Strainers:

FOX7591

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Hello everyone,

Ive seen people using strainers as training pots for bonsai. Ide like to know what they actually do and how to use them? are they for aeriation? i was in a dollar store a while ago and i picked some up just for the heck of it.

thanks,

Wil
 

onthefringe

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Well Yup it's for aeration. Roots need air and strainers provide it. It also makes a nice compact root mass of very fibrous roots. Adding to another principal that healthy vigorous roots in the best case senerio means healthy vigorous foliage. Rapid healthy growth.

In the Master's Series Pine book published by stone lantern. There is a good section about developing JBP rapidly using strainers.

I myself use pond plant baskets bought where you can get pond supplies. Only been using them for a year now though.
 

Hannah

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The idea is that the light and air prunes the roots naturally, so that as onthefringe says you get a nice root ball with lots of short roots rather than a rootbound tree with long roots curling round the inside of a pot as in a closed container. Warning:- make sure the pond basket/colander is not sitting on the ground or the roots will go straight through the bottom though.
 

FOX7591

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thanks i will do that, but ive seen people using 2 strainers, the plant is inside the first, then the outer strainer has about an inch or more soil between the 2? what is this for???
 

bretts

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It means you can never have too many strainers:)
 

Tachigi

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thanks i will do that, but ive seen people using 2 strainers, the plant is inside the first, then the outer strainer has about an inch or more soil between the 2? what is this for???
Fox, the idea behind that is to let the roots extend out paste the first basket and into the next. At a specific point the inner basket is lifted and the roots are pruned flush on the inner basket. This is done to promote growth and manage the root ball at the same time.
 

Rick Moquin

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Although this article deals with a different subject all together, the results of planting out in pond baskets can readily be seen. The results were provided in a mere year.
 
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Rick,

I have read that article before and it still is a valuable addition toi the knowledge base. Have you continued the experiment or did you end it after the year time frame?



Will
 

Rick Moquin

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As discussed in the article Will to really provide any "real" conclusive data, would require lab conditions and I would have to estimate 5 years. So no, the experiment is not still on going.

Several of these experiments have been conducted in the past, with inconclusive data IMO. One took place some time ago (info no longer available) at the old GCB site. Why the results were inconclusive is that feed rates were altered to suit the growing medium. IMO this should not have been attempted, because the results were indeed skewed and favoured the trees that received greater nutrition vice what the potting medium did for the tree.

In one of your articles it is stated that folks can grow trees in chards of glass and that is also true, any botanist worth their salt will support this conclusion as trees/plants do not need "dirt" to sustain life. They need oxygen first and foremost, water and nutrition.

In my experiment the feed rates were not altered and we can see the results. Where the tree planted out in straight gravel prospered the least. Is that data conclusive? Well yes and no. Could similar results when comparing with the other 2 be achievable? yes with a properly adjusted feed regimen because of the low CEC of the potting medium.

As discussed in the article, only the watering varied because of the water retention of the various mediums. I also flushed out the soil of "my mix" once a month, due to the high CEC of the medium to level out the playing field as much as I could, while maintaining fair play so to speak, to arrive at some sort of conclusion.

Th rest of my conclusions as you know are contained in my article's closing arguments. These trees are all potted up as we speak, one of them was exchanged with another fellow enthusiast, as a matter of fact, the individual that had conducted a similar experiment using turface ratios.
 

Rick Moquin

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FWIW, because of the rather "wet" climate here in Nova Scotia, I no longer use grow boxes. The rationale for this decision and first hand experience, is that wood retained to much moisture. I now use the patented Vance planters exclusively.
 

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Vance Wood

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thanks i will do that, but ive seen people using 2 strainers, the plant is inside the first, then the outer strainer has about an inch or more soil between the 2? what is this for???
You can do this and is especially useful for those who are convinced that their tree will dry out too fast if they don't. In fact the practice is to a point self defeating. Drying out is not a real problem if your soil mix is good, an exception might be a pond basket where there is more open space than closed as in a colander or wood frame. The point of a device like this is to provide air and light pruning. It is a process of taking advantage of the way plants grow and how they respond to both light and air.

There are in the growing parts of trees, including roots, hormones called auxins. Auxins are sensitive to light in that they are destroyed by the presence of light and encouraged by the lack of it. This is why a plant appears to move toward a source of light. Within a leaf or stem these auxins are repressed on the side that receives light and encouraged on the side that receives less light. The side away from the light grows more and tends to bend the leaf or stem toward the light by the effect of two uneven growing surfaces, the one that grows more tends to bend against the one that grows less.

How this works with roots is basically the same. The roots start to grow through the screens or holes in the planter and are repressed by the presence of light. The auxins begin to back up in the portions of the roots still covered and cause back budding. The process of air pruning does the same thing. The difference is that the roots react naturally by retreating from an inhospitable situation. If, as some suggest, you grow one container inside another and subsequently prune the roots that extend through the first container into the second you are defeating the purpose of the whole process. In this situation the roots are not encourage to start branching out until they are beyond the point of the original container and instead are encouraged in the area you plan on pruning off latter. This seems to me to be a waste of time and effort causing the tree a degree of shock in the process. When left to their own devices without the second planter, there is no shock factor involved in the process. The roots grow through, the plant naturally adjusts and continues making little feeder roots.

For those of you new to bonsai and or the forums I more or less invented the technology as it relates to bonsai. The first publication of the colander process I encountered from Japan came two years after I filed my patent. I mention this so that some who may think I am blowing smoke out of my ears will understand I do know what I am talking about on this issue.
 
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Graydon

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You can do this and is especially useful for those who are convinced that their tree will dry out too fast if they don't. In fact the practice is to a point self defeating. Drying out is not a real problem if your soil mix is good, an exception might be a pond basket where there is more open space than closed as in a colander or wood frame. The point of a device like this is to provide air and light pruning. It is a process of taking advantage of the way plants grow and how they respond to both light and air.
The articles I have read indicate the reason for nesting two colanders is to allow the tree to continue to have vigorous growth that would not happen if the tree was uprooted and placed in a larger colander. The recovery time is shaved from the process and it also allows the root mass in the smaller colander to continue to keep somewhat in check. After severals seasons in nested colanders the entire mess is taken apart (tree removed from smaller colander, bare rooted, root pruned as needed to fit in a bonsai pot).

I have 50 or so pines in small colanders. Not time to nest them yet but when it is time I'll post some photos. I think I will wait another season.


For those of you new to bonsai and or the forums I more or less invented the technology as it relates to bonsai. The first publication of the colander process I encountered from Japan came two years after I filed my patent. I mention this so that some who may think I am blowing smoke out of my ears will understand I do know what I am talking about on this issue.
Amen Vance. It is easy to forget (or not remember) that you did pioneer this type of growing technology. Thanks for pointing it out and thanks for sharing it with us.

On a side note can you blow smoke out of your... ears? I smell a photoshop contest.;)
 
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Vance Wood

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The articles I have read indicate the reason for nesting two colanders is to allow the tree to continue to have vigorous growth that would not happen if the tree was uprooted and placed in a larger colander. .;)
If you grow the tree in one colander or training planter there is no recovery time involved.
The recovery time is shaved from the process and it also allows the root mass in the smaller colander to continue to keep somewhat in check. After severals seasons in nested colanders the entire mess is taken apart (tree removed from smaller colander, bare rooted, root pruned as needed to fit in a bonsai pot)..;)
My problem with this is that a good percentage of the new feede roots can and will form in the soil between the two colanders meaning that a good percentage of the new feeder roots will have to be removed before you are able to put the tree in a bonsai pot. If you do this with one item only you will not have this problem. .
I have 50 or so pines in small colanders. Not time to nest them yet but when it is time I'll post some photos. I think I will wait another season.




Amen Vance. It is easy to forget (or not remember) that you did pioneer this type of growing technology. Thanks for pointing it out and thanks for sharing it with us.

On a side note can you blow smoke out of your... ears? I smell a photoshop contest.;)
No but I have been accused of it a time or two.
 

Rick Moquin

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I also have the book on "Pines" and must admit I fail to comprehend Matsuo's reasoning wrt 2 colanders.

I prefer as Vance mentioned one container vice repotting. Vance's patent insures this can be accomplished relatively easily. My container of choice would be an 8 x 8 x 3.
 

Gnome

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Graydon,

I too have read the Pine book and I am currently putting this technique into practice. When I read Vance’s previous post I had the same reaction as you. This (nesting) is a way to pot up without disturbing the existing roots, kind of a way to get the best of both worlds.

Vance,

Correct me if I am wrong but you use your containers primarily to prepare nursery, or perhaps some collected, material for the transition to a bonsai pot. Is there not a substantial difference in these two scenarios?

Brent is a great proponent of potting up young material in a timely manner. Would not the same considerations hold true when growing seedlings out even if they are in colanders? I guess what I am suggesting is that there may be a difference between using open sided containers for older material as opposed to growing out very young material.

I’m not just posting to “stir the pot” as I noted I have a practical reason for wanting to understand this better.

Norm
 

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Rick Moquin

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Graydon,

I too have read the Pine book and I am currently putting this technique into practice. When I read Vance’s previous post I had the same reaction as you. This (nesting) is a way to pot up without disturbing the existing roots, kind of a way to get the best of both worlds.
My concerns with Matsuo's practice is that he is trimming off the roots on the face of the first colander. How much root back budding is occurring in the first colander in comparison with fine feeders between the colanders. IN the book, separation occurs after 6 years of growth, or 4 with dble colanders.

Vance,

Correct me if I am wrong but you use your containers primarily to prepare nursery, or perhaps some collected, material for the transition to a bonsai pot. Is there not a substantial difference in these two scenarios?
Not to take away Vance's thunder, but IMO root development is root development, regardless of the type of material used. I am sure Vance will add to this once he gets online again.

Brent is a great proponent of potting up young material in a timely manner.
Absolutely true when dealing with nursery containers. I believe it has more to do with preventing root compaction and circling than anything else.
Would not the same considerations hold true when growing seedlings out even if they are in colanders?
In his article why earth is not like a pot, this is easily understandable, but when it comes to colanders, pond baskets, patented Vance Wood pond baskets, with a massive drainage system, I believe this becomes a moot point.

I guess what I am suggesting is that there may be a difference between using open sided containers for older material as opposed to growing out very young material.

I’m not just posting to “stir the pot” as I noted I have a practical reason for wanting to understand this better.

Norm
IMO age is not a factor in root development.
 
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