Starting Material

Zaelthus

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Hi all, I'm pretty new to bonsai and just wanted to share some of the urban material I've collected over the Summer. I know it's not the best time to collect but its the time when people are redoing their yards so material is out there. Any suggestions or feedback you have would be greatly appreciated.

The first is a mugo pine, I want to develop this in ground to start and if it becomes a proper bonsai in the future then that's great otherwise it will stay in the ground. The big X factor is the nebari, I don't know what's under there. I took a good sized rootball with this and it took about 3 of us to lift it out of the ground. Not sure how old it is, maybe 30 years, the larger trunks are about 3" diameter closer to the base.

The second is an Azalea, this one seems to be over 30 years old. The trunks are about 3" a piece with the overall base being 10-12" (maybe more). Again i didn't want to expose any Nebari at this point so I don't know what's hiding under there. My goal is to get it healthy and then air layer the trunks and eventually put the main clump into a pot. I wonder though would 3" chops ever heal or blend in with new growth?

Well, I'm the type of person who can be a bit overconfident to say the least and as such I usually end up asking questions after it's too late. I figure that is not the way to go with this hobby, see I'm already learning :)
 

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Zaelthus

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Here are two more:

An Azalea I dug up that I thought had interesting surface roots, I bare rooted it this summer and it's in recovery mode. I tried carving out some of the deadwood with a dremal and will need to clean that up, I might have actually ruined it but we'll see. Many of the exposed roots are dead and rotting on this tree so I'm not quite sure what to do with those. I put some lime sulfur on the dead bits just to buy me some time.

Last is just a little privet stump, again I applied lime sulfur to the stump to buy more time. This one will need lots of growth before a new leader can be formed and that stump hollowed out.
 

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Zach Smith

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Here are two more:

An Azalea I dug up that I thought had interesting surface roots, I bare rooted it this summer and it's in recovery mode. I tried carving out some of the deadwood with a dremal and will need to clean that up, I might have actually ruined it but we'll see. Many of the exposed roots are dead and rotting on this tree so I'm not quite sure what to do with those. I put some lime sulfur on the dead bits just to buy me some time.

Last is just a little privet stump, again I applied lime sulfur to the stump to buy more time. This one will need lots of growth before a new leader can be formed and that stump hollowed out.

You're probably getting ahead of yourself, but that's okay. When you first get into bonsai you want to do everything all at once and end up with the masterpieces you've probably seen pictures of, preferably in a single year. After the initial flush of excitement try to slow down and learn the horticultural requirements of the species you've happened across. Azaleas are very different than privets, which will take almost any degree of abuse. Learn how they grow, learn how fast they grow, and practice wiring and all the other stuff with the idea that you'll probably kill your share of material (we all do). No matter what happens, don't give up. You have a great resource here in folks who have probably grown any species you can imagine.

Best of luck with your projects.

Zach
 

Zaelthus

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You're probably getting ahead of yourself, but that's okay. When you first get into bonsai you want to do everything all at once and end up with the masterpieces you've probably seen pictures of, preferably in a single year.

Best of luck with your projects.

Zach

Thanks Zach, I'm definitely not looking to do everything at once. I have other trees in the ground, and don't expect any to be complete within the next 5 years.
 

treebeard55

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Welcome to the forum, Zealthus!

For your mugo pine, I suggest looking for posts by Vance Wood of Ann Arbor, MI. Vance is one of the most experienced American growers of mugos, and has learned that they are the exception to many rules/guidelines for other pines. (Enough so that I call the mugo the "platypus of pines!")

It's also a good idea to publish your location, in general terms. That gives us a general idea of your growing conditions, season length, etc., and lets us offer more informed comments.
 

Zaelthus

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Welcome to the forum, Zealthus!

For your mugo pine, I suggest looking for posts by Vance Wood of Ann Arbor, MI. Vance is one of the most experienced American growers of mugos, and has learned that they are the exception to many rules/guidelines for other pines. (Enough so that I call the mugo the "platypus of pines!")

It's also a good idea to publish your location, in general terms. That gives us a general idea of your growing conditions, season length, etc., and lets us offer more informed comments.

Hi Steve, added my location, thx for the tip. I'll be sure to do some searches for mugo posts by Vance.
 

Bill S

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Actually of all the things you could dig up in the summer, these two, will probably give you a decent chance of them making it.
 
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