Growing over tiles

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Ohio 6a
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#1
Not much to show here yet, just getting started on projects that will hopefully provide valuable material to work with later. My parents are allowing my to re-purpose the family garden into my bonsai tree farm. I will be starting quite a few trees and growing many of them over tiles to encourage quick growth in the ground and horizontal root systems that will make for nice nebari later on. Now for pictures!

The plot to be re-purposed:

After raking up the garden debris and burning off (some free charcoal for the soil):

Then I began tilling the ground so that it will be easier to work when time to plant seedlings comes:

As for the trees, I began stratifying several species of seeds over the winter and started planting them a few weeks ago. Until this week they have been indoors under by little set-up because Ohio couldn't figure out how to stop being winter until just recently:

A few things are starting to sprout. Trying to keep a close eye on them to prevent some of the damping off issues I dealt with last year (using a fungicide this time around). Zelkova and Trident Maple:

Some of the Red Pine:

All of these will stay in the trays until they are a little bigger and then I will transplant them into the ground and several over (through) the tiles I have prepared:

I'm going to thread the seedlings through the holes of the tiles. As they grow the trunk will thicken to the point it girdles itself on the tile and hopefully sends out nice horizontal roots across the tiles. I'm hoping to do something similar to the Ebihara style I regularly see discussed here. I've done a few for forest plantings as well there those root systems will intersect and eventually fuse into a clump like planting.

Anyways that's all for now. Hopefully will remember to provide a photo update when I do the actually plantings.
 

AlainK

Masterpiece
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Orléans, France, Europe
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#2
Lucky you to have so much space!

Don't know about the red pines, but the Zelkova and Acer buregerianum will thrive after a year or two once they're established. Here, where the climate is milder in winter (USDA zone 8) they grow new shoots 1 or even two metres a season! Three to six feet - and a couple of toes if the weather is fine, with no fertilizer added. I planted a couple where I burn branches in autumn that I prune in spring or summer, so the soil is fertile, and healthy.

Great experience you're doing.

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Adair M

Pinus Envy
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#6
Sidesummy, what a great opportunity! That garden soil looks really rich you should have great success growing trees in that.

But, it's almost too rich! I'm not being negative, but just want to make sure you keep a couple things in mind. (It looks like you've done your homework!)

In that soil, the tridents roots will grow like crazy! They'll want to put out heavy roots, and your job will be to make sure they don't.

They'll also want to grow tall real fast. You just have to make sure they produce lots of internodes, and don't grow straight up with no taper.

Oh, and fight the weeds!

Good luck! You should be able to produce some whoppers!
 
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Location
Ohio 6a
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#8
In that soil, the tridents roots will grow like crazy! They'll want to put out heavy roots, and your job will be to make sure they don't.

They'll also want to grow tall real fast. You just have to make sure they produce lots of internodes, and don't grow straight up with no taper.

Oh, and fight the weeds!
I hope they grow like crazy. While they are still quite young I want to put some good movement into them with a quick wiring, knowing I will have to quickly remove it again after it sets and before it cuts in and disappears. Then I plan to let it go crazy and grow as much as it likes to thicken up.

As for the heavy roots I tentatively plan to wash the dirt away and cut back any overly thick roots (ever 2 years or so) before they get too dominant and then re-bury them again. Hopefully when I cut a thick root back, smaller fiberous roots will sprout where I cut. I'm wondering, if at that time if I should totally lift the tree out of the ground and trim everything back to the edge of the tiles. My only concern there is if I lift the tree and cut it's stability away it might easily be tipped over by a strong wind assuming I have a 10-15ft tall growth still above ground.
 
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Location
Ohio 6a
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#9
Man you are going to have fun. I love playing with tiles. Tridents respond so well with this method. This one is in the ground now for two years. Planted 13 in one tile (1/2" holes) and its one heap of roots ontop of the tile already.
View attachment 101744 View attachment 101745
Thats great! I hope I can get that kind of growth going. Do you have any plans for root work in the near future, and if so what you plan to do?

And 13 into 1 tile? going for a super forest?
 

Adair M

Pinus Envy
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#10
There's my concern! If you let it get 10 to 15 feet tall, the base will be big, but there will be no taper!

Sure, you can chop, but then, you'll have a massive scar where there will never be branches unless you graft.

Instead, consider letting it grow to 3 feet tall, cut it back to 6 inches. Then let it grow to 3 feet tall, cut it back to 8 inches. Let it grow to 3 feet tall, cut it back to 10 inches.

Each time it grows to 3 feet tall, it's healed the previous chop. The base gets a little thicker each time. But, it builds taper in the process.
 

Adair M

Pinus Envy
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#11
I suggest you go to www.bonsaitonight.com, and read thru his posts on growing bonsai stock from seed. He's started thousands and documented the process with pictures.

If you're going to go to the trouble of doing this, you might as well make "great" trees. For tridents, "great" translates into good, even radial nebari, and a heavy tapering trunk with no scars. Branches are a no brainer. Once you get the trunk you want, just thread graft branches wherever you want them.
 
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Location
Ohio 6a
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#14
I suggest you go to www.bonsaitonight.com, and read thru his posts on growing bonsai stock from seed. He's started thousands and documented the process with pictures.

If you're going to go to the trouble of doing this, you might as well make "great" trees. For tridents, "great" translates into good, even radial nebari, and a heavy tapering trunk with no scars. Branches are a no brainer. Once you get the trunk you want, just thread graft branches wherever you want them.
Yup I've been reading and re-reading Jonas's articles for a couple years. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do with them while they're still young. I think avoiding the scares will be the biggest difficulty since tridents have such heavy callous swelling where you remove a sacrifice branch.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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#15
It seems the tiles are quite large....

How is water going to get to the roots?

I would choke em with a large fender washer year one....

And screw em on a board year 2.

Maybe do some skeet shooting?

Sorce
 
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Location
Ohio 6a
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#16
It seems the tiles are quite large....

How is water going to get to the roots?
The tiles are 1'x1' so they aren't that huge. As for the water, the picture doesn't show it but I'll be planting on the lower side of an incline in the garden and water should find it's way there. When I was tilling the soil wasn't too dry even a few inches down and it hadn't rained in several days. All that said I think it should do ok water wise. I planned to put the tile itself about 2"-4" under the ground, so as soon at the trunk girdles (or maybe even before) some roots will form above the tile where water from the rain should be easy to get.
 
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#17
Look in to grow bags. I went to a grower last weekend and he swears by them. He said that it gives you the best of both worlds, a compact root system but the growth from ground growing. Also weed fabric is your friend must make cutouts where you have your trees.

Be sure not to crowd your trees too much. You want to have room around them to spread out without shading out the others. It will also give you room to work on the trees without fear of stepping on the others.

Good luck. It sounds like you have a fun project ahead of you.
 
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Location
Ohio 6a
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#20
seed trays on a carpeted floor? nice parents....
Haha, no the carpeted floor is my own. They are growing at my apartment. Also I washed the soil really well before planting to get all the fine dust off. When I water them I take them to the sink and then let all the water run through, tilt then a lot so the water streams out, and then wait until the bottom is dry before placing them back on the carpet. So I never really every get anything on the carpet :)
 

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