Question on Ebihara Technique w/ Younger Trees

Apex37

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So I have mostly younger tress around 1" in trunk size. The few I was thinking of trying the Ebihara technique on, but I was wondering if it may be better to wait till they are larger in trunk size or if that matters?

My main concern was I know most videos and the threads on here recommend drilling a screw into the tree from the bottom of the board, but that obviously wouldn't work with trees so small without worry of splitting the tree. The alternative thought would be to drill out some holes in the board and run wire through it and tie down the tree to the board somehow.

Any thoughts?
All of these will be going into an Anderson flat either way.
 

Adair M

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I once did it with a small tree, as big around at the base as your little finger. I first drilled out a hole in the bottom of the trunk to make room for the screw. I still managed to split the trunk a little when I screwed it to the board. But, I packed the area with spaghnum moss, spread out the roots and buried it. When I dug it up the next years, it had healed over, and the split wasn’t there, and if anything, it helped widen the nebari!
 

Eckhoffw

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Wire would work. I’ve attached small trees to a board/tile before by using a thin board with a small screw. I pre drilled a small pilot hole into the trunk first then lined up the screw through board.
 

Eckhoffw

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I once did it with a small tree, as big around at the base as your little finger. I first drilled out a hole in the bottom of the trunk to make room for the screw. I still managed to split the trunk a little when I screwed it to the board. But, I packed the area with spaghnum moss, spread out the roots and buried it. When I dug it up the next years, it had healed over, and the split wasn’t there, and if anything, it helped widen the nebari!
Haha! Beat me to it.
 

dbonsaiw

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I don't know my aspen from my elbow when it comes to Ebihara technique, but I have nailed a similar sized tree to a board. I drilled a hole in the board and placed the nail through a washer, leaving me only a little bit of hammering into the trunk. You can use a very thin nail. I then used wire to fix the board to the box. A tornado couldn't move this guy off the board.
 

Canada Bonsai

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The few I was thinking of trying the Ebihara technique on, but I was wondering if it may be better to wait till they are larger in trunk size or if that matters?

My main concern was I know most videos and the threads on here recommend drilling a screw into the tree from the bottom of the board

You don't need to use a screw or a board to get the tree going in the right direction. I put my Acer palmatum cuttings on a plastic disk (the bottom of a pot) from day 1. No regrets:


These trees are ready for the 'ebihara technique' if ever/whenever I decide to make that transition. They're also good for just about any other style with the appropriate interventions.
 

dbonsaiw

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Getting your roots growing radially as early as possible is probably a good move. As Canada Bonsai points out, you can use the floor of your grow box as the board - if the roots can't grow down they will have nowhere to grow but radially. The Ebihara technique actually does more than just radiate the roots - I believe he also places a barrier around each root so they get pruned and ramify when too large.
 

Ohmy222

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I use a few tricks.... for really small seedling types I put them on a small rock and call it a day. When I say rock I mean real small one out of a gravel bed or something. For ones like you are talking about I cut a square of vinyl that I buy in large sheets at home depot and just wire the tree down like you would securing in a pot. You can use pins to spread out the roots. Really easy. You can cut with a razor and holds up a couple years. I use that up to about 6-8 inches or so. For bigger I use a board that is stained to lessen the rot but you could probably still do the vinyl. I do this with everything I grow even if I am not necessarily going for the pancake nebari. Below is what I believe I buy.

 

Canada Bonsai

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As Canada Bonsai points out, you can use the floor of your grow box as the board

I did not say this, and I do not recommend it.

In my experience, once the roots reach the end of the disk or board, it is important for them to be able to grown downward. Yes, they will hook downward like a claw, but I make sure that perimeter of the disk/board is where I intend to prune-back the roots anyways. This is especially important when trying to add substantial mass to the trunk and roots, although it gradually becomes less important in later stages until eventually no board at all is required.

The text accompanying the video I shared describes exactly what I do, and at there bottom right you can see it. I attached a screenshot for your conveniece. It is the bottom of a plastic pot, placed onto a significant amount substrate. I have found this to be a good use for my endless supply of cracked plastic pots.

I believe he also places a barrier around each root so they get pruned and ramify when too large

Ebihara used nails and chopsticks to organize the roots and create undulations. The idea of using crossing nails or staples to 'choke' the roots and force them to ramify was an elaboration added by Andre Meriggioli in Bonsai Maples (see attached).
 

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dbonsaiw

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I did not say this, and I do not recommend it.

In my experience, once the roots reach the end of the disk or board, it is important for them to be able to grown downward.
Apologies for putting words in your mouth.

A question I have had is whether roots need to grow downwards or simply just need to grow. What if the tree was planted really shallow but the box was wide enough to allow the roots to run?
 

Brad in GR

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Seeing some results from Ebihara type growing after 2 years on this JM. D0DDC3E1-0E9C-485C-8E2A-C7088623EA99.jpegE0C292D9-4FDB-4AD3-8889-8D65E47034DD.jpeg
 

Deep Sea Diver

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