Trays as forest/penjing/rock planting pots?

Khaiba

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Hey guys:),

I was wondering if (humidity) trays could be used as forest planting pots, as they are much cheaper. Many forest planting pots are extremely shallow and the only differences I see are the holes in the bottom and the feet allowing for better drainage.
By drilling holes into the trays and adding some sort of elevation, would you accomplish the same result?
Or is there some other reason they aren't used as pots? I wasn't able to find anything online regarding this issue.

Cheers,
Khai
 

sorce

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I wouldn't count on them being frost proof, since the pots made with these usually aren't.

Hit the resale shop!

I been finding all types of useful stuff there.

Old school McDonald's trays!

You remember those? From when you could smoke in McDonald's!

Sorce
 

Shibui

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Not sure what you mean by humidity tray? I thought that any ceramic tray is around the same price so maybe different over there. Wider pots are definitely more expensive as they take up more space in the kiln and much higher reject rate after firing due to slumping and breakages.
Allow for occasional (or more often depending on skill) losses when drilling drain holes in ceramic.
Will it look OK with added feet? Much depends on whether you show your bonsai or just keep them. Pots on mesh benches don't need feet for drainage but feet can add a lot to the look and feel of a pot.
Might be better to pay the full cost and get a proper quality product?.

I have moved away from really shallow pots. You may be able to get away with very shallow pots in Germany but hotter summer mean that trees do far better in slightly deeper pots here.
 

Khaiba

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I wouldn't count on them being frost proof, since the pots made with these usually aren't.
Ah, I hadn't thought about frost :/
Good old McDonald's trays would probably actually be better against frost :)

Not sure what you mean by humidity tray? I thought that any ceramic tray is around the same price so maybe different over there. Wider pots are definitely more expensive as they take up more space in the kiln and much higher reject rate after firing due to slumping and breakages.
Allow for occasional (or more often depending on skill) losses when drilling drain holes in ceramic.
Will it look OK with added feet? Much depends on whether you show your bonsai or just keep them. Pots on mesh benches don't need feet for drainage but feet can add a lot to the look and feel of a pot.
Might be better to pay the full cost and get a proper quality product?.

I have moved away from really shallow pots. You may be able to get away with very shallow pots in Germany but hotter summer mean that trees do far better in slightly deeper pots here.
They sell humidity trays for bonsai here in Germany, I guess there is no real difference to normal ceramic trays. Thought they might consist of different material, but I guess not.
I am currently looking into ways to create rather large Bonsai landscapes (Saikei/Bunkei/Penjing, honestly, I still don't quite understand the difference).
Anyways, finding pots for these landscapes has proven to be difficult. I understand that shallow pots aren't that great for the trees, but I would plant them in a large amount of soil/muck that extends above the rim of the pot.
I have something similar to this in mind:
1621698582276.png
Can't really find many bonsai pots here with that width and form.
Do you think drilling drainage holes into trays of that size and thickness without destroying them would be possible? Also what types of trays would be frost-proof? 🤔
 

TinyArt

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I wish I’d bookmarked the posts that come to mind — slabs made from concrete, or from stone pavers — search, folks here have shared what they’ve made & how.
 

HorseloverFat

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You remember those? From when you could smoke in McDonald's!

They frown on that, these days.. even call Authority Figures from OUTSIDE the franchise!

Check St. Vinnies, Goodwill, FeedMyHomies-ClotheMyHomies, (They say that differently “on the street”) 🤣 Salvation Army, Mom and Pop thrift stores, PawnAmericas, Mister Moneys.. ect. For trays and dishes.. old pyrex and oven-grade ceramics GALORE.
 

TinyArt

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They frown on that, these days.. even call Authority Figures from OUTSIDE the franchise!

Check St. Vinnies, Goodwill, FeedMyHomies-ClotheMyHomies, (They say that differently “on the street”) 🤣 Salvation Army, Mom and Pop thrift stores, PawnAmericas, Mister Moneys.. ect. For trays and dishes.. old pyrex and oven-grade ceramics GALORE.
Well… the German versions 😉
 

Shibui

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Anyways, finding pots for these landscapes has proven to be difficult. I understand that shallow pots aren't that great for the trees, but I would plant them in a large amount of soil/muck that extends above the rim of the pot.
I have something similar to this in mind:
I understand that wider pots are a real challenge for potters to fire properly so they are naturally rarer.
Those large landscape trays do not have holes on purpose. When it is watered the tray retains water which keeps the trees alive during the day. By afternoon the water has evaporated so the roots get some air. In that way it is possible to keep trees alive that would otherwise not survive a hot day. I have one juniper planting on a rock which sits in a shallow container without drain holes. Without that container to hold water I doubt the trees would live through a summer here. Keeping trees alive in such a planting is just a matter of observing how quickly the water disappears and managing watering to suit the trees, pot and weather.

Saikei/Bunkei/Penjing, honestly, I still don't quite understand the difference
There is much overlap and much misinformation that can make understanding more difficult.
Penjing is the Chinese name for trees in pots which we know as the Japanese bonsai. Chinese have some slightly different aesthetics and aspirations to the Japanese styles. China is a big country and different regional forms have developed that can also make it more difficult to understand what penjing should look like. I will probably offend many Japanese and many Chinese and the bonsai police but in broad terms there is probably little difference between bonsai and penjing.
Saikei is a relatively recent Japanese introduction. It aims to create landscapes with rocks that helps make relatively underdeveloped trees look good. In Japan a traditional group (forest) bonsai should look great without any help from landscaping or additional material. If it needs rocks, etc it would probably be classed as saikei.
I have no idea what bunkei means in relation to bonsai.
 

TinyArt

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I have something similar to this in mind:
Your image is like(ly) the work of Qingquan Zhao — I have his book Penjing: Worlds of Wonderment, which has a chapter demonstrating how he assembles a “land-and-water” scenery penjing like this.

He’s using marble trays… I guess they are/were popular in China, but rare & costly here, so I’m looking for other solutions too.

Something else that caught my attention: he writes “Before being assembled, all major components of the scenery will have received artistic treatment.” And he means it — wiring, pruning, and growth — even though he also speaks of using skillful arrangements of trees “with certain design flaws.”

So… I hunted up Saikei: Living Landscapes in Miniature by Toshio Kawamoto (1967), and found that he goes into detail about raising seedlings and cuttings for use in plantings. (Not so “finished” — he views the trees as having the potential to be trained as bonsai later.) His methods also allow for burying the bottoms of irregular rocks, rather than having to cut them flat and cement them permanently — much simpler for early projects!

Speaking of raising seedlings — and more — our friend Jelle’s

Hope some of this is useful — have fun here among the B’Nutters!
 

Crawforde

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That Penjing book is one of my favorites
Right up there with his Literati Style Penjing book.
I have one at home and one on my desk at work.
 

Eckhoffw

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I would hit up a home improvement store. Not sure what they offer in Germany, but Lowe’s, has these here in ‘Merica for 6$
Could even paint them white. 🤣
7FC644C2-B9A1-4CC1-AC71-1AC4B6DC245C.jpeg6AFC62B0-F7C8-4448-9CAB-09C1E5C15906.jpeg
 

TinyArt

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Could even paint them white
…or use white sand/gravel to represent water.

This suits me, because I’m new at this & want to be sure I won’t easily kill my trees — need the depth for security!

Thanks!
 

Eckhoffw

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…or use white sand/gravel to represent water.

This suits me, because I’m new at this & want to be sure I won’t easily kill my trees — need the depth for security!

Thanks!
Absolutely! Good luck!
 

Michael P

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A trip to a good stone dealer should give you several usable pieces of flagstone and they will be cheap! I have also used perforated baking pans, sometimes called bun pans. These are about an inch deep and come in many sizes. Mine came from a restaurant supply store.
 

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