First collected tree

RNbonsai

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This is the first tree I’ve collected. I got it from a neighbors yard, was able to dig out roots that looked like they were straight from a bonsai pot. It was a flat shallow spread, by random luck it was growing on stone.

It was rough to dig up, I didn’t have the right tools and thought I’d killed it.
Here is a picture after I dug it, got home and put into a pot I made with some soil I mixed up. The roots I got I did not mess with, and left the soil alone.

I only have one pic from an iPhone, but you can see.

I dug it in the beginning of January this year, there was no buds or growth.

I water it regularly, and it now has buds all over the thing. There’s even buds at the very top where I’d cut the two large branches off.
Otherwise the buds are spread everywhere, and plentiful!

I’ll update with a new pic when I take one and use this as a progression.

No clue what it is if anyone has a guess
 

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peterbone

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Nice work collecting your first tree. I would only suggest that you should have chopped it much lower. It has nice movement at the base and then it's very straight. It's also too high compared to the width of the trunk. I would chop it again about 1 cm above the final bend, or wait until next year when it's recovered.
 

rockm

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Nice work. Looks like it's either a cedar elm or a hackberry. Both are very strong growers and will probably recover quickly even though you collected a bit early.

I would NOT chop the leader. You've done well collecting it with a longer top. Leaving that top in place will give you more options for developing a new leader back down the trunk as new buds pop. I always leave a longer than needed trunk--not excessive, but at least six to eight inches longer than my envisioned "final" height for the resulting bonsai. You can select a new leader from among the new lower buds that sprout this year. Next spring, you can do another chop lower down behind that choice shoot--ideally, that new bud should be close to the top bend...
 

RNbonsai

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I chopped there assuming I would make it shorter, but didn’t wanna cut to low And kill it somehow. I figured I’d chop again when I had the right tools.

There are tons of buds going now so I should defiantly have plenty of choices. Hopefully I make a good one.

The bottom movement is cool, but it t looked so much crazier pre diggging it up haha
 

A. Gorilla

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Cut it where the smoother bark begins. Might as well just do it now. Otherwise you are just delaying things. It's worth the risk.
 

Joe Dupre'

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Congrats. It's always nice when your first tree wants to live. I'd also suggest you cut it down now, and then............do nothing. No trimming, no fussing with it. Keep it watered and fertilized and just let it grow as much as it wants to the first year. Next spring it will be healthy and vigorous and you'll have enough branches that you'll have plenty of styling options.
 

Hyn Patty

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If it's budding like crazy now, I'd leave it and let it grow stronger for a while. Maybe it is wasting time and delaying by leaving it and cutting it later but maybe you don't even have any buds lower down? Until it leafs out you don't even know what kind of tree it is for certain yet. Better to be a little patient I think and go a little slow at least until you know how that species will respond. If don't have low buds where you want them, you can practice thread grafting using it's own whips and then put the branches as low as you like and where you want them. I think that would be fun and something useful to learn. Then cut it back later at a nice angle, say next year.

Alternatively, once it starts leafing out and you can ID what it is, that will tell you if this species is hardy enough to go ahead and chop it again much lower this spring. Likely if it is an elm (or perhaps a hackberry) then you probably can safely cut it low right away. Until you do know what it is, it may be wiser to err on the side of caution. Mind you, I'm still learning and am not the seasoned pro that others here are.
 

rockm

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Leaving it long buys you more for next year.

It won't hurt anything leaving it long for a year, but it will GAIN you options. Cutting could (And most likely will) cost you options...Patience...

Let it be this year to get its feet under it....
 

RNbonsai

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I’m kinda surprised there is such strong support on both cutting and not cutting. I woulda guessed it wasn’t safe.

So I’ll add this point- I’ve been growing bonsai for about 5 years. I have Repotted many trees, with not one living. at the highest I believe I had 30 trees, mostly in nursery containers. I had a wreck, and was hospitalized, I lived but the trees nearly all died. I have 4 now, and some maple cuttings.

My goal now is to spend more time learning how to keep em healthy and growing.

If I cut it at this stage Does the live/die risk increase? And does it take being good to keep it alive?

Here’s some buds I was talking about.
 

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Doug J

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This is the first tree I’ve collected. I got it from a neighbors yard, was able to dig out roots that looked like they were straight from a bonsai pot. It was a flat shallow spread, by random luck it was growing on stone.

It was rough to dig up, I didn’t have the right tools and thought I’d killed it.
Here is a picture after I dug it, got home and put into a pot I made with some soil I mixed up. The roots I got I did not mess with, and left the soil alone.

I only have one pic from an iPhone, but you can see.

I dug it in the beginning of January this year, there was no buds or growth.

I water it regularly, and it now has buds all over the thing. There’s even buds at the very top where I’d cut the two large branches off.
Otherwise the buds are spread everywhere, and plentiful!

I’ll update with a new pic when I take one and use this as a progression.

No clue what it is if anyone has a guess
I've never collected a tree, but I'm preparing to dig up a Honeysuckle. I've read a lot of back posts on this forum, and most everyone is pretty negative about the use of "soil". I think some inert medium is preferred, with pumice being a favorite. Myself, I bought a large bag of pumice I plan to use. Good Luck
 

RNbonsai

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About the “soil” I couldn’t tell what’s in it accurately. It has lava, pumice, bark, Napa oil dry stuff I found from the forums, sieved. Only prob is I just do it by look, didn’t spend the time to find the right stuff
 

RNbonsai

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And bring something to cut the big roots. Ima bring something like this next time. I ended up using a little saw and wire cutters haha. There were four think ones that ran far away and got cut off.

Those cuts by far took the longest.
 

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Doug J

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Yes, I do need to get a pair of those "loppers" you pictured. I will probably just hack it out with a spud bar and shovel, take it home and bare root it, and then do more refined root pruning. All within the span of an hour or so. I've already got a bit of a trench dug around it. It's an extremely vigorous invasive species here. If it was a more delicate tree I would take extra care with the roots. There are plenty more here if I screw this up. :) Good luck with your tree.
 

leatherback

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I would cut back to the size you want to have; This looks happy enough to take it without a hitch. Assuming you have sharp pruners and you do not have to wrestle the tree to do this. Maybe have another person to hold the lower section while you cut, to avoid messing the roots up (Which would be my only concern right now). Do select the new growth you want to keep early on.
In other words: Remove any duplicate new side branches as soon as it is clear they will both live.
 

Shibui

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Just a word of caution here.
While many collected trees survive and grow fine, sometimes they will bud and even grow quite long shoots then suddenly all the new growth wilts and dies. Most trees can make new growth with stored energy and nutrients in the trunk and roots but unless they can grow new roots in time cannot survive long term.
Not trying to worry you all, just asking to be realistic. Buds do not always mean sure survival.
I'm in the leave alone now and cut later in summer or next winter camp.
 

RNbonsai

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I think if I do cut it’ll be somewhere above the 2nd turn. But as it’s still very thick I’m not sure if I should go lower to get more taper?
 

RNbonsai

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A little update- I ended up going with the cut now group. Hopefully I got a good spot, and I stuck the other part in soil just in case by some fluke a 1-2 inch wide “cutting” takes.

Here’s the pics before and after the cut.
Hopefully the little one right at the top grows strong
 

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