Growing pot to Bonsai pot?

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Growing pot to Bonsai pot?

Postby Reklaw » December 2nd, 2018, 4:18 pm

Afternoon Team,

I've reached a point with a tree that i'd like to look at getting into a Bonsai pot. With all the valuable information contributed by members on here, i struggled to find any discussion on the topic!

I would assume it should be done progressively through root reduction at appropriate climatic times whilst proportionately reducing pot size? Or, if done carefully with the appropriate aftercare, could it go from a grow pot into a bonsai pot? Is it a simple process and I'm just overthinking it?

The tree in question is a Juniper. I'm currently at work so apologise for no photos.

Appreciate the feedback.

Andrew.
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Re: Growing pot to Bonsai pot?

Postby shibui » December 2nd, 2018, 8:13 pm

I'd generally do the root reduction in one go but that will depend on the species and the amount it needs to be reduced. Many people are amazed at how much root reduction a tree can tolerate. The J. chinensis that I work with can have quite a lot of roots removed when moving from a grow pot to a final display pot.
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Re: Growing pot to Bonsai pot?

Postby Reklaw » December 3rd, 2018, 5:56 pm

113 looks and 1 reply; guess I am over thinking it!

Thanks for your input Shibui. Would you recommend doing only the root reduction or could a few branches be removed at the same time?
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Re: Growing pot to Bonsai pot?

Postby TimS » December 3rd, 2018, 7:06 pm

Up to you really as to when you decide the tree should be in a bonsai pot vs a grow pot/box, though restricting the available space for roots to grow in a small bonsai pot will also slow down how quickly the tree develops compared to a grow box or larger pot. Also things like the health of the tree and what you can realistically maintain it in may influence your choice of what pot to go with.

I mainly grow deciduous species and avoid junipers as those with needles give me a rash so shibui is better placed to advise of amount of roots to remove from juniper in one go on them than i am.

My choices are sometimes made on what pots or boxes i have available at the time rather than finding the 'perfect' pot for the tree. As a result i have some young material in bonsai pots that don't really need to be in bonsai pots, while i have some old and developed trees in grow boxes or overly large pots that people might look at and wonder why i haven't got them in a nice pot when i have young stock in bonsai pots. At the moment i have a young wisteria in a bonsai pot purely because i didn't have much to choose from in a size suitable for the tree at the time, while on the bench in front of it i have an far older, larger and far more developed Cedar in a grow box; again because the pot i got it in was a little too small and the next size up pot i had free was a large oval that would have looked ridiculous for this tree as it is for a large forest planting.

Don't overthink it but consider the basics instead:
Where is the tree is at development wise? Are you trying to grow a pencil thickness cutting to be as thick as your arm? If so a bonsai pot now is premature. If you are largely happy with the fundamentals of the tree then sure, a bonsai pot is a natural next step.

How much care can you give the tree during the extremes of weather? Do you work from home or are at home most of the day? Are you able to react to the tree's needs consantly? Or like the majority, do you work away from home and are away for the large portion in the heat of day? If you are able to give constant care then you could potentially look at going shallower/ smaller than if you are away from home and the tree needs a deeper and wider pot to have a larger water reserve to tide it over until you are home to care for it.

What look are you going for with the tree? Things like the style of the tree, features you want to show off etc might help you narrow down what pot is best suited to the tree. A cascade needs a taller pot to drop the braches off the side of, an informal upright or literati with soft movement might feel better in an oval, while a powerful trunk would benefit from a more solid squared off pot. These are not hard and fast rules of course, and there is always an element of what looks good to you that will factor in beyond simply 'this style usually looks good in this pot.'
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Re: Growing pot to Bonsai pot?

Postby Reklaw » December 3rd, 2018, 7:43 pm

Hi TimS,

Thanks for the reply and appreciate the comments. Im after the procedure/techniques of moving from a growing pot to a display pot. :yes:
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Re: Growing pot to Bonsai pot?

Postby wrcmad » December 3rd, 2018, 8:03 pm

Reklaw wrote:113 looks and 1 reply; guess I am over thinking it!


OK, you guilted me into a response. :tounge:
As Shibui said, it depends on the species and the amount of root reduction neccessary.

I am of the opinion that if possible, it should be done in one go. The reasoning for this (as explained to me) is really quite logical. In a grow container, the tree will never have more stored energy available for the recovery process after root reduction. Gradually reducing the pot size will gradually reduce the availability of stored energy of the tree (the purpose of small pots in bonsai). As the pot size becomes smaller, the energy available to recover from successive workings into a smaller pot also becomes smaller. So the potential risk of adverse effects on the tree is lowest if done in one foul swoop.

From my own experience, preparation of a tree in a training pot goes hand in hand with preparation of the roots, so a lot of the time there will be no real problem doing it in one go. However, sometimes this just simply isn't possible - especially for collected or ground grown trees with some large, thick, rogue roots. I have one tree that I had to successively reduce thick roots for 3 consecutive seasons using a chainsaw, regrowing roots closer to the base in stages. Had I cut the roots down in one go, there would have been no roots left for the tree to recover with.

Also, species should be a consideration. Removal of most of the roots is no problem with such species as a trident, chinese elm, or fig, for example. However, you would not treat a pine like this.

And it goes without saying, only ever do it at the horteculturally appropriate time to give you the best chance of success.
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Re: Growing pot to Bonsai pot?

Postby TimS » December 4th, 2018, 1:11 pm

Procedure wise; get your timing right horticulturally to work on the roots and taking 30% of total rootmass off in one go should be tolerable for the tree. More than that on a juniper i would avoid but as I said earlier I’m no juniper guru by any stretch of the imagination. Other than than you can use wire to hold the tree in the pot initially if it’s unstsble.

With fresh soil in you’ll find it dries quicker than I did before just simply being more open than older broken down mix so you may need to put it in a more protected position and water more frequently until the roots have started to fill out into the pot again. Maybe using a fish emulsion or similar soil conditioner could assist the roots in establishing in the new pot
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Re: Growing pot to Bonsai pot?

Postby shibui » December 5th, 2018, 6:22 pm

I base a lot of my experience on removing trees from the grow beds where they have had free growth of both roots and tops for up to 5 years. When I dig I also prune plenty off the tops and reduce the roots quite dramatically - hard to give a % because you don't get to see all the roots in the ground but I'd guess well over half the total roots. I have lost a couple but the vast majority do survive this treatment so I guess it will also work for transfer from grow pots to smaller bonsai pots.
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Re: Growing pot to Bonsai pot?

Postby Reklaw » December 9th, 2018, 1:44 pm

Thank you all for the information. Much appreciated.

Just for interest sake here is the tree in question. It stands 450mm high (base of trunk to tip of tree) and the trunk is a little over an inch wide.

1.1.jpg


2.2.jpg


3.3.jpg


5.5.jpg


I think i may have missed the boat climatically to do any drastic work with it?
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