Opinion Needed: Replace Rock or Not?

Lumaca

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Hello All,

I have this attempt at Root over Rock with a Samanea Saman, and I'm at the point where I thinj I can get away with dislodging and replacing the rock.

I think I might have been a little shortsighted and the rock is now too small. The fact that I'm even considering this should be indication that I know the answer is to do it, but I would love to hear any inputs! Is the bend maybe too small for a bigger tree, therefore I should just keep the small rock?

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Lorax7

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That rock is indeed way too small. Remember that the tree is going to grow and the rock won't, so the rock needs to be big enough from day 1 to be proportionate with the final size of the bonsai decades from now.
 

ShadyStump

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Haven't tried RoR myself yet, but my first thought was stack it on another rock. Root over pile of rocks? I've seen it in nature.

You'd have to chose your rocks carefully, and let the roots grow thick enough to hold them together.
 

sorce

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My minimum requirements to end up with a decent ROR is at least a dozen rocks and a dozen seedlings, with that you may get one nice composition.

Sorce
 

Bnana

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I do think that most RoR bonsai would look better without the rock.
 

Lorax7

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It's nice to see someone else making an attempt at growing Samanea saman (a.k.a. Albizia saman) as bonsai. I've made a couple attempts at it myself. Unfortunately, thus far, the squirrels have found the saplings to be too delicious to pass up and they've done unplanned trunk chops on mine. I've only got one left and it's had a big bite taken out of the trunk. Not sure right now if it's going to pull through.
 

Cadillactaste

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It doesn't even appear to be grasping the rock all that snuggly. I don't know how one would change the rock. Those roots are developed. You tend to use young roots which are malleable to from and hug and grow tight around a rock.
 

James W.

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Yes, attempt to swap the rock. The current rock will never look good so you can only improve it. And the roots are already shaped to fit over a corner, I think you can find something to fit under them.
And don't listen to the nay-sayers, ROR is like nebari with a purpose.
 

Cadillactaste

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I had some time to share a thread of Brian Van Fleet's. On the proper technique for creating ROR. It's a process. To do it right...you have to do it from an early beginning. When roots don't cling to a rock...the tree can come loose of the rock when repotting.

One can typically always pinpoint a proper ROR verses let's put a rock under these roots.

I highly suggest studying the style for a good understanding of it. At the end of the day...you choose the trees journey. But having an understanding of the process. Allows more understanding.

 

Michael P

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You may be able to replace the rock with a larger one. If the roots are still flexible, you can remove tree from the rock and put it on a new one. This is essentially starting over. The roots must be held tightly to the new rock, and the whole thing covered and kept moist.

You did it once successfully, now just do it again with a better rock.
 

Lumaca

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Thank you for the response everyone. I think I will be attempting to "redo" tbe rock part. Just digging through my bag of rocks to see if anythjng will fit, otherwise rock hunting it is.

@Lorax7 the Saman is very plentiful and grows very very fast here. I do wonder if maybe the roots are not well suited for this kind of procedure because the have the nitrogen-producing nodules typical of the Pea family.

@Cadillactaste I swear this was a 3 months old seedling when I started! I think it's not gripping because the rock is too small. I read the maple thread and I think I didn't fasten the roots to the rock tightly enough. Another attempt it is!

Here are some rocks I have at my disposal, I like these two because the darker colours contrast with the very pale bark. They are at least twice the size of the old rock:

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Tieball

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With the root fibers of this tree it may not be an appropriate or a convincing mix....but you’ll certainly give it a try.
 

Cadillactaste

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Wish you the best...wet soaked raffia is what Jason Schley bound the roots tight to the rock of the one I got from him. That worked well. I kept the part that was above the soil damp...and when it was finally undone...I was happy with the image. At this point he was wanting to ensure it stayed snug to the rock.
MjYxRDU2NUE1NUM1QzgzOTNDNkY6YmQ5M2VjOTFjM2M4MDM4OTU5M2Q5MDI0MDNkYTU0ZTM6Ojo6OjA=.jpg
 

Michael P

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Quick suggestion: Use the second rock, but place it with the long flat side down and the curved "saddle" up. Then put the tree in the saddle but not in the middle, closer to one end or the other. Drape the roots over both long sides.

Good luck!
 

Lorax7

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@Lorax7 the Saman is very plentiful and grows very very fast here. I do wonder if maybe the roots are not well suited for this kind of procedure because the have the nitrogen-producing nodules typical of the Pea family.
Would love to hear any observations you have to share regarding training this species as bonsai, or really just general horticultural information about caring for them. When I looked around for information about the species, I didn't find much (especially regarding growing them as bonsai). I've seen them growing in Hawaii, although they're not native there, and I really liked the general shape of them with the huge broad canopy. But beyond "grows in a tropical climate", compound leaves, and has a nighttime leaf-folding behavior similar to Brazilian raintrees, I know very little about them.
 

Lumaca

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Thank you everyone, will update as soon as I find the time to play Rock-tetris to fit it in the gap as best as I can!

@Wulfskaar well spotted! I bought a bag of them but most are smaller. Will probably hunt for some bigger pieces in the future

@Lorax7 they aren't used much for bonsai over here either. Recently they have been considered rather invasive because their roots keep destroying sidewalks. All I have "observed" is:

1. Movement and wiring should be done when the wood is still green
2. They chop well. Some seedlings I chop every other month as soon as they reach 1m in height (in my climate at least).

and I'll let you know if I see any interesting habits they have hahaha.
 

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