Building horticultural knowledge - good book?

IsaM

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I've had bonsai trees for 2 years now. I've found plenty of resources and books that are focussed on how to grow bonsai, how to develop nebari, how to wire, how to think about design etc. What I haven't found is a good resource to build your horticultural understanding of how trees work and in particular how keeping them in a small container impacts that.

Are there any bonsai books out there that are much more focussed on the horticultural side of things? I currently feel like I'm doing everything I can to maximise health of the trees based on a lot of reading and video watching i.e. the right soil for my location and trees, watering the right amount, fertilising at the right time, pruning and wiring at the right time etc. without having the horticultural understanding for why things are done that way

As a side note, recognising things will vary by species, I've limited myself to Juniper's and Maple's for the moment in an attempt to learn those two species inside out vs. having a wide variety of species that I don't understand.

Welcome any thoughts, thanks!
 

Canada Bonsai

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What I haven't found is a good resource to build your horticultural understanding of how trees work and in particular how keeping them in a small container impacts that.

These are the 2 videos that I send to every person who writes to me wanting to get into bonsai. Ryan Neil tackles horticulture/physiology as it pertains to bonsai. Take notes, re-watch, revise notes, re-watch, and so on. They're great.



And here are my usual book recommendations. The first two (in bold), and especially Hagedorn's Bonsai Heresy illustrated by @MACH5 , are likely to be those that are most aligned with the needs that you specify in your post.

I think propagation techniques are essential tools in bonsai, and so a patient read through the introductory chapters of Dirr and Heuser will serve you for the rest of your life. I mention this because propagation is great way to build an understanding of physiology and the mechanics of plant structures.

Overview of Bonsai
- The Little Book of Bonsai – Jonas Dupuich
- Bonsai Heresy – Michael Hagedorn

- Principles of Bonsai Design – David De Groot
- International Bonsai Magazine – William Valavanis

Books that address species, varieties, or types
- Bonsai with Maples – Peter Adams
- Bonsai Maples – Andrea Meriggioli (read Adams’ Bonsai With Maples first)
- The Art of Flowering Bonsai – Peter Adams
- Bonsai Today Master Series: Junipers
- Bonsai Today Master Series: Pines

Propagation
- The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation – Dirr and Heuser
 

IsaM

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Thanks very much for taking the time to put this together, have ordered Bonsai Heresy out and will check out the videos!
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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Plant physiology by Taiz is such a good read (and you can find free pdf's if you google around a little, although those are outdated a little) that it should be on every shelf.
It will teach you more than any bonsai book ever can. Simply put.. Because it covers literally everything going on inside a plant, from the atomic level and up.
I'm willing to fight everyone who tries to claim otherwise.
I mean, a full history and explanation of an auxin discovery, auxin cascase, transport, with biochemical precursors, exudates and enzymes can beat "auxin is a growth hormone" in the sense of in-depth knowledge.

To my knowledge, it's the only book that's considered a must in every uni worldwide that's teaching plant biology.
 

Alcam

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Mirai Live for sure is a fantastic resource. Ryan is a crazy wealth of knowledge and skill.
 

IsaM

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Thanks everyone for the replies. As always this site is so helpful no matter how far into the hobby you are.

I had Mirai Live for a month or two but work long hours and have a 9 month old daughter. Unfortunately once the little girl came along I just couldn't find the time to get through the content. Will sign up again in the future for sure!
 

Brian Van Fleet

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