Advice for Forest Group

CovertNeo

Sapling
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I live in Southwest Virginia and I'm interested in making my first bonsai forest group planting in the next couple of years. I have a set of tall (not bushy) wild cherry trees out my back window that I could envision doing well. The bonus of the wild cherry would be the spring flowering, but I've read about some headaches with bugs and this tree type. I have some cedar elm bonsai trees that I could air layer too, which could work I suppose. Any tips on what kind of tree to use native to my area?

Would love to hear from anyone in my general area on what they've used, and perhaps pictures for inspiration.

Lastly a side question... when repotting a forest group planting, do you separate out the trees and tidy up each trees roots independently? Do they tangle making this difficult?
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Elms are your best bet. Skip the “cedars” if they’re Eastern Red Cedars. They don’t make good Bonsai.
When repotting an established forest, treat it as one unit, unless you start to observe some weakening of individual trees.
 

penumbra

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Elms are your best bet. Skip the “cedars” if they’re Eastern Red Cedars. They don’t make good Bonsai.
When repotting an established forest, treat it as one unit, unless you start to observe some weakening of individual trees.
Cedar trees were not mentioned but cedar elms were.
 

Zach Smith

Omono
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I live in Southwest Virginia and I'm interested in making my first bonsai forest group planting in the next couple of years. I have a set of tall (not bushy) wild cherry trees out my back window that I could envision doing well. The bonus of the wild cherry would be the spring flowering, but I've read about some headaches with bugs and this tree type. I have some cedar elm bonsai trees that I could air layer too, which could work I suppose. Any tips on what kind of tree to use native to my area?

Would love to hear from anyone in my general area on what they've used, and perhaps pictures for inspiration.

Lastly a side question... when repotting a forest group planting, do you separate out the trees and tidy up each trees roots independently? Do they tangle making this difficult?
If your wild cherries are black cherry, prunus serotina, they do not do well post-collection. Branches die without warning and they are prone to fungal infection. Cedar elms make wonderful group plantings.
 

derek7745

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my first bonsai forest group planting
when repotting a forest group planting, do you separate out the trees and tidy up each trees roots independently? Do they tangle making this difficult?
this year I tried to pot 3 koto hime as a group (see picture), and it was incredibly frustrating to hold and wire these trees in place together. I approached it like a standard single-tree repotting (which i was already familiar with) and tried to pot all 3 trees in one shot, but this was a mistake!

two days after I took this picture I decided to try this over again. I did what Peter Adams recommends in his book. This time I tied the trees to a plastic mesh (what i would normally use to block drainage holes - see attached) and, another improvement, each tree was tied independently to the plastic mesh (using the technique that @Brian Van Fleet describes here: https://nebaribonsai.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/preparing-a-pot-draft/ ). Then the plastic sheet as a whole was secured in a pot.

Because my goal is fused bases, i'm hoping to let these grow for 2-3-4 years before repotting. I don't know what i will confront at that time.
 

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CovertNeo

Sapling
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this year I tried to pot 3 koto hime as a group (see picture), and it was incredibly frustrating to hold and wire these trees in place together. I approached it like a standard single-tree repotting (which i was already familiar with) and tried to pot all 3 trees in one shot, but this was a mistake!

two days after I took this picture I decided to try this over again. I did what Peter Adams recommends in his book. This time I tied the trees to a plastic mesh (what i would normally use to block drainage holes - see attached) and, another improvement, each tree was tied independently to the plastic mesh (using the technique that @Brian Van Fleet describes here: https://nebaribonsai.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/preparing-a-pot-draft/ ). Then the plastic sheet as a whole was secured in a pot.

Because my goal is fused bases, i'm hoping to let these grow for 2-3-4 years before repotting. I don't know what i will confront at that time.
Thanks sending me some info on what you just went through.
 

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