Now, branches starting from a inside a curve is a complete no-no. Anyway, when the tree grows in 5-10 years, the first branch musn't be too low (red : cut or remove, green : let grow). This is the basics of growing from seeds, according to me, myself and I ^_^

    acer-misho-01_210419-v.jpg

    Another from the same pack :

    acer-misho-02_210419a.jpg acer-misho-02_210419b.jpg acer-misho-02_210419c.jpg

    A third one, I leave it to your imagination, what to prune, what to keep ?...

    acer-misho-03_210419a.jpg

    Next step : make a good nebari.

    Maybe next year, stay tuned ... ;^D
     
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  18. Nik

    Nik Rising Contributor

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    Perhaps I will use one or both of these two seedlings, at the beginning of their 3rd year. They simply refuse to grow up vertically, they like to branch out.. seems good choice for bonsai.
     

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  19. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Yes, they look like very good starting material.

    The thing is that maples have opposed leaves/branches, and to have a good "impression" of a mature tree, one has to "cheat" and make it look like its has alternate branches.
     
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  20. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    I have to admit to liking this as well Alain. OK your not going to get the girth to the trunk as quickly as other methods, but to know it's your own seedling makes it rather special. And if it is just for your own pleasure and not competition etc, then why not have seedlings. I'm in the process of growing my seedlings to make a forest, it might not be to everyone's taste, but I'm OK with that.
    I do like the movement you are getting with your young trees, probably easier with them being so pliable. But I'm new to this so will watch and learn.
     
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  21. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    In my not so expert eyes, the maple in photo 2 looks very promising N.
     
  22. Shin-Deshojo

    Shin-Deshojo Well-Known Member

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    Great post Alain,
    IMO, the best bonsais are grown from seed but we may not be there to see them when they will be at their best level.

    You would not like to see what shape i gave to 2 momiji seedlings.
    I'll post them tomorow, they are just experiments but i do like them : )
     
  23. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I'm planning to live a hundred years, so I still have a lot of time to devote to my hobies, huh huh...

    Seriously, if by ill luck I happen to have to leave this world at 99, I know that at least some of my trees will live along. I know that I will never know, for there's nothing else than the real world, but nature will take over again, and that's good ;°)
     
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  24. Shin-Deshojo

    Shin-Deshojo Well-Known Member

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    You are on the right path D,
    Best way to start a forest is from seedlings or cuttings IMO.
     
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  25. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Good morning I, thanks for the support. It's a new but exciting path for me.
     

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