When is it safe to sell?

Woocash

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I have plans to start a small business selling bonsai in the future. Not necessarily as a main income venture, but to earn some pocket money etc. For now though, I’m planning on making a start selling the odd styled nursery tree so I bought a J.Chinensis ‘expansa variegata’ the other day and removed some of the roots, repotted at a better angle and gave it a styling with the intention of selling ASAP. The question is, how long would I have to wait for signs of recovery in order to be sure whomever bought it would receive a plant in good health?

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BobbyLane

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its a bit of a gamble with conifers, i assume you trimmed away all the outer bits and wired all the growth that was previously being shaded out. so in my experience all this inner growth could easily begin browning once the hot sun sets in. therefore i would wait a good few weeks for backbudding and to see how the inner growth reacts to the new light. i would also have checked for vine weevil. almost always present in nursery pots, now is the time they begin munching roots and if you dont check, the damage will present itself in the heat of summer as the tree begins to wilt.

Nice styling job.
 
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Paradox

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If you literally just did all this work to it, personally would not want to buy it until its survived one year after repot at the very least.
Even then it would have to show that it has recovered with some good growth as well.
You did 3 major insults in the span of 2 days: repot, major pruning and the shari.
The chances of this tree not making it are very high.

Its up to you of course but if you sold this tree to me and it died in a few months, I would never buy from you again and I wouldnt recommend anyone else does either. Personally though, I wouldnt buy it in the first place knowing you did all that work in 2 days.

If all you are interested in is making a quick buck, you wont be in the business for long because your reputation for being a bad seller will get around.
 
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Woocash

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its a bit of a gamble with conifers, i assume you trimmed away all the outer bits and wired all the growth that was previously being shaded out. so in my experience all this inner growth could easily begin browning once the hot sun sets in. therefore i would wait a good few weeks for backbudding and to see how the inner growth reacts to the new light. i would also have checked for vine weevil. almost always present in nursery pots, now is the time they begin munching roots and if you dont check, the damage will present itself in the heat of summer as the tree begins to wilt.

Nice styling job.
Thanks. Yes that’s pretty much how I did it. It was basically just a bog standard garden centre juniper so yes, most of the growth left will be some of weaker interior growth so that’s a good line of thought, but Im in no major hurry to wait for recovery. I didn’t specifically check for vine weevil, but that is a good point. I didn’t see any when messing with the roots, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. I’ll keep an eye out.

You’re not wrong about deciduous being a less risky venture, but the reason I went with juniper is because they seem to be pretty desirable at the price point I’d be going for. Not to say that others wouldn’t, but for lots of beginners junipers seem to be the archetypal bonsai. Plus, the type I started out with are quite readily available and good to practice on. I’ll definitely be trying some other species though.
 

Woocash

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If you literally just did all this work to it, personally would not want to buy it until its survived one year after repot at the very least.
Even then it would have to show that it has recovered with some good growth as well.
You did 3 major insults in the span of 2 days: repot, major pruning and the shari.
The chances of this tree not making it are very high.

Its up to you of course but if you sold this tree to me and it died in a few months, I would never buy from you again and I wouldnt recommend anyone else does either. Personally though, I wouldnt buy it in the first place knowing you did all that work in 2 days.

If all you are interested in is making a quick buck, you wont be in the business for long because your reputation for being a bad seller will get around.
These are all good points, which is why I’m asking really. I have no intention of ripping anyone off. This tree is a test really, to see how far I can push it so If it dies, it dies.

Would you buy it this time next year as a healthy plant having recovered, knowing I’d done all this work over a few days though? This is what I’m trying to ascertain. I’m 100% sure that some of the cheap trees I’ve seen for sale are bought, styled and sold right away, which is not what I want to do at all, but I want to know what would constitute a responsible timeframe or set of circumstances to sell with confidence without taking 3 years from purchase to sale.
 

Cadillactaste

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These are all good points, which is why I’m asking really. I have no intention of ripping anyone off. This tree is a test really, to see how far I can push it so If it dies, it dies.

Would you buy it this time next year as a healthy plant having recovered, knowing I’d done all this work over a few days though? This is what I’m trying to ascertain. I’m 100% sure that some of the cheap trees I’ve seen for sale are bought, styled and sold right away, which is not what I want to do at all, but I want to know what would constitute a responsible timeframe or set of circumstances to sell with confidence without taking 3 years from purchase to sale.
I always cringe when newbies bid on hard worked trees that seem recently done. They will never know if it was their care, or the work they don't grasp recently done.
 

Paradox

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These are all good points, which is why I’m asking really. I have no intention of ripping anyone off. This tree is a test really, to see how far I can push it so If it dies, it dies.

Would you buy it this time next year as a healthy plant having recovered, knowing I’d done all this work over a few days though? This is what I’m trying to ascertain. I’m 100% sure that some of the cheap trees I’ve seen for sale are bought, styled and sold right away, which is not what I want to do at all, but I want to know what would constitute a responsible timeframe or set of circumstances to sell with confidence without taking 3 years from purchase to sale.

If the tree is alive and showing good growth a year later, it would indicate that the tree has recovered from the work.
By "good growth" I mean strong growth that shows the tree is vigorous and healthy, not just a few green tips here and there.
If I was looking to purchase something similar to that tree then yes I would consider it.

I have spent a lot of time at New England Bonsai gardens, having taken a course there and I have bought several trees from them.
I know that they never sell a tree right after repotting, but always wait until the tree has recovered. You see them when walking among the trees, there are tags on some that say not for sale before (date). They also keep some in a back green house that is off limits to the public with trees that are newly imported. Most if not all trees that come in are bare rooted so they pot them and make sure they are healthy before they allow it to be sold.
 
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BobbyLane

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Thanks. Yes that’s pretty much how I did it. It was basically just a bog standard garden centre juniper so yes, most of the growth left will be some of weaker interior growth so that’s a good line of thought, but Im in no major hurry to wait for recovery. I didn’t specifically check for vine weevil, but that is a good point. I didn’t see any when messing with the roots, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. I’ll keep an eye out.

You’re not wrong about deciduous being a less risky venture, but the reason I went with juniper is because they seem to be pretty desirable at the price point I’d be going for. Not to say that others wouldn’t, but for lots of beginners junipers seem to be the archetypal bonsai. Plus, the type I started out with are quite readily available and good to practice on. I’ll definitely be trying some other species though.
you will definitely know by mid summer how it will react, maybe use this one as the learner one, then get a little conifer conveyor belt going. as said though, ive bought many conifers myself like spruce, yew, hinoki, in most cases the work ive done initially has resulted in the interior foliage going brown from the shock of sunlight, branches then dying off and not much back budding occurring. you will know by aug. in the case of taxus they can apparently seem ok for a year or two down the line then die all of a sudden. i couldnt tell you if junis have that same characteristic.
seems like you did leave a good rootball though.
re the 2 or 3 insults or whatever the rule is, mirai often work on nursery trees and break these rules all the time, remember the blue rug juni? trimmed, styled and air layer applied if im not mistaken, but he then let it sit and recover before it was ready to be sold.
buying and selling nursery conifers is a longer game. there will be lots of trial and error. if you do sell a tree and it dies from the work youve did, be ready to replace the tree with something else. that way you should be able to maintain a good relationship.
 

sorce

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If we where to play....
"If I was a newb, what would I really want?"
I don't think the answer would ever be, "that tree".

To me, "that tree" (specifically not you as I have read the above, just a tree like that), always represents "ripping off a newb" regardless of your intentions, also regardless of the fact that a newb will never know it. They lack the ability to know it's a ripoff.

The trouble is, even if it is healthy, a newb will kill it anyway. There is also nothing for them to do with "that tree".

You kinda see how the only thing left is "ripping off a newb"?

So anyway....

I think you can save Yourself a bunch of time and worry, by not styling the tree, and offering value the newb actually needs.

A well selected piece of material, potted small and pruned correctly to be styled.

Trouble there is, that value has no "market", no "sales pitch", no "cool factor".....

But buying a plant that is potted small, healthy and pruned properly to just wire up....

That is Real Value to itchy newb fingers.

I have a few Junipers I bought which have sat around and become this value for me. I think 3 years is a reasonable minimum timeline to prep from purchase to sale.

No wire no overhead!

Sorce
 

BobbyLane

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If we where to play....
"If I was a newb, what would I really want?"
I don't think the answer would ever be, "that tree".

To me, "that tree" (specifically not you as I have read the above, just a tree like that), always represents "ripping off a newb" regardless of your intentions, also regardless of the fact that a newb will never know it. They lack the ability to know it's a ripoff.

The trouble is, even if it is healthy, a newb will kill it anyway. There is also nothing for them to do with "that tree".

You kinda see how the only thing left is "ripping off a newb"?

So anyway....

I think you can save Yourself a bunch of time and worry, by not styling the tree, and offering value the newb actually needs.

A well selected piece of material, potted small and pruned correctly to be styled.

Trouble there is, that value has no "market", no "sales pitch", no "cool factor".....

But buying a plant that is potted small, healthy and pruned properly to just wire up....

That is Real Value to itchy newb fingers.

I have a few Junipers I bought which have sat around and become this value for me. I think 3 years is a reasonable minimum timeline to prep from purchase to sale.

No wire no overhead!

Sorce
yeh he can always sell them instead as raw material, or semi worked as in a little deadwood work and a small amount of manipulation.
 

penumbra

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All interesting points above. I would feel safe buying any plant, conifer or not, once it had exhibited healthy new growth for a few months. Gotta say though, I would never buy a variegated plant as a bonsai with the one possible exception of a ficus.
 

River's Edge

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I have plans to start a small business selling bonsai in the future. Not necessarily as a main income venture, but to earn some pocket money etc. For now though, I’m planning on making a start selling the odd styled nursery tree so I bought a J.Chinensis ‘expansa variegata’ the other day and removed some of the roots, repotted at a better angle and gave it a styling with the intention of selling ASAP. The question is, how long would I have to wait for signs of recovery in order to be sure whomever bought it would receive a plant in good health?

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One major insult per year for healthy trees. Several Major insults on nursery acquired trees and then sell? How soon? The real question is should you buy from this source?
Just a personal opinion, but if I did a major repot in the spring, would not sell until fall and a healthy growing season was evident after repotting. If I performed a major styling would not sell until a good growing season of recovery.
Basically a season of growth and recovery without complications for each major insult to the tree's health.
 

Vance Wood

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I have plans to start a small business selling bonsai in the future. Not necessarily as a main income venture, but to earn some pocket money etc. For now though, I’m planning on making a start selling the odd styled nursery tree so I bought a J.Chinensis ‘expansa variegata’ the other day and removed some of the roots, repotted at a better angle and gave it a styling with the intention of selling ASAP. The question is, how long would I have to wait for signs of recovery in order to be sure whomever bought it would receive a plant in good health?

View attachment 368897View attachment 368898
Usually a year, or at least until the new growing season has begun and the new growth has extended and hardened off.

There are two variables working here: One is the experience level of the grower/seller and the artist/enthusiast. Beginers in both categories tend to underestimate those things they should be more conservative about, and over estimate those things they should be more adventurous about. Meaning that sometimes trees are released to be sold that can only survive with advanced care and experience, or some trees are kept too long diminishing the windows for development out of cowardice in understanding the there are, or can never be, guarantees in the sale of a bonsai. The nature of the beast is too sensitive and dependent on skillfull care not directly related to the grower of said bonsai____most of the time.

Having said that it must also be understood that there are sadly unscrupulous vendors in the bonsai community that will gleefully sell you a tree freshly repotted with a drastic reduction of a root system just to get the tree in a pot, and generate a sale with little concern for survivability. Personally I wont sell a tree unles I have taken it through a growing season after it has been worked on. By the time I have a tree ready for sale as a bonsai I have usually developed an attachment for it and will let it go only grudgingly.------Usually.
 

penumbra

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I generally agree with the above comments but would make an exception for tropicals. I would have little concern with buying or selling many tropicals at any stage of development except potted yesterday.
 

Vance Wood

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I generally agree with the above comments but would make an exception for tropicals. I would have little concern with buying or selling many tropicals at any stage of development except potted yesterday.
You're right---about tropicals but the OP is from the UK and he posted a Chinese Juniper as an example of his work. Unless you have a green house dealing with tropicals become difficult due to space needed to grow in the quantities to make cultivation profitable. This is the ultimate goal in a comercial operation; quantity and repeatability. Watch MIRAI mondays sometimes and see how Ryan complains about the volume of his work while dealing with the uniqueness of his individual trees demanding individual care.
 

penumbra

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You're right---about tropicals but the OP is from the UK and he posted a Chinese Juniper as an example of his work
Yes, I am aware. My post is directed more toward all the other people reading this thread more than directly toward the op. I wouldn't want to omit this fact about tropicals such as ficus because there are a lot of people here that are neophytes.
I personally would not sell an outdoors bonsai unless it had been through a very good growing season. I would consider buying one at my own risk however, depending on species and other information I might consider relevant.
 

Mike Corazzi

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Be sure to check your INSURANCE before you start selling.
MOST ..... HOMEOWNER.
.... policies will exclude anything related to business activity.

Liability is your biggest hurdle.
 
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