I bought this boxwood and I'd like some advice on starting it into the bonsai process. The trunk is approx. 1.25" in diameter. I couldn't resist at 40% off. I'm thinking of trimming the lower branches to make it more tree-like.
I started out last season with something much like what you have here. I began by removing the main branches that really criss-cross. (see middle branch in second pic) This will allow you to get a better look at what the future trunk might be. You DON'T want to remove lower branches yet, because they may be vital to your future design. Do some basic "cleaning up" and post a new picture so we can all get a better look at what you have. Also, my boxwood seem to prefer shade and are doing fine with minimal direct sunlight. Watch for little bugs on the new shoot tips. They are full of sugars that the bugs love. That is what I have learned through my limited experience so far. Good luck. Here is a link to the work I have done to my Boxwood from last fall and this spring. http://bonsainut.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1826 I will post a current pic tom. if it ever stops raining.
I've had a lot of experience with Korean boxwoods, but not so much with other types like yours, and don't know the ins and outs of their care in your climate, but I'll tell you what I think are some general hints, and you can take them with a grain of salt.
They are a fairly robust tree. It may vary among different varieties and climates, but they seem to put out more roots more quickly than almost any tree I know, and I've had no problems at all with root pruning and such work at any time of year. BUT, YMMV!
The wood is a real pleasure to carve, and it is considered to be be one of the few deciduous trees that resist rot well enough to be advised for jins and such even by the strictest of traditionalists. Keep that in mind as you chop it back. A major chop done flush with concave cutters will take many years to heal - you might as well either leave a bit to make a jin, or hollow out the scar as a deadwood feature.
When you chop it back, many varieties will not back bud on a branch if you don't leave at least some foliage, so don't chop below that if you want to be sure you don't lose that branch.
People say they are too brittle to wire or bend, or that the wire will easily dislodge the bark without extreme care and such, but that has never been my experience. Once again, though, YMMV.
Here, we never get pests and such, at least on Korean boxes, so I can't advise much in that department.
The two plants I bought were in poor health and had huge rootballs wrapped in burlap. I planted them in the yard last fall and dug them up ths spring. At that time I removed about half of the original rootball. This winter they will live in the unheated garage.
Now that its starting to warm a little, I'm wondering when to trim the roots to get the boxwood into a training box or pot? Daytime temps are in the 40s and nights still in the 20s. I know you should trim the roots before they start growing for spring.
Don't do anything hasty. We still have several weeks left ahead of us before repotting time is near.
PM me if you want some help when the time comes. This is a link to the club in Utica. There are links to all the local clubs and you can find schedules of upcoming events. Try to find the time to attend any that you can. http://mvbonsai.com/
On potting: wait until you can keep the roots from freezing, then have at it.
On pruning: remember that while opening up the inside makes the tree look more organized and a little older, nearly ALL bonsai techniques are used to "chase" growth back toward the trunk. Cleaning out the middle and cutting off low branches achieves the opposite...looks ok for now, but doesn't set you up for success later. Brent Walston had a great post on junipers discussing this concept and it's equally applicable, but I can't find it right now. Paraphrasing (oversimplifying), it relates to the trunk-to-height ratio, and if you want a 1:6 ratio, you shouldn't be looking at using anything above 6" up if you have a 1" trunk.
On boxwood: when repotting, cut the top back at the same time. I've grown box for 10-12 years and have always found that doing both in the same year promotes growth, where doing them in alternate years really results in lackluster growth.
Grouper52 post matches my experience 100%, roots are robust, tough, white and plentiful. Wire, prune, and carve, and I've never seen a bug on my boxwoods.
I'm a little leery of the pot dimensions size. It seems a little severe for a 1st potting. I'm thinking of a training box this year, and cut it down in 2 years to the size you've suggested.
What's your opinion?