Buttonwood Development

RyanFrye

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This is a Conocarpus Erectus that I got at the annual BSF convention about 2 years ago. When I purchased it it was slightly taller and laying on it's side. I have since put it upright (that's the only way the nebari made sense to me) and shortened it. It needs to be carved where it was shortened. The branches you see now I have grown out and shaped in the past two years. Last week I defoliated it and cut the thickest branch back hard in order to get branches where I need them to continue the trunk line downwards. Please, all comments and suggestions welcome!
 

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RyanFrye

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The rest of the pics at different angles.
 

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TeKmInIbI

Sapling
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This is a Conocarpus Erectus that I got at the annual BSF convention about 2 years ago. When I purchased it it was slightly taller and laying on it's side. I have since put it upright (that's the only way the nebari made sense to me) and shortened it. It needs to be carved where it was shortened. The branches you see now I have grown out and shaped in the past two years. Last week I defoliated it and cut the thickest branch back hard in order to get branches where I need them to continue the trunk line downwards. Please, all comments and suggestions welcome!

Great tree! wow!
 

cquinn

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That's going to be a show stopper when it grows out a bit more. I like where your're going with it.
 

Attila Soos

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What an amazing trunk! I wish my shimpaku had something similar.:)

No further comments, just buttonwood envy. But wait,....somebody just reminded me that we have the California juniper, which is basically a buttonwood with much better foliage.
So I take the envy back.
 
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RyanFrye

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Thanks for the kind words everyone! I'm sure I'll be posting again at the latest by the end of the summer with an update on the developing branch structure.


Attila, you know you want one;):D
 

RyanFrye

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Anyone have a suggestion as to which "front" should be used? I'm having a tough time deciding. I'm also struggling with the kind of pot (shape and color) I should go with. I obviously want a more rustic pot versus a clean and colorful one but I'm not sure which direction to take it. Any ideas?
 

Vance Wood

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They are beautiful trees and I envy you your location where you can grow them. A number of years ago, probably more than twenty, people around here (Michigan) tried to grow them. Most that had success were only able to do it under intense indoor light and bottom heat during the winter. They did fine here during the summer but without that special winter growing season indoors they gradually lost vigor, declining little by little every year until there was nothing left.

What was happening was without the above mentioned care they kind of languished all winter. By the time the weather permitted them going outdoors it took them most of the summer to gather some of their vigor back and about the time they were ready to flourish again it was time to bring them indoors where the process of gradual decline proceeded where it had left off. After about four seasons the tree stopped coming back.

Having said that your Buttonwood is very nice. The trunk has fantastic movement and you should be able to make a fine bonsai of it.
 
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BonsaiMon

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Anyone have a suggestion as to which "front" should be used? I'm having a tough time deciding. I'm also struggling with the kind of pot (shape and color) I should go with. I obviously want a more rustic pot versus a clean and colorful one but I'm not sure which direction to take it. Any ideas?

Nice tree.. after cleaning up the driftwood i think somewhere in between pic 3+4 will show good flow with the driftwood.. i like how it twists around and the dead wood is hidden with the branching and appears again at the apex. As Vance warned.. protect from the cold.. below 50 will really slow them down.. are you protected somewhat from lake monroe? How's the root system?
 

RyanFrye

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Nice tree.. after cleaning up the driftwood i think somewhere in between pic 3+4 will show good flow with the driftwood.. i like how it twists around and the dead wood is hidden with the branching and appears again at the apex. As Vance warned.. protect from the cold.. below 50 will really slow them down.. are you protected somewhat from lake monroe? How's the root system?

Hi Tom,

Thanks for complement! I love this tree because there really are several good fronts. I'll post an update pic in the spring. I guess you're familiar with my area. I need to update my location. A few months ago I moved a little more north to Deltona.

It's weird....I have kept buttonwoods almost as long as I've been into bonsai and I have managed to leave them in temps that dip down to the low 40's with no ill effect.....but just to play it safe I usually take them in if it is going to be below 45.

Ryan
 

BonsaiMon

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My thoughts exactly.. good thing you going to keep it in a round pot. :)

I lived in Deltona and during the colds snaps the trees went under a makeshift cold frame .. under the taller bench with plastic over.. this worked even with a couple nights of frost. The good thing was that it always warmed within a few days.
My next move was Tn. not so lucky there.. :( .. in a free standing double blown plastic greenhouse heated with a woodstove the temps got into the 30's to frequent. after three years all my buttonwoods died, tamarinds, and a few other species can't think of right now. When it turned winter it was winter for many mos. strait...
 

RyanFrye

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My thoughts exactly.. good thing you going to keep it in a round pot. :)

Yes definitely a round pot. Right now it is in plain round and DEEP terra cotta pot just for development of the branches. But I'll be picking a round bonsai pot for it within the next year or too.

I lived in Deltona and during the colds snaps the trees went under a makeshift cold frame .. under the taller bench with plastic over.. this worked even with a couple nights of frost. The good thing was that it always warmed within a few days.

What a small world! Fortunately this is the last of my buttonwoods. So it won't be too much trouble to make sure that it stays warm enough. I usually bring them in doors on the really cold nights.

My next move was Tn. not so lucky there.. :( .. in a free standing double blown plastic greenhouse heated with a woodstove the temps got into the 30's to frequent. after three years all my buttonwoods died, tamarinds, and a few other species can't think of right now. When it turned winter it was winter for many mos. strait...

That's a real shame. As you know, when it turns winter here it might be winter for a day and then "summer" again the next. I can't imagine trying to protect them in a climate like TN, but kudos for trying! Good buttonwood material seems to be getting more and more difficult to find. I'm sorry for your loss:(
 

susieq14114

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Ryan,
I just saw this post. I am trying to learn how to keep buttonwoods due to suddenly and without warning, being given two old speicmens that were collected many many years ago. My old bonsai teacher used to go out and collect them. He has since passed on and his elderly widow was trying to keep them up...and not doing very well. They took some hits a couple winters in a row. I don't know why she didn't bring them inside. Her husband always did. But, they are large and very heavy so maybe that had something to do with it. She is now moving to New Mexico with her son and was trying to give the Buttonwoods to someone she thought would keep them safe....

I have no experience with Buttonewoods, never really wanted a Buttonwood but they're here in my yard, living on little wagons with the rest of my tropicals. I put them all on wagons in the winter so that I can pull them inside briefly when real cold threatens. What worries me is that in a couple of years, we may be moving to TN also....I thought a green house would be fine for them but after reading an earlier post to this thread, I know I can't take them with me when I go.

For now, though, I just want to learn what I can about them so that come summer, I can take care of them properly. They both need repotted and cut way back from years of near neglect. How hardy are these plants when it comes to root pruning. I would love to put them in way smaller pots that they are currently in. Right now they're border line "two man" bonsai. I can't lift one alone.
What kind of fertilizer do they do well on? Any pointers would be appreciated.
 

cubbie

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how "portable" are your trees? fortunately mine are easily carried, so it's worth it to bring them inside when it gets much below 45. worth it because they are amazing trees. leaves reduce, new sprouting on trunks, lime sulfur makes the deadwood shine. they love fish emulsion and then regular miracle grow or whatever you use. lots of water, lots of sun. only repot when it is really hot outside. kind of fragile root system, need to be careful. i have some references somewhere, will look them up. glad i have the ones that i do, because you are right, they are getting harder to find. will update you when i find some articles to share.... you might want to do a search on several of these forums...
 

grouper52

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I'm also late to this thread: Wonderful material, Ryan! Where's a smilie for "jealous"?

I like the first photo for a front, but it makes little difference in a round pot, and with so much to recommend almost every angle.

Lucky you!
 

BonsaiMon

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Winter warmth and light are the big issues for buttonwoods.. fertilizer.. as was mentioned.. they love to eat. You can feed them as you do a ficus. They like moisture in the soil and out.
i have one I keep during the winter for a friend on a heat mat 24/7 and it does great.. when the temps outside get into the 60-70F i turn it off.
 

susieq14114

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Thanks for the pointers and Ryan, my appologies for butting in on your post......your Buttonwood is beautiful. What a trunk!

The 2 that I inherited this week, are about 3 feet tall and in pots that are about 2 feet long by? Will have to measure them...about 6 inches deep or maybe a little more....heavy buggers. Thanks so much for the feeding ideas. I have fish emulsion and Miracle gro/or Peters. I appreciate the reference to ficus but have never owned one of those either..... my tropicals are 2 varieties of Malpigghias...Barbados Cherry and Singapoor Holly. I have a couple of Fukien Teas and that's it for Tropical stuff...oh, and one olive...almost forgot that one.

Ryan, your speicman looks like it's in a fairly small pot for such a large trunk. I am hoping I can at least cut my pot size in half. I started a thread asking for help with these plants, before I saw your thread. I will post some pics there later today if I get a chance and maybe you all would take a look and tell me what you think.
Thanks so much for all the info.
Susan
 

Vance Wood

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Do not keep the tree outside when the temperatures start dropping below 50 degrees. It is at this point they start to decline. If you live anywhere north of Florida you will have to consider keeping then indoors all winter till about the middle of May in most places. Indoors you have to provide a good deal of light and bottom heat. Without this kind of care they will slowly decline until one spring they will finally do nothing and die.
 
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