Choosing a rock for next year's maple root-over-rock project

Fonz

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I want to start a root-over-rock project next year. I have some 2-year-old japanese maple seedlings that I want to use for it.
Now I've gathered 3 rocks of the same size over the last couple of months. Not sure which one is best suited for a root-over-rock planting.
What do you think?

The rocks:

P1040871.JPG

Rock 1, some sort of lava-ish clump:

P1040872.JPG

Rock 2, a rock:

P1040873.JPG

Rock 3, from the south coast of England (Seven Sisters Cliffs):

P1040874.JPG

Or should I put a tree on all three of them and hope 1 works out?
 

bonsaichile

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I would go with #1. The others seem to smooth to allow the roots to easily bond.
 

James W.

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I want to start a root-over-rock project next year. I have some 2-year-old japanese maple seedlings that I want to use for it.
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Or should I put a tree on all three of them and hope 1 works out?
All three, of course!
#1 is good in that the roots will want to grip. It would look good with many smaller roots over it. If the roots got too big they might overpower the smaller texture of the rock. So maybe a shohin perched on top of a boulder?
#2 is more interesting to me. It has a nice shape and some interesting color without being something that will compete with the tree itself. I might look at flipping it and placing the tree a little off center of the 'point'. You will have more issues with the tree really being bonded to the stone and bigger roots will need to be developed to balance against the stone's visual mass.
#3 I really like the colors, it is a pretty rock. You would want to train you tree to compliment the rock keeping the interesting parts exposed. It might look good with roots wrapped all the way around it so almost the whole rock exposed. That would take a larger tree. An issue to look out for is that with a smooth rock that the roots don't really grip and as the roots grow they may have a tendency to push the tree away from the rock.

As always, these are just my opinions, maybe some other people will present other views.
You have some fun potential, go for it. And keep us posted!
 

erb.75

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#1 you might be able to carve out some root trails...do all 3 though :)
 

discusmike

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#2 but I think you could find better,remember,once the tree is grown for a few years on this rock you cannot replace the rock,your stuck with a nice tree on a mediocre rock.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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I would use none of the 3 rocks. The rock should suggest a logical natural set and setting. None of those rocks look like something natural. Think cliff faces, rock ledges, and other natural scenes where rocks emerge from landscape. Your rocks look large enough, often new to the hobby sellect too small a rock, and the tree outgrows the rock. Keep this in mind too.

Rock should have some sort of notch, or shelf on which the tree would grow.

If you want it to ''just sit on a boulder'', the boulder should look like a natural boulder, I would look for a more weathered rock. I also would look for a rock wider than tall. But I am from the midwestern plains, you might have a specific scene in mind.
 

Shibui

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I agree with Leo. Root over rock is a great style but only when you have the right tree and the right rock and these are not really very good rocks for Root over Rock bonsai.
I would also have a second thought about JM root over rock. JM roots do not thicken very quick so it actually takes many years to get a good root/rock combination. In my experience Trident maple is far superior for root over rock style.

Most who have not tried will think that root over rock is easy to achieve - take 1 tree and 1 rock......:)
Truth is that every time you add another component to your bonsai it multiplies the possibility of not working out. Think of the problems getting a single trunk with branches in the correct positions. Many tries and just one thing is not quite correct.
Add a rock. Now the trunk must have good branches in correct places. Trunk must also match the rock - line and movement:confused:. Roots also need to run nicely down the rock in harmony with both the rock and the trunk and branches above:(. So many pieces of the puzzle to fit together into a single harmonious unit:mad:.
After years of practice less than half of my attempts are even passable. Less than 10% are good because there are so many hard to control variables.

By all means try to create root over rock. Have fun, learn things.
 

kevinlovett86

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Rock number 1 is cool, but don’t choose something like a trident maple that wil eventually envelop the entire rock. I think with cool rugged features like that you still want to see some rock in the end.
 
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Definitely need to get the rock choice right for root over rock. I have been looking for the right lump of limestone for the last year and just found it. This piece of limestone has lots of shape and is over 35cm, I am going to fix another piece of rock to the base and then start the root over rock at the end of winter. I have a fairly recently created Trident on a lump of very hard lava, still a long way to go but it is starting to develop quite nicely. I am hoping that the rock is large enough to last a long time without being completely covered by roots.

IMG_20181007_142048.jpgIMG_20181222_152602.jpg
 

sorce

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There is a thing about most ROR's hiding good features of the rock.....
I think some @Brian Van Fleet info about it here.....

Very true this is....
And the phenomenon can be studied here.

These are all rocks that have great features and colors complimentary or contrasting a maple beautifully....

But they have absolutely....little promise of showing these features after a successfull (horticulturally) ROR has been achieved.

Resorce. Future Vision Goggles with regards to ROR. Just a different lens....same prescription.

Sorce
 
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Update on my next ROR project. I found a smaller flat piece of the same limestone as the main rock and glued them together yesterday. The two pieces did fit together very well and should provide a strong base providing stability for the main piece. Will find out later if it has successfully stuck them together. IMG_20181231_153734.jpgIMG_20181231_153726.jpg
 

leatherback

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I want to start a root-over-rock project next year. I have some 2-year-old japanese maple seedlings that I want to use for it.
Now I've gathered 3 rocks of the same size over the last couple of months. Not sure which one is best suited for a root-over-rock planting.
What do you think?
My ficus ROR failed this year; I forgot to bring it inside in time and nope.. a few degrees of frost are not acceptable to fig. I have no use for the rock. Shall I bring it with me to the Trophee? Or will you be at deshima new years' drink on Saturday?
 

Fonz

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My ficus ROR failed this year; I forgot to bring it inside in time and nope.. a few degrees of frost are not acceptable to fig. I have no use for the rock. Shall I bring it with me to the Trophee? Or will you be at deshima new years' drink on Saturday?
When is the deshima new years drink? love to be there...
 

leatherback

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OK, will chuck your cotinus & the rock in my car. The cotinus you are going to take. The rock you can decide then ;) Just need to know who you are..
 

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