Frugal beginnings

M. Frary

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Thanks for injecting some practical advice - rather than wishful thinking - into the thread, Mike! Horticulture trumps everything else in this hobby/art/obsession, and your winters are the prime limiting factor to contend with in the choice of material!
It has to be factored into everything here.
Especially bonsai.
Zone 4 trees have a tough time in pots.
Even though it says zone 4.
Winter is long and cold here.
The trees need to be prepared.
No fall collections.
Not enough time to recover unless you have access to a heated greenhouse.
And then there is the vermin.
Them little bastards.
 

M. Frary

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To inspire you, here's a Siberian elm clump planting I recently acquired. Great trees! View attachment 266458
Have you ever worked with these before Will?
They're kind of weird.
Not really like other elms.
Too pot bound they croak.
Let sucker branches that grow out of existing branch collars get very big and they drop the main branch for the sucker.
The pros though.
You can be merciless with the roots.
They grow like mad.
Have small leaves.
Cut something off and they sprout like a hedgehog.
Can take the cold.
 

grouper52

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Have you ever worked with these before Will?
They're kind of weird.
Not really like other elms.
Too pot bound they croak.
Let sucker branches that grow out of existing branch collars get very big and they drop the main branch for the sucker.
The pros though.
You can be merciless with the roots.
They grow like mad.
Have small leaves.
Cut something off and they sprout like a hedgehog.
Can take the cold.
Yeah, Mike. Much, much different from the Chinese elms I'm used to here! This was supposedly dug up from from some Spokane pasture where cows kept it pruned for years, apparently, though I suspect it was planted AS a clump for eventual bonsai use back in the day. I got in in the spring in this pot, and it's been an education. I initially started with some guy wires for general placement, and thought I could just manage it with Lingnan School clip-and-grow techniques, but it kept growing back extremely quickly and often not helpfully. I then thought I would use some wrapped wire to effect better distribution of the foliage in terms of the overall design, but now a significant number of places I did that grew over the wrapped wire overnight a few weeks ago, perhaps leading to the loss of some of those branches, and leaving unwanted holes in the design. I'm now going back to clip-and-grow and guy wires next spring - a slower but surer - and often more aesthetically pleasing and natural method I've loved to use with Chinese elms and a few other varieties. The climate here supports such techniques better than yours, but these seem to be promising - if not ideal - trees, and I'm very glad to hear they grow well up where you are. Post 'em if you got 'em!
 

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