Recommendations for propagating young nursery stock

tuccim

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Hi, new here and to bonsai in general.

I just got a young trident maple and a dawn Redwood in the mail. Both are pretty tall for how thin the trunks are so I was considering airlayering both of them. Any recommendations on the best propagation method here? I've heard you can root cuttings of both species, I wanna go with whatever's most effective in this situation.

Thanks.
 

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LittleDingus

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That's a weirdly sparse dawn redwood. I kinda wonder if it's a young cutting itself. Get some sun on that trunk and it should branch out like crazy.

This is one of mine at about the same height as yours best I can judge. It's only 3 years from seed.

16205072107088529127643184762671.jpg

Once you get yours filled out like that you can start thinking about cuttings and propagation.

If you want it shorter just because of space issues, think long and hard and do some research first. You can top it...but that will work against thickening it. If you want a thicker trunk, let it run :D. It should start to thicken quicker once you get some lower branches back too...

Sun on the trunk should be all you need to get the redwood to branch. The trident may need to have the lead bud trimmed to force some back budding down lower. Sun down low should also work but clipping the trunk just before the top few leaves will force it to branch back down the trunk.

In general, the same thing though...let the tree get tall and fill out more before even thinking about trying to propagate it. We don't let our kids have kids until they reach a certain size...we should follow that practice with out trees too ;)

...and welcome to the forum! Click on your avatar in the top right and add your growing zone (if you know it) and a nearby metro area and that information will show up on the left of every post and give people an idea of your local climate and more localized advice :D
 

Shibui

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Dawn redwood is relatively easy to strike as cuttings.
I have found trident maple not so easy but I know others strike these quite well.
Layering is better for thicker trunks. By the time you remove bark and cambium layer these skinny little sticks are likely to snap off. I would go for cuttings if I was trying to propagate from these.

Most bonsai growers recognize that planting in an oversize pot or in the ground and leaving lots of growth on a tree is the fastest way to get a thicker trunk. Pruning now (or in the next few years) will only set back trunk thickening (see notes by @LittleDingus above) but if you want to do that you can go right ahead. Just need to know all the ramifications of your decisions.
 

sorce

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Welcome to Crazy!

Sorce
 

tuccim

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Hey, thanks for all the advice!

@LittleDingus I found the sparseness weird as well, my thought was that they pruned down the branches to get it to fit in the shipping box nicely, there seems to be a bunch of nubs down the trunk.

My reasoning for trying to propagate right off the bat here is to trade off having more trees with development time. I'm 23 so I'm not too worried about it lol, I figure right now I should be setting myself up for a nice future collection. Thinking about it a bit, air layering does seem sketchy right now, I'll give cuttings a shot later in the summer. I was mostly curious as to whether or not there was any kind of measurable success rate advantage between the two methods at this stage.
 

LittleDingus

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The way an air layer works is you break the downward flow but leave the upward flow.

In general (it's not this simple...but let's pretend ;) ), the sapwood carries water up and the cambium carries sugars and auxins down. When air layering, we remove the cambium so the sugars and auxins run out of "down" to go. If enough auxins accumulate...and there is meristem present...the cut will callous and begin to grow roots. The sapwood is not cut. This allows water to still move up to hydrate the foliage.

If the branch is too thin, air layering effectively becomes "cutting still attached to the tree". The camiums still gone...but there's not a lot of sapwood in a tiny branch to draw water up. At that point, you're better off just doing a cutting which you can move to a more controlled environment and provide high enough humidity the foliage can't transpire all its water away.

Air layers are generally thicker than cuttings...again...simplifying. On the upper end, there is a max thickness that will layer in practice. It's pretty species dependent. To begin to grow root where none existed before, the tree needs meristem: undifferentiated tissue. Tissue that has already specialized doesn't readily change specialties. The younger the tree/branch is, the more likely it retains enough non-specialized tissue to start making roots.

All that said, trident and redwoods both grow fast enough that it's easier and more efficient to start from seed than cuttings or layers. For $10 you could have yourself a forest of tridents this size in 2 years. Cuttings are good when you have a cultivar you want that won't produce true from seed or seed has low germination rates or is hard to find. Layers are good when you have a gnarly old branch that looks cool and/or would save you 5 or more years of growing out.

I'm not saying don't do it...just think through where you want to get toand which options are available to get there :)
 

Cajunrider

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Hi, new here and to bonsai in general.

I just got a young trident maple and a dawn Redwood in the mail. Both are pretty tall for how thin the trunks are so I was considering airlayering both of them. Any recommendations on the best propagation method here? I've heard you can root cuttings of both species, I wanna go with whatever's most effective in this situation.

Thanks.
I don’t know much about Trident maple but I find the most effective way to get more redwood or cypress is to buy the seeds. Seedlings grow so fast on these that makes doing it by other methods not worth my time. For $15 you can have 1000 dawn redwood seeds that can grow to trees the size of your tree in less than 2 years. Why bother with 3-6 months effort just to get one air layer while slowing down the growth of the tree you have?
 

LittleDingus

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I don’t know much about Trident maple but I find the most effective way to get more redwood or cypress is to buy the seeds. Seedlings grow so fast on these that makes doing it by other methods not worth my time. For $15 you can have 1000 dawn redwood seeds that can grow to trees the size of your tree in less than 2 years. Why bother with 3-6 months effort just to get one air layer while slowing down the growth of the tree you have?

My advice on redwood seeds is to buy from a reputable dealer. Germination rates from different vendors have varied wildly for me :( my last few batches fromSheffield's netted me > 50% germination rates. I have a batch of 1000 seeds from another vendor that has netted < 5% germination on the seeds I've tried so far :( a good vendor will have good seed.

I find bald cypress less variable and generally high germination rates. Same for tridents.
 

tuccim

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My advice on redwood seeds is to buy from a reputable dealer. Germination rates from different vendors have varied wildly for me :( my last few batches fromSheffield's netted me > 50% germination rates. I have a batch of 1000 seeds from another vendor that has netted < 5% germination on the seeds I've tried so far :( a good vendor will have good seed.

I find bald cypress less variable and generally high germination rates. Same for tridents.

Any suggestions for a good online vendor? That's one of the main reasons I figured to do it myself.
 

LittleDingus

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Any suggestions for a good online vendor? That's one of the main reasons I figured to do it myself.

I've had great experiences with Sheffield's


Unless I picked the seed, there's a very high chance they're from Sheffield's. They're sometime out stock on something I want though :( Been waiting 2 years now hoping they'd get quercus turbinelli! But, unless it's something in high demand or a little oddball, they generally have it in stock for an honest price.

Sheffield's does a great job of describing the seed lot...when, where it was collected, how germination rates were estimated, etc...They've even added the ability to select from the specific seed lot in multiple lots are available. I've been happy with my results so, if these are all lies, I still can't complain ;)
 

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