Sourwood for bonsai?

Dav4

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Has anyone ever seen or actually created a bonsai from sourwood (Oxydendron) stock. I've got them growing all over my property. This is a stump I threw into a pot on a lark last spring because I couldn't kill it during the 2 previous years:) while clearing the slope behind my house. I seem to recall reading somewhere that the leaves don't reduce and internodes remain long. With that in mind, I may try chopping some larger specimens and developing the trunk/taper before collection. It might be interesting...:).

Dave
 

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jk_lewis

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leaves don't reduce and internodes remain long.

Unfortunately, yes. They're sure pretty this time of year, aren't they? And when they bloom in the late spring.

Those of us in the Southeast certainly will appreciate your sacrifice if you do all the experimentation for us. :eek:

Pictures from Google images:
 

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Speedy

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Got one in the back yard I've been eyeing for the past summer, I'll guinea pig it with you. I'll chop it back this coming spring.
 

Dav4

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Great. I'll be chopping next spring as well, and we'll see what defoliation does to the tree I've got potted.
 

Stan Kengai

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I've never seen a sourwood, though they could be very interesting with their pendulous habit, nice flowers and great fall color. But I do have an acquaintance who is working on a tupelo (nyssa sylvatica), and he has been able to reduce the leaf size and internodes by withholding water (just barely keeping them damp) when they flush and then clipping the larger leaves as they come out later. Good luck with your project. I love seeing our native southern material, but most just don't seem suitable for bonsai culture.
 

Dav4

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Thanks Stan. Since moving to GA, I've been hoping to find some native material that may lend itself to bonsai and I've got loads of sourwood on my little piece of land to abuse. I'm not overly excited, but I'm thinking a larger bonsai may be possible (the typical default for trees with large leaves and longish internodes).
 
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I was out exploring a few hundred acre wooded area today. The Sourwoods really stand out right now in the forested areas. One of the nicest red leaves in the woods. I guess I just got to quit looking up at them and start looking down. You may have something there, you never know how a tree will act when bonsai techniques are applied.

My main interest today was looking for smaller Am Beech trees with something other than straight as arrow trunks. I want to make a clump of Beech next spring, something like three trees with the roots intertwined and fusing together as the time goes by.
 

Stan Kengai

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Anyone interested, here is a link to a guide of Georgia native plants, which I'm sure is pretty comprehensive for surrounding states as well. Not exactly bonsai reading, but it is very helpful in identifying plants. It's interesting as well (I didn't know we had so many native hawthorn species).

http://www.caes.uga.edu/publications/pubDetail.cfm?pk_id=7763
 

Dav4

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@Dav4, any follow-up on your Oxydendron?
No, that little potted stump died a year or two later, and I never tried another one. I seriously doubt I'd ever be able to create a decent bonsai given their excessively coarse growth, and I've got enough projects going to last me a lifetime and a half. I'll be content to enjoy them along the edge of the woods in my yard.
 
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