invasive weed = great bonsai material!

will0911

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Hi I have been "in" bonsai for almost three years. I am in no way close to even intermediate nor do I really care. I have collected several trees and I have ravaged through nurseries looking for what I thought was good starter material. I haven't posted but maybe once but that was awhile ago and wasn't really much to show. However, I think I have stumbled onto something that doesn't really get that much attention and tends to stay in the shadows. This tree is the chinese tallow or sapium sebifera. I know I have seen a few posts and here and there shots of people trying them out but I think they deserve a closer look and a little bit more credit to use as material. The tree I will post later after I get off work has been nothing but a blessing to work with and it was all created within a year. I collected it in fall of 2010 and I have accomplished what you will see in the picture from today. I actually thought I had dug an azalea because that's what I was doing at the guys house in the first place. But come spring I was met by these peculiar leaves not unlike bougainvillea when the leaves first sprouted that's honestly what I thought but I couldn't see how they survived the winter. It was actually my wife who pointed it out. I remeber saying the leaves looked so familiar but ijust couldn't think outside the box and that I actually had dug up one of the most invasive weeds EVER!!! WELL needless to say im glad I did. This little tree has to be one of my favorites in my small collection. I can't wait to see the fall color on it the wild trees around here have breathtaking purples, reds, yellows to oranges...they are the fall colors in my area. Well I hope this isn't too much of a tease and I don't know if anyone will even read this but I will indeed throw some pictures of it and its short but substantial amount of development over the last year. I can only see myself collecting many more of these little gems and yes while they are rather wild and untamed in the ground they are somewhat graceful but still can show a wildness such as fast growth in a container. Its like growing a wild cat in a pot. Lol! Again thanks for taking your time to read my post and the promised pictures will be up around five thirty - six. Thank you!

Will B.

P.S. I live in Northwest Florida zone 8-9
 

will0911

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If this is not in the right place just let me know...its deciduous so I figured...
 

jk_lewis

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Have at it!

I've seen some very nice Chinese tallow bonsai from Texas -- which has yet to realize what a terrorist this tree actually is and allows it to be sold in nurseries. When I lived in Tallahassee, I spent quite a bit of time with the invasive plant society ripping these out of the ground near natural water ways.

If it ever blooms for you, please do not let it go to seed. Otherwise, dig 'em all up!

Oh, just a tip for posting messages. It is always easier to read a message that is broken into paragraphs rather than a solid block of gray text. TNX -- and enjoy your weed.
 

will0911

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Oh...sorry didn't realize it was gonna be difficult to read I was on my phone but I will stick to more structured posts. And yes I know they are a terror in ground. it is illegal to sell them here. Im uploading some pictures in a few minutes so feel free to say whatever! Also, I don't think I let it grow enough to flower or fruit...but I will definately dispose of any thing I will not use for bonsai!
 

will0911

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well i was at work and was reading some posts and
felt like starting a thread so i did. im not say this tree
is amazing or competition ready or ever will be im
just saying more people should try it do to the fact it
has good bonsai characteristics. It has relatively short
internodes, reduces leaf size, okay bark, fast growing,
beautiful fall color, etc. Meets quite a few of the things
we look for in a good plant.
 

will0911

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Pictures as promised!

The first two pictures are of it the day i dug it up in the fall
of 2010.
 

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will0911

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around the middle of spring after some initial wiring,
some carving for taper, and removing unnecessary
branches



As you can see in this picture about a month later,
i have already removed the wire on some branches
and it has grown crazy and i need to wire the
secondary branches. i know that right branch at the
very top is too heavy...dont worry i removed it!
 

will0911

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this is the "front" plant this afternoon, today i removed that
heavy branch at the top and if you look closely you can
see a new little bud is breaking in just the right place
of the old one!


this if from the right side and i think the taper is nice here
but im pretty set on the original front.


this is the left side


and the back


well its a little late but i had trouble trying to post, but there you
go. up for debate on anything! it still has a long way to go and
for those who will ask the nebari is good as far as flare and the
main roots are there i just have to work on the overall appearance.
i havent looked at the roots yet but they are busting out of the bottom
so i will take a peek next spring when i repot. hopefully ill get good fall
colors and ill be sure to post some pictures!

thanks for checking this little prebonsai out!
 
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jk_lewis

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Looks like fun. I personally think the right side should be the front.
 

will0911

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Well now that I've compared it side by side I think im leaning that way too! Pictures always help! Thanks for your input. I follow your posts regularly and you always have good advice! Thanks!
 

will0911

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Figured I would add another tallow tree I recently collected as an experiment to see if I could collect it in the summer. Turns out you can as long as you use a tray of water and put it in the shade. I collected this tree beginning of august...





Ill take another picture in a month or so before the leaves drop to show growth over that short time!
Thanks,

Will B.
 

Bonsai Nut

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2nd stump is better material in my opinion.

1st stump you need to stop right now and figure out how you will address the inverse taper from the first "knot" down to the soil line. You will never be happy with this tree unless you do. Probably the best bet would be to airlayer it and create a new base.
 

will0911

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I could probably grow two or three sacrafice branches in the back and it would solve it in one or two years possibly...im not keen to airlayers...but I appreciate you pointing that out and I will think about my next move.
Thanks again BonsaiNut!

Will B.
 

will0911

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so I'm gonna try the new front and I'm not sure whether I should cut the lowest left branch or leave it that length? There is a bud close to the end of where I would cut.
 

will0911

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New front! I moved some branches around and I plan to do a little carving to get rid of the inverse taper, but I think this angle greatly reduces the inverse section. Right? Anyways im not touching this guy for awhile. Just gonna let it grow and recover for the rest of the year!




Posted two pictures they differ slightly but I wasn't sure so I put them both up.
 

will0911

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Repotted this tree today. The roots were circling the pot when I checked on them so I put it in a new pot and new soil!
Front

Right side

Back

Left side


Thanks

Will B.
 

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