Best native trees & soil for beginners in Southern United States

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I was wondering what is the best starter trees native to alabama Virginia Florida and other surrounding areas in the Southern United States.

Also what's is the best soil mix for the climate.
 

Cofga

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Take a look at Zach’s website article at

https://bonsai-south.com/best-bonsai-trees-for-beginners-american-hornbeam/

Also don’t overlook bald cypress, he has a lot of articles on that one too.

For my generic soil mix I use 4 parts pumice, 3 parts hadite (Permatil), and 2 parts composted bark (Nature’s Helper) all sifted 1/8-1/4” . I alter the ratios with more or less organic deoending in the tree—pines get less, bald cypress get more.
 

bonsaidave

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There are many websites and videos with this kind of information. As for native trees you can find that online also or just go outside and look around.

You really need to do at least a small amount of research before you ask questions like these.
 

ToddH

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Welcome! This forum has a lot of good information. Sadly it is full of A-holes that make rude post like the one above. Guess they didn't know they were in the "New to bonsai" section. Thank you!!! to the two people that actually posted info rather be a ...
 

Michael P

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Welcome! This forum has a lot of good information. Sadly it is full of A-holes that make rude post like the one above. Guess they didn't know they were in the "New to bonsai" section. Thank you!!! to the two people that actually posted info rather be a ...
Agreed.
 

AaronThomas

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I second the BC and Elm idea..... Super tough trees.... Great for beginners and experienced growers alike.
The soil topic is one which you may get a million answers to....
Here in AZ I use the following...
Elms
40% Fine Orchid Bark (Its pine bark)
20% 1/8 Pumice
20% 1/8 Red Lava
20% 1/8 1//16 Decomposed Granite
During the summer I water once a day.

BC
50% 1/8 Red Lava
40% Fine Orchid Bark
and this year I've added 10% premium potting soil to help with keeping things wet since ill be traveling more this summer than usual.

Don't for get to sift/wash your ingredients to get rid of the fines....

Welcome!!!
 

just.wing.it

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Most of those "A-holes" are very well versed and have decades of bonsai experience. ......and are willing to chat with noobs...

As someone who was trained (for my job, not bonsai) very well by a major A-hole, my philosophy is this:
Maybe building up a thick skin and not allowing oneself to get personally offended by others words is a better way to go......just one man's opinion.
 

rockm

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Zach Smith's site is the "go-to" reference for Southern species. The species he has on there are excellent choices for collection.

As for Nahmni being an a-hole, uh-uh, hardly. Any species of elm is a very good suggestion for beginners. American, slippery, red, cedar, wing, etc are not only easily collected at larger sizes, they're also most likely among native trees to recover and develop into bonsai the quickest.
 

Dav4

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Welcome! This forum has a lot of good information. Sadly it is full of A-holes that make rude post like the one above. Guess they didn't know they were in the "New to bonsai" section. Thank you!!! to the two people that actually posted info rather be a ...
Hmmmm, which post(s) are you referring to? Can't say anyone's been an asshole in this thread... yet.
 

rockm

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And if you're talking about the "go outside and look around--get some basic information" thing. Yeah, both are extremely valuable in collecting trees. A basic understanding of what species are in your area helps tremendously. A basic idea of the mechanics involved in "digging" up trees is also valuable before asking questions. Knowing those things can not only help you shape questions, but will get you more informed responses...
 

ToddH

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Great info guys!!! Keep it coming! I wasted time and money for soil on a Red Cedar before I found them to be not so good. This forum has info that can't be found with Google searches or from generic YouTube stars. Us noobs need good solid info that you can't find at the top of search pages.

What about Possumhaw holly's? These look like they would be good for bonsai but I haven't been able to find anybody that has them or tried.
 

rockm

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Great info guys!!! Keep it coming! I wasted time and money for soil on a Red Cedar before I found them to be not so good. This forum has info that can't be found with Google searches or from generic YouTube stars. Us noobs need good solid info that you can't find at the top of search pages.

What about Possumhaw holly's? These look like they would be good for bonsai but I haven't been able to find anybody that has them or tried.
Possumhaws (native deciduous hollies) have been used for a while. Not seen much, but they work. Blackhaw (viburnum prunifolium) is a nice choice too if you can find them in the woods.
 

Michael P

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Todd, in our region you are much more likely to find rusty blackhaw, Viburnum rufidulum. I have one that is among my favorites. I haven't seen a possumhaw Ilex decidua bonsai yet, but I'd love to try one.
 

ToddH

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Todd, in our region you are much more likely to find rusty blackhaw, Viburnum rufidulum. I have one that is among my favorites. I haven't seen a possumhaw Ilex decidua bonsai yet, but I'd love to try one.
Thanks Blackhaw is a new one to me. I'll keep my eye out for one. I've collected two possumhaws. One for bonsai and one as an ornamental tree for my yard. I'm hoping the info I've found for training Yaupons will work for Possumhaws.
 

Michael P

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I'm hoping the info I've found for training Yaupons will work for Possumhaws.
Yaupon techniques should work, with some exceptions. Natural form of possumhaw is a multi-stem shrub or small tree, and they are even more likely to grow root sprouts than yaupons. Possumhaw trunks usually not as thick as yaupons, and the wood is not as hard. Good luck and show us photos!
 

bonsaidave

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Us noobs need good solid info that you can't find at the top of search pages.
If you type "bonsai" into Google you will find much tree info and care instructions on the very first page. If you search this forum there is tones of information on any bonsai subject.

I am fine with someone not knowing something and asking questions. What I am not fine with is someone that does not attempt to find information on their own and instead ask for all the information to be provided for them. That is not a good way to practice bonsai or for that matter to live.

I have never been eloquent but usually there is meaning behind my words. Instead of taking offense, you should think about what is said and determine if there is anything to be learned by the words of others.
 

Michael P

Mame
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Todd, North Central Texas has unique soils, climate, and flora. It is challenging to grow anything here, much less bonsai, LOL. I've been studying all three topics professionally for 40 years and you are right--a simple Google search will not give you the information you need quickly and easily.
 

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