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mamy1212

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I have just come across a cedar "cutting" while doing some gardening and was wondering if this would be a good start for a bonsai, and if so where do I begin??? :eek:
 

Graydon

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Depends. There are cedars that are good subjects for bonsai and cedars that are not so good. Be warned that cedars are a fairly advance species to work with in my opinion.

What type of cedar do you have and how large is it?
 

mamy1212

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I believe it is an Eastern Red Cedar. I've been doing some further reading and found that cedar can be difficult to work with, can you suggest a good beginner tree? Thanks
 

Graydon

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An eastern red cedar is actually not a cedar, it's a juniper. Don't ask. I don't make the common names for plants, just need to use them. It's not the greatest tree for bonsai due to the lack of mature scale like foliage. They do bud back well and can be bent well if young.
 

Bonsai Nut

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One thing you can say about Eastern Red Cedar - it is pretty robust and difficult to kill. So if you want to play with it and see what kind of abuse you can put it through, it might be a good tree to try some things with. Otherwise I agree with Graydon. By mature foilage he means the soft scale foilage that makes some junipers look like fluffy clouds - while juvenile foilage is the bristley needle kind that you don't want to touch :) Typically older trees will have almost all of the former with juvenile foliage olny around recent cuts or new branchlets.
 

mamy1212

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Thanks for all the info. These guys do appear quite young so maybe I'll give it a try see what I can do. I found 2 that are about 6 inches tall & one that is about 11 inches tall (which I suspect would not the 1st choice). So my starting point would be a loose soil and about a 3 inch pot?
 

Bill S

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Mamy if you are talking about digging a little seedling go for it, a small pot is good for starters.

Now the part that will make you think. You say the 11" maybe not the 1st choice, but typically a small tree is cut down from a bigger tree. In many cases we take a 15' tree, yes foot, and cut it down to maybe 12" yes thats inches, then grow the branches we need, I realize this sounds next to insane for what we do but it is the typical path. Now mind you the trees don't need to grow 15' tall first, but the "normal method is to let a tree grow( puts girth on the trunk) cut it back(called by many the Chinese hack back ) then grow out some more, then hack again, as required for the tree we want.

I am thinking that this makes no sense to you at this point, on purpose almost, not to confuse you but to give you some plain basic info so you can do a little homework with somethings to find out about. I do this so you get more info on bonsai, the whys and hows, if for no other reason than to let you see how involved bonsai can be.

Now your seedling route will take quite sometime before you are actually practicing bonsai, in the mean time grab a home depot juniper, or if luck enough to have a bonsai nursery close by then by all means stop and ask them about starter materials, these will give you something to work on and gain some experiance. But I still suggest do a bunch of reading about our "hobby" and welcome to the insanity.
 

Graydon

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Thanks for all the info. These guys do appear quite young so maybe I'll give it a try see what I can do. I found 2 that are about 6 inches tall & one that is about 11 inches tall (which I suspect would not the 1st choice). So my starting point would be a loose soil and about a 3 inch pot?
A better path would be to dig a firm root ball, transport to your home and plant in the ground in a sunny location. Don't plant to deep. Feed and water well. My Eastern red cedars are doing very well in ground. I plan on doing some chops on them soon. I have one dug from another location and yard planted many years ago that has been chopped multiple times and it's finally getting a nice trunk with movement. again - the downside is the foliage. My plan is to over graft with shimpaku but that is entirely a different subject.

The above idea only works if you have a yard and plan on being there a while. If not - pot them.
 

Bill S

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Graydon is right, if you can plant it in the yard, it will grow faster for sure, and be useable sooner.
 
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