Contest Rules

Bonsai Nut

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Starting January 1, 2018!

This contest will run 6 years - from January 1, 2018 - December 31, 2023; six full seasons of growth.

You cannot start seeds prior to January 1 (ie no soaking or stratifying) but you can buy your seeds and propagation materials and get them ready. There is no penalty for starting later... many people will not be able to start on January 1 due to winter temps, or they may just choose not to for one reason or the other. The point is to give everyone 6 growing seasons.

Rules of the Contest
(1) You have to announce that you are participating. No showing up in year 6 and saying "surprise, here's my winning tree" :)
(2) You need to share all of your information - including where you sourced your seeds, and all the steps you used to get them to germinate, as well as post germination care.
(3) At the minimum you need to post one photo per year (on or about the end of December) showing general progress. Since I assume people will be growing more than one tree, it is ok if early photos show numerous trees in early development (i.e. flats full of seedlings). However by the end of year four I'm assuming people will have a good sense of which trees are progressing most rapidly, and you should share some photos of those trees. Don't show up at the end of year 6 with a "winning" tree that we have never seen before :)
(4) On December 31, 2023, you can only enter ONE TREE as your finalist, even if you have more than one that has shown good development. The tree must be displayed in a bonsai pot, in as finished condition as possible - even if it was only moved into that bonsai pot for the photo. No photos of trees in colanders or in the field (for example).

Judging Criteria
Trees will be judged on quality and trunk caliper at the highest surface roots. The fattest tree will not necessarily win, but the contest focus is on getting maximum growth and development out of JBP in 6 years, so no skinny literati trees (for example).

Awards
Assuming we have numerous participants and finishers, I hope to have a guest judge, as well as awards for all finishers (at least one tree alive end of year 6) and perhaps special awards for the top three trees. I will have 6 years to plan :) However, I want to make sure that people understand the focus of this contest is FUN and LEARNING. Assume there will be no physical award and only bragging rights... and then you might be surprised.

Special Considerations
If we have friends in the Southern Hemisphere who wish to participate, we can run a second wave from July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2024. I will create a second contest thread if there is interest.
 
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barrosinc

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Special Considerations
If we have friends in the Southern Hemisphere who wish to participate, we can run a second wave from July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2024. I will create a second contest thread if there is interest
I started a month ago! Can i use those as entry?
 

Bonsai Nut

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I started a month ago! Can i use those as entry?
Because we have just announced the contest, I think we will have to start the southern participants next July. This will give everyone time to buy seeds and supplies, and read up on technique.

In the meantime, you can learn a lot from your current seedlings, and decide what you will do differently next year!
 

Mr.E

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Are there any stipulations on growing conditions? Like, must be container grown... I would suspect one would get the most growth from the ground. If growing in the ground is ok does it need to be in a container by the end date
 

Bonsai Nut

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Are there any stipulations on growing conditions? Like, must be container grown... I would suspect one would get the most growth from the ground. If growing in the ground is ok does it need to be in a container by the end date
No stipulations about growing conditions. You can do anything you like to accelerate development - as long as you are willing to share your methods with the rest of the participants in order to spread knowledge.

Because the final judging will be based on "quality" as bonsai they will need to be in a bonsai pot of some sorts if you want them to be judged. They could have been in the ground one day prior, then put into a pot for a photo, then put back in the ground the next day if you desire, but it is difficult to judge a tree that is growing in a field. Plus I am hoping to get a bonsai VIP to volunteer to judge the trees, so you will want your tree to look the best :)
 

barrosinc

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Because we have just announced the contest, I think we will have to start the southern participants next July. This will give everyone time to buy seeds and supplies, and read up on technique.

In the meantime, you can learn a lot from your current seedlings, and decide what you will do differently next year!
they just sprouted... that way I can get 6 years at the same time as you guys..
It seems like its a lot easier
 

Victorim

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"You cannot start seeds prior to January 1 (ie no soaking or stratifying) but you can buy your seeds and propagation materials and get them ready."

So taking them out for day trips, or cradled by sleeping cats ok? Or does that count as starting them?
 

plant_dr

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So just to clarify- when it says we cannot soak or stratify prior to Jan. 1, we cannot have them in the fridge staying cool before that time getting ready to plant on New Years day? You have to start the whole process on that day if you choose to do so? I've heard of people who have skipped the cold stratification and still had good results...
 

Bonsai Nut

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So just to clarify- when it says we cannot soak or stratify prior to Jan. 1, we cannot have them in the fridge staying cool before that time getting ready to plant on New Years day? You have to start the whole process on that day if you choose to do so? I've heard of people who have skipped the cold stratification and still had good results...
You can "store" your seeds any way you want. If you want to store your seeds in the fridge and pop them into the ground on Jan 1, fine. But no soaking of seeds prior to Jan 1. They have to stay dry until Jan 1.
 

MichaelS

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Is the contest to get the best (most advanced) tree or the fattest trunk? 2 different paths and one cancels out the other.
 

Bonsai Nut

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Is the contest to get the best (most advanced) tree or the fattest trunk? 2 different paths and one cancels out the other.
Both: Trees will be judged on quality and trunk caliper at the highest surface roots. The fattest tree will not necessarily win, but the contest focus is on getting maximum growth and development out of JBP in 6 years, so no skinny literati trees (for example).

This challenge is about getting the most development out of a JBP in 6 years. Methods to increase trunk caliper fastest are usually directly contrary to methods to develop refinement. That is why it is hard :) The "gold standard" if you will, is to try to replicate this tree from Bonsai Today #20:

jbp-gold.jpg

Because of the way this contest is organized, everyone is going to be developing shohin JBP trees, just because you can only do so much in 6 seasons. However there is no restriction about other styling.

Judging will be subjective. First criteria will probably be trunk caliper... and then trees of a similar trunk caliper will be judged based on finished quality. A slightly thinner tree may win because it is higher quality than a slightly thicker tree. But both trees in this example will be among the thickest set of entries.

I hope that this contest will get people to really stretch their JBP development skills (if they already have some) or get them to try JBP for the first time (if they don't).
 

drew33998

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Wait, so someone could grow one in the field and just cut all the roots off, bury it in a pot and win? How about there must be photos of the trees roots sometime before it is put into a bonsai pot?
 

sorce

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Wait, so someone could grow one in the field and just cut all the roots off, bury it in a pot and win? How about there must be photos of the trees roots sometime before it is put into a bonsai pot?
Even if the prize was a tree 10 times as good as the ones we grow......

It's still gonna feel real shitty to lose 6 years of hard work.

No prize can overcome that feeling.

Let em cheat and feel that shit!

Cheating ensures death of tree, and no enjoyment of prize.

Karma reigns.

Sorce
 

Bonsai Nut

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Wait, so someone could grow one in the field and just cut all the roots off, bury it in a pot and win? How about there must be photos of the trees roots sometime before it is put into a bonsai pot?
They could try. They could try growing it in a centrifuge simulating 200% earth gravity if they wanted. If it works, I want to hear about it.

The point of the Bonsai Today article was that this method of developing JBP is FASTER than growing them in a field - at least for trees over this time frame. You can do whatever you like. If you can grow a refined shohin JBP in six years in a field that looks like the photo... that would be great! Just share what you did so people can replicate your success.
 

Bonsai Nut

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Are we allowed to ground grow these??
Absolutely. You can grow them any way you like. When they are entered in the contest they just need to be in pots.
 

drew33998

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They could try. They could try growing it in a centrifuge simulating 200% earth gravity if they wanted. If it works, I want to hear about it.

The point of the Bonsai Today article was that this method of developing JBP is FASTER than growing them in a field - at least for trees over this time frame. You can do whatever you like. If you can grow a refined shohin JBP in six years in a field that looks like the photo... that would be great! Just share what you did so people can replicate your success.
Ok, im splitting hairs. I got it.;)
 

Bonsai Nut

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Ok, im splitting hairs. I got it.;)
It is important for people to understand that as far as we know, this single tree (in the photo) represents the fastest development of a shohin JBP bonsai. At the time the article was published, the concept of growing JBP in double colanders was considered extremely unusual and cutting edge. That is what triggered the whole 6 year contest idea. At the time the school of thought was the fastest way to develop pine bonsai was to field grow them. So perhaps some people will go old school and field grow their trees.... some may grow them in colanders... some may grow them in raised beds... some may grow them in flats with bottom heating... some may try a bunch of different methods.

The point is to see who is successful and what method(s) they used.
 
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