Coral Beauty Cotoneaster. A great second tree. A step by step for beginners.

Hartinez

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Hey everyone. I’ve posted over the last couple of years about a few Cotoneaster Coral Beauty that were created from a bare trunk line. I’ve really enjoyed their progression and have found them quite hardy and able to take quite a bit of work. Here are those threads. I employed the same process to these trees as I do to the trees in this thread.


Cotoneaster in general have several characteristics that are desirable for bonsai, but Coral Beauty in particular seems to trunk up in nursery pots faster than most others I’ve seen. even the one gallon size. Paired with the naturally small leaves and vigorous growth these little trees can make great shohin or mame bonsai in a short amount of time. This variety in particular then creates a great opportunity for beginners, or long time hobbyists who want to CREATE there own tree from scratch.

I thought I would create a thread showing my step by step process for starting one. Keep in mind, I’m no pro and I’ve killed many trees over the years. I can only speak to my own personal experience and results and can’t guarantee the success of any of these trees in a different climate or or horticultural situation.

ok here we go.

I bought 3, one gallon Coral Beauty Cotoneaster from a local whole sale nursery that sells them at 8 dollars a piece. When choosing these trees I considered several factors. Surface roots, Trunk girth, current health of the tree, and potential trunk lines. The surface roots can be deceiving though as often times with nursery plants a better and sometimes worse nebari can be found below the soil surface.

these were my selected trees.
E7566555-15BF-4094-B602-1D0841DB6BC0.jpeg
2E4A0E75-D436-4B8A-9967-22AB31825918.jpeg
43210B1D-B0A2-44D3-9562-D21E2A86C11F.jpeg

1) do a general cutback of the existing branching in order to do the soil surface Clean up. A final trunk leader and branch selection will be done once the nebari and surface roots have been better exposed.

2) using a chopstick or root rake remove the top of the soil surface looking for a wider surface root layout. This amount will be different for each tree. I went as far as 1” below the existing soil line on 1 tree. Be careful though, because going further down does not always yield a better nebari, the opposite in fact. Use your gut and stop when you feel you’ve found the best nebari available. Use a root pruning scissors to cut and remove roots above your finish trunk line or to remove roots growing directly vertical above soil level. More root work will be addressed when these trees are repotted1B0EEB89-49F9-4EAF-BC1B-46683115694C.jpeg257666E4-256B-4F3F-979B-F863FFEE3F46.jpeg

3) once you’ve found your desired nebari, begin the decision making of locating your new trunk line that best enhances your exposed nebari. Once you’ve decided upon a trunk line, remove every branch that does not fit in with that final line. I prefer to remove most if not all branching, leaving only a bare trunk. In som cases I will leave more branching or subtrunks, if I feel a more attractive and unique final product will be revealed. Use knob cutters to cut as close to the trunk as possible. I don’t always, but in this case I used a cut paste to seal most of the concave cuts. I left a few uncovered as I plan on carving Uros into these wounds.
F00E35A4-FB7E-4BC5-9EB0-7292C06FF7AC.jpeg
350030E7-B0C5-4688-9C43-F62154B8120C.jpeg
4) overpot the trees and existing Root balls into a substrate of your choice and a pot of your choice. I try not to go too much bigger than the original size. I used pond baskets and a cutdown nursery container and pure pumice. I feel it retains the necessary moisture and gives the tightly packed roots the oxygen needed to begin extending new growth.
FB013D34-BB7E-46D2-ACF2-C43D270DF8AF.jpeg
F7480D01-48D0-46A1-A94B-ADBBE87AB8B1.jpeg897F3EA9-8748-4DA6-BFA2-5E9ABB108114.jpeg
At this point I just water as usual and will begin to fertilize once new growth begins to extend.

as a reminder, this process may not always be successful and these 3 trees may also not be successful, but experience tells me Cotoneaster can take this work and in many cases even more.

this thread was in response to a thread @misfit11 started regarding the abundance of beginners seen on the site. My aim is to give options to those beginners that want to try there hand at creating their own tree and are ready to move past the big box mallsai. Hopefully we can get some more great progression threads and continue the quality of this site!

if anyone has any suggestions, concerns, questions or other input to this process, don’t hesitate.
 

SilverShoe99

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When did you do this work to these cotoneasters? I rootpruned and repotted a couple last week, but I wasn't nearly as aggressive with foliage pruning as you were with these three.
 

Hartinez

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When did you do this work to these cotoneasters? I rootpruned and repotted a couple last week, but I wasn't nearly as aggressive with foliage pruning as you were with these three.
Work was done today. I’ve found with these cotoneaster, and many other nursery shrubs, but in particular coral beauty, that removal of all of the foliage is not much of disturbance. I intentionally leave the root mass to drive new leaf growth, then use that subsequent leaf mass to push new root growth when I’m aggressive with next years repot. I think it’s important to note as said above though, that initial health of the tree is important in deciding wether to do drastic work.
 

Hartinez

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Very interesting article/project.

Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for looking. Though I would loosely call it an article as my writing skills are less than par. 😂. I’m hoping that newer members can be inspired by the process and feel empowered to create a tree from bare nursery stock using a hardy and attractive specimen. Maybe we’ll see a few less “S” shaped Fukien tea on the brink of death. Not that I’m opposed to those trees, I just want to create options.
 

Carol 83

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I have a couple little cotoneaster's heading my way, not coral-beauty though. Thanks for the information.
 

Hartinez

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I have a couple little cotoneaster's heading my way, not coral-beauty though. Thanks for the information.
Hey Carol. I’d imagine most Cotoneaster will respond the same way, but in scouring all of the nurseries i do, Ive noticed coral beauty to have the best and thickest trunk lines, taper, character, etc. Not sure if it’s just the growth habits of the variety or something else.
 

Clorgan

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Hey everyone. I’ve posted over the last couple of years about a few Cotoneaster Coral Beauty that were created from a bare trunk line. I’ve really enjoyed their progression and have found them quite hardy and able to take quite a bit of work. Here are those threads. I employed the same process to these trees as I do to the trees in this thread.


Cotoneaster in general have several characteristics that are desirable for bonsai, but Coral Beauty in particular seems to trunk up in nursery pots faster than most others I’ve seen. even the one gallon size. Paired with the naturally small leaves and vigorous growth these little trees can make great shohin or mame bonsai in a short amount of time. This variety in particular then creates a great opportunity for beginners, or long time hobbyists who want to CREATE there own tree from scratch.

I thought I would create a thread showing my step by step process for starting one. Keep in mind, I’m no pro and I’ve killed many trees over the years. I can only speak to my own personal experience and results and can’t guarantee the success of any of these trees in a different climate or or horticultural situation.

ok here we go.

I bought 3, one gallon Coral Beauty Cotoneaster from a local whole sale nursery that sells them at 8 dollars a piece. When choosing these trees I considered several factors. Surface roots, Trunk girth, current health of the tree, and potential trunk lines. The surface roots can be deceiving though as often times with nursery plants a better and sometimes worse nebari can be found below the soil surface.

these were my selected trees.
View attachment 304172
View attachment 304173
View attachment 304174

1) do a general cutback of the existing branching in order to do the soil surface Clean up. A final trunk leader and branch selection will be done once the nebari and surface roots have been better exposed.

2) using a chopstick or root rake remove the top of the soil surface looking for a wider surface root layout. This amount will be different for each tree. I went as far as 1” below the existing soil line on 1 tree. Be careful though, because going further down does not always yield a better nebari, the opposite in fact. Use your gut and stop when you feel you’ve found the best nebari available. Use a root pruning scissors to cut and remove roots above your finish trunk line or to remove roots growing directly vertical above soil level. More root work will be addressed when these trees are repottedView attachment 304178View attachment 304180

3) once you’ve found your desired nebari, begin the decision making of locating your new trunk line that best enhances your exposed nebari. Once you’ve decided upon a trunk line, remove every branch that does not fit in with that final line. I prefer to remove most if not all branching, leaving only a bare trunk. In som cases I will leave more branching or subtrunks, if I feel a more attractive and unique final product will be revealed. Use knob cutters to cut as close to the trunk as possible. I don’t always, but in this case I used a cut paste to seal most of the concave cuts. I left a few uncovered as I plan on carving Uros into these wounds.
View attachment 304181
View attachment 304186
4) overpot the trees and existing Root balls into a substrate of your choice and a pot of your choice. I try not to go too much bigger than the original size. I used pond baskets and a cutdown nursery container and pure pumice. I feel it retains the necessary moisture and gives the tightly packed roots the oxygen needed to begin extending new growth.
View attachment 304187
View attachment 304188View attachment 304189
At this point I just water as usual and will begin to fertilize once new growth begins to extend.

as a reminder, this process may not always be successful and these 3 trees may also not be successful, but experience tells me Cotoneaster can take this work and in many cases even more.

this thread was in response to a thread @misfit11 started regarding the abundance of beginners seen on the site. My aim is to give options to those beginners that want to try there hand at creating their own tree and are ready to move past the big box mallsai. Hopefully we can get some more great progression threads and continue the quality of this site!

if anyone has any suggestions, concerns, questions or other input to this process, don’t hesitate.
This is a cool thread - great of you to make a guide!

Have a question - when you say 'overpot the trees and existing Root balls into a substrate of your choice and a pot of your choice' - do you mean a slip pot situation (keeping the old soil and roots the same and adding own substrate too) or full repot (cleaning out old soil and trimming roots)?

Thanks!
 

Hartinez

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This is a cool thread - great of you to make a guide!

Have a question - when you say 'overpot the trees and existing Root balls into a substrate of your choice and a pot of your choice' - do you mean a slip pot situation (keeping the old soil and roots the same and adding own substrate too) or full repot (cleaning out old soil and trimming roots)?

Thanks!
Leave the root ball mostly intact for sure. The thought would be, the existing roots push new growth and when you’ve got the new growth, that is what pushes new roots next spring at re-pot. While all 3 of these are pushing new growth very well, the 2 others I started last year and did the same thing on is dealing with major fungal issues. Could be from pushing too hard but not sure. I’ll take pics of these 3 later.
 

Clorgan

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Leave the root ball mostly intact for sure. The thought would be, the existing roots push new growth and when you’ve got the new growth, that is what pushes new roots next spring at re-pot. While all 3 of these are pushing new growth very well, the 2 others I started last year and did the same thing on is dealing with major fungal issues. Could be from pushing too hard but not sure. I’ll take pics of these 3 later.
Great - cheers for the info! Will be cool to see an update 👍
 
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