stock pricing - rules of thumb

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Michigan, USA

Quality cultivation for bonsai, including but not limited to....root work, taper creation, pruning for back budding, and trunk thickening techniques, must be a given here, as anything else could not produce the quality stock we are talking about.

We also must forget mallsai and ebay junk as there will always be junk sellers in bonsai, just like in anything else and like in anything else, the experienced will seek out and purchase from the quality growers who also have a fair price.

All of the above being a given, what would you plant now for the market five years from now? You see, this is the exact decision faced by the growers today, in order to survive, the right decisions must be made.


John Hill

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oHIo zone 5b
What would your trees be worth if you imported ,,say Black pines from Japan and had to quarantine them for 2 years and take a gamble of infestation? What would they be worth. Or you could grow your own for 5 to ten years and what would they be worth? That is if you want to try and make some cash at bonsai. I myself and many others will grow their own stock and go from there. The beginners are the market and most that are in the biz go for that market to make ends meet.
Now to get to Wills question? What would I grow? Right now Will I am growing JBP, JRP, Hornbeams, some ginko and some small leaf tridents. But that is what I am growing and don't plan on selling. So that is where I am at.
Just talk to Brussels and he will tell you that he has to set on his trees for 2 years (import) and if one tree is infested the whole lot is burned. Now that is a HELL (sorry Irene) of a gamble. So he has to get a good price to compensate for his gamble. He has to also set up a certain area with airtight areas to house these trees.
Now to me this is one hell of a gamble just to sell bonsai.

A Friend in bonsai


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All of the above being a given, what would you plant now for the market five years from now? You see, this is the exact decision faced by the growers today, in order to survive, the right decisions must be made.
Who's going to lend me their crystal ball?

To start with 5 years is much to short of a time frame, "if" your talking about quality stock. Next I would say its not a decision of what you want to grow. Its a decision of what will grow in your area the most aggressive way possible. Example: Larch south of DC would be an enormous gamble in my area. Not worth the trouble. However Hemlock, Hornbeam, Tridents would be safe investments.

Considering all of the imports from China, Japan and Korea who could afford to plant and grow anything?
If you are looking for a quality tree this is really a non-issue. Most of the trees shipped here are no better than ones grown here. Since I'm staring at a imported trident at this writing I will use it as an example. This tree was given to me as a gift from a Representative of a Korean grower, as an example of what he said was the great quality of his clients trees. He was soliciting me to buy, as we are looking at imports as another offering for our customers further down the road. Upon review of this tree I found that the nebari and root system was horrendous, the movement of the tree was very static. A very ho-hum tree. This is not indicative of this one tree. It is the case of most imports that I have seen, which happens to be quite a few. They are plopped in the ground, the timer is set and there yanked when the buzzer goes off. No grooming below the soil line. A lot of the ones I have seen have awful wire marks as well. They are then sold here for an obscene amount of money. Yes, I as a vendor said obscene! Next time your in your favorite shop take a hard look and scrutinise these trees. It is my belief that a grower really does not need to watch trends in tree offerings. He just needs to produce a quality tree that can hold up to a tough critique. I'm banking on this approach. Quality should be the American growers goal.
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Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
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I think sometimes we get carried away with the issues of species. Japanese Black Pine comes to mind. On the whole of things, JBP is really an awful tree, but because it is Japanese and because it has been used for years in Bonsai it is somewhat popular more for perceived quality than actual worth as a tree for Bonsai. In my opinion its reputation exceeds is value. As such if I were interested in cultivation JBP I most certainly would not invest money in importing stock. I would, and have, used locally cultivated stock that I can obtain at reasonable prices that put the tree into the category of any other stock of local trees, or more common exotics where normal losses are accepted as the way things are and not mourned as a great financial disaster.

Anyone seeking to do this must know the stock they wish to develop, how to develop it, and how much time is necessary for a return on investment.

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