Can a bonsai live significantly longer than is typical for the species?

Bon Sai

Mame
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Hello,

I'm asking because I've planted a lot of seeds of a tree that lives 15 years, which is the Virgilia divaricata. I want it for my bees but I want to try it for bonsai because I like it's leaves. They are compound but small and cute. The flowers are nice too.

But 15 years is too little time for a bonsai. I hope I can manage to make it live longer. Much longer. Should be at least twice the time. Do you think it is feasible?

This is a Virgilia divaricata.
Virgilia_divaricata00.jpg
 

cmeg1

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No doubt ,yes.If you give free draining hydroponic soil/media ,correct ph of water/nutrient and do not over fertilize.....use natural deterents to fungus.
Increased calcium/amino acids.
The short answer
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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I am unfamiliar with the specific species in question, Virgilia. So I can not comment from specific experience.

Usually the "life span data" for trees and shrubs is based on how it is used. Life span for timber trees is the number of years for a stand to mature enough that 25% of the trees will have begun developing rot in their main trunks. It is a number for indicating the longest you want a stand to mature before harvest in order to maximize board foot yield of lumber. Life span in a landscape architecture context is the time period a tree or shrub will likely "look good" without excessive maintenance costs. None of these terms have anything to do with life span in they way we think of with mammals, or humans. Trees and shrubs don't just "expire of old age". That simply does not happen. Plant tissue lines are open ended. If managed well, this can be very long lived. Aspen are noted to have trunks that only survive at most maybe 100 years, yet 'Pando' is a monoclonal colony that originated in a single seedling somewhere around 7,000 or 10,000 years ago. No piece of living wood is older than maybe 100 years, older wood rotted away, but the tree keeps sending up new shoots from the roots.

So with plants, "old age" does not work the way it does in dogs, cats or humans. It is not a fixed, finite time period. Plants have open ended, life spans, and if disease and abiotic causes of death such as lightning or drought, a tree can in theory live hundreds of years past "useful life span date".

Plenty of "short lived trees" are used for bonsai. Most of your culinary fruit trees have short "life spans" in the gardening books, yet have good track records as bonsai.

Virgilia is in the Fabaceae - the pea family. In broad generalities there are relatively few species in the pea family that are very popular for bonsai. This is related to difficulties in working with compound leaves in bonsai design. But there are a few that are indeed popular, and to work even though they have compound leaves, so don't let the generality stop you from trying. Give it a try, post photos and let us know how it works out. Lovely flowers. Might be nice.
 

Bon Sai

Mame
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I am unfamiliar with the specific species in question, Virgilia. So I can not comment from specific experience.

Usually the "life span data" for trees and shrubs is based on how it is used. Life span for timber trees is the number of years for a stand to mature enough that 25% of the trees will have begun developing rot in their main trunks. It is a number for indicating the longest you want a stand to mature before harvest in order to maximize board foot yield of lumber. Life span in a landscape architecture context is the time period a tree or shrub will likely "look good" without excessive maintenance costs. None of these terms have anything to do with life span in they way we think of with mammals, or humans. Trees and shrubs don't just "expire of old age". That simply does not happen. Plant tissue lines are open ended. If managed well, this can be very long lived. Aspen are noted to have trunks that only survive at most maybe 100 years, yet 'Pando' is a monoclonal colony that originated in a single seedling somewhere around 7,000 or 10,000 years ago. No piece of living wood is older than maybe 100 years, older wood rotted away, but the tree keeps sending up new shoots from the roots.

So with plants, "old age" does not work the way it does in dogs, cats or humans. It is not a fixed, finite time period. Plants have open ended, life spans, and if disease and abiotic causes of death such as lightning or drought, a tree can in theory live hundreds of years past "useful life span date".

Plenty of "short lived trees" are used for bonsai. Most of your culinary fruit trees have short "life spans" in the gardening books, yet have good track records as bonsai.

Virgilia is in the Fabaceae - the pea family. In broad generalities there are relatively few species in the pea family that are very popular for bonsai. This is related to difficulties in working with compound leaves in bonsai design. But there are a few that are indeed popular, and to work even though they have compound leaves, so don't let the generality stop you from trying. Give it a try, post photos and let us know how it works out. Lovely flowers. Might be nice.
I will.
 
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