Nursery versus bonsai stock

jferrier

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I've read so many threads on this and other forums touting the superiority of pre-bonsai stock from good bonsai nursery's versus those obtained from general landscape nurseries or grown out from seedling. I don't want to continue that debate here with words, but instead would like to see pics posted of any finished (if there is such a thing) or nearly finished trees that members have developed or have seen that someone else has developed and that started out as a regular old nursery tree or seedling. To start I'll offer this link. http://www.artofbonsai.org/galleries/nursery_stock.php
 
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Bill S

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Not a knock, but one thing to realize here is these trees are 20 to 50 years effort on the part of some very talented bonsai people. I'd bet a wooden nickle to boot that the nursery material wasn't typical junk in a plastic pot.

These guys didn't stick around for those years just working on these either.
 

Vance Wood

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I've read so many threads on this and other forums touting the superiority of pre-bonsai stock from good bonsai nursery's versus those obtained from general landscape nurseries or grown out from seedling. I don't want to continue that debate here with words, but instead would like to see pics posted of any finished (if there is such a thing) or nearly finished trees that members have developed or have seen that someone else has developed and that started out as a regular old nursery tree or seedling. To start I'll offer this link. http://www.artofbonsai.org/galleries/nursery_stock.php

It's really hard to play around in this can of worms without starting the debate all over again. I suggest you read the thread about collecting in California. I still believe that the time is coming when you wont have an alternitive.
 
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anything is possible... I think the prob. lies with what has been said, and that it is age. I mean I have some wonderful looking black pines I somehow here in florida manage to pick up for about $15 each. They are filling in nicely, but I can't throw how many plus years on them... some tropicals grow extremely fast, and with fusing and combining trees can acomplish great things things... but most big stores are going to be selling plants only a hand full of years old, I perfer to find the smaller older stores where sometimes, there are the exceptions, usually tucked way in the back off to the side, neglected... problem lies is that they are usually so root-bound and scragley, that they might as well be collected, with all the work that needs to be done on them. They are there, they are just rare.
 

Jessf

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at the beginning of each growing season for the past several years I've scoured all the nurseries I can find in my area. I've probably passed by quite a few plants with potential, I just didn't see it as my eye isn't trained yet.

I say the potential is there if the skill is there.
 

jk_lewis

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There is "nursery stock" and then, there is "nursery stock."

I doubt there are 10 Good Bonsai in the USA that have been created from (for instance) Home Depot, Lowes, or Wal-Mart "nursery" stock.

But if you go to a REAL nursery -- one that has been in business for years in the same location, one that has staff who know and care about plants, and don't recycle the enmtire nursery every year, and if you are willing to spend a helluva lot more than $10 or $20 for their "nursery stock," you can do pretty well. (As Vance says, the day isn't far away when collecting in the wild in the USA will be a thing of the past -- and, in MY opinion, that time is long overdue.)

My example -- from Tallahassee Nursery, Tallahassee, FL:
 

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Walter Pall

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Ordinary garden juniper, called 'gasoline station juniper', Juniperus chinensis 'Pfitzeriana'. First image 1996. Cost 150 US$ at an old ordinary nursery. This tree was on severyl international shows and won the Ismael Saleh Award.
See full story here: http://walter-pall.de/juniperschinese_juniper_nr__1.jpg.dir/index.html
 

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rockm

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Walter, forgive me, but that tree doesn't appear to be a canned 1-20 gallon nursery tree that is being talked about here. It may have originally come from a nursery, but it appears from the photo that it was in the ground -- a very long time.

If I'm mistaken, I apologize.

If the plant has been in the ground in a landscape for an appreciable amount of time, it would be considered kin to yamadori, at least here in the states.
 

Walter Pall

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The tree was in the ground in a quite old nusery. So what? It comes from a nursery and was purchased for very little money - comparatively. The question was whether one can get REALLY good bonsai from nursery material.
Sure this is an exception. I would guess that of about 1,000 really good bonsai about 2 to five come from regular tree nurseries.
 
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Thomas J.

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Here's a $7.00 nursery tree that I picked up early in my bonsai years back in 1998. I really had no idea what to do with it so I pruned it back as you see here and then just let it grow for 4yrs without touching it. I just let it grow a new branch system all over and then decided it would look good as a semi cascade tree. The other pic is 7yrs after purchase and looking better than I thought it would. If you've got the time, and the eye, anything is possible with a juniper, even a cheap nursery one.:D

The tree is now in a smaller pot and shown on my picture web site listed in the Announcements thread. it's the second pic from the top.
 

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treebeard55

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I first introduced this spruce to the Nuthouse almost two years ago, in another thread, "New Colorado Spruce." But I think it fits what's asked for in this thread.

This tree was in the "setback" area of my favorite local garden center for at least one year, more likely three or four. It got nibbled by deer, apparently suffered some mechanical damage, and then was attacked by fungus. I noticed its trunkline early on; but because of the fungus, left it alone.

I kept walking past it for a couple of years. Then in spring 2009 I noticed that it was recovered from the fungus infection and thoroughly healthy. Its form still made it a chancy candidate for a landscaping sale, so the GC sold it to me for $5 (US.)

In August '09 I took it to the Styling and Refinement Workshop with headliner Hiroshi Yamaji, at the Mid-America Show in Chicago. I didn't know what Yamaji might see in it, or how much work it would need; even made a special stop the nite before to buy raffia!

Yamaji-san apparently had no difficulty seeing its potential. He told me to start wiring, and not to bother with raffia: the trunkline was fine! (So much for my special efforts the nite before! <droll>) Then he started bringing out what he saw in it.

I didn't realize how fast a healthy Picea pungens can grow, so the wire caught me by surprise when it started biting in. :eek::eek::eek::eek: It will take a few years for the scars to fade enough for the tree to be shown. And it needs more refinement too, of course, and a home pot. (Sara Raynor has a muted finish that should work excellently well with Colorado spruce. :) ) But this is its progress so far.

First picture is of the tree when purchased; 2nd and 3d, before and after styling at Mid-America '09. Fourth and 5th, just before and then after dewiring and pinching, about a month ago.
 

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Bonsai Basho

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From a Nursery....

I think it is possible to get good material from a nursery so long as you don't expect it to come straight out of a 5 gallon pot and into a bonsai pot there and then. Nursery potted stock normally has a knotted mass of malformed roots and that's no good for Bonsai. Roots have to be worked on and recover and then the process can start.

Buy good younger trees with potential, sort out the roots and grow them on in the ground in your yard for a few years. Develop the nebari and trunk in the ground and get the basic structure right. That $20 tree will be a $200 dollar tree in jsut a few years if you are willing to put in the work.
This is a page from the Northern Ireland Bonsai Society and its good stuff, the guy is doing all the right things with what he can collect as urban yamadori or nursery stock.

http://www.nibonsai.co.uk/gallery/member-profiles/josh-profile-garden-visit/
 

treebeard55

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Good point about the roots. Frequently, on general-nursery trees, they do need serious work. A "coiled-spaghetti" root system isn't much of a problem with landscaping stock, but with a bonsai-to-be -- run away, run away! :eek: (Bonus points if you identify that quote, BTW.)

Last spring ( the spring after the wiring) I removed as much soil as I could from the upper 4 inches of the rootball, without depotting the tree. I avoided, as much as possible, disturbing the roots. Then I filled in the emptied spaces with a fresh, coarse mix to encourage root growth in that zone. (Got the idea from Danny Use.)

There's usually a light sphagnum mulch on the surface, and I fertilize rather aggressively. (Not quite as aggressively as Walter Pall, but his thinking has had some effect on mine on that point.)

Next spring I plan to do a full repotting. If the tree is responding to the soil replacement last year as I hope it is, I'll be able to reduce the rootball's depth significantly, and get it into a bonsai pot in 2014. We shall see. :)
 

MattB

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... -- run away, run away! :eek: (Bonus points if you identify that quote, BTW.)
...
QUOTE]


Does it have anything to do with a medeival knights, killer white rabbits, and a quest for a holy grail?

As for the topic, unfortunately I have little to add due to my newness. But I have seen some pretty great bonsai from nursery stock at many different levels.


Cheers
 

rockm

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"Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries..."

The first thing I do when I get nursery stock (in the spring) is usually completely bare root it with water from a hose -- provided its a deciduous tree. Depending on what I find once the soil is removed, I selectively prune the roots -- removing up to 80 or even 90 percent of it (depending on the species--rootbound elms and maples seem to do very well with this) and top it in the general vicinity of the apex. If the root mass is particularly tangled and dense, I just saw off the bottom third to two thirds right off the bat. I then plant it back into a training container (never the original one) using general bonsai mix.

I have found more than a few species respond vigorously to such treatment, whereas other trees of the same species approached more timidly have floundered and declined.

Not saying that every tree can with stand that kind of treatment, but a little less timidity in dealing with root bound nursery stock may not be a bad thing...
 

treebeard55

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We obviously have some Nuts whose cultural sophistication is very high! :) :) Three for three! Yes, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

We now return you to your regular bonsai discussion. :p
 

Bonsai Basho

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killer rabbits

Are we seeing the descent of BN into an anrcho-synicalist commune or am I about to be repressed?
 
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