have i done the right thing ?


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strathclyde, scotland
i have a number of tree's earmarked for collection but did not have the space to collect them all this year. so what i have done is i have started working on them where they are in the ground. I am checking on them regularly and wondering if their could be any unforseen problems with styling them in the wild and also do i need to feed them if they are in the woods ?? and if so how often ?? or was it just a bad idea ??
Doing some initial styling in the ground isn't bad as long as one has a clear sense of the rootage and base. Removing some things which you know must surely go is also fine, as long as it isn't taking away from the development process. (The notion of sacrifice branches etc... which you leave on for the purposes of trunk thickening and structural development.)

Did you do any root work at all? Often times that can be the most valuable thing to do while having to wait to collect. In place root work can increase your survival rates tremendously. There is a tree at Elandan that Daniel took over a decade to collect. He was purposeful, because he didn't want to kill it. So every year he'd go up to work on it a little when he went collecting other smaller things. Small being very relative. :p

Feeding wouldn't be needful, as you shouldn't be eyeballing unhealthy or failing trees as a general rule to begin with.

Patience is the better part of wisdom in bonsai.

Kindest regards,

Don get that spade and work around the tree stick it in every other shovels width, then hit the shovel widths you didn't get now in mid to late September. Kind of outlining where you would dig it normally,without actually digging. Then while you wait hopefully it puts out some finer feeder roots, making collecting next spring easier, and recovery more likely.
Exactly like Bill said. The idea is to get the smaller feeder roots growing closer to the trunk. Now under the ground all you have is the largest roots, only keeping the tree supported. The idea is to "chase" the feeder roots toward the trunk to allow for putting in a finished pot. If you can work the tree in the ground then i think it should be quicker. There are not alot more seasons to repair any scars, or recover from any transplanting. The first year in the ground, or in a training container usually is just getting used to its new home, then the second year you start getting lots of growth. I may be wrong, but if your trunk is at the point you like, then go ahead and start pruning, and keep any branches you would use to heal any wounds, or any branches used to thicken any more areas. I would definately check into it more. This is only my second year, but have many in general landscaping. I have a couple trees native, and still in the ground that i have daily access to, and they dont seem to be phased by any pruning on the roots, or the top. I do any major cuts when dormant before any buds start to push. Then i let them go until mid summer when i do some more. I am keeping the branches pruned to two nodes. Just do your work at different times. Good luck.
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I was going to dig a trench about 6 -8 inches wide around the tree and backfill with a sand and leaf mulch mix to encourage feeder roots like i would for transplanting large trees for landscaping or rescue work. Is there a reason for doing only every other shovels width now and the rest at the end of the season ?
Yes half now, the other half later so as not to disturb it too much.

I am thinking that your trench w/ sand and mulch isn't such a great idea. It will dry faster, and encourage rooting out at the ends, unless this is close to the trunk it doesn't change the root system to a smaller size for a pot. Just letting it put out roots from the cut back toward the trunk after cutting/spading around the tree as the tree grows new roots. They still might end up at the outside, but putting a good growing medium out at the fringes will almost garantee that.
I have succesfully used the sand/mulch method on other occasions when transplanting large trees it definetly increases the amount of feeder roots greatly. As for drying out i live on the west coast of scotland it is not going to happen flooding is more a worry hence the sand in the mix. I will try both methods on half of the trees and see what works best.
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