collecting in southern california?


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Brea, CA
Hi, I was wondering if anybody knew any place in southern california or the mojave to go collecting california junipers and do you need permits? Does anybody plan on taking a trip that I can go with? thanks all!
Yes. You must have permits, or permission of the landowner when it is private land. Suggest you contact local bonsai clubs about collecting expeditions. No one is likely to give you choice locations online.
Yes. You must have permits, or permission of the landowner when it is private land. Suggest you contact local bonsai clubs about collecting expeditions. No one is likely to give you choice locations online.

Ditto here. This goes for public land as well, a trip to the pokey is possible without written permission. Local clubs typically have the contacts and knowledge about collecting, not to mention actual collecting experiance.
Hi, I was wondering if anybody knew any place in southern california or the mojave to go collecting california junipers and do you need permits? Does anybody plan on taking a trip that I can go with? thanks all!

Please don't get discouraged from the responses you received. The members of this forum are extremely passionate about Bonsai and "collecting" is a topic which rightfully so get's people heated. Many people new to collecting kill the trees they collect. And killing ancient trees and even young one's is something that is disgusting to passionate people. If you would really want to go collecting join a club and do some research online first. If you want to be successful you have to be patient. If you are passionate enough about Bonsai then you will put in the time and effort into learning as much as possible about collecting, but if your not then you don't deserve to collect. Hopefully this motivates you rather than discouraging you. Good luck!
"Does anybody plan on taking a trip that I can go with? thanks all!"

Going with someone who knows what they're doing is absolutely the best way to collect. You will not only be able to get to decent collecting sites, you will have experienced people to help--although you might be doubly smart in helping THEM dig their trees first.

Contacting local bonsai clubs is your first job. There are literally a Bazillion bonsai clubs in Cal.:

Pick one closest to you---From the American bonsai Society directory:
Bay Island Bonsai meets the 1st Tuesday of each month at 7:30 PM, at the First Congregational Church located at 1912 Central Ave., Alameda CA. Contact: Boon Manankitivipart by E-mail: Bay Island Bonsai is a Northern California organization founded in 1998 by Boon Manakitivipart. The organization came into being outof Boon's desire to improve standards in bonsai, to produce a bonsai exhibit, and to establish a group of dedicated bonsai artists who could work and learn together. Website:

Kofu Bonsai Kai meets in Anaheim at United Methodist Church 1000 South State College Blvd. Anaheim 7:00 PM 3rd Saturday evening.

Orange Empire Bonsai Society meets the 4th Sunday of each month at 1 pm at the O.C.Buddhist Church,909 S. Dale St., just north of Ball Road in West Anaheim. Contact: Ken Schlothan at Club displays trees on an altenate years at the Hannamatsuri Festival for the Church and has an annual Bonsai Show each June also at the Buddhist Church with a demostration on both days of the Show...Vendors and a hugh raffle.

Santa Anita Bonsai Society. Meets at 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, second Saturday of each month except July, August, and December, 7:30 PM. Jim Barrett, (818)445-4529.

Shohin Bonsai Society. Meets at Los Angeles Arboretum, 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, second Wednesday, except July and August, 7:30 PM. Marty Hagbery, (818) 332-8381, or Edith Izant, 1021 Sierra Vista Dr., La Habra, CA 90631, (310) 691-3450. Bonsai 10 inches and under. Annual show second weekend in April.

Humboldt Bonsai Society. Meets at homes of members at varied dates. Karen Haas, PO Box 816, Trinidad, CA 95570, (707) 677-0636. Membership consists of individuals residing in several cities in the Humboldt Bay area.

CALIFORNIA - Castro Valley
Yamato Bonsai Club meets at the Castro Valley Womens Club, 18330 Redwood Road, Castro Valley, CA. every 3rd Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Demo, workshops, and plant critique. Annual Fall Show third Sat/Sun of October. Website: E-mail:

Chico Bonsai Society. Meets at Pleasant Valley Recreation Center, 2320 North Ave., fourth Sunday, except July and August, 1:00 PM. Contact: Pat Gilmore (530) 343-3447. Website

CALIFORNIA - Crescent City
Seacrest Bonsai Club. Meets at various locations, second Monday, October through May, 7:00 PM. Ted Weber, 288 W. 5th St., Crescent City, CA 95531, (707)464-4949. Annual exhibit on Memorial Day weekend in conjunction with the Azalea Festival in Brookings, OR.

Fresno Bonsai Society. Meetings are held at Fresno City College on the second Friday of every month, except we are off for the months June, July and August. If you have any questions contact Steve DaSilva

California Bonsai Society. Meets at 7:00 pm on first Friday at Ken Nakaoka Community Center, 1700 W. 162nd Street, Gardena, CA. Roy Nagatoshi, (818)362-5476. Annual bonsai exibition in April at Huntington Library.

Dai Ichi Bonsai Kai. Meets at Ken Nakaoka Community Center, 1670 W. 162nd St., third Friday, 7:00 PM. Contact: Andrea Wagner (310) 370-5492. E-mail: Family oriented club dedicated to promoting the art of bonsai through monthly meetings, demonstrations, annual show, and participation in community arts events. Website:

Hanford Bonsai Society, Inc. Meets at Kings County Civic Center Agriculture Building; 680 N. Campus Dr, Suite F (of the Ag Center), third Thursday at 7:00 PM. Contact: Bob Hilvers (559) 732-9286 Workshops, demos, informative group.

CALIFORNIA - La Canada (Flintridge)
Descanso Bonsai Society. Meets at Descanso Gardens, La Canada Flintridge, CA, 3rd Tuesday, 7:00 PM. Workshop and critique precede regular meeting, demonstrations and programs. Annual outdoor show in June. Contact: Jim Barrett, 480 Oxford Dr, Arcadia, CA 91007, telephone (818) 445-4529. e-mail: Website:

Modesto Bonsai Club. Meets the thrid Saturday of each month except Dec. from 10am - 2pm at the Blue Oak Nursery, 784 Albers Rd. near Hwy 132, Modesto - Members and visitors enjoy learning the art of bonsai in the lakeside park setting of Blue Oak Bonsai Nursery. Mailing address is PO Box 578518, Modesto, CA 95357-8518. Contact: Jerry Jumper (209) 667-6701 or E-mail Website:

Napa Valley Bonsai Club. Meets at 1500 Jefferson, third Monday, 7:15 pm. Penny Pawl, PO Box 2220, Napa, CA 94558.Tel - (707) 224-8983 E-mail:

East Bay Bonsai Society. Meets at Lakeside Garden Center, 666 Bellevue, Oakland, second Wednesday, 7:30 pm. Max Cooperstein, PO Box 1575, El Cerrito, CA 94530. Full program of demonstrations at most meetings, beginners programs, workshops, nursery bus tours, spring and fall shows, and annual auction.

Kusamura Bonsai Club. Meets at First Congregational Church, Louis & Embarcadero. 2nd Fri. 7:00 PM. Website: contact: Sandy Planting, (650) 323-6955.

CALIFORNIA - Riverside
Inland Empire Bonsai Society. Meets at Botanic Gardens Conference Room, UC Riverside, 2nd Sun. except July and Aug. at 1:00 to 4:00 PM. Mrs. Knox, 3349 Dwight Ave., Riverside, CA, 92507 (909) 682-6623.

CALIFORNIA - Sacramento
American Bonsai Assoc. of Sacramento. Meets the fourth Tuesday each month at 7 pm. at the Sacramento Garden and Arts Center, 3330 McKinley Blvd, Contact: Simon Lau, Phone: (530) 622-9681 Email: Website: The club has excellent educational programs, outreach to beginning bonsai-ists, and high quality professional demonstrations.

Satsuki Aikokai Sacramento. Meets at the Shepard Garden Center, 3330 McKinley Blvd, third Monday each month at 7 at pm. Betty Pitts, 2701 Corabel Lane, #55, Sacramento, CA 95821. Contact: Ronn Pigram Phone: (916) 428-8505 Email: Satsuki Aikokai Sacramento Bonsai club IS the flowering bonsai club. We grow and care for bonsai Satsuki Azaleas with an eye toward our show in mid May when they are filled with flowers. Interested please come to our meetings!

San Diego Bonsai Club. Meets at Casa del Prado Bldg., Room 101, Balboa Park 2nd Sun. 11:00 AM. Club phone, (619) 699-8776. Active club of 200 members. Two shows a year spring and fall plus two bus trips and several socials. Website:

CALIFORNIA - San Francisco
Bonsai Society of San Francisco. Meets at Hall of Flowers, 9th Ave. and Lincoln Way 2nd Thurs. 8:00 PM. Mia Amato, (415) 285-6807. Spring exhibit.Our meeting place and contact information has changed and is available on our website

Kusamura Bonsai Club Meet every third Friday of the month at - St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 600 Colorado Ave., Palo Alto, in the Parish Hall. Meetings are at 7 PM with a basic workshop and 8 PM with a special presentation. Contact: Jerry Carpenter, E-mail: Website:

The Midori Bonsai Club. Meets the first and third Thursday of the month year round at 7:30 PM at St. Edwards Episcopal Church at Union Ave. and Hwy 85. 1st Thursday general meeting features lecture, demo, workshop or round robin format programs. 3rd Thursday is an open forum workshop for all comers. Visitors welcome!! Contact John Thompson (JT) at (408)371-7737.

Bay Area Shohin. Meets at several locations in greater San Francisco Bay area, Sunday, except July, Aug. and December, 1:30 PM. Bill Sullivan, 117 Jefferson Dr., Tiburon, CA 94920. (415) 388-5854. Informal meetings open to everyone interested in shohin (under 10 inches bonsai). Dates and locations vary. Please write or phone for current schedule.

Hillsborough Bonsai Society. Meets at San Mateo Garden Center, 605 Parkside Way, third Friday, 7:30 PM. Barbara Bokeland, (415) 348-2835. Workshops, demos, lectures by guest speakers and club members, field trips and visual aids.

Sei Boku Bonsai Kai. Meets at 605 Parkside Way, fourth Wednesday, except December, 7:30 PM. Warren Clark, 889 Lurine Dr, Foster City, CA 94404, (415) 574-6074. Visitors cordially welcome. Annual exhibit first weekend in October.

CALIFORNIA - Santa Barbara
Bonsai Club of Santa Barbara. Meets at the Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Ave., Goleta, CA. second Tuesday, except August and December, at 7:30 PM. Contact Joe Olson, PO Box 3703, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, (805) 964-0869, or E-mail: Monthly programs, August and December Potlucks and raffles. Annual show and plant sale in May at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Website

CALIFORNIA - Santa Maria
Santa Maria Bonsai Club. Meets at Japanese Cultural Center, 134 N. Western, second Sunday, 9:00 AM to noon. Chris Ehrler, (805) 489-9046. Annual shows at San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria Obon Festivals and Santa Barbara County Fair.

Redwood Empire Bonsai Society meets at the Veterans Memorial Hall, 1351 Mapl, Santa Rosa, Ca. (across from the fairgrounds) the 4th Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Guest speakers/demonstratore are featured. Annual show the last weekend of August each year is one the the biggest in California and features over 150 trees. Website: E-mail:

CALIFORNIA - Temple City
Baiko-en Bonsai Kenkyukai. Meets at 5118 Barela Ave., second Sunday, 1:00 to 4:00 PM. Marty Hagbery, 5009 N. Willow Ave., Covina, CA 91724. (818) 331-8382. Annual Frank Nagata Memorial Show "Winter Silhouettes", invitational bonsai exhibit at Los Angeles State and County Arboretum, Arcadia, CA, last weekend in January.

CALIFORNIA - Vacaville
Vaca Valley Bonsai Club. Meets at Community Presbyterian Church, 425 Hemlock St., second Tuesday, 7:00 PM. John Jackson, 4681 Midway Rd., Vacaville, CA 95688. (707) 446-1720. Mailing address: 592 Cottonwood, Vacaville, CA 95688

Sansui Kai of So. California. Meets the first Wednesday, 7:30 pm, at the Japanese Garden, shares address with Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant, 6100 Woodley Avenue, Van Nuys. Workshop 6:30 pm, bring plant, tools, and wire. March Installation dinner and July potluck/auction, location TBA. Dick Beltran, 10100 Keokuk Ave., Chatsworth, CA 91311, (818) 349- 0508. Annual show in May at Sepulveda Garden Center, Magnolia Street, Encino, CA. John Naka, et al, founders. All levels welcome.

CALIFORNIA - Westlake Village
Conejo Valley Bonsai Society. Meets the third Thursday of every month, 7:30 pm, at the Westlake Village City Hall/Community Room, 31200 Oakcrest Drive, Westlake Village, CA. Contact: Ken Fuentes, Pres. (805)495-7480 or by E-mail. Have you ever wanted to learn how to train and care for a bonsai plant? Come to our monthly meetings and find out how from our resident experts and invited professionals. We can help you decide where to get plants, pots, supplies, and we have plenty of advice to help get you started. Novices and all ages are welcome to attend and light refreshments are served. We schedule field trips to local nurseries and suppliers and provide information on bonsai shows and demonstrations. Our group puts on an annual display and demonstration show at the Gardens of the World on Thousand Oaks Blvd. in October. Website
Holy Moly rockm, job hunt isn't going well I take it, well it's good for acuraledgend.
Bill, "ctrl c," "cntrl v"...:D
haha thanks a lot everybody! I appreciate it! Yeah I saw kofu kai and i was thinking of joining it... just havn't gone to the meeting yet.
That's a whole lot of bonsai clubs in Caifornia! But there's got to be even more. Just in Orange County, I know of 3 other official clubs that are not on this list, including a nice Satsuki Bonsai club by Ben Oki and David Nguy that meet at a Buddhist temple in Garden Grove. There are also several less well known Chinese and Korean clubs in Southern California too.
The thing that jerks my chain is the people that collect those magnificent trees that don't know what they are doing and just kill them. It took a very long time for nature to produce those trees, just saying.

keep it green,
I am inclined to agree with you Harry. But the real sad thing is that in another 10-20 years, there will be no more California junipers to collect anyway. The land is being cleared for housing developments, and the best, highest spots are bulldozed to make into wind farms. So there won't be any junipers left even if some beginners kill a few trees here and there. BTW, wind farms are the worst scam of them all, but that's another topic.
Satsuki Bonsai club doesn't have a website right? i havn't been able to find one.... Also i know people that have worked with junipers for years and have had collected junipers die... I dont' think its just a beginner thing... You dig it up as best you can and take it home and care for it as best you can... and sometimes it just doesn't take.
. . . Also i know people that have worked with junipers for years and have had collected junipers die... I dont' think its just a beginner thing... You dig it up as best you can and take it home and care for it as best you can... and sometimes it just doesn't take.

I think maybe you need to go out with someone experienced, help with their tree and help care for it for the first year or so and THEN go out for your own. That callous attitude doesn't speak well for any tree you take this year.
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From everything I've read and been told collecting is something of a crap shoot anyway you lookm at it. Very experienced collectors loose trees and first timers can do just fine if they pay attention to the lessons learned by the " experts ". Juniperus californica did a piece in the collecting forumn here an collecting Callies and gave a ton of good info. Walter Pall wrote a three part article for Bonsai Today a few years ago thet was very intensive. Andy Smith has a DVD out about collecting as well. If possible going with someone very experienced is probably the best way possible but many of us don't have that opportunity so we have to blunder along by ourselves.

This winter I have permission to collect on a friends ranch. I intend to make at least three trips before collecting anything just to see iwhats there. If I do find that masterpiece in the earth it won't be among this springs trees as I don't know what I'm doing. BUT you can bet I'll try my hardest both in the field and at home to be succesfull so when I do find that masterpiece just waiting for me I'll have gained the experience and knowledge to collect it and care for it.

BTW , anyone close who has collected before is welcome. I seriously doubt I'll have any takers so whether I like it or not I'm on my own. ai'll just have to substitute study for having Harry Hiro at my side.

Now for anyone in sSo Cal the above doesn't apply. Anyone thete who can't find help just isn't looking
Very experienced collectors loose
very few
trees and first timers can do just fine if they pay attention to the lessons learned by the " experts "
and are really, really lucky.
@ JKL: I never said that i didn't want to go out with somebody experienced and learn to dig and help them with their dig. if anything i would LOVE to go and do a dig even if I don't collect a tree that dig. Just going for the experience would be great.

On the other note. I reached out to you guys to ask for help and experience and I appreciate those that gave their help and info... but i think this thread is starting to reach a boiling point so i rather end it now before people get the wrong idea and start bashing each other.
There are fine point to collecting trees, and each tree has certain fine points to being collected, if you can get your hands on Nick Lenz book Collecting Bonsai from The Wild it may be of help to you.

Experiance IS HUGE as far as how to find out what is there for roots where to cut them, time of year to collect, how to treat them after collection, do what you can to go with someone experianced. Worst case is collect something of the same species before hand to gain some experiance. Dwight you are a bit off base with some make it some don't, there are usually reasons they make it or don't, it's not a luck of the draw. accura the reason we are so enthusiastic about this is the thought of having collection taken out of our reach due to perceptions of others not up on the hows and whys, and you never know who is reading these posts(ie. a forrester in charge of things reading that someone collected x amount of trees from X area, and saying to himself that he won't issue permits anymore), maybe a bad example, but there are good reasons to collect properly.

Good hunting, and collecting.
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