Staying busy in winter: spreadsheets & planning

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February; already my least favorite month of the year. And even worse, in my opinion, when you are becoming a Bnut.

Seeing fellow bonsai folks in warmer zones posting updates on buds popping, time in the garden and some awesome material and knowing that in truth, 6A/Grand Rapids is likely still 6 weeks away from that phase. So jealous!

Having increased my collection to.... yikes... 54 trees (the most mature (4-5) just now ready for ramification stages/bonsai pots and the remainder somewhere from sapling size to a few years from starting ramification), I still crave something more bonsai-related than purchases (entire tool set and supplies), reading bonsai books and pruning/wiring my ficus... as I get more excited for spring.

Wondering if folks find this spreadsheet excessive organized all trees by category (conifer, deciduous etc) including species info, last prunes/repots, winter care etc, and a 2020 plan, including the next two actions for the tree. And history on each.

Am I losing my mind? Do others do this, or is it all in your brain after having spent more time (this is really year 3 upcoming for me) with your trees?

Not sure if the pictures will come through visible, but you get the idea.
 

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sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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So jealous
As are they of our Larch and Mountain Pines!
You'll come to enjoy the break!

You do what you have to to keep track.

Just never substitute your notes for the conversation you must have with the tree.
After while it will guide you stronger, and you will know what you have done, and need do, based on the trees' notes. Read them!

It's easy to confuse,
input to notes and output to tree.

It's really, input to tree, and a great deal of output from the tree that must be read.

We have a tournament in Michigan in June I heard. I think June.

I'm reading no freeze by mid April which should mean leaves by early May here.

Cuz I don't garage my stuff! Hahahaha..

Fight!
(Spring arrives)
Fight over!

Picking fruit!

Sorce
 

canoeguide

Shohin
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I think this speaks to your level of organization, and how you generally like to work or go about solving problems. Some people aren't wired this way at all, and approach things with much less organization and it works fine for them.

I'm more like you and have similar digital documentation for my trees. Two main advantages: maintaining history, and making plans. History (especially photographic) is valuable in a pursuit that takes years: you'll never remember everything. Did I repot this a year ago, or was it two? The last time I think I waited too long, but when was that? If you just log your actions and your observations, you'll have all of this history. Secondly, without making plans for the coming year or three, it's hard to know where you're going and what you'll need when.

I use https://www.notion.so/ because it's quite flexible and easy to build a tree inventory tied to a species list, with pages that can hold notes and photos dedicated to whatever you need, but there are a lot of tools for this kind of thing. I also keep a log/blog for each tree, with embedded photos as part of this setup. A lot of people do this same thing by creating threads here.

So no, you're not crazy, and yes, other people do this :)
 
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February; already my least favorite month of the year. And even worse, in my opinion, when you are becoming a Bnut.

Seeing fellow bonsai folks in warmer zones posting updates on buds popping, time in the garden and some awesome material and knowing that in truth, 6A/Grand Rapids is likely still 6 weeks away from that phase. So jealous!

Having increased my collection to.... yikes... 54 trees (the most mature (4-5) just now ready for ramification stages/bonsai pots and the remainder somewhere from sapling size to a few years from starting ramification), I still crave something more bonsai-related than purchases (entire tool set and supplies), reading bonsai books and pruning/wiring my ficus... as I get more excited for spring.

Wondering if folks find this spreadsheet excessive organized all trees by category (conifer, deciduous etc) including species info, last prunes/repots, winter care etc, and a 2020 plan, including the next two actions for the tree. And history on each.

Am I losing my mind? Do others do this, or is it all in your brain after having spent more time (this is really year 3 upcoming for me) with your trees?

Not sure if the pictures will come through visible, but you get the idea.
i think this is a great idea, im gonna start one similarly for my trees, thanks for the idea. I would love to read about your maples
 

Wires_Guy_wires

Masterpiece
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Keeping track is always good, especially if you do it from the start. Planning ahead has its pitfalls: you're going to expect living things to abide, but they don't always like to do that.
A few more trees and you're going to love the winter breaks.
I'm a conifer fan, so I try to have enough trees to do a wiring or maintenance every winter weekend.
Our winters have become warmer and warmer, so now I can spend winters pulling weeds as well.
Have you blended your soils yet?
Compost buckets? Worm towers?
Reorganizing the benches?

All basic stuff, but all can be done during the slow months.
 
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Good thoughts. You tend to wire throughout winter on conifers then? It’s too darn cold to be out wiring (would need to at least be in the unheated garage) and all but a few of my conifers are either planted in the ground or heeled in with their pots... concerned that pulling them out of their holes would disturb roots that may have escaped in the fall timeframe...

my best laid plans will surely be upended by my trees, but I like at least planning my next few steps/attempts to change the tree.
 

canoeguide

Shohin
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my best laid plans will surely be upended by my trees, but I like at least planning my next few steps/attempts to change the tree.
Agreed. Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.

... which I have always interpreted to mean that things rarely go according to plan, but you need to make them anyway.
 

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