Greetings and Salutations

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Hello!

I am an enthusiastic bonsai novice and I have been practicing since 2009, so ten years. I joined the forum this morning. I often find myself feeling like I need advice and examples to learn from. I also very much enjoy seeing what others have accomplished and trying to understand their methods.

I am a tree nut in general, and often the hardest decision I find myself trying to make with trees is whether or not to plant them traditionally or try to bonsai them.

I have attempted many bonsai, and the vast majority of them have not survived. I figure it is a learning process, and there is a lot of conflicting information out there. Most trees I plant in the ground do quite well.

I am showing you my collection of both bonsai and traditional trees as they are this morning, and am eager to hear suggestions. I have done a lot of moss work around my trees over the years, and have taken some really great photos of great looking stuff in the past but as I said - most has not made it. The state much of my surviving bonsai is in now is not the best, I was away from my collection for a few years. I do realize that looks aren't everything when it comes to bonsai in early training so I am trying to focus on keeping things alive mostly.

Traditionally Planted Trees





*Cont. in reply, see below
 
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Bonsai Trees

This is a Burning Bush - not doing so well, was neglected for some time. Started Spring 2017. It looked really nice when I first potted it.

This is a Globulous Eugenia I bought on clearance and potted two weeks or so ago.

This is a Blue False Cypress I got on clearance and potted two weeks or so ago.

This is the best looking of my two Hinoki Cypress. This one spends most of its time in the shade which I think is helpful to it. The wind has blown this one over a few times and it has been damaged. Will probably drive some stakes to try to hold it down. I potted this one in 2012 or so.

This is one of my Jade plants, in training since 2011.

This is one of my Jade plants, in training since 2011 -- with another succulent I added later.

This is my most beloved tree. It is a Green Japanese Maple that I bought in 2010 or so as an 8" sapling. Two years or so ago, I made the mistake of 'topping' it. Ever since, the main trunk has been slowly drying out. I am not sure if leaving the deadwood will slow down / stop the drying or not.

This is one of two table grapes I bought the other day on clearance.

This is one of two table grapes I bought the other day on clearance.
 
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Welcome to the site. You'll find a wealth of information here on horticulture, design, and esthetics. Use the search function to pull up info on specific questions you may have. Best of luck!
 

cbroad

Omono
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Welcome! I love the area where you live!

Great projects you have there, my only concern is your coral bark may suffer if it's planted in all day sun. Here in VA, they burn up in our full sun.

Have you been to the Silver Bonsai Gallery in Manteo?
 

Paulpash

Omono
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Thanks for taking the time to snap some pics and tell us about yourself. Why have you put stones on the surface of your bonsai pots? It must be impossible to gage if they need watering.

First priority for the newcomer is 'keeping it green' long term. What do you grow your trees in and what's your take on why they've ended up as firewood? Finding out these simple things is the first step to progress. A lot of people over the pond seem to have success with the PAL mix (pumice, akadama & lava in equal parts). Maybe do some reading on substrates as a first port of call - the search function top right is the way to go.
 
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Great projects you have there, my only concern is your coral bark may suffer if it's planted in all day sun. Here in VA, they burn up in our full sun.
That one I think I placed well. It only gets sun for the first part of the day, and after about 1PM is shaded the rest of the day.

Have you been to the Silver Bonsai Gallery in Manteo?
Yes, it is a pretty cool place. I bought three of my bonsai pots (resin construction) there. They were not for sale. They have some handsome ficus benjamina specimens in his greenhouse. The bonsai are not for sale either. I was under the wrong impression the first time I went, and must confess I was a little disappointed when I found out that it was a jewelry store! The building got a complete overhaul in the past couple of years, mainly getting raised up much higher on pilings. I am pretty sure the last big hurricane did some water damage there.
 
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Thanks for taking the time to snap some pics and tell us about yourself. Why have you put stones on the surface of your bonsai pots? It must be impossible to gage if they need watering.
The layer of stones is pretty thin, so I can still poke my finger between them. I used them to help keep them from drying out so darn fast and to add weight. It is very windy here. When I get a chance to collect some more moss I am probably going to rescape most of them.

First priority for the newcomer is 'keeping it green' long term. What do you grow your trees in and what's your take on why they've ended up as firewood? Finding out these simple things is the first step to progress. A lot of people over the pond seem to have success with the PAL mix (pumice, akadama & lava in equal parts). Maybe do some reading on substrates as a first port of call - the search function top right is the way to go.
It does seem that I have not given them sufficient drainage and opportunities for root growth. I have had poor luck with evergreens in general, both broadleafs like hollies as well as conifers have usually died on me. The last few pottings I made, I lined the bottom of the pots with the smaller river rock to improve drainage issues. But I am still using conventional potting soil quite a bit and I think I need to move away from that.

When I plant trees in the ground, I place a layer of pure black kow around the outside of the hole. Then I usually use a 50/50 black kow and peat moss mix for my potting mix. This approach works very well for the trees in the ground, but I don't think it works so well for potted trees. With the latest maple I planted, I did the layer of black kow on the outside but then used pure peat moss around the root ball because I have been reading that Japanese maples don't need very much fertilizer if any and that it can kill them easily.
 

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