Humble Seedling Beginnings - Knowledge Requested

rollwithak

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Hello Nutties.....

Check out these seedlings that I have acquired!!! I'm not sure on the rules about promoting sites so for now I'll leave it alone where I purchased from. I know that many advanced Bonsai students just go for the thick trunks, but as I've stated in other posts, my love for plants compels me to start some from very humble beginnings and take part in the process from early on.

What process would you recommend I use? I don't think I am going to plant in the ground, so what size pots do you think they should be going in for now Should I just be using a soil mix that is more of a free-draining potting soil since it's not yet going into a bonsai pot? Big pot or should I let them grow more into small pots and replant in 1-2 years?

Thanks for the knowledge everyone!

Ryan

Trees Pictured

1. Japanese Black Pine
2. Japanese Maple
3. California Live Oak
4. Shore Pine
5. Western White Pine
6. California Black Oak
 

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rollwithak

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Hello Nutties.....

Check out these seedlings that I have acquired!!! I'm not sure on the rules about promoting sites so for now I'll leave it alone where I purchased from. I know that many advanced Bonsai students just go for the thick trunks, but as I've stated in other posts, my love for plants compels me to start some from very humble beginnings and take part in the process from early on.

What process would you recommend I use? I don't think I am going to plant in the ground, so what size pots do you think they should be going in for now Should I just be using a soil mix that is more of a free-draining potting soil since it's not yet going into a bonsai pot? Big pot or should I let them grow more into small pots and replant in 1-2 years?

Thanks for the knowledge everyone!

Ryan

Trees Pictured

1. Japanese Black Pine
2. Japanese Maple
3. California Live Oak
4. Shore Pine
5. Western White Pine
6. California Black Oak
Well I just went and got some, I believe they're about 3 gallon pots and am going to just make a drain-able potting soil and let them grow for now....
 

hemmy

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I know that many advanced Bonsai students just go for the thick trunks, but as I've stated in other posts, my love for plants compels me to start some from very humble beginnings and take part in the process from early on.
There is nothing wrong with growing from seed and it’s very rewarding. But I don’t think it would have been an effective way for me to learn how to “do bonsai”. It will be years before you can consistently wire and prune ramified branches. I’m not saying don’t start seeds, I’m would just advocate that you buy more trees! Get some actual pre-bonsai in various stages.

I don't think I am going to plant in the ground, so what size pots do you think they should be going in for now Should I just be using a soil mix that is more of a free-draining potting soil since it's not yet going into a bonsai pot? Big pot or should I let them grow more into small pots and replant in 1-2 years?
For growing out trees in containers, copy the nursery industry. For seedlings, start with small containers (1 gal) shifting/up-potting during the growing season as they get filled with roots. A good guideline is the ‘4-inch rule’, only up-potting to containers 4” or less around the sides of the existing rootballs. I’d cut your potting soil with pumice and bark which will increase the air-filled porosity and probably require more watering than straight nursery mixes. The reason to start small is to limit the portion of the container that has no roots and stays water saturated which can lead to anaerobic conditions, bacteria growth, and root fungal issues.

Starting later in the summer means you may not be able to shift up this year from an already large 3 gal container. Regardless of the container, you should be working the roots at the appropriate time during repotting each year for the first couple years to set the nebari.

Search BonsaiTonight’s articles for pine development and consider a more tradition bonsai soil for that development.

Keep the Japanese maples in containers and grow boxes to limit fungal issues with growing near the dirt.

Consider ground growing or letting roots escape to the ground from the container for some species which will greatly speed trunk thickening.

Finally, low sacrifice branches are your friend for developing trunks and taper.
 

Ryceman3

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For some information on how to go forward with your JBP especially (although at this stage of development also the Shore Pine I think) check out some of the entries in the 6 year JBP Contest. Heaps of good posts with people using different techniques to develop their pines from seed. It started just over 18 months ago so your seedlings are at about the right place in their development to make it relevant. Reading through these will probably give you a few ideas about what path you want to take to develop them into bonsai. I'd look for an entry that is from somebody in your area (with your climate etc.) maybe.
 

sorce

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Aye 3 gallon is too big. (Unless sliced to one inch tall.)

There is a reason nurseries use small step ups in container size......ease of watering the entire root mass, which leads to faster growth.

Of they are already potted.
Repot smaller.

Instant death is better than death after years of not getting growth you expected.

Sorce
 

rockm

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Hello Nutties.....

Check out these seedlings that I have acquired!!! I'm not sure on the rules about promoting sites so for now I'll leave it alone where I purchased from. I know that many advanced Bonsai students just go for the thick trunks, but as I've stated in other posts, my love for plants compels me to start some from very humble beginnings and take part in the process from early on.

What process would you recommend I use? I don't think I am going to plant in the ground, so what size pots do you think they should be going in for now Should I just be using a soil mix that is more of a free-draining potting soil since it's not yet going into a bonsai pot? Big pot or should I let them grow more into small pots and replant in 1-2 years?

Thanks for the knowledge everyone!

Ryan

Trees Pictured

1. Japanese Black Pine
2. Japanese Maple
3. California Live Oak
4. Shore Pine
5. Western White Pine
6. California Black Oak
All of this depends on what you want with trees. Yeah, "advanced" bonsai-ists tend to start with larger trunks, since most notable bonsai are not "grown up" from seed or saplings, but "cut down" from larger, more mature trees. Those larger trees have more mature characteristics like root spread at soil level, mature bark ect.

they understand that that stock isn't only a thicker trunk, it is time. Time it takes to develop a convincing trunk and nebari. That is why larger stock is more expensive than seedlings--TIME.

Nothing wrong with growing from seeds or seedlings, if you have time to develop them, say at least 10 years of bulk growth before beginning specific training. Growing smaller trees isn't all just growing. They will require substantial, knowledgeable root work over the years to develop their nebari, which is the foundation of any good bonsai. Simply plunking them in the ground and letting them be won't necessarily make a good end product.

I don't use seedlings except for making forests. Seedlings planted very close together in a container will meld their roots together over a few years, creating interesting nebari in a shorter time...

As for putting them in pots now, well, you're adding another decade to your work. Containerization slows trunk development to a crawl since the roots can't run enonugh to gas the trunk's growth. That said, container growing makes it easier to develop the foundation of the tree.

All this is a series of trade offs. It's up to you to decide what direction you want to go.
 

Anthony

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J.B.pines like Ficus will thicken the trunk in a pot if any branch
goes to 3 feet.

The seedling will take 3 to 4 years to really do anything.

Pot internal should not be deeper than 5 to 6 inches.
Pot is wide, up to 16 inches wide.
I only have experience growing pines in eartheware. porous
pots.
So I do not know about plastic pots.

Our humidity is a max of 80 % during our rainy season.
The island is breezy on hills.Max temperature is 93 deg.F
for 15 to 30 minutes for Months of April and May.
We fall back to 80's for the rest of the year.
65 to 75 by night.

With seed / seedlings you need to know how they trunk
thicken. By side branches or top leader.
On my side - Tropics - 5 to 8 years to the refinement stage.
Good Day
Anthony
 

rollwithak

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Well after the stress of shipping I was anxious to do something and get them potted yesterday so I didn't wait for these amazing responses.... Here's what I have for now... Most of them went into 1 gal pots except the Western White Pine I did in a 2 gal pot more because of supply than function..... I also picked up a Valley Oak that they had on clearance, gonna mess around with that....

Thanks for the advice all!
 

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Zach Smith

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Good luck with your seedlings. Growing trees from the very beginning is a lot of fun. As others have suggested, get some larger stock to start practicing wiring and killing good material. Right now you aren't practicing bonsai so much as practicing nursery stock growing. You won't want to wait that long for the creative destruction part. For what it's worth.
 

rollwithak

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Good luck with your seedlings. Growing trees from the very beginning is a lot of fun. As others have suggested, get some larger stock to start practicing wiring and killing good material. Right now you aren't practicing bonsai so much as practicing nursery stock growing. You won't want to wait that long for the creative destruction part. For what it's worth.
I also figured as much. I didn't think it would hurt to gain vast amounts of knowledge on the horticultural aspect of the hobby before taking on the design and other aspects of bonsai. Won't be much good if I can't keep the little guy alive.... Thanks for your input!
 

hemmy

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Most of them went into 1 gal pots except the Western White Pine I did in a 2 gal pot more because of supply than function
Out of curiosity, what is the substrate on the top of the pots?
Also with the pines and oaks you’ll want to avoid overwatering since they don’t have a large root mass yet. Good luck!
 

rollwithak

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Out of curiosity, what is the substrate on the top of the pots?
Also with the pines and oaks you’ll want to avoid overwatering since they don’t have a large root mass yet. Good luck!
Just some extra large akadama I had mistakenly sent to me... think it looks cool and I don't think it hurts anything does it??? thanks for the advice.. i plan on letting them dry up pretty good before giving them another drink... been in the high 90's and 100's here lately so i'm paying good attention to their moisture levels...
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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@rollwithak
I just want to say, the list of species you have chosen to start with is impressively good. Pines, oaks, and a Japanese Maple. This spans a wide range of bonsai territory, and all at least at first glance are California natives or with the JM & JBP are well adapted to California climate. Most newbies don't select that carefully.

You've gotten good advice above. Also read the Articles Archive at Evergreen Gardenworks, one of the few collections of articles on the subject of bringing seedlings and young nursery stock to the point of being ''pre-bonsai'', prepared for its first bonsai styling.
 

rollwithak

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@rollwithak
I just want to say, the list of species you have chosen to start with is impressively good. Pines, oaks, and a Japanese Maple. This spans a wide range of bonsai territory, and all at least at first glance are California natives or with the JM & JBP are well adapted to California climate. Most newbies don't select that carefully.

You've gotten good advice above. Also read the Articles Archive at Evergreen Gardenworks, one of the few collections of articles on the subject of bringing seedlings and young nursery stock to the point of being ''pre-bonsai'', prepared for its first bonsai styling.
Rock n roll my man! I’m definitely green in the actuality of bonsai and growing but I’ve done a ton of reading and have the species in mind that attract me the most. Due to growing up in the foothills of the Sierras, Oaks have a very special place in my heart. Pines aren’t too far behind as just up the hill the mountains are littered with conifers.

Thank you for the positivity and affirmation! Look forward to growing with the community here!
 
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