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 A couple of questions

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nmafzal



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PostSubject: A couple of questions   Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:51 pm

Hello,
and many thanks for making this forum. I have a couple of questions, I have been reading about Bonsai for the last couple of days, please bear with me the list is rather long but I would appreciate the answers so that I can buy one and start converting it in to a Lillputian tree.
a. can we start with saplings? or is nit advisable to buy a small plant from the nursery, as I understand a sapling will take more time and effort.
b. what tool is used for pruning?
c. the compost is placed on top of the soil? or mixed in to it?
d. what is the difference between compost and manure? if they are different then when to use which? and how?
e. do we really need to use compost/manure always to make the soil rich?
f. should we till? called as "goadi" in urdu?
g. can we make bonsai in a pot? commonly called as "gamla" in urdu?
h. pruning just makes the tree grow horizontally instead of vertically, right?
j. is it a bad idea to start bonsai in winters?

My apologies again for the multiple questions, please number them if possible. Many thanks in advance.
Nauman
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Gnome
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PostSubject: Re: A couple of questions   Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:05 pm

Nauman,

These are common questions for a beginner to ask.

A. Starting with a sapling/seedling can indeed be done and it allows the most control of the tree. A quality root system is not always easy to find and by doing it yourself you are able to establish a flat, even root system. The down-side is that this is just about the slowest way to develop bonsai.

B. Although there are specialized bonsai tools, concave cutters, they are not necessary at the early stages. A good pair of garden shears will serve you well for a while. If you need to make a more substantial cut a common pair of secateurs or whatever is commonly used to prune trees can be utilized.

C. I do not actually use what I know as compost. The British sometimes refer to bonsai soil as compost but again I do not believe it is actually compost or decomposed organic matter. Bonsai soil can vary greatly from region to region and species to species so you need to factor in those, as well as others, considerations when designing your medium. Usually some organic material, such as bark, is included. Whatever components you chose it is usually considered best if the particle size is uniform and the smaller particles excluded. This is accomplished with a set of screens in various sizes. The mix is uniform throughout, although sometimes a top-dressing is used.

D. I touched on this above. By my definition compost is decaying organic matter such as leaves, weeds, vegetable scraps and even actual manure. It is allowed to decompose and blend over time until it becomes a uniform material. This is generally used for gardening and landscaping. I do not include either in my medium. Your climate might make it desirable to alter your mix to a more water retentive one. I do not have that problem so I keep my mixes leaner, meaning less organics and more inert materials like fired clay and lava rock.

E. You must fertilize somehow but that does not necessarily mean manure or compost needs to be included in your mix, such a mix would be too water retentive for me. You can fertilize in various ways. A tea made by soaking a couple of hands-fulls of aged manure and/or compost in five gallons of water is one way.

F. Not sure about the question here. Sometimes bonsai soils do crust over making watering a little more difficult. It is a simple matter to loosen the crust with a small stick or other tool.

G. Bonsai are generally developed before being placed in a bonsai pot. This can be accomplished in the ground where growth is fastest. Wooden 'grow boxes' are also used. Larger pots are another choice. The important thing to remember is that once a tree is placed in a small pot its development will slow greatly. In other words, create your bonsai first then choose an appropriate pot.

H. Pruning is the main design tool of bonsai. By pruning we redirect growth to where it is desired and eliminate growth where it is not. Also, pruning develops what is known as 'taper' where the tree starts with a thick trunk and branches then get smaller and smaller as you get higher and higher in the tree. A tree with no taper looks immature. Pruning establishes 'movement' where the tree grows to the left and right / front and back. The exception to including movement is if you desire what is called a 'formal upright' which is straight.

I. What happened to I Shocked

J. If you are talking about native species (always a good idea) then I don't do anything this time of year except keep things alive till next year. Your climate may give you more options and some growers do keep bonsai indoors over winter but they must be an appropriate species.

I'm sure someone else who is more familiar with your climate, fertilizers and soil components and species available will have a slightly different take on these matters. Take it all in and use your good judgment and you should be fine.

Norm
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nmafzal



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PostSubject: Re: A couple of questions   Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:04 am

I can't thank you enough for this valuable information. I am so excited, in fact a little over excited :-) I will start the process on one of the plants in the garden, and will shift it indoors in a pot sometime after March (subject to its survival!). I will upload the pics soon. Thanks again
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PostSubject: Re: A couple of questions   Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:25 am

nauman welcome to pakbonsai.
what should i say further....Gnome has answered it well...
@gnome
i am much thankful to you for providing us your time...i have learn a lot from you and hope you will guide us further for the art of bonsai in Pakistan.
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PostSubject: Re: A couple of questions   Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:14 am

You are both very welcome, I'm glad to be able to help in some small way.

nmafzal,

Quote :
I will start the process on one of the plants in the garden, and will shift it indoors in a pot sometime after March
Remember that bonsai is traditionally an outdoor activity, and for good reason. Many plants simply will not do well indoors, some will die quickly while other may linger for a year or more and die slowly.

Some plants can do well inside, these primarily originate in warmer portions of the world. It is much easier to keep a tropical plant, such as Ficus, inside. It is more difficult to keep a temperate tree, such as a Japanese Maple, inside.

Not knowing the specifics of your weather and the plants available to you, I am at a disadvantage, so I won't give you any specific advice just that you should think this through. Will the plant in question do well inside? Do you have adequate lighting? Do you need to grow inside or are you perhaps concerned about leaving bonsai outside?

Good luck to you and enjoy your new hobby.

Norm
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nmafzal



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PostSubject: Re: A couple of questions   Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:25 am

Presently the plant is in the soil, should it be left there? (not sure about its type :-) sorry am totally new to this thing, but will ask the gardner about it) or should it be left in the soil after pruning? I intend placing it outdoors at least for now as I do not want disturb it. The question is will it be ok if I let it grow in the soil instead of a pot? and when it has shown some improvement shift it in a pot (still outdoors)? Thanks
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PostSubject: Re: A couple of questions   Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:07 pm

nmafzal wrote:
Presently the plant is in the soil, should it be left there? or should it be left in the soil after pruning? I intend placing it outdoors at least for now as I do not want disturb it. The question is will it be ok if I let it grow in the soil instead of a pot? and when it has shown some improvement shift it in a pot (still outdoors)? Thanks

what is the age of plant what is the size of its trunk(grith)
if it is well grown plant then you can transfer it in the training pot..not directly in the bonsai pot or tray.
it is good idea to prune and train the plant while it is in the ground but then we will miss the roots to train...
can you please post its picture here so we can advise you..but choice is your.
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nmafzal



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PostSubject: Re: A couple of questions   Wed Nov 11, 2009 5:07 pm

exactly this is what I had in mind, the roots. If I grow it in the soil the roots might grow very long. In a pot things might be different. Will post pic tomorrow since its dark now along with the name, after asking the Gardner :-) And please also tell me do we have to prune the roots as well? or they automatically shorten when the top is pruned. Sorry if my questions sound stupid and very basic, I ma totally new to this gardening thing. BTW the age isn't more than 7 months I guess because I planted this as a sapling. Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: A couple of questions   Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:52 am

nmafzal,

Quote :
If I grow it in the soil the roots might grow very long.
True, but this is how trunks are developed. If the roots are always kept small the plant would have a very difficult time growing. Young material must be allowed to grow out or it will never achieve its potential. A tree in the ground might be grown on a tile, or even a board, to discourage downward growing roots. Also, such a tree would be lifted and root pruned periodically in order to keep the roots in check.

Quote :
In a pot things might be different.
Also true, but consider the development of the tree now. Is your tree ready to begin its life in a bonsai pot? If yes, then the continual root pruning required to keep it alive in a bonsai pot is appropriate. If no, then keep root pruning to a minimum while still guiding and directing them.


This is what you would like to see in a young root system. The roots emerge all at the same point on the trunk, they are all on the same level, which makes putting the tree in a shallow bonsai pot later much easier. Note that they are also arranged like the spokes of a wheel, one root is hidden behind the trunk and is not visible in this picture.

Quote :
BTW the age isn't more than 7 months I guess because I planted this as a sapling.
Then this tree needs some serious growing time while periodically directing the roots as I mentioned above. Putting it into a small pot now will really slow your progress.

Remember trying to develop bonsai in a small pot is a slow and sometimes frustrating endeavor. Develop your tree to a reasonable degree first, then look for a decorative pot.

Norm
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nmafzal



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PostSubject: Re: A couple of questions   Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:11 pm

Hi Gnome,
the girth is a little more than an inch, the plant is about 2.5 feet above the ground. The picture is attached, the species is still not known (apologies but the gardener didn't show up). Maybe you can identify it. Since the age is quite less, I think I will let it stay here and when it has shown some improvement will move it. Will upload the pics after pruning. Best,
Nauman[img][/img]
[img]http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=2&u=14535129][/url][/img]
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PostSubject: Re: A couple of questions   Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:36 pm

dear nauman,
its Melia azedarach, a tree which is a deciduous in the mahogany family Meliaceae,and Commonly called Persian Lilac, White Cedar, China berry or Bead Tree, Lunumidella, Ceylon Cedar.
in our native language we call it "DHARAIK" and its fruit is called "NIMKOLI".it is widely found in whole Punjab.
your tree is too small to train as bonsai...please let it in the ground for a year then plant it into training pot.
as its a native tree it will do best as bonsai.you have to wait untill it get the reasonable thickness in trunk.this tree grow wildelly so it will be fun for you.
i love this tree because of its fragrance during flowering season.
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