Magnolia, Camellia and Pieris Collection

Sn0W

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I may have hit the motherload of flowering stock. A landscape project garden is just full of flowering plants and a japanese maple in the corner that all have to go. Everything is pretty big though and I'm not sure if collecting everything would even be possible.
There's a Magnolia which is 10 - 12" across and about 12 feet high. 2 Camellia and a Pieris formed into a hedge about 7 feet tall and a clump style Azalea that is about 1.5 feet tall that I'm hoping has a nice chunky base under ground. The maple is about 10 feet tall but I've got no problems collecting that.
Anyone have any ideas if things this big are collectable? I've attached the picture of the magnolia that lured me in.

magnolia.jpg
 

0soyoung

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All are collectible, either in spring before they bloom, or sometime after the summer solstice (like August = my fav if there is a choice). All are good bonsai subjects IMHO.
  • Magnolia respond well to hard pruning, so it can likely be radically reduced over the course of just a few years.
    • roots tend to be long, stringy, and relatively rubbery
  • Camellia on established roots can pruned even harder (i.e., chopped to a stump) and will resprout before fall. They are also easy to root from cuttings.
  • Azalea on established roots can be pruned vary hard, right after they have bloomed.
    • roots are a dense hairy mat, thick heavy ones are just pipes.
If there is a choice, I would cut all back right after they have bloomed this spring and then lift them after the summer solstice when they have a load of new foliage. All are waxy leafed and will be able to handle full-ish sun exposure immediately after potting (unless the roots were radically reduced). The new foliage is highly productive and will power root growth to recover from the damage done by digging them out of the garden. If you see them loosing turgidity (when the substrate is damp) right after potting, move them to a shadier location and sprinkle the foliage for a week or two, then slowly re-introduce them to more sun.

Then you use the strength of budding/flowering the falling spring to guide whether you want to just leave them be through the 2020 growing season (weak/sparse budding), proceed with radical pruning (very strong/heavy budding), or something between these extremes (my point being that budding reflect root balance and vitality).
 
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0soyoung

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I forgot pieris which can be treated in much the same way as an azalea. I don't, however, care for pieris as bonsai of shohin size or larger. But don't let my personal tastes keep you from having some fun.

I do like pieris as mini bonsai. Either collect a few seeds, putting one in a pot about one inch in diameter or dig up some volunteers from the garden this summer. In one-inch sized pots, leaves stay very small and the internodes will be suitably short. I will also do well indoors on a window sill for years. Just pinch it back when it starts getting a bit rangy.

I've tried to accomplish the same starting from air layers and just couldn't get them that small before they bought the farm.
 

Sn0W

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They've all got to come out over the next couple of weeks and they'll all need to be reduced heavily to move them.

The magnolia will have to be cut to a stump or there is no way I'm getting it back to my house, thinking just above the 4 emerging branches / sub trunks.

Was thinking of stumping the Camellia and pieris too but I'd like to try and save as much of the Camellia as possible as they're hard to come by. I can either try and remove them whole, pot them up at home and then layer bits off, take huge diameter cuttings and hope they root or just stump it and focus on the one piece.

The azalea I can take whole and deal with at home no problem
 

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