[FL] I'm in a 9a, flat/no-mountain area, are there *any* practical conifers I can go hunting for (besides BC's) *in nature*?

SU2

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As title states I'm hoping to learn which species, if any, of conifer(s) would be appropriate to collect in FL! I'm in the Tampa Bay area and very, very badly want to collect conifers (that aren't BC's) but my only "option" in-mind is to "finally find that score" of a shopping-plaza or home-owner who has a mature in-ground specimen that they'd let me take.....I've been at this for >2yrs now and that situation hasn't happened yet so, while I am going to be doing more door-knocking to hopefully get an OK for someone's mature, in-ground yardadori (ideally the largest juniper I can find, would be looking, basically, just for a great trunk & first-primary-branch low enough on that trunk)

Thanks a ton for any suggestions, tips or thoughts on this! Happy gardening everybody!!!! :)
 

choppychoppy

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There is really no native conifer to this area that is good for bonsai. Virginia pine is about the only thing and its really found a bit more north. The best option is to collect a decent piece of juniper material trunk wise from a landscape or commercial installation and graft good foliage to it.
 

markyscott

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Potawatomi13

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https://www.bonsaimary.com/pine-bonsai-tree.html

The artist on that page has a goofy slash pine that I quite like. It isn’t naturalistic by any means but I like the “weeping” character of it.
Slash appears like character from Lil Abner comic strip. Hiroshima pine looks like atom bomb going off;).
 

JoeH

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I've collected seedlings off the Yellow Pine in my yard that I am trying to keep going (2 years so far). They look like Truffula trees now. Keep in mind that most true native pines really don't take well to transplanting and not at all to bare rooting.
 

Silentrunning

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I have often wondered if anyone has tried to work on a Norfolk Island Pine. They thrive in Southern Florida and can be purchased at any nursery.
 

SU2

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There is really no native conifer to this area that is good for bonsai. Virginia pine is about the only thing and its really found a bit more north. The best option is to collect a decent piece of juniper material trunk wise from a landscape or commercial installation and graft good foliage to it.
Thanks! Dumb Q but how large of a graft is reasonable to depend upon, for instance can I find a great trunk on a 3' tall juniper in a parking lot, but this trunk doesn't have *any* lower branches.....can I depend on 'installing' a low branch (that'd likely become my leader down the road)? Is it more-often a thread-graft from the same specimen or same cultivar, or an approach-graft from a diff specimen of same cultivar?

Really appreciate this! I'd been looking at topology maps after watching a video w/ Bjorn recently and hearing how he "can just head out to the mountains to grab hundreds-year-old material", that's how it is here for me w/ bougie/crape/cypress (well, not hundreds of years but mature), really got me eager....the 'hurdle' of getting someone to give-up a mature yardadori shouldn't be too-bad, am in a spot right now where I can offer significant enough replacement-specimen if it helps seal the deal, but there's one massive thing I'm unsure of in this regard: what type(s) of Junipers should I look for? I know (i think!) that I should be avoiding the tall / tree types, and that that leaves the 'prostrate' (low-lying but not a creeper) types and the creeper/ground-cover types.....my understanding is the 'prostrate' ones, that aren't trees but aren't ground-covers, are where you wanna be, but I'm unsure if ground-cover ones are also valid specimen to be searching for too?

Thanks a ton, there's a handful of spots (residential & commercial) where, for months, I've been trying to "build rapport" so I can eventually make the proposition, but not knowing when the best time-of-year is or whether I strictly need prostrate-type cultivars, has had me dragging my feet! Again thanks a ton now I'm stoked to go make this happen, I just recently got my first real 'mature' ficus and expect to get this new juniper sometime soon (if it's the season, I now nothing of coniferous stuff sadly, have to google for anything if it's not a BC!)
 

Mike Westervelt

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I was going to say Loblolly is the only one I know of (being from the opposite corner of the country.)

Having seen the one in Markyscott's post in person it will make an impressive bonsai, since that pix it has been HBRed and is back budding like crazy.

It is very reminisent of Japanese Red Pine with regard to needle size and texture, and the bark is pretty darn good too.
 

choppychoppy

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Thanks! Dumb Q but how large of a graft is reasonable to depend upon, for instance can I find a great trunk on a 3' tall juniper in a parking lot, but this trunk doesn't have *any* lower branches.....can I depend on 'installing' a low branch (that'd likely become my leader down the road)? Is it more-often a thread-graft from the same specimen or same cultivar, or an approach-graft from a diff specimen of same cultivar?

Really appreciate this! I'd been looking at topology maps after watching a video w/ Bjorn recently and hearing how he "can just head out to the mountains to grab hundreds-year-old material", that's how it is here for me w/ bougie/crape/cypress (well, not hundreds of years but mature), really got me eager....the 'hurdle' of getting someone to give-up a mature yardadori shouldn't be too-bad, am in a spot right now where I can offer significant enough replacement-specimen if it helps seal the deal, but there's one massive thing I'm unsure of in this regard: what type(s) of Junipers should I look for? I know (i think!) that I should be avoiding the tall / tree types, and that that leaves the 'prostrate' (low-lying but not a creeper) types and the creeper/ground-cover types.....my understanding is the 'prostrate' ones, that aren't trees but aren't ground-covers, are where you wanna be, but I'm unsure if ground-cover ones are also valid specimen to be searching for too?

Thanks a ton, there's a handful of spots (residential & commercial) where, for months, I've been trying to "build rapport" so I can eventually make the proposition, but not knowing when the best time-of-year is or whether I strictly need prostrate-type cultivars, has had me dragging my feet! Again thanks a ton now I'm stoked to go make this happen, I just recently got my first real 'mature' ficus and expect to get this new juniper sometime soon (if it's the season, I now nothing of coniferous stuff sadly, have to google for anything if it's not a BC!)
You'll be looking for trees that have sufficient branching in place as you will mostly be replacing foliage not grafting branching. You look for small powerful trees with low movement and branching and good nebari.
 

markyscott

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I was going to say Loblolly is the only one I know of (being from the opposite corner of the country.)

Having seen the one in Markyscott's post in person it will make an impressive bonsai, since that pix it has been HBRed and is back budding like crazy.

It is very reminisent of Japanese Red Pine with regard to needle size and texture, and the bark is pretty darn good too.
Loblolly is an interesting tree. I’ve worked with them a bit and others here work with them a lot. They are a multi flush pine, so we’ve treated them like black pine. They bud back much better then JBP on old wood. Tend to grow stick straight outdoors, but if you can find one with movement/taper it has promise in bonsai culture. That’s a nice one at Hagedorn’s place.

S
 
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Wilson

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I would be curious if you could find casuarina, it's invasive in your parts. I love what I see from Asia and Australian bonsai artists.
 

SU2

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Unsure how I lost this thread, must've spent 45min cruising around my area this evening looking for suitable 'yardadori' material (I"m presuming that, since pretty much anything tropical-through-dormant is "time to collect", that it's proper for conifers..), keep thinking there's *gotttta* be a beasty juniper in some landscape somewhere I can get for free, I almost hesitate to admit it on a public forum but it's crossed my mind to go to this ghetto area that's like ~1hr from me where I know there's TONS of closed-down places, old office-complexes / shopping-strips / etc, and - being FL - it's probably just been, and will be, bank-owned for years...can't say that charging all my 18V's and making that drive hasn't crossed my mind lol, figure the worst it'd cost me is $20 if someone gets nosey/bothersome lol ;P But I've been scouting for 'commercial yardadori' and just can't find anything that seems worth asking, if it's thick & mature then it's part of a larger hedging or ground-covering, no exceptions so far as I've seen (presumably the maturity means that they've long-since filled the area w/ crown/canopy/foliage and are being tamed-to-shape, so any big piece would be a hole)

BC's are a ton of fun, totally unique from all my other broadleafed trees (whether deciduous/evergreen or not), and the various conifers have such varied foliage that I'd really like to get into them but they just don't seem to be much of a FL species (many of my all-time favorites wouldn't even survive here :/ )

Loblolly is an interesting tree. I’ve worked with them a bit and others here work with them a lot. They are a multi flush pine, so we’ve treated them like black pine. They bud back much better then JBP on old wood. Tend to grow stick straight outdoors, but if you can find one with movement/taper it has promise in bonsai culture. That’s a nice one at Hagedorn’s place.
Does anyone happen to know if you can just air-layer a lolobby pine or if you'd need to simply grow it into what i see when I find good pics online? (am presuming that air-layers would be set now/soon in FL, and collections done now, like w/ most-anything except tropicals right?)

Am going to have to google literally every other specie from this thread but will do so asap as I'm eager to get *any* conifer (besides BC's, they're quickly becoming a good % of my collection :) ) am actually hoping to find someone on the trade board (working on a realllly good post lol, really want to make a trade happen this time posting!! :) )
 

JoeH

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The Yellow Pine I spoke of makes seedlings all over my yard. I have 3 that have been in a pot for 2-3 years now. Needles are too big, but they do look kind of neat, trunks getting thicker too.
 
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SU2

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I would be curious if you could find casuarina, it's invasive in your parts. I love what I see from Asia and Australian bonsai artists.
Yeah it's called Australian Pine here (and an invasive), am familiar with them but *JEEEBUS* those are like several-inch needles on smaller specimen! Is needle-trimming just part of using them? (never had a pine) Would imagine that ~now (90% of species have started spring-growth here) is ideal collection time for this and most/all pines no? Obviously just collection, not trunk-chopping and/or bare-rooting!
 

SU2

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The Yellow Pine I spoke of makes seedlings all over my yard. I have 3 that have been in a pot for 2-3 years now. Needles are too big, but they do look kind of neat, trunks getting thicker too.
What time of year are you getting these the most? I'll have to find some Yellow Pines (any other coniferous reco's from you would be massively appreciated man!) somewhere so I can scout for seeds.

What kind of growth have you gotten in 2-3yrs of growing-out? I kind of accept I'll have massive needles on any FL pine and basically at-peace with that, figure it's still a worthwhile endeavour til I'm actually somewhere I can collect real yamadori (not tropical yardadori...love my collection, can't help but feel a good contingent of the bonsai-community wouldn't consider half of it 'bonsai'....guess I shouldn't care about others' opinions much so long as I like my trees though!)

Have been doing a similar approach to finally get myself some Oak stock this year, I've tried for >2yrs now to collect an Oak (Live or Laurel Oaks) and never had success, even going so far as 2-stepping (both the trunk and roots, I collected something in fall that'd had about a year's worth of prep, was trunk-chopped and root-pruned while in-ground over a year before collection, but I never got the tap root which I expect is why Oaks don't survive their collections....*anyways* I've done the seedling-collection-to-pot thing, have 4 Oak seedlings in containers that I've collected from out of the substrate of various containers in my backyard, this lets me grow the lil Oaks for a month w/o worrying about massive tap-roots forming, have transplanted some to flat lil containers and have a bunch more to go- maybe in 10yrs I can *start* some of them as bonsai, hopefully I'll have someone(s) good in-mind at that point for passing-on my collection as I'll never see these Oaks 'finished' (and I don't mean the meta definition of 'dead' I just mean 'in refinement with solid trunk/nebari'!)
 

SU2

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You'll be looking for trees that have sufficient branching in place as you will mostly be replacing foliage not grafting branching. You look for small powerful trees with low movement and branching and good nebari.
Any collection-site hunting tips? My unanimous experience has been that anything with a trunk >0.75", won't have a branch in the bottom 2-3', as a pretty universal rule unfortunately :/ Have checked elevation maps and there's some minor elevation in central FL (I'm right on the water in Tampa-area), still have trouble accepting this but think your original sentiment was right and that my idea of finding "a FL conifer yamadori" is flawed in principle :/ Damnit I want a non-BC conifer that's not some 1-2" store-bought landscape tree!!!!!! Going to step-up commercial-building searches and offers to people there for landscape specimen that've matured - right now is a fine time for collecting anything in FL right? Most species at or past bud-break :)
 

SU2

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Sand pine - Pinus
This may actually be the key, *if* there's anything to be had in this area... Do you have any reco's on conifer hunting, I don't mean locating Sand Pines I can do that but in terms of finding specimen (IE like with bald cypress you can usually do better at the edge of a swamp than through its middle)
 

JoeH

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What time of year are you getting these the most? I'll have to find some Yellow Pines (any other coniferous reco's from you would be massively appreciated man!) somewhere so I can scout for seeds.

What kind of growth have you gotten in 2-3yrs of growing-out? I kind of accept I'll have massive needles on any FL pine and basically at-peace with that, figure it's still a worthwhile endeavour til I'm actually somewhere I can collect real yamadori (not tropical yardadori...love my collection, can't help but feel a good contingent of the bonsai-community wouldn't consider half of it 'bonsai'....guess I shouldn't care about others' opinions much so long as I like my trees though!)

Have been doing a similar approach to finally get myself some Oak stock this year, I've tried for >2yrs now to collect an Oak (Live or Laurel Oaks) and never had success, even going so far as 2-stepping (both the trunk and roots, I collected something in fall that'd had about a year's worth of prep, was trunk-chopped and root-pruned while in-ground over a year before collection, but I never got the tap root which I expect is why Oaks don't survive their collections....*anyways* I've done the seedling-collection-to-pot thing, have 4 Oak seedlings in containers that I've collected from out of the substrate of various containers in my backyard, this lets me grow the lil Oaks for a month w/o worrying about massive tap-roots forming, have transplanted some to flat lil containers and have a bunch more to go- maybe in 10yrs I can *start* some of them as bonsai, hopefully I'll have someone(s) good in-mind at that point for passing-on my collection as I'll never see these Oaks 'finished' (and I don't mean the meta definition of 'dead' I just mean 'in refinement with solid trunk/nebari'!)
They started out as seedlings and the biggest one now is about as thick as my thumb. Heck I could probably send you some seedlings as I am noticing them around my yard right now.
 

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