Forsythia bonsai?

jimj.

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I was wondering if anyone knew how to go about training a young Forsythia tree. I cant seem to find much info about this type of plant for bonsai.
 

onthefringe

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Forsythia tend to be stoleniforous in nature not always but most tend to sucker from their roots. I'm currently attempting it myself just by cutting back unwanted suckers from the base as they appear and trying to develope a central leader. Other shrubs that may be similar would be barberries and spireas. They will develope central leaders but you may have to be consistant with cutting back suckers.

Once you have a good dominant central leader treat it as you would any other tree cutting it back periodically to creat taper and bending or twisting along the way. But I would imagine every major trunk chop you'll be fighting the shrubs suckering tendencies so watch out for them as well.

Forsythias bloom on last years wood so in a few or 4 or 5 or 6 years when you've developed your forsythia and intend to display it's flowering characteristics keep in mind this years removal will effect next years blooms.

I've seen pictures of one in a Kokufu album and one that sold at the Growing Grounds Nursery this past year I believe. No price was indicated that I can remember.
 
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Tachigi

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one that sold at the Growing Grounds Nursery this past year I believe. No price was indicated that I can remember.
That Forsythia was heralded as the largest in bonsai culture. If memory serves me the asking price was in the neighborhood of 6K. A truly beautiful specimen. However not worth life and limb were my wife was concerned. :D
 

onthefringe

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JimJ,

I took for granted that you may not be familiar with growing bonsai stock in the ground for a number of years before beginning training in a pot. For the above mentioned I am growing my forsythias in the ground right now to develope a good trunk and nebari (surface roots).

They are growing in a grow bed with with a 1 square foot tile under the roots to develope a strong shallow radial root system.

How I have been instructed to develope them is to allow a strong central leader leader to grow unrestrained while ideally trying to keep a number of branches lower on the trunk to encourage rapid girth expansion. Leaving the apical bud undisturbed allows the tree to grow without slowing down. Nearly all trees and shrubs growth are controlled by a single apical bud.

Like I said earlier trunk chopping periodically to develope taper and movement and fighting back those suckers from the roots in if all goes well 5-10 years you may have a decent peice of material to work with.
 

Dale Cochoy

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JimJ,
Here is a pic of a very old, large, rotted out Forsythia I collected quite a few years ago. I got it to this stage and sold it as you see it here in this old scanned pic.
When cutting back the hollow branches, especially larger branches, be sure to seal the holes to keep water out.

Also here is a pic of a shohin forsythia in one of my pots that was displayed at MidAtlantic symposium in April a couple years ago.

A few years back I bought a shohin forsythia at kokufu Green Club in Tokyo. I was shopping with John Quinn ( who I don't think posts here?) and twisted his arm into buying one. They wre pretty cheap there! Well, mine died off slowly through the next year but Johns has done well . Here is a VIRTUAL pic of his forsythia in one of my yellow pots.

Just a few of forsythia I have seen.
 

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onthefringe

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Dale Cochoy,

Hey I hadn't thought about sealing the hollow pith but it makes sense. Thanks for the advise.
 
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They seem to take forever and a day to achieve decent trunk thickness. I have a row next to the driveway that have been in the ground for almost 10 years, without any noticeable thickening to speak of.



Will
 
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Onthefringe, thank you for teaching me a word I have never seen before. The right word in the right place is worth its weight in gold.
 

onthefringe

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Chris Johnston,

You're welcome, now if you could show me where I might cash out at?!!

Which word was it?
 
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Chris Johnston,

You're welcome, now if you could show me where I might cash out at?!!

Which word was it?

Stoloniferous. Of growing from stolons.

Stolon: 1.Botany. a prostrate stem, at or just below the surface of the ground, that produces new plants from buds at its tips or nodes.
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=stolon

I just thought up until now, that rhizomal would describe this action, but rhizomes come from the root, where stolons are stems. Thanks again for an interesting trip to the dictionary!
 

jimj.

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Thanks to everyone who has given advice to me about my Forsythia. I will remember the advice as I watch my Forsythia grow.
 

milehigh_7

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If I recall Al had some info on these posted over at BT. Al if you are reading am I correct in this?
 

Leland307

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JimJ,

I took for granted that you may not be familiar with growing bonsai stock in the ground for a number of years before beginning training in a pot. For the above mentioned I am growing my forsythias in the ground right now to develope a good trunk and nebari (surface roots).

They are growing in a grow bed with with a 1 square foot tile under the roots to develope a strong shallow radial root system.

How I have been instructed to develope them is to allow a strong central leader leader to grow unrestrained while ideally trying to keep a number of branches lower on the trunk to encourage rapid girth expansion. Leaving the apical bud undisturbed allows the tree to grow without slowing down. Nearly all trees and shrubs growth are controlled by a single apical bud.

Like I said earlier trunk chopping periodically to develope taper and movement and fighting back those suckers from the roots in if all goes well 5-10 years you may have a decent peice of material to work with.

I just obtained a forsythia plant myself and am interested in trying this out. My question is, though, do you have a suggestion as to when the best time of year would be to chop the trunk back?
 

jersanct

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I have no useful suggestions whatsoever, but I thought I would post a very old stump I dug up from my new house. It was a large overgrown mess falling into the driveway when I bought the house in late 2008. I cut it back and wrestled it out of the ground in early 2009. I left all the trunk stumps too long originally; I do not pretend to have a credible explanation for this, although I must have had some sort of thought about that at the time.

In any case, it grew quite happily last year, and I cut the stumps back again this winter This is where I am now. Some of the live stumps still probably are too long, and a lot of the stumps you see are dead but, I think, beautiful. The eventual plan is to try to save the bases of most of the stumps and to thicken up new leaders and to give them movement over time, eventually settling into a nice clump style.

It even flowered for me this year, in its first year in captivity...I think that's good. I think.
 

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Smoke

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No...I didn't write anything about this species. I did post a few pictures of a small one I have, but this year it bloomed and I did not shoot any shots. This year I posted the winterblooming jasmine instead as it has the same yellow flowers.
 

Si Nguyen

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I have no useful suggestions whatsoever, but I thought I would post a very old stump I dug up from my new house. It was a large overgrown mess falling into the driveway when I bought the house in late 2008. I cut it back and wrestled it out of the ground in early 2009. I left all the trunk stumps too long originally; I do not pretend to have a credible explanation for this, although I must have had some sort of thought about that at the time.

In any case, it grew quite happily last year, and I cut the stumps back again this winter This is where I am now. Some of the live stumps still probably are too long, and a lot of the stumps you see are dead but, I think, beautiful. The eventual plan is to try to save the bases of most of the stumps and to thicken up new leaders and to give them movement over time, eventually settling into a nice clump style.

It even flowered for me this year, in its first year in captivity...I think that's good. I think.

Hi Jersanct! Nice to see your comments here! Great Forsythia stump you got there buddy! I have not seen a better Forsythia stump. Couldn't you have reduced the root ball a lot thinner? For such a clump style, it should be more shallow in order to be on a thin tray eventually. Please give us updates on your tree here.
Good luck!
Si
 

jersanct

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Hello Si - nice to see you here, too. Thanks for the kind words about my stump...I think it could be a great tree some day.

Thank you as always for your advice. I do plan to get the tree into a much shallower pot some day. Upon collection, since I didn't entirely know what I was doing, I decided to err on the safe side and to leave plenty of roots. Judging by how well the tree responded to collection, I think I can remove quite a lot of the root ball at its first repotting, possibly next year. I'm in no hurry on this one, though. I figure it will take several years for a convincing taper to form between the lopped-off trunks and the leaders I eventually will train on them, so I can work the roots down patiently. I will try to remember to update my progress here.

Best wishes

Chris
 

Si Nguyen

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possibly next year. ....Chris

Not next year Chris. Too soon. One can only bare-root the stump once, drastically and directly into a proper bonsai pot even, but after that, it needs a long time for the root ball to recover, 4-5 years at least. You might be able to split this stump into 2-3 smaller trees?
Good luck!
Si
 

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