Raised Grow Bed vs Straight Ground

what is your preferred way to grow out stock?

  • In a raised bed with soil of your choice

    Votes: 9 45.0%
  • In the ground with amended soil

    Votes: 3 15.0%
  • In the ground with native soil

    Votes: 3 15.0%
  • In a pot/planter

    Votes: 5 25.0%

  • Total voters
    20
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Location
Netherlands
#4
I'm doing all of the above. But I have to say that straight up soil has my preference.
I don't like to have to water ground growing plants daily (like with amended soil) until they've rooted deep enough.
Full regular soil seems to work best for that need. I could do a regular soil raised bed, that would make it easier to work the roots later. But them again, I'm going to dig my plants up next spring, and throw a tile or fine mesh under them.
 
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Location
on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
USDA Zone
5b
#6
I tend to use large nursery pots, or Anderson flats or other large containers. The media is recycled bonsai mix with added organics, like used orchid mix. Pots usually only need to be watered once a week. I use 1 gallon thru 20 gallon sizes. My native soil is heavy clay, once a tree roots in, you are never going to get it out. The thought of building a propper grow bed always made my back hurt. And should roots go deeper into the clay below, the tree could be a permanent feature.

Pots have advantage of being able to be moved to work table for pruning.

Down side of pots is growth is not as rapid as ground growing. But it can be fast enough to get reasonable results.
 

Bonsai Nut

Administrator
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Location
OC, CA
USDA Zone
10A
#7
Does anyone's have a preference between growing out pre-bonsai in a raised bed vs just straight in the ground? If so, why?
Here people use raised beds because our soil is clay and does not absorb water quickly. You have to be careful when digging out a garden bed and filling it with garden soil that you aren't creating a swimming pool/swamp.

Having a raised bed allows the water to percolate through the soil and drain out the bottom of the bed, rinsing the soil. It also generally allows for higher oxygen levels in the soil than ground growing. Downside - soil dries much more quickly and is not as protected from temperature swings - high or low.
 
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Location
London, England
#8
Here people use raised beds because our soil is clay and does not absorb water quickly. You have to be careful when digging out a garden bed and filling it with garden soil that you aren't creating a swimming pool/swamp.

Having a raised bed allows the water to percolate through the soil and drain out the bottom of the bed, rinsing the soil. It also generally allows for higher oxygen levels in the soil than ground growing. Downside - soil dries much more quickly and is not as protected from temperature swings - high or low.
top laying the bed with weed matting will help to keep it moist for longer.
 

Dav4

Imperial Masterpiece
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14,224
Location
North Georgia/lived in MA until 2009
USDA Zone
7b
#9
I do both here in GA. Generally speaking, when landscape trees are concerned, I feel it's best NOT to amend soil if you're planting in the ground as getting the roots growing into the native soil immediately will lead to a faster establishment, and I've carried this belief over into growing out pre-bonsai stock. GA red clay is actually a great soil to grow things in, so where it's diggable, I'll plant directly into the native soil, and apply a 2" layer of wood chip mulch around the planting area. Where it isn't diggable, I'll plant on top of the soil, with lot's of compost and topsoil recovered from other areas of my yard. Both my tomatoes and my tridents agree with these measures...;).
 
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Location
Michigan. 6a
USDA Zone
6a
#10
Straight in the ground. I add Turface to the ground....I have a naturally sandy soil and need some moisture holding. And....I have excellent results...so it’s my continued plan.
 
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Location
London, England
#11
i actually do both. i have a lot of trees doing fine, that have just been planted into the ground and only recently constructed a growing bed this spring for some new plantings.
 
Messages
15
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17
Location
Mexia, Texas US
USDA Zone
8b
#12
I originally shared this on another thread instead of this one, but wanted to share it here since it's more relevant to this one; which was my original intention. 🤦🏼‍♂️

These are from Google, but they're what I use until the new house is built & I can get a more permanent growing bed set up.
Not sure of the size in gallons, but they hold 200+ lbs of livestock feed, and come up past my knee height & are almost 3 ft wide (probably around 30gal or more. I get the empty ones from my feed store for $2/each, and stock up in winter when they tend to have more available.
I just drill holes in the bottom and fill with garden soil that I've added perlite & compost to (or whatever additions needed for the specific plant). They're great in the greenhouse for my tropicals that need large containers and I use them outside on top of plywood or something for the things I don't want reaching the ground (wisteria, grape, etc).
For slower growing trees it usually takes a growing season for the roots to reach the bottom and grow into the ground; but growth rate typically picks up the next season when the roots hit the ground through the drainage holes.

In summer I generally water every few days until June, then it's every day, just like everything in the ground. I've also spray painted the buckets white to reflect the sun/heat, but most of my stuff does fine if I leave them as- is.

Once the house is done I plan to build a short raised bed to make it easier on me, and will continue to use these for the things that need to grow/thicken, but need frost protection or root development. 🙂
-chase
 

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Location
Montreal
#13
@MimosaGroveMexia have you ever placed a tree on a board or plate (like the ebihara method), or placed it in something like the basket in the attached photo (with many holes in the bottom, and with the bottom and sides screened), and then placed all of this into the big black pot that you posted?

i am trying to find a way to retain bonsai substrate near the tree (the basket), while allow the longer roots to roam freely into standard potting soil fill larger pot (the black pot)

thoughts?
 

Attachments

Messages
311
Likes
232
Location
Louisiana
USDA Zone
9A
#14
I tend to use large nursery pots, or Anderson flats or other large containers. The media is recycled bonsai mix with added organics, like used orchid mix. Pots usually only need to be watered once a week. I use 1 gallon thru 20 gallon sizes. My native soil is heavy clay, once a tree roots in, you are never going to get it out. The thought of building a propper grow bed always made my back hurt. And should roots go deeper into the clay below, the tree could be a permanent feature.

Pots have advantage of being able to be moved to work table for pruning.

Down side of pots is growth is not as rapid as ground growing. But it can be fast enough to get reasonable results.
With few exceptions, I've pretty much decided to grow my pre-bonsai trees in cut-off 55 gallon plastic drums. These cut-off pots holds around 25 gallon and is around 24" inch in diameter. Unless the trees are very big, these pots are as good as in the ground since I can control the soil and fertilizer a little better than my terrible clay soil that turned into gumbo mud when it rains.
 
Messages
15
Likes
17
Location
Mexia, Texas US
USDA Zone
8b
#16
@MimosaGroveMexia have you ever placed a tree on a board or plate (like the ebihara method), or placed it in something like the basket in the attached photo (with many holes in the bottom, and with the bottom and sides screened), and then placed all of this into the big black pot that you posted?

i am trying to find a way to retain bonsai substrate near the tree (the basket), while allow the longer roots to roam freely into standard potting soil fill larger pot (the black pot)

thoughts?
I've used stone/ceramic tiles, as well as plastic colanders; especially for seedlings or saplings with a taproot that I don't want to deal with later down the road. Otherwise I just let them grow in the bucket, and even out of the drainage holes & into the ground if they want.
I'm sure you could plant it in a basket of bonsai soil, then plant that in a bigger container of soil and compost.
 

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