What are you growing in collanders?

FrankP999

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The use of collanders as training pots is new to me. What species are you growing in collanders or similar containers (i.e. pond baskets, Vance Wood type, etc) ? Anyone tried ginkgo?

I look forward to learning more from you guys and gals,

Frank
 

king kong

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I planted 20 jbp in colanders. Then I set the colander on top of soil in a 10 inch nursery pot. The jbp rooted well and grew through the colander into the soil below. Then I had a real mess on my hands. The colanders were entangled with the root systems so I got the OT's (overpowering terror with mass alarm) and cut the colanders free. I think that was a mistake. The next time I will not set colanders in pots with soil (actually I had peanut packing), I will place them self-standing so the roots will air-prune themselves when they try to escape the colander.
 

irene_b

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I love pond baskets and colanders....
Cedar Elms,JBP's,Texas Ebony's,Vitex,hehe got just about a little of everything in them plant wise. And yup got a gingko in one as well.
Irene
 
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Vance Wood

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Some of you are missing the whole idea of the colander/training planter/pond basket issue. Placing one of these items in contact with the ground or placed in a larger pot buried in the soil defeats the whole purpose of air pruning. By allowing roots to escape the planter you are not taking advantage of the formation of a fine root system you would get if the planter were exposed without access to an outside soil source.
 

king kong

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Our humdity is so high here, sometimes I wonder if the roots know the difference.
 

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JasonG

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A lot of times trees are grown in a collander or strainer NOT to produce a small root system but to get the maximum amount of oxygen to the roots. This in turn allows the tree to thicken much faster then in a normal container.

The Japanese have mastered this technique, something that us Americans haven't figured out yet. We tend to only use them to work with roots, which is only a small part of what can be done with them when you use multiple collanders.

I have found that pond baskets are weak, they get brittle fast and break easy. The best thing I have found for this application is actual strainers you would have in your kitchen for pasta or meats. You can normally pick them up the $1 store.

Still, the best thing so far is the Anderson Flat, you can use them with the "escape method" and still have a very nice, small, fine and flat root pad when done. This is something you won't get with a pond basket.

My 2cents, :)

Jason
 

reddog

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A lot of times trees are grown in a collander or strainer NOT to produce a small root system but to get the maximum amount of oxygen to the roots. This in turn allows the tree to thicken much faster then in a normal container.

The Japanese have mastered this technique, something that us Americans haven't figured out yet. We tend to only use them to work with roots, which is only a small part of what can be done with them when you use multiple collanders.

I have found that pond baskets are weak, they get brittle fast and break easy. The best thing I have found for this application is actual strainers you would have in your kitchen for pasta or meats. You can normally pick them up the $1 store.

Still, the best thing so far is the Anderson Flat, you can use them with the "escape method" and still have a very nice, small, fine and flat root pad when done. This is something you won't get with a pond basket.

My 2cents, :)

Jason
I've used the pond baskets and mine have broken down quickly. Never tried collanders. Anderson flats are nice but can take a lot of room in my small backyard for smaller plants. I wonder if they make a 12" anderson. What is the "escape method"?
 

JasonG

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Jason

What is the "escape method" you mentioned?

Thanks
Frank

Hey Guys,

The escape method is when you put a contianer, not a bonsai pot but a nursery container, grow box etc, on the ground and let the roots escape from the container into the ground. When you get the trunks size and growth that you want you just cut the escaped roots that are in the ground and what you have left is a good rootball in a contianer. This works great for a few reasons, 1) you get most of the benefits of ground growing while maintaining a good rootball when it comes time to dig it up and 2) you get an excellerated growth rate while still in a pot. This is the fastest way to grow without putting the whole thing in the ground.

I have done this on the soil pile at the farm which is a huge 10 yard pile of nursery potting mix and I have used in my yard on bark dust piles. I have bought maples this way at very overgrown nurseries where the escaped roots were almost 2" thick. Either way, they grow well.

I hope this answers your questions.....

Thanks, Jason
 
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Root Bags instead of collanders

Hello Sports Fans,

I've been using Root Bags to grow JBP's, Twisted Pomegranates, Olives & Junipers with great success. The bags allow water to pass through freely (because I have a fast draining mix) and the roots air prune themselves. If you set the bag on dirt or soil, little capillary roots will penetrate into the soil and draw nutrients. Plants in these bags grow 2 to 3 times faster than terracotta pots and because of the amount of air the roots get, they fill the bag in about a year. I had some Root Bags custom made for bonsai, they are 16" in diameter, 8" tall and they have handles for carrying.

Juniperus Californica
JBP Root Bag101.jpg JBP Root Bag102.jpg
 
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Eric Schrader

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Ive tried JBP, they love baskets. Maples and Oaks that I have tried did not love them. They grew very slowly in the baskets compared even to a normal container (this is using 10 in baskets and 10 in regular containers as an experiment, but I also have more than that in the ground....ground by far the fastest obviously)

One thing I will say is that if you place a colander, pond basket etc on the ground, or on top of a larger pot, it can actually be productive. I once got a call from a bonsai enthusiast who years before had planted a cedar in a colander and then not wanting to water it all the time had planted that colander in the ground in some sand. When I dug it up (because he didn't want it) I found that coming from every hole in the colander was a small root, about the size of the hole. Nowhere were there any large roots. The colander would allow the roots to grow to a certain size and then they would girdle themselves on the hole. If you look at how a tree deposits new wood you will realize that if you girdle it like this, just like in an airlayer, the root will bud back in toward the trunk and start growing again. The roots can't get big even if the colander is in the ground. I am currently exploring this method with other trees.
 

Graydon

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Frank,

Sure gingko wil grow well in a colander. I have several going now. Can't say if it's faster or slower as I have no benchmark. It works for me and fits in my watering program with the soil I use.

For the most part I have pines growing in colanders. The root pruning by air is really a secondary benefit as far as I am concerned. I prefer them because of the shape (wider than tall) and that the size I use holds a gallon of soil give or take a bit. Over time it helps to form a wider than tall root ball which is beneficial when it is time to work in to a bonsai pot.

Worth noting the air pruning of roots will only work if you set the colander up on blocks or small stones so that the bottom is exposed to the flow of air as well. Otherwise you wind up with a modified escape growing system where the roots seek out the dark and moist area below the colander where it sits on a bench. I have lifted colanders after a season only to find 2' of coiled and tangled roots below. I simply hack them off when the time comes to shift sizes or remove to work on nebari.

I'm sure we have all seen the articles in Bonsai Today or the Stone Lantern book on pines where one of the authors placed growing and established pines in one size colander nested in a larger colander. Seems to work for him so who am I to argue. Pretty clearly explained and illustrated.

Those Anderson flats Jason mentioned are nice. Brent gave me one and I really like the size and shape and the mesh bottom. Sure wish I had a source for them...
 

ianb

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Hello Sports Fans,

I've been using Root Bags to grow JBP's, Twisted Pomegranates, Olives & Junipers with great success. The bags allow water to pass through freely (because I have a fast draining mix) and the roots air prune themselves. If you set the bag on dirt or soil, little capillary roots will penetrate into the soil and draw nutrients. Plants in these bags grow 2 to 3 times faster than terracotta pots and because of the amount of air the roots get, they fill the bag in about a year. I had some Root Bags custom made for bonsai, they are 16" in diameter, 8" tall and they have handles for carrying.

Juniperus Californica
View attachment 4802 View attachment 4803

JC, how long have you been using these and growing those pines in them. BTW those are some tasty pines, are you in the market to sell some?
 
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High Caliper Root Bags & Muranaka Bonsai

Sorry for the delayed response, I've been a little busy lately. The company that makes the tree bags is called High Caliper, the web is: http://www.treebag.com the phone is (800) 521-8089. If you don't want to buy a large number, they can turn you onto distributors. They will also do a custom order for you if you talk to them.

This system has worked for me and I've yet to lose a plant once I've put it in fast draining soil. Give 'em a call and let me know how it works for you guys. I get my JBP's from Muranaka Bonsai Nursery in Nipomo, CA. Give George Muranaka a call and he'll get not only JBP's in your hands, but Ume, Maples and many other bonsai. Call George at (805) 268-5123 and tell him you heard about him on the internet.

JC
 

pjkatich

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JC

Thanks for taking the time sharing this information us.

If I understand correctly, you use these root bags in place of a grow box to develop your trees.

Looks like a great idea to me.

Happy Holidays,
Paul
 

JasonG

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Telperion Farms, who the owner Chris Kirk is a member here, also uses these or similar bags to grow trees in. I haven't spoke to Chris in a while but last I heard he was happy with the way the bags worked.

FWIW, Jason
 
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Use the root bags instead of grow boxes

That's right Paul, I use the root bags instead of grow boxes. I've used grow boxes with pretty good success, but the bags have been even better, they're lighter, they don't heat up in the summer (in So Cal that's huge) and they really do a great job of air pruning. For the best results, set them on top of soil, not concrete or a bench, so the capillary roots can penetrate the bag and go into the ground. At that point you don't move the bag or you'll detach the fine roots. Give the bags a shot and let us know what you think.

JC
 

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