What to dig?

HotAction

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I've previously posted this list on a seperate forum. I'm new here, so I thought that you "nut" jobs might want to share your input as well.

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After doing some research I have compiled a list of local species that I can expect to find growing on my families land. Besides the species in bold, has anyone had any luck with any of the others listed? Thanks.
-Dave

Abies balsamea Balsam Fir,

Acer nigrum Black Maple,

Acer pensylvanicum Striped Maple,

Acer rubrum var. rubrum Red Maple,

Amelanchier bartramiana Bartram Shadbush Rosaceae Tree

Amelanchier laevis Allegheny Service-berry Rosaceae Tree

Amelanchier sanguinea Roundleaf Shadbush Rosaceae Tree

Amelanchier stolonifera Running Amelanchier

Betula alleghaniensis Yellow Birch Betulaceae Tree

Betula cordifolia Mountain Paper Birch, Mountain Betulaceae Tree

Betula papyrifera Paper Birch, Canoe Birch, White Birch Betulaceae Tree

Betula populifolia Gray Birch, White Birch,

Celtis occidentalis Common Hackberry

Crataegus brainerdii Brainerd’s Hawthorn

Crataegus chrysocarpa Fineberry Hawthorn

Crataegus macrosperma Hawthorn

Crataegus pedicellata Scarlet Hawthorn

Crataegus pringlei Hawthorn

Crataegus punctata Dotted Hawthorn

Fagus grandifolia American Beech

Fraxinus americana White Ash

Fraxinus nigra Black Ash

Fraxinus pennsylvanica Green Ash

Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana Red Cedar, Savin

Larix laricina Tamarack, American Larch

Ostrya virginiana Hophornbeam, Hop Hornbeam,

Picea mariana Black Spruce, Bog Spruce

Picea rubens Red Spruce

Pinus banksiana Jack Pine

Pinus resinosa Red Pine

Pinus strobus Eastern White Pine

Populus grandidentata Bigtooth Aspen

Populus tremuloides Quaking Aspen

Prunus pensylvanica var. Pensylvanica -Pin Cherry, Fire Cherry, Wild Red Cherry, Bird Cherry

Prunus serotina Wild Black Cherry

Quercus alba White Oak, Eastern White Oak

Quercus bicolor Swamp White Oak

Quercus rubra Red Oak, Northern Red Oak

Sorbus americana American Mountain-ash

Thuja occidentalis Northern White Cedar, Arborvitae

Tsuga canadensis Eastern Hemlock

Ulmus americana American Elm
 

Bonsai Nut

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Well, I'll take a shot into splitting them into three lists: list (1) good bonsai material, (2) possible bonsai material and (3) not good candidates.

(1)
Amelanchier sp. - woody shrub - pretty flowers - has been made into bonsai fairly frequently
Betula sp. - birches - common bonsai material
Celtis occidentalis - common hackberry - similar to elms - common bonsai material
Crataegus sp. - hawthorns - common bonsai material - pretty lobed leaves that are very different
Fagus grandifolia - American beech - similar to birch - common bonsai material - need to watch leaf size
Larix laricina - American larch - very common and striking bonsai material
Ostrya virginiana - hop hornbeam - common bonsai material
Picea sp. - spruces - common bonsai material
Pinus banksiana - Jack pine - common bonsai material looks a lot like JBP with really short needles
Pinus resinosa - red pine - common bonsai material - weaker growth than JBP and not as hardy
Populus sp. - poplar, aspen, cottonwood - common bonsai material watch the leaf size
Prunus pensylvanica & serotina - cherries - common bonsai material - different look every season
Quercus sp. - oaks - common bonsai material - do not bud back as readily as many deciduous
Tsuga canadensis - Eastern or Canadian hemlock - very common material

(2)
Acer sp. - nice trees - tough to reduce leaf size on natives but some nice bonsai exist
Juniperus virginiana - Eastern red cedar - good material if you can find any that don't look like christmas trees
Ulmus americana - American elm - pretty trees in nature, but huge leaves - perhaps on bigger bonsai

(3)
Abies balsamea Balsam Fir - Christmas tree - not particularly suitable for bonsai except larger trees
Fraxinus sp. - ashes - compound leaf structure makes for very difficult bonsai
Sorbus americana - American mountain ash - compound leaves very difficult bonsai
Pinus strobus - Eastern White Pine - extremely long needles make for difficult bonsai
Thuja occidentalis - Northern white cedar, Arborvitae - probably the most maligned tree in American bonsai - for many reasons very bad material for bonsai
 

HotAction

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Shall I call you Mr. NUT?

Thanks for the thorough reply. The spring time just got a lot more exciting. Now to figure out how to identify some of these.

-Dave
 

amkhalid

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Populus sp. - poplar, aspen, cottonwood - common bonsai material watch the leaf size
Watch out for crazy suckering too!

Thuja occidentalis - Northern white cedar, Arborvitae - probably the most maligned tree in American bonsai - for many reasons very bad material for bonsai
I would have to strongly disagree with BN here. Thuja is definitely not bad material, in fact many people consider it to be excellent. This is not just my opinion - Marco Invernizzi likes it, Nick Lenz dedicated a whole chapter to it in his book Bonsai From the Wild, and many senior members of the Toronto Bonsai Society also agree.

But don't take my word for it - go to http://torontobonsai.org/

Click Galleries (link at top of main page) and follow the Cedar link on the left (sorry, no direct link to this page).

I think you will agree that there are some outstanding cedar bonsai here. And in case you don't want to bother following the link, I have attached an excellent example of cedar bonsai by Paul Chong (a cedar Master from Toronto).

Of course, unless you live on the Niagara Escarpment, you might have a tough time finding cedars with character like this. Field grown cedars are very boring and straight.

Not trying to start a war here! But I have to back up my buddies in the TBS who have some of the best (more likely THE best) Eastern White Cedar Bonsai in the world :)

Good luck digging!
 

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