Root-over rock cascade progression thread!

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Ogden Utah, United States
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5
Really excited for this one! I've been playing around a bit with small stumps and other things and after a few months of toying with the basics I'm thrilled to start work on my first (expensive) bonsai!

A lot of my previous work I don't feel could be called bonsai as it was however I'm certain this flame ginnala will be fantastic!

I Intend to cut it back and shape it later but first! It must be introduced to its new home.
It'll be resting on this beautiful petrified wood (about a foot tall And seven inches wide!)

Although I'm not certain which side of the stone will eventually become the front im certain both will be fantastic!

As for the specimen I'll be working with I have a flame ginnala maple clump about 6"8 in tall at its tallest (see it next to Jeep 👇) It'll hopefully become a cascade bonsai (or something the start of one) here soon!
First things first moving from a 7 gallon pot to a 10 gallon pot to let the roots establish!
Photos below updates to come!
 

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Nearly forgot! Can of dew for comparison! About 1 inch thick maybe more below the soil but Im waiting for my soil to get here to start digging in lol
 

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Are you planning to repot out of season or is this for next year spring time to pot with rock?
 
Are you planning to repot out of season or is this for next year spring time to pot with rock?
I know it's a little late in the year for a repot however Utah gets very VERY late freezing, our last freeze was back in May and there's still snow on the mountains. So the current plan is a late repot (mainly because freezes here are known to kill all potted plant roots outside so I haven't had a chance to dive into this project until now)

This variety of maple fortunately is very vigorous and with some TLC and proper fertilizing it should recover well.
 
Well I know Some aren’t afraid to repot virtually anytime in growing season but they have tons of experience. Make sure you keep it protected and keep updates to see how it goes. Good luck on this.
 
Nice finds! I really like that petrified wood... I would use that for a straight spindly juniper cutting in the v and let the rock be the show. Or even just next to bonsai.
 
Nice finds! I really like that petrified wood... I would use that for a straight spindly juniper cutting in the v and let the rock be the show. Or even just next to bonsai.
I'm fortunate to live in a place where I can find any rock I want for bonsai! Just very few choices in what can survive here for yamadori unfortunately!
 
Step one of summer repot complete! Soil washed off.

It'll soak overnight and the repot shall commence in the morning (this is the best method I've found here in my environment, airs super dry and most repots not using this method either fail or suffer immensely.)

Root structure looks perfect for the project (I think this piece was originally air layered) perfect radial roots!

Super excited for the next steps. Updates to follow.
 

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It's usually better to do root over rock with a very young seedling and grow it out because a tree as large as the one you picture already have lignified roots and they can not be made to conform to the rock. So it will look exactly like you tried to strap down a tree to a rock.

Also, that tree is already growing as a nice clump. Trying to bend an otherwise straight base into a cascade will look contrived.

That is if the tree survives the repot in full leaf....

If you really want a root over rock cascade, start with a much younger tree that can be developed into that form more naturally
 
It's usually better to do root over rock with a very young seedling and grow it out because a tree as large as the one you picture already have lignified roots and they can not be made to conform to the rock. So it will look exactly like you tried to strap down a tree to a rock.

Also, that tree is already growing as a nice clump. Trying to bend an otherwise straight base into a cascade will look contrived.

That is if the tree survives the repot in full leaf....

If you really want a root over rock cascade, start with a much younger tree that can be developed into that form more naturally
I see what your saying, it makes a lot of sense.

If it survives and looks bad I'll definitely clip it back and try for a different style.

As for the roots there's not a ton I can do there but I have plenty of time to slowly cut and grow the roots 🤔 leave more agreeable roots and let the tree slowly develop, I don't mind taking the time to make this work out...

If the tree fails I can always try younger material but that would be unfortunate as my only two choices for that would be a scrub oak or a quaking Aspen... I suppose I can also collect some cuttings of this species at work if all else fails

It will be what it will be, not much else there can be to it. Failing is never truly an end only a lesson learned on the road.


Just as a tree that sees struggle shall become the most beautiful works of art, man whom fails often and adjusts can become unstoppable
 
Cool project. I’ll echo what @Paradox has said about starting with younger seedlings. An established tree with thick roots will be far more difficult to convincingly attach to the stone and get the roots to really grasp the stone. The roots should ideally be trained right against the rock into all the little cracks and holes in the rock surface and should follow any of the natural curvatures and pathways down towards the soil.

Here’s an example of one I’ve grown over the past few seasons.

IMG_7085.jpeg
 
Agree with @SeanS and you should check out his tridents for great examples. He’s done some cool things and you can often pick up seedlings or bare roots in early spring. I got like 10 for $13 or something early this year. Bent a couple and hope to try one next spring with 1 or 2 of them.

 
Agree with @SeanS and you should check out his tridents for great examples. He’s done some cool things and you can often pick up seedlings or bare roots in early spring. I got like 10 for $13 or something early this year. Bent a couple and hope to try one next spring with 1 or 2 of them.

I mean, I do work at a nursery... If I want seedlings I can just harvest some Japanese maple seeds 😅

Trident maples don't deal well up here, so my prime maple material would be either a flame ginnala (which is the closest to the Trident) or a Japanese variety likely an emperor 1, although we do have a fantastic variety I wish I could afford...
 
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