Escallonia (Yamadori?)

cantstopsmilin

Sapling
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Rocklin, CA
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8/9
So here is (what i think to be) and Escallonia that i dug up out of my backyard yesterday. THe previous owners of the house had planted it i guess and it was hidden behind other plants etc. so i dug it up. (does this count as yamadori if its from my backyard? - i've never touched it or anything, it's been left to grow by itself) Anyways, here it is, i hope it lives, but i thought i'd post a picture now, you can give advice on styling, care etc. i haven't had a chance to take a look at the nebari, but i'll let it grow for now. Tell me what you think. Thanks - sorry the pics aren't great
 

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Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
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Charlotte area, North Carolina
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I'm going to sound harsh, but I think you are going to have trouble with this one. To me the entire trunk is completely shrub-like. There is very little here to work with that expresses age or character. I think the greatest challenge is that the "trunk" has very little taper or branching. You will need to get it well-established in your container, then cut it back hard and hope for extensive back-budding. Escallonia can be problematic, at least in Southern California, if you cut it back in the summer or fall. Expect a fair amount of die-back. Best time for heaving pruning is late winter/early spring as the first growth is starting to pop.

Personally, I think you can find better material to work with that would yield better results in shorter amount of time.
 

cantstopsmilin

Sapling
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Thanks, i appreciate your honesty :) anyways, it was free material, something to practice on being a newbie and all... i was looking at it today, there is more of the trunk below the soil than shown in the picture and it does get wider...i also think the other side of the plant which isn't shown here is a much better "front".. and i'm also thinking of possibly chopping half of it off (in the above picture the right side) though i'll probably leave it on this year and see what parts of it survive etc. It'll be good learning practice :) if i have time sometime, i'll post a picture of the other side and what i was thinking so you can visualize it better. :) thanks again for your honesty :) a forum wouldn't be much help if everyone told everyone else they had amazing trees that were perfect etc. etc. I really like the community here, maybe once i get a job i can help support it. :)
 

onlyrey

Mame
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Indian Rocks Beach, FL
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Maybe you can chop away, and wait for it to grow some branches and start from there, maybe a chop like this would give you a very nice start. I would give it the chop and wait till next spring to style.
 

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Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
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Charlotte area, North Carolina
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Thanks, i appreciate your honesty :)

I hope I can help :) I spent my first 10 years of bonsai filling my back yard with random plants and trees that I thought would make great bonsai, only to find out later that I wasted a lot of time :) My recommendation is to start with something fast and easy - and I immediately think of junipers and chinese elms. Junipers are great because they are often obtainable from someone's yard, and chinese elms are cheap, fast-growing, and super hardy. Then I would move to maples, and eventually to pines. Though you can always find "other" trees/plants to work on, you will find the greatest amount of examples, reference materials, and workshops focusing on the above trees.

For example, there will be almost no one that will be able to provide real world experience to you for working with escallonia, nor will you be able to find pictures on the Internet or in books. I can honestly say that I have never seen an escallonia bonsai. All of these things I was taking into consideration when I wrote my recommendation about "getting better results sooner" with other material. I would recommend finding cool examples of bonsai that inspire you (in books or whatever) and then purchase the same plant material and try to repeat the example. This can sometimes generate some surprising results in a short time - and is a quick way to develop certain skills.

EDIT Living in Tampa you have access to a lot of great tropical material. Get yourself some ficus! They meet the criteria I mention above about being fast-growing, hardy, and having lots of examples to work from. Best way to start a ficus bonsai on the cheap is to find a big one growing in someone's yard and airlayer off a nice sized branch.
 
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