Hello, and some questions/ideas

DannyBonsai

Sapling
Messages
33
Reaction score
1
Location
Shoals, NC
USDA Zone
7-8
Hi, I've been lurking awhile but decided to finaly join. I am only 16 and have been in to bonsai about 4 years now. I mostly am attracted to conifers and tropicals, but I do have a nice windswept pen oak that was almost perfectly made that I found growing in a concrete gun pit at fort caswell. I have multiple indoor ficus and schefflera banyan styles in training including what, in a couple of years, should be a nice mame schefflera. I'm hoping to learn some answers to a few questions i've had....

1: when shortening a tree, to make a leader look more natural, could you cut the top at a slant, cut a notch in to it, and use that to allow the new lead trunk to be closer to the center of the trunk?

2: to make a banyan type tree grow completely supported by roots, could you take, say, a balloon or block of foam, plant the tree over that slightly out of the soil, and once the roots have thickened to support the tree sufficiently, deflate the balloon/cut out the foam?

and third: has anyone tried to make a mangrove bonsai? i have wondered that for some time, maybe plant it in a tall glass tray with a couple inches of salt water over the soil? (the glass being to highlight the roots and water)

please let me know, and bear in mind that I have not been doing this long and forgive me if I am asking stupid questions.
 
Last edited:

jk_lewis

Masterpiece
Messages
3,820
Reaction score
1,109
Location
Western NC
USDA Zone
7-8
Danny . . . you might edit your profile to tell folks where you live. I assume because you mention fort caswell it is somewhere in North Carolina and near the coast, but it always helps us give appropriate help if we know at least the general area.

Generally when you chop a tree to use a new leader, you do it just above an existing branch -- always for conifers and usually for other trees. For tropicals which generally sprout readily around a cut site, it probably doesn't matter how you cut. Something will pop out around the cut and your job is to select which to use. You will have to carve the cut down to fit the design later on anyway.

I'm no expert on getting aerial roots of figs, but generaly people try to guide the roots through drinking straws in the soil. This is to help keep the new roots moist. I can NOT help with the exact process. There used to be a site that explained it in detail, but I haven't heard from that guy in years.

Mangrove have been used as bonsai in Florida and along the Texas coast. I don't know how they would do indoors in NC, because they need salt in the air too.
 

jk_lewis

Masterpiece
Messages
3,820
Reaction score
1,109
Location
Western NC
USDA Zone
7-8
Danny . . . you might edit your profile to tell folks where you live. I assume because you mention fort caswell it is somewhere in North Carolina and near the coast, but it always helps us give appropriate help if we know at least the general area.

Generally when you chop a tree to use a new leader, you do it just above an existing branch -- always for conifers and usually for other trees. For tropicals which generally sprout readily around a cut site, it probably doesn't matter how you cut. Something will pop out around the cut and your job is to select which to use. You will have to carve the cut down to fit the design later on anyway.

I'm no expert on getting aerial roots of figs, but generaly people try to guide the roots through drinking straws in the soil. This is to help keep the new roots moist. I can NOT help with the exact process. There used to be a site that explained it in detail, but I haven't heard from that guy in years.

Mangrove have been used as bonsai in Florida and along the Texas coast. I don't know how they would do indoors in NC, because they need salt in the air too.
 

Bill S

Masterpiece
Messages
2,494
Reaction score
20
Location
Western Massachusetts
USDA Zone
5a
WHat kind of tree are you chopping????

As far as the chop goes, I would cut at an angel top of the slant at/near the new leader you picked out, then work on healing the cut, if new buds pop around the cut, let them grow, they will help to keep sap running aroung the cut, helping healing. Depending on what species you are chopping you may want to cut slightly higher leaving a little of the "unwanted" section to help with potential die back at the cut site. Also depending on what you are chopping, you may want to apply a cut sealant to speed heeling of the cut.

As for always above a branch, for pines if you chop below any green it dies, you need to specify, theres no general rule here or most trees, general rules are things that can get you in trouble, until you have a better understanding of bonsai.
 

DannyBonsai

Sapling
Messages
33
Reaction score
1
Location
Shoals, NC
USDA Zone
7-8
the tree choping idea is like this: the the trunk is cut above a branch, slanting back.
a chanel is cut from just above the branch to the top of the trunk, all the way to the heartwood, so as to make the leader as close to the center of the trunk.

and I have kept mangroves in my aquariums, they can survive just as well in freshwater if acclimated. they just nead light, heat and humidity.

and actualy I am up in the piedmont area of North Carolina, just was at caswell for a trip and am currently at holden beach this week, as a matter of fact.
 

Speedy

Yamadori
Messages
79
Reaction score
11
Location
Kernersville NC
USDA Zone
7a/
From another Piedmont resident, welcome. I think you're over-thinking the chopping with your idea, or at least that's what I'm picturing it.
 

DannyBonsai

Sapling
Messages
33
Reaction score
1
Location
Shoals, NC
USDA Zone
7-8
It was just sort of an idea to lessen the time for a leader to grow in and look more natural. plus I've seen one that was mistreated and made a farly noticeable gap between the trunk and leader. Btw, I am repotting a clump of scheffleras tomorrow, if I separated one tree from the group and cut it back, what would be your suggestions on getting it to backbud and throw off multiple branches?
 

tilli

Seed
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Location
Tampa, FL
USDA Zone
9B
and third: has anyone tried to make a mangrove bonsai? i have wondered that for some time, maybe plant it in a tall glass tray with a couple inches of salt water over the soil? (the glass being to highlight the roots and water)
I assume you mean Florida red mangrove - Rhizophora mangle. I've been growing one in a container for years and I can tell you there are so many misconceptions about this plant floating around the internet masquerading as facts. Firstly, although red mangrove has some truly amazing adaptations which allow it to live with its feet in salt water, they do not require this. They do not need salt in the air either. They do not need salt and/or intertidal conditions to throw prop roots. The reason they are only seen in the wild in salty and brackish water is more about their very slow growth being non-competitive in other environments rather than about their supposed need for that environment. A word of caution is that once sprouted they can not move freely between salinities, so it is important to either choose an unsprouted propagule, or you'll have to get the information about what salinity it was sprouted in, and slowly adjust it to the salinity where it will be growing. If growing in salt water, the leaves will become coated in excess salt if they are not regularly cleaned off with freshwater. If growing in freshwater you'll want to rinse them just to keep dust off but they won't need it every day.

All that said, they are really not a very good choice for bonsai. I have seen many references claiming that they are used but have yet to see even a picture of a finished red mangrove bonsai. They grow sllloooooooooowly. Painfully slowly. Slower than any other plant I have ever grown. Internodes are long, leaves are large. They tend to grow a fairly tall skinny trunk before they branch. Mine is about seven years old and is now about three feet tall, with three naturally formed branches, all in the top third of the canopy. If you try to trunk chop it, it will probably die. If you defoliate it, it will probably die. They are notoriously sensitive to pruning, especially if the leader is cut back before natural branching occurs. I have never pruned mine, above or below, and it is just getting to the point where I am considering some careful pruning in the spring. If I can get it to backbud it might someday be considered a very large size bonsai, and definitely an aquired taste aesthetically. I haven't tried it yet but it seems like the branches could be wired. I can't remember if these are copper sensitive (buttonwoods are) but I would stick with aluminum wire just in case.

They need bright light. They love sun. In the summer they want it hot and humid, and they start to pout in the winter if temperatures drop below about 45º. The secret to aerial roots in a container is of course high humidity, but also instability. When the canopy above becomes so dense that the trunk starts to keel over, the tree responds by pushing a prop root out to hold itself up. It's really that simple, no salt or intertidal conditions required. They are also surprisingly tolerant of drought conditions at the appropriate time of year, I keep mine pretty wet in summer but drier in the winter.

I grew mine for years in a container with no drainage as recommended by lots of mangrove sites out there until this winter I started to really think about that and decided it could not be the optimum way. In particular I was very sparing with the fertilizer because there was no way to flush the pot. And I thought this was more like a swamp than anything resembling an intertidal situation. The container it was in was a big patio pot with no drainage holes, it narrowed towards the top a bit. After it popped its first aerial root I pictured it with a few more and realized I had to get it out of that pot now while it was still possible. I had never liked the pot it was in, it was just one I had handy. So I decided to switch it over to a different setup. I researched a lot and decided that the best course of action was to plant it in the sort of mix I see recommended for buttonwoods (2/3 of a good bonsai mix - I used Turface, pumice, and a bit of coconut husk chips plus charcoal, mixed with 1/3 crushed shell). I moved it to a large open bowl shaped container, unglazed, with drainage. I use a large glazed saucer below as a water reservoir. It handled the repotting pretty well, but I took pains to disturb it as little as possible and didn't cut any roots since I was potting up to a roomier container instead of trying to put it back in the old one. I rinsed as much of the old mix out as I could, but I didn't try to break up the rootball at all. I don't think it is really out of the woods yet, we'll see how it does in the spring. There was probably a pretty big shift in pH that I should have considered as part of my planning but it is too late now.
 

DannyBonsai

Sapling
Messages
33
Reaction score
1
Location
Shoals, NC
USDA Zone
7-8
mine throw prop roots in fresh water, you just need to make the major root training while they are still growing down to the soil. as in suspend the un rooted pod above the soil in the water, with something to make the roots grow outwards like a rock or plastic ball etc. the only problem i have is figuring how to make the trunk branch. and btw, to get aerial roots higher on the trunk, just raise the water level so it needs to make more, but do it slowly as too fast can drown the plant. hmmmm... now I think I should give this a go..... I have several unrooted mangrove pods- I'll post pics if anything works out.
 

karmani

Seed
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Location
Netherlands
Hi,,,
Like the other mentioned in order to have specific answers you need to clearly mention the area of your residence for proper advise and suggestion.
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom