Virgin Bonsai enthusiast. Need advice with growin from seed!

Damien3072

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Hi you all, sorry if i'm in the wrong discussion but i DO need your advice. I've only recently got into the Bonsai scene but always had the interest in these incredible trees. Right i bought what looks like a zelkova from a big name diy store. It looked great until i bought a couple of books. Then i noticed that the trunk was'nt secure in the pot. There was an ugly swellin at the base of the trunk. And it had been cut severely and looked unnatural. So i chose to feed it well for 4 weeks and then pruned it right back and i might use it for raw material in future. But back to the main question. I have decided to buy seeds and they have been delivered! Iv got 10 of silver maple (acer saccharinum) 5 of japanese zelcova(zelkova serrata) 10 of japanese black pine (pinus thunbergii) 10 of chinese elm (ulmus parvifolia) 10 of temple juniper(juniperus rigida) i need advice on whats the best techniques on succesful germination, summer has just started (if that helps?) i know it takes a long time but i love a challenge! Any advice greatfully appreciated. Thanx Damien, south wales, uk
 

Boondock

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Most seeds (from trees in temperate environments) require stratification. You can do some searches on the net, but in a “nutshell”, stratification is a process to artificially replicate winter for the seed. This is accomplished by storing the seed in a refrigerator for a period that varies per species.

I know that growing a bonsai from seed requires great patience and time. But every year since I got interested in bonsai, I have either bought seeds, or collected seeds in my area. I will tell you that I seem to have a much higher germination rate with the seeds that I collected myself (probably because they are fresher)

There is a great website with alot of information and I hope I am not stepping on anybodies toes, or violating forum policy by posting them here.

Bonsai4me <---- go to the articles page
GROWING FROM SEED (from the Bonsai4me website) has good info

welcome to the forum
 

Bonsai Nut

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Welcome to the site!

I agree with everything that Boondock has said. Unfortunately, you are probably too late to grow your seeds this year. You will need to stratify your seeds, which often requires a period of time in a cold, damp space (refrigerator zip lock bag). Some seeds will begin to germinate sooner than others, but you are typically looking at 6-8 weeks at a minimum and maybe longer for seeds like Japanese Maples, so that if you started today your seeds wouldn't start growing until about August, which would probably be too late in the season. Notice that I say "probably" quite often - there are exceptions based on species, your growing zone, your access to facilities like cold frames or greenhouses which can extend the growing season, etc. This year I grew some Japanese Maples and Japanese Black Pines from seeds. It was a lot of fun, but if you want "instant gratification" (if there is something like that in this hobby) you might consider trying to find a nursery that will sell you one year old seedlings. In the U.S. there are a fair number of commercial nurseries that will do this. In this way you can have your seeds for next Spring, while still have young trees to play with this year.
 
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Don't do it. It takes:

A) Years of devoted attention and,
B) Years of previous study and knowledge

So I don't recommend growing from seed for less than the most knowledgeable enthusiast.
 

Boondock

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another good idea would be to order some of brent's younger stock from www.wvergreengardenworks.com instead of doing the seed thng.
he meant to say... Evergreen Gardenworks

Don't do it. It takes:

A) Years of devoted attention and,
B) Years of previous study and knowledge

So I don't recommend growing from seed for less than the most knowledgeable enthusiast.
If you are a "most knowledgeable enthusiast", then you should consider growing from seed to produce a couple dozen small whips every year to bring to your bonsai club, and give away or to enter in raffles. A new member would get a big kick out of receiving a elm, maple or pine, no matter how big or small it is, and it's instant mentorship and karma.


I just get a kick out of watching them grow. This year is hackberry and crabapple from seed. It alot of fun and interesting as well.
 

Damien3072

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Interesting

No i wouldnt consider myself a knowledged enthusiast but i would consider myself a overly keen newbie enthusiast, i want to learn what there is to learn, iv always been interested in Bonsai since i was about 9, but now i have my own place and money i decided to catch up! I think ill do the natural approach with rowing my seeds. Because my country seasonal temperature are similar to the requirements that the seeds require. But stratification is always an option. I know it takes ages but i really dont mind, ive got nothing to lose! I have the funds to aquire any tools or materials you may think i need! I am so serious about this and cant wait for everything that comes for a Bonsai nut! P.s. Thanks for the warm welcome x
 

Graydon

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Plant the pinus thunbergii now, starting tomorrow would be great. No need to stratify, but they need a soak in water for 24 hours. Reject the floaters as they are no good. After the soak simply plant in a sterile fast draining medium (soil) no deeper that 1/4" or so. Water well when you plant, and then water as needed but do not let dry out from that day on. All goes well you will have sprouting seeds in less than 2 weeks. Slowly move in to full sun by the end of the first month after sprouting. Feed after 4 to 6 weeks of sprouting. Protect from heavy frost and freeze this winter.

Sorry, I can't help with the others.
 

Damien3072

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Hey!

Now thats what im looking for, straight forward instructions from someone who knows what they are doing! Thanks Graydon, you are a star. Just a few more q's do i soak the seed in tap water, cooled kettle water or rain water. Sorry if i seem over the top with instructions but i demand perfection from myself, i just hope someone like you with knowledge on my other species of seeds could help. But thanks to you all. Great forum, great bunch of guys.
 

Graydon

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Now thats what im looking for, straight forward instructions from someone who knows what they are doing! Thanks Graydon, you are a star. Just a few more q's do i soak the seed in tap water, cooled kettle water or rain water. Sorry if i seem over the top with instructions but i demand perfection from myself, i just hope someone like you with knowledge on my other species of seeds could help. But thanks to you all. Great forum, great bunch of guys.
You are welcome. Not sure about that knows what they are doing part... but...

Any water will do.
 
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Plant the maple and the juniper seeds late next fall and let nature stratify them. Use flats or pots or whatever you have and any normal potting soil. 3-4 inches is perfect. Place them where they get rain and make sure they don't dry out.

One they grow their first 1-2 sets of true leaves, pick them out into individual pots.

I guess the other two could be planted in the spring or fall.



 

Damien3072

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Thanx globllist, i salute you, i cant wait to get started now, i followed Graydons advice and soaked my pine seeds overnight and was a little worried because most of them primarly floated but having just checked they have all sunk. Ill be off out soon to my local store to buy some soil, trays and pots. Any thing else i should get? Or should i wait untill i need it? Thanx you guys,
 

Damien3072

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Almost forgot! Lol. When they do germinate and are ready for repotting, do i leave them grow naturally or train them sooner, or in shallow pots or deep pots?
 
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Almost forgot! Lol. When they do germinate and are ready for repotting, do i leave them grow naturally or train them sooner, or in shallow pots or deep pots?
You have a years to figure all that out.

Next spring most of my seedlings will be planted over clay tiles in open ground. Other then that I can't be any help.
 

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