Shohin Pinus Mugo

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This little tree was orginally purchased at Home Depot for just under five bucks. It is 6 inches high from the soil line. There is still a lot of work to be done here, more needle reduction and ramification is needed as well as a better pot. The "photo front" will most likely be changed to that of the second picture below because I find the clasping roots to be interesting. Needless to say, a new stone is needed.



Will
 

Tachigi

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I like the concept and where your going with this mugo. The roots do kind of bother me though. I realize that some rootage just can't be undone. So I think perhaps a more textured stone would help in this situation. The one you have seems a bit smooth and really is in contrast to the roots, and not in a good way, in my opinion:). I think a chunk of lava, tuffa, or maybe feather rock might enhance the base. They are all very soft stone and good be easily carved and could be integrated with the base.
 

Bill S

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Nice little find, and good for you too, I have spent countless hours going thru nursery bucket after bucket, either multiple trunks without much hope, or something with a lot of no foliage, and dead branches. I have 4 Depots within a 1/2 hour drive, thats lots of stock.
 
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I think a chunk of lava, tuffa, or maybe feather rock might enhance the base. They are all very soft stone and good be easily carved and could be integrated with the base.

I agree, I dislike this rock that is there now, I dislike the tree without a rock more. I'm still searching....

Thanks,


Will
 
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Nice little find, and good for you too, I have spent countless hours going thru nursery bucket after bucket, either multiple trunks without much hope, or something with a lot of no foliage, and dead branches. I have 4 Depots within a 1/2 hour drive, thats lots of stock.

It takes a lot of looking to find good stock, no matter where you look. This small tree attracted me, hopefully I can keep it small while culivating some mature looks.

Will
 

irene_b

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Perhaps a lace (Texas) rock.
Irene
 

BigBill

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Oooo... Lace rock has some very beautiful pices. A lot of the live reef setups are using it now, in order to try and keep aquarium companies from tearing up ocean reef rock to sell. They dig it up in large quantities in texas and then drop it in the gulf of mexico for a couple years then retrieve it to sell.
 
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Nice job Will. How many cans did you have to look through? How many did you get home before finding out just how bad they were. That is what normally happens happens to me. I love mugos but just chucked out 2 that were hopeless (well either the trees or myself were hopeless). The ones I see here have the trees base 1/2 way down the can. It's a lot of work to dig down to it.
 
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I'm not sure I see the attraction in this tree. It has decent taper, but the "clasping" roots are only tangled, they are clasping themselves. Needle reduction will of course come with time but I don't see it as too big a problem with this tree. My difficulty is the necessity of a rock to give this tree a semblance of stability. Perhaps planting it deeper and working on a nebari might be a good first step.

Also, it seems to be reclining on the rock with arms spread wide. This tree looks oddly two-dimensional, and its movement seems odd, too. In the interest of not sugar-coating, I don't find much of value in this tree.
 

Attila Soos

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I tend to agree with Chris here, you may be wasting your time on this one.

The two biggest problems are almost impossible to correct:

The first one is the rootage. Not so much that they are tangled, but the way they are tangled. They seem to show a reverse taper, sort of inward curving into a ball. Very hard to correct.

The other problem is the branch placement. If you intend to keep the tree more or less this size, you need a more balanced branch arrangement. Otherwise, the tree will always look immature. Unless you graft some branches, this is a tough problem to overcome.

So, for 5 dollars, is it worth to take on these problems, or would you rather get something with good roots and plenty of branches to choose from. I would rather pick a young seedling with perfect rootage and overabundance of branches. With this kind of young material, time will only improve it.

But in your case, time will not improve neither the roots, nor the branch arrangement. So, you may end up spending the next 15 years on creating a mediocre tree.

Edit: you may argue here that the talent of the artist lies in creating good stuff from difficult material. My take on it is that the so called "difficult material" has to be something that has so much character and interest, that it is worth the challenge. But often, we have difficult material that offers not much else but difficulty. These are better off left alone.
 
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Vance Wood

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I guess this is one of those trees you have to see to appreciate. Having seen the tree it has much more potential than the two of you are assigning to it. It has problems as you have pointed out but none of them are uncermountable---and in a lot less than fifteen years. Again we seem to be revisiting the "Buy better stock" parade. It challenges one to ask where do you get better stock if you don't collect it? From a bonsai nursery of course, is the obvious answer. However; no one seems to ask the next question; where do the bonsai nurseries get their material? They either develop it themselves or they purchase it from someone who does. This begs the last question; Why does it seem to be a major infraction around the bonsai community for someone to develop their own stock? Is it only legitimate if purchased from someone else? There seems to be that kind of philosophy prevelant around here at times and from some sources. Not meaning to be overly critical, just making an observation.
 

ovation22

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I tend to agree with Chris and Attila. I abandoned this type of stock years ago. As my eye and technique improved I found that I could start with better stock and have a pretty convincing bonsai fairly quickly. There are some things to be learned from stock like this, such as wiring and pruning. However, your bench would be greatly improved with it's removal.

Keep learning and growing Will, attend workshops, etc. It will all come with time.


Take care.
 

ovation22

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Vance,

I think the answer to that question is, as you answered, you grow it. However, starting with landscape material you must spend a great deal of time and effort to overcome the very poor rootage most often found in up-potted material like this. Will would be much better off growing from seed or seedling. Results come very quickly and the same problems are not encountered or can be corrected much earlier.

You can also, as you suggested, collect trees. Finding trees worth collecting is often the challenge, but also part of the fun. ;)


Take care.
 

irene_b

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There seems to be that kind of philosophy prevelant around here at times and from some sources. Not meaning to be overly critical, just making an observation.

What are you talking about here Vance?
Irene
 

Attila Soos

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Why does it seem to be a major infraction around the bonsai community for someone to develop their own stock? Is it only legitimate if purchased from someone else? There seems to be that kind of philosophy prevelant around here at times and from some sources. Not meaning to be overly critical, just making an observation.

It's all relative, of course. If this is the best stock available to Will, then by all means, go for it (but I thought that Will already has a whole growing field of young pines).

When we grow our own stock, it is important to select young seedlings (or young trees) with no fundamental faults. Remember how the professional Japanese stock-growers develop their pines from seed: they cut off the whole root and grow the seedling as a cutting just to create a radial root system. Instead of doing this and losing a high percentage of their seedlings, they could save a couple of years by starting from older liners. But if you want high quality material, you need to start with high quality seedling.

Will's mugho is already planted in a bonsai pot, and with a rock next to it. Usually, we use a bonsai pot with accessories when a material is already developed into something ready for styling. I don't think that this tree is remotely ready for any styling.
 
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I guess this is one of those trees you have to see to appreciate. Having seen the tree it has much more potential than the two of you are assigning to it. It has problems as you have pointed out but none of them are uncermountable---and in a lot less than fifteen years. Again we seem to be revisiting the "Buy better stock" parade. It challenges one to ask where do you get better stock if you don't collect it? From a bonsai nursery of course, is the obvious answer. However; no one seems to ask the next question; where do the bonsai nurseries get their material? They either develop it themselves or they purchase it from someone who does. This begs the last question; Why does it seem to be a major infraction around the bonsai community for someone to develop their own stock? Is it only legitimate if purchased from someone else? There seems to be that kind of philosophy prevelant around here at times and from some sources. Not meaning to be overly critical, just making an observation.

Vance, I am not sure what you are getting at. I thought that complete honesty was the best way to deal with "sticks in pots." In this case I pointed out a couple of pluses but as a whole, the entire tree has too many difficulties to overcome to make it a believable bonsai.

In fact, the greatest flaw may be that it needs a rock. Fifteen years would not make this a believable tree in my opinion. Talent will not overcome the flaws in this one.
 
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Attila, Vance, ovation22,

Thanks for your input, as always it is appreciated.

I see something in this little shohin, maybe I can release it, maybe not, but I haven't given up yet. Yes I do have a field of pines, in about five years I'll have some very nice stock, until then I have a few pines I am working with, mostly shohin.

Bill Valavanis saw this mugo at our club show in July and I got some very inspirational input from him on its future development, which I will follow as best as my abilities allow.

For better or for worse, I'll be sure to update this thread as developments occur.



Will
 

ovation22

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Will,

Might you share Bill's words? I'm sure we could all learn from this.



Take care.
 

irene_b

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Yes, Please share what Bill said!
IMHO I feel that other newbies just starting out or who have just a few short years into the World of Bonsai can benefit from the directions you were given on this Mugo.
Mom
 
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Knowing Bill's long experience and high technical and artistic abilities, I would certainly love to learn what he saw in this tree. I can certainly learn from anyone.
 

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