Nursery Vitex (chaste tree)

Hartinez

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I’m going to start a thread for this Vitex as I feel it can be a special tree long term. It’s got a 2” or so base with great base roots. At purchase last spring I left it in its nursery container and chopped heavy to about 16” or so. This spring I repotted into a 75% pumice compost mix and fixed to a flat piece of wood spreading the roots radially. The growth this year has been unreal and I’ve already been able to established some ramification.

The leaves and shape of Vitex are so appealing. I have yet to see one in Bonsai that I really like. This one has got so much movement. I can’t wait to expose the roots next spring and to see the sillouhette over the coming winters. Here is one pic. I will snap more,4138FBA2-8F94-48A1-81A3-66DC8D824F61.jpeg as I’ve got a few opinion questions.
 

Hartinez

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Third pic down has what may be considered a bar branch. Though they are not truly directly across. Thoughts on wether this may lead to excessive swelling? Vitex tendency seems to be to push shoots on either side of the branch/trunk.
 

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Hartinez

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I’ve cut this guy back 4 seperate times now. The growth on these are extremely vigorous. Any wire applied has to be removed within 3-4 weeks, so thickening of branches is very rapid. What’s interesting on Vitex, that I havnt seen happen on any other decidous I’ve had, is the multitude of leaves in different sizes and shapes at the point of cutting. They Y off pushing their terminal buds into new branches very quickly, along with small juvenile like leaves that look different from the rest of the leaves at that point of cutting. I imagine when I’m at the point of fine ramification I’ll clean up the odd shaped leaves and the ones left behind at the point of intersection for a more consistent look. All my trunk callous’, scar and cuts have been healing over quickly with beeswax. Also, it’s been extremely hot and dry here, and we’ve just transitioned to extremely hot with about 60% humidity (which is high in NM) and the tree has been thriving in both environments.

Why does anyone suppose Vitex is not used more in the Southwest or other extremely hot and typically dry locations? 1003F1C8-5976-443E-A5DA-01BACDEA75EE.png3E400417-6D7B-43B0-B6BB-75B17D08973C.jpegD9901876-8699-4A50-94D5-AF0E678ADF99.jpeg
 

Bonsai Nut

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I will be curious to see where you end up with this tree! Like all trees with compound leaves, it will be a little challenging to reduce leaf size and internode length, but I like what I am seeing so far! It appears to be responding well to defoliation, and perhaps in combination with a lot of ramification you can get those leaves really small!

Why does anyone suppose Vitex is not used more in the Southwest or other extremely hot and typically dry locations?
I don't know. I have no experience with this tree, but from what I have just read about it, it would appear to be a great candidate for the area! Mediterranean deciduous tree - likes free draining, slightly alkaline soil - tolerates high salt levels - full sun. Sounds like a great tree if you depend on crappy irrigated water (like we do in SoCal).
 

Hartinez

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I will be curious to see where you end up with this tree! Like all trees with compound leaves, it will be a little challenging to reduce leaf size and internode length, but I like what I am seeing so far! It appears to be responding well to defoliation, and perhaps in combination with a lot of ramification you can get those leaves really small!



I don't know. I have no experience with this tree, but from what I have just read about it, it would appear to be a great candidate for the area! Mediterranean deciduous tree - likes free draining, slightly alkaline soil - tolerates high salt levels - full sun. Sounds like a great tree if you depend on crappy irrigated water (like we do in SoCal).
Hey! See @Anthony question above. I have Vitex angus castus. Native to Texas I believe. I imagine prefers more arid climates. Nonetheless I still haven’t seen much info online in regards to Bonsai styling. I’ve seen Only one great one online really. The response in mine so far has been wonderful.
 

Michael P

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V. agnus-castus is actually native to the Mediterranean and western Asia. But it grows extremely well in most of Texas and is very popular as a landscape plant here. I will be very interested to see your tree in flower.
 

Hartinez

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V. agnus-castus is actually native to the Mediterranean and western Asia. But it grows extremely well in most of Texas and is very popular as a landscape plant here. I will be very interested to see your tree in flower.
Interesting. Thanks for the input. Easily the fastest growing and hardiest of my trees.
 

my nellie

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To me it looks more like Vitex pinnata or parviflora.
V. agnus castus has more slender leaflets I think.
 

Hartinez

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To me it looks more like Vitex pinnata or parviflora.
V. agnus castus has more slender leaflets I think.
I’m almost certain it’s agnus castus. I bought it from a local nursery and I can’t say I’ve ever seen pinnata sold here in Abq. I’ll try and get a better shot of the leaflets. Plus when flowering it looks exactly as Agnus castus should look. One again ALMOST certain. ?
 

milehigh_7

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I’m almost certain it’s agnus castus. I bought it from a local nursery and I can’t say I’ve ever seen pinnata sold here in Abq. I’ll try and get a better shot of the leaflets. Plus when flowering it looks exactly as Agnus castus should look. One again ALMOST certain. ?
It's 'agnus-castus' 100%. I am working on a few new varieties as there happens to be some leaf variation such as you would find in maples. I am doing some job hunting right now so I don't have a bunch of time to post but some were concerned about leaf reduction and ramification. Let me say that these leaves easily reduce to under 1/4" likely smaller. and you can get internodes as close as a seiju elm. Here is s pic of leaf reduction I have had.


20161129_174848.jpg
 

milehigh_7

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You say, "Why does anyone suppose Vitex is not used more in the Southwest or other extremely hot and typically dry locations?"

I will answer this way. From the time I started bonsai (about 20 years ago) to about 10 years ago, (it has tapered slowly since then) if you asked this question people would say "There are reasons the Japanese use the species they do." Also, "If people are not using it, perhaps you should take a hint." Folks were extremely militant for traditional styles, techniques and material. Thank God that has faded somewhat. I give people like Walter Pall and Jim Smith a lot of credit for this. For example Jim Smith may be solely responsible for the use of porticula afra as bonsai. It was VERY taboo for years.

I have been beating the Vitex drum for about 10 years. They are amazing. Search my user name and vitex and you should find several threads.


I think this is pic of @Walter Pall working on one. Could you confirm Walter?


 

Walter Pall

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Yes, vitex is used in Croatia.l It grows wild at the Dalmatian beaches. it is a very good tree for bonsai. Most of the time it is absolutely not talented for traditional styling. But if you want a very special, unique tree you should give it a try.
 

Hartinez

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You say, "Why does anyone suppose Vitex is not used more in the Southwest or other extremely hot and typically dry locations?"

I will answer this way. From the time I started bonsai (about 20 years ago) to about 10 years ago, (it has tapered slowly since then) if you asked this question people would say "There are reasons the Japanese use the species they do." Also, "If people are not using it, perhaps you should take a hint." Folks were extremely militant for traditional styles, techniques and material. Thank God that has faded somewhat. I give people like Walter Pall and Jim Smith a lot of credit for this. For example Jim Smith may be solely responsible for the use of porticula afra as bonsai. It was VERY taboo for years.

I have been beating the Vitex drum for about 10 years. They are amazing. Search my user name and vitex and you should find several threads.


I think this is pic of @Walter Pall working on one. Could you confirm Walter?


Well said. I am undoubtedly a hobbyist, but a serious one at that. I do however make a living with my own art, so non traditional stand out work is important to me, wether in profession or hobby. My skill level is slowly improving with general styling, with quite a bit of that improvement coming at the hands of non traditional material. Juniperus Monosperma, foresteria neomexicana, Vitex agnus castus. I will def be looking for your threads as the above photo of Walter is one of the few pictures and info I could find on the species for Bonsai. I’m looking forward to the development on my above tree and if you see anything that raises red flags or is of promise, please let me know! I’d love to get more progression series and imagery on trees not used typically on the net for those who choose to stray from the straight and narrow. Thanks for the reply!!!
 

Hartinez

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Yes, vitex is used in Croatia.l It grows wild at the Dalmatian beaches. it is a very good tree for bonsai. Most of the time it is absolutely not talented for traditional styling. But if you want a very special, unique tree you should give it a try.
Very cool. I’ve seen this pic of you and the collected Vitex before. It’s no surprise that you would work the species as you push so many envelopes in the world of Bonsai. I’m excited to develop mine more, along with adding more to my collection, as I don’t see myself exhibiting in a traditional setting anytime soon. Thanks for the reply @Walter Pall
 

Hartinez

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A couple different leaf sizes on the same tree. The ramification from just trimming is great so far, I’ll defoliate next year and report back.
F07CB314-1583-4C03-8A4D-419E289628C2.jpeg
 

my nellie

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I do not doubt anyone about the plant and please, let me make myself clear.
Vitex agnus castus is growing all over Greece.
Take a look at the following picture, this is how leaflets of Vitex look like over here.
The color is also greyish not clear green.
Perhaps the case is this leaf variation which @milehigh_7 spoke about in post #13
Vitex agnus-castus.jpg
 

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