Hello Bonsainuts. My third attempt at the hobby

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Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9b
#1
I have tried this a couple of times now and I end up losing my trees to the summer. I took a couple years off from killing trees lol. Now I'm back. I have 3 trees now. I have a Mugo, Vitex, and a small juniper. I just went to nurserys looking for cheap trees with some potential and I feel like Ive been fortunate. I spent $25 on the Mugo which I like because of the wide trunk. The juniper was 10 bucks nothing special but it is my fall back plan if I kill my others. The Vitex was $20 bucks I choose this also because of the wide mature looking trunk. I was lured into the Vitexs by a tree I didn't buy but when I walked past it I literally saw the upright bonsai in it. That was a first for me. On closer examination I choose to not get it because of some inverse taper and also because the base of the one I did take home was so mature in appearance. In my past attempts I had not found these forums which has already been so helpful. I just wanted to say hello to the community here. All and any advice and or criticism is welcome. Thank you. Oh I'm from Fresno CA. which is 9b.
 

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Bonsai Nut

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OC, CA
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#2
Welcome to the site!

The first thing you need to do is to send a nice note to @Smoke (a Fresno native) and see if he has some time to point you in the right direction. He will give you more/better advice in an hour than I could typing an entire day.

And one of the reasons why I say this is that Fresno is a little unusual when it comes to weather. Gets cold in the winter... but the summers bake!
 
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197
Location
MD
USDA Zone
7a
#3
I have tried this a couple of times now and I end up losing my trees to the summer. I took a couple years off from killing trees lol. Now I'm back. I have 3 trees now. I have a Mugo, Vitex, and a small juniper. I just went to nurserys looking for cheap trees with some potential and I feel like Ive been fortunate. I spent $25 on the Mugo which I like because of the wide trunk. The juniper was 10 bucks nothing special but it is my fall back plan if I kill my others. The Vitex was $20 bucks I choose this also because of the wide mature looking trunk. I was lured into the Vitexs by a tree I didn't buy but when I walked past it I literally saw the upright bonsai in it. That was a first for me. On closer examination I choose to not get it because of some inverse taper and also because the base of the one I did take home was so mature in appearance. In my past attempts I had not found these forums which has already been so helpful. I just wanted to say hello to the community here. All and any advice and or criticism is welcome. Thank you. Oh I'm from Fresno CA. which is 9b.
Welcome. Nice trunk on that Mugo. Check out the resources section here and look for the Mugo Guide/Vance Wood info. for specific care information.
 

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
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Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
#4
Welcome to the site!

The first thing you need to do is to send a nice note to @Smoke (a Fresno native) and see if he has some time to point you in the right direction. He will give you more/better advice in an hour than I could typing an entire day.

And one of the reasons why I say this is that Fresno is a little unusual when it comes to weather. Gets cold in the winter... but the summers bake!
We have been talking since last week.
 
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NE Ohio: zone 5b (USA)
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#7
We have been talking since last week.
Glad to hear it! Having one understand ones climate is a huge hurtle. I doubt I would have my collection make it through my first arctic winter without @JudyB offering direction. Wishing the poster the best of luck. It is a relaxing fun hobby once you grasp your climate and horticulture needs. Welcome to the Nut!
 
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Location
Bethlehem, PA
USDA Zone
6b
#8
Good for you giving it another go! And I hate to even say this but .... You're on the hot side (b) of zone 9. To the best of my knowledge mugo pines are cold weather trees that shouldn't be grown above zone 7.
I love zonal denial and try all kinds of things myself. But I'm thinking you're going to need some serious mods to keep this thing alive if your summers are as hot as your zone suggests. But if you bought this material locally.. then by all means I'm sure they know more about your climate than I do. Best of luck, hopefully this time it sticks
 

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
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#9
Good for you giving it another go! And I hate to even say this but .... You're on the hot side (b) of zone 9. To the best of my knowledge mugo pines are cold weather trees that shouldn't be grown above zone 7.
I love zonal denial and try all kinds of things myself. But I'm thinking you're going to need some serious mods to keep this thing alive if your summers are as hot as your zone suggests. But if you bought this material locally.. then by all means I'm sure they know more about your climate than I do. Best of luck, hopefully this time it sticks
Yes we have spoken on the pitfalls of Mugo here. It is ashame that nurseries sell all kinds of plants that won't grow in the zone they are selling them in.
 
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Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9b
#10
If summer is your tree killer, you need shade cloth and an automatic watering system.
Yup. I've already spoke to Smoke about shade. Haven't considered an auto watering system. Probably a good backup plan to have in place when things come up
 
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#12
That's odd, I haven't noticed nurseries near me selling things "out of zone". almost to a fault. Very little variety
 
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Location
DFW, Texas
USDA Zone
8a
#13
Haven't considered an auto watering system.
Shade cloth is a life saver in summer once it gets over 100f. My maples didn't like that heat and full sun at 2pm. The watering system is great for mid day 5 minute misting. Before, I would water before work and by the time I got home the pots are almost bone dry. Dam you Texas heat. Plus if I am out of town for a couple days I can use it as primary watering. I waste some water that way, but my trees aren't shrivel up when I get home. This year I will put in a second overlapping system in case one has a failure.

Every year re-evaluate everything you are doing (watering, shade, tree care, benches, and so on) and make the needed improvements. That philosophy has worked out pretty well for me so far.

Good luck!
 

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
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Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
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#14
That's odd, I haven't noticed nurseries near me selling things "out of zone". almost to a fault. Very little variety
Good observation. Allow me to clarify. I fell into my own trap. I used to comment about this a lot but not so much anymore. I just got tired of repeating it. I said zone and really meant our heat index which is not noted on USDA hardiness zone indexes. That zone index is based on minimum low temps. The ability to handle the cold. Even though Monrovia suggest mugos for zone 2-8. We at 9 have adaquate cold for the plant to thrive. Monrovia also suggests planing it in full sun. Now we all understand that a mugo is not going to thrive when it gets 105 for weeks at a time, much less in a pot with minimum soil and inadequate watering while at work. But, every nursery in Fresno sells them. They do kinda good in the ground on a Northern exposure if they make it a few years. They will yellow out and have lots of brown needles and never really thrive.
 
Messages
4
Likes
7
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9b
#15
Shade cloth is a life saver in summer once it gets over 100f. My maples didn't like that heat and full sun at 2pm. The watering system is great for mid day 5 minute misting. Before, I would water before work and by the time I got home the pots are almost bone dry. Dam you Texas heat. Plus if I am out of town for a couple days I can use it as primary watering. I waste some water that way, but my trees aren't shrivel up when I get home. This year I will put in a second overlapping system in case one has a failure.

Every year re-evaluate everything you are doing (watering, shade, tree care, benches, and so on) and make the needed improvements. That philosophy has worked out pretty well for me so far.

Good luck!
Thank you for the advice. So misting for afternoons hmm...going to have to start looking into this before summer is on me!
 
Messages
328
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500
Location
DFW, Texas
USDA Zone
8a
#16
You may not need to, it just depends. For me, my yard, and my mostly deciduous trees it works. Just make sure the hose or pipes are shaded/buried. You don't want to spray boiling water on the trees ;D
 

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