20 hedge plants

owenislush

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I'm total novice to this, and I'm new to bonsai in general aswell, but I couldn't let this opportunity go to waste!... A family member is digging out 20 hedge's from the perimeter of her garden, and I want to (if i can) use them for bonsai - even if not successful bonsai, just the process of repotting + styling + pruning etc... I'm not sure what type of hedge it is, I think it's privet, but i'll get some photo's. My question is: Whats the best way to go about digging them up? I have alot of spare time so I plan on doing it myself, but I dont know if it's just a case of digging a circle (which is a relevant size to the diameter of the trunk) and the same for depth, then transferring into a suitable container? I think the family member wants rid of them asap, so I want to crack on! any help/advice would be appreciated! Thanks, Owen.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Timing isn't ideal, but if it's now or never, proceed.

Privets are tough, chop each plant back to a decent trunk-line with some movement and taper, then dig each out trying to get as much of the root system intact with soil. Then transplant the root ball (undisturbed) to your yard and put them in the ground until next spring.

If you get enough undisturbed roots and cut the top back enough, it should still pop back with enough growth this year to give you some idea of what you can reasonably expect to make it through the winter.

In the spring, you may have something ready to dig up and start training.

Photos would help, but this is a rough starting point.
 

owenislush

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I'll post the pictures up soon as I get some! And I dont't have a garden to plant them in, so big plant pots are all I can offer! I think its gonna be just a case of trying to get as much root as I can and hoping they survive! whilst obviously taking alot off the top aswell. I'm not expecting miracles, but its worth a try! Thanks, Owen.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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If they have to go in pots, then you need to rid the rootball of as much earth as possible and get the roots into a coarser mix; earth will become a solid block pretty quickly in a pot and you'll definitely lose the trees. If they're privets and you're lucky, a few may make it...but reduce the top down to main trunks only and let them regenerate roots and foliage at the same time.
 

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