Do you buy raw bonsai stock from traditional garden center retailers?

Do you buy raw bonsai stock from traditional garden center retailers?

  • Yes! If the quality is good, who cares where it comes from?

    Votes: 13 22.8%
  • Yes, though it is much more difficult to find good stock.

    Votes: 18 31.6%
  • Sometimes, though I often end up regreting it later.

    Votes: 5 8.8%
  • Rarely. Once in a blue moon I might see something I like.

    Votes: 20 35.1%
  • Never. I have yet to see something in a nursery that equals what I find in the wild.

    Votes: 1 1.8%

  • Total voters
    57

Rick Moquin

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I answered 2, because that's the only choice I have. But would indeed by stock from a bonsai nursery if it was available (to gain time), not the S curves.
 
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I chose number 4. I like nice rootage, not tangled balls. This is, in my opinion, one of the chief drawbacks of nursery material.
 
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I chose number 4. I like nice rootage, not tangled balls. This is, in my opinion, one of the chief drawbacks of nursery material.

Those pre-bonsai you purchase got those workable roots at the hands of some people who didn't mind straightening out roots or doing other such things to make your work easier. Pre-bonsai exist only because there are people who have the skills to create them.

I personally would never pass up an excellent piece of stock based solely on the fact that it may need a little root work, if I did, I would have to pass up most collected material as well.



Will
 

Bob

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I agree with you Chris, tangled balls are a real pain! But, I still look and can't resist the occasional one gallon purchase. I voted #2.
 

JasonG

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I will find some gems in nurseries on occasion here in the outskirts of Northern Oregon. Recently I found some amazing trees at below "cheaper than dirt" pricing.

But I will agree with Peter Warren here, in that with yamadori available nursery stock is one of the biggest waste's of time in the bonsai world. Keep in mind that I say this based on the yamadori that I have availble to me. If all you have access to like Rick then you have to work with what you have.

Most times with nursery material it has been slip potted from 4" container to 3 gallon container getting root bound in every container size along the way. This makes for a HUGE problem with working roots.... this is what Chris was trying to say I think....

So my answer is #4

Jason
 

irene_b

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I went with #1...
It does not matter where it comes from..
Mom
 

Attila Soos

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#4 for me.

Of course, #1 would apply for any material that I buy, but I only remember 3 or 4 instances where I've actually found quality material that I hoped to call bonsai in 5 years - out of 1000s of instances of looking. That makes it 0.001% - more like a lottery. But hey, some people play the lottery all the time, hoping to win. So one might as well look in plant nurseries.

I actually bought nursery plants much more times, but not as "bonsai material", but as plants, to be planted in the ground and cultivated for the next 10 - 15 years in order to achieve what I call "bonsai material". This is more like growing from seed, only giving you a couple of years head-start.
 

Bill S

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I think grand scheme would be skip the cans and go right to seed if you can't afford better quality stock, it gives the nebari a better start than a nursey tree, gives the flexibility for design, and long term sucess. That said we need to establish a Bonsai license, no pruning or root work untill you have a license, that way you know what you are doing before you Chinese Chop a JBP below the bottom branch 2 weeks after you bought it and put it on top of your tv;) .

I agree it's a value thing to a point, there are good and bad in all the catagories of stock, but those years must count for something, whether it be dollar signs, sweat equity, or the years after sowing. Knowledge is priceless though, even if you don't have the talent to create a specimen, if after years of good technical work you turn over your tree to a "master" as mediocre, in many cases it will be improved considerably.

Nursery stock is a good thing for those with the need to cut something. I was taught to measure twice and cut once, more people need that advice - see license remark above. A Bonsai needs to be a vision first, can you see the tree thru the forrest?
 
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Those pre-bonsai you purchase got those workable roots at the hands of some people who didn't mind straightening out roots or doing other such things to make your work easier. Pre-bonsai exist only because there are people who have the skills to create them.

I personally would never pass up an excellent piece of stock based solely on the fact that it may need a little root work, if I did, I would have to pass up most collected material as well.

Will

Dude
Most prebonsai stock was NOT made that way by people working nursery stock over for resale, so get over that.

Second, I would also "never pass up an excellent piece of stock based solely on the fact that it may need a little root work" either, but that again has NOTHING to do with what I said. Quit changing the subject to suit your argument.

What I said was, "I like nice rootage, not tangled balls. This is, in my opinion, one of the chief drawbacks of nursery material." Some of those tangled balls of roots will never make a good nebari without huge amounts of time and effort, and even then some of them will not. A little root work? You must be kidding.
 

Rick Moquin

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You guys need to keep the personal level out of it in order to have an intelligent and coherent debate. Chris what was that link to the cafeteria again?

I have read and abstained from the entire two threads for a reason, like journalism many things that are being discussed are taken out of context, from the intent of the "interviewee" well at least IMO.

An entire point is being missed which I will raise in the non too distant future, my interpretation of what Peter said and in which context the present discussion was intended.
 
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Nope. Not personal. If something is going to be debated, it has to be fair and even handed. I respond to what someone else says, not what I want them to have said.
 
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Dude
Most prebonsai stock was NOT made that way by people working nursery stock over for resale, so get over that..

First off, I am not a cowboy and the expression "dude" went out about the same time that disco did.

Let's keep one thing perfectly straight indeed, pre-bonsai is made from raw stock, some from seed, some from cuttings, some from grafts, some from layers, and yes, some from material purchased from regular old nurseries and "farmed" to be pre-bonsai. Sorry to disappoint you.

You can't have it both ways Chris, would you or would you not purchase an excellent piece of stock from a traditional nursery, even if you knew the roots were tangled. Would you pass it up based only on the roots or the inexpensive price?

Time to stop talking in circles, post your beliefs and stand by them, dude.



Will
 

grog

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It's been really nice not having the pissing matches going on. Good trend to keep going.

I voted number 3 as that's the main place I have access to material and looking at it now most of the money I put into the nursery stuff would've been much better used elsewhere. At the liquor store perhaps. I've been resisting the urge to gather armloads of 1 gal junipers lately. Hopefully another good trend to keep going.
 
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You can't have it both ways Chris, would you or would you not purchase an excellent piece of stock from a traditional nursery, even if you knew the roots were tangled. Would you pass it up based only on the roots or the inexpensive price?

Time to stop talking in circles, post your beliefs and stand by them, dude.

Will

Second, I would also "never pass up an excellent piece of stock based solely on the fact that it may need a little root work" either, but that again has NOTHING to do with what I said.

What I said was, "I like nice rootage, not tangled balls. This is, in my opinion, one of the chief drawbacks of nursery material." Some of those tangled balls of roots will never make a good nebari without huge amounts of time and effort, and even then some of them will not. A little root work? You must be kidding.

I thought I was being explicit. If the material were exceptional, say at a level the quality of yamadori, I would go ahead. The vast majority of nursery stock does not rise to that level.
 

Vance Wood

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Dude
Most prebonsai stock was NOT made that way by people working nursery stock over for resale, so get over that.

Second, I would also "never pass up an excellent piece of stock based solely on the fact that it may need a little root work" either, but that again has NOTHING to do with what I said. Quit changing the subject to suit your argument.

What I said was, "I like nice rootage, not tangled balls. This is, in my opinion, one of the chief drawbacks of nursery material." Some of those tangled balls of roots will never make a good nebari without huge amounts of time and effort, and even then some of them will not. A little root work? You must be kidding.

Your reply begs a question; specifically according to your comments above: "Most prebonsai stock was NOT made that way by people working nursery stock over for resale, so get over that.

I'm not sure you can say that especially about bonsai culture in this country. This begs another point, where or how to these growers of prebonsai get their raw material, from a pre-prebonsai grower or something grown from seed?

I also think Will brought up a good point, one I would have made had he not beat me to it. This is my opinion from long experience with the dreaded Nursery tree.

Another point I would like to make here is that many who advocate the prebonsai/yamadori as the only way probably learned many of their skills diddling with nursery trees in the beginning, other wise how would they know about tangled balls and all the other evils of nursery trees. As to nebari; I have seen very few expensive prebonsai that have perfect nebari, or even mediocre nebari, you have to choose from material offered. Yamadori? You want to talk about having to do a lot of root work this is the place for you. Most Yamadori have horrible root systems opposite from nursery trees. Nursery trees can be horrible because of too many roots, and Yamadori because of not enough roots. Both take root skills to over-come. My take on this is where do you plan on obtaining the skills necessary to do competant root work, with a thousand dollar prebonsai, a thousand year old Yamadori, or a fifty dollar nursery tree?
 

Vance Wood

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It's been really nice not having the pissing matches going on. Good trend to keep going.

I voted number 3 as that's the main place I have access to material and looking at it now most of the money I put into the nursery stuff would've been much better used elsewhere. At the liquor store perhaps. I've been resisting the urge to gather armloads of 1 gal junipers lately. Hopefully another good trend to keep going.

The key item in any discussion about how to make bonsai is in picking qualified material,-- Choice. If you go thorugh a nursery and bring home armloads of 1 gal Junipers and none of them has any redeeming qualities as a bonsai whose fault is that? You could in theory do that with Yamadori or prebonsai. Still, whose fault is a bad choice of material? Source does not guarantee quality, choice does; your choice. So---how do you learn how to make good choices? Usually by making some bad ones in the beginning and growing from there. In the mean time you have learned about root work, choosing decent trunks, cutting down stock, wiring, fertilizing, watering and choosing good stock.

You can go into the woods and bring arm loads of Yamadori home and none of them may be of any worth because of shape or species. You have to learn about this subject as well; what species and what forms to choose from that fit your vision of bonsai. Just because it is harvested and maybe very old, there is a possibility that you have obtained some tree that will never make a decent bonsai because the trunk is really, really badly shaped or there is no branching and the tree is too old to respond to a serious chop back. So--where are you going to learn this stuff?

The key work again is CHOICE. Being able to choose comes through experience, how much money you are willing and or able to put into this learning process depends on whether or not you have a lot of disposable income or a competent teacher that is willing to asist you in making those choices, and is willing to coach you through them. Many do not have access to either one.
 

Walter Pall

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I am the one who took 'never'. A new tree must have the potential to become as good as the ones I already have as minimum. It really must have the potential to become much better. So this leaves out trees from normal nurseries. It basically also excludes trees from bonsai nurseries. I have to see the time frame at my age. If it takes 15 years for a tre to get finished it is too long for me. Even with the very best yamadori material I am very picky. This is about the trees for my own collection.
With trees for other people I am much more relaxed.
Anyway, this should by now means be the measure for the majority. I only thought you might be interested to get my position.
 

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