Major rain event - time to dig?

Discussions about propagating from cuttings, seeds, air layers etc. Going on a dig (Yamadori) or thinking of importing? Discuss how, when and where here.

Major rain event - time to dig?

Postby melbrackstone » November 30th, 2017, 6:20 pm

Should we all be out with our shovels with this heavy rain? I know my clay soils are near impossible to dig at any other time.... I have some large trees I need to take out of the ground some time, and I keep putting it off...

I guess I should make the most of the softer soil, what about you?
User avatar
melbrackstone
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
 
Posts: 1164
Joined: December 15th, 2015, 8:05 pm
Location: Brisbane
Favorite Species: Willow leaf fig
Bonsai Age: 5
Bonsai Club: Bonsai Society of Qld

Re: Major rain event - time to dig?

Postby shibui » November 30th, 2017, 7:28 pm

:imo: it is more about the species thanany immediate weather event. The rain will be gone in a few days and we will be back to hotter days before any collected trees have had time to establish new roots.

It is a good time to collect many Aussie natives. It is also a good time to dig Azaleas and olives. All these seem to appreciate having warmer weather to help grow new roots and, in my experience, just keep growing after root pruning at this time of year.
I have heard others suggest that cedars do well when root pruned in summer. There are probably other species too.

I would probably not be digging soft, deciduous species in summer unless there was no other option. You may have seen some of my experiments with root pruning small trident maples at this time of year. So far all of them have survived but only after dropping most leaves and sulking for a few weeks and up to a month. Would Japanese maples tolerate root pruning now, even with a drenching rain?
shibui
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
 
Posts: 4311
Images: 24
Joined: August 22nd, 2009, 8:41 pm
Location: Yackandandah
Favorite Species: trident maple
Bonsai Age: 33
Bonsai Club: Albury/Wodonga; BSV; Canberra; VNBC

Re: Major rain event - time to dig?

Postby melbrackstone » November 30th, 2017, 7:37 pm

Cheers shibui, I was looking at digging aussie natives....not a lot of soft deciduous planted in the ground up here... although I've got quite a few growing roots through their colanders!

I've got a large hibiscus,and one or two other hardy species that i suspect will transfer easily, especially if I can get them out of the ground without too much trauma. (To both them and me!)
User avatar
melbrackstone
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
 
Posts: 1164
Joined: December 15th, 2015, 8:05 pm
Location: Brisbane
Favorite Species: Willow leaf fig
Bonsai Age: 5
Bonsai Club: Bonsai Society of Qld

Re: Major rain event - time to dig?

Postby jarryd » November 30th, 2017, 10:03 pm

I hear a lot about repotting and collecting natives in summer but am not sold on the idea. Native trees are really not much different to any other tree in the world after all they are all just trees. And I have lost far more native material trialling this summer idea then is worth the effort.

I would stick to spring and autumn for collection and stay clear of this summer native business that is constantly being suggested, as I believe it is just a waste of good material. It may work if you have a great shade, misting and under root heating system but most people do not. Summer has the highest temperatures obviously which places the most stress on a tree with a compromised root system. It is not worth the risk in my opinion.

I am not directly contesting shibui's statements as he is a very respectable nursery man and grower (one of the best), but I imagine he has everything required to support a tree repotted in summer. Far safer to stick to cooler months.

perhaps other can chime in with opinions on the matter.
Last edited by jarryd on November 30th, 2017, 10:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
jarryd
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
 
Posts: 410
Joined: December 7th, 2008, 8:00 pm
Location: Collinsvale Tasmania
Favorite Species: Tasmanian Natives
Bonsai Age: 15
Bonsai Club: Bonsai Society of Southern Tasmania

Re: Major rain event - time to dig?

Postby Raging Bull » November 30th, 2017, 11:00 pm

Hi Jarryd & shibui,
I think both of you may have missed Mel's main point. Summer is the wet season up here and in the dry season(winter) it is often very difficult to dig trees because the clay, which we have here on the Gold Coast as well, is very difficult to dig when it's dry. In the main, our summers in S.E. Qld are not as extreme as many southern areas. We still have it quite warm, but more humid, not usually the over 35C temps you get in inland Vic and N.S.W. When we get a "rain event" like Mel mentions it's often a drop of 100 - 200 mm in a couple of days, making the soil nice and soft to dig. Anyway, that's my :2c: worth.
Cheers, Frank.
User avatar
Raging Bull
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
 
Posts: 146
Joined: January 3rd, 2017, 9:29 am
Location: Gold Coast Qld
Favorite Species: Any that survive
Bonsai Age:

Re: Major rain event - time to dig?

Postby jarryd » December 1st, 2017, 8:16 am

Hi Frank,

I grew up in Lismore, about 40-50 mins drive south of you on the gold coast. I grew bonsai there for over 10 years there and collected a lot of material in that time, so I have a feel for the climate. And yes you can risk digging if softer ground makes it easier on you in the summer.

... however there is also rain during the spring and autumn months and your survival rate will be much higher. Often it will only take one or two hot windy days and a freshly dug tree without a healthy root system to support itself to crisp up, even if it has sat in rain for the last week. A 35 degree day even if humid will certainly stress freshly collected trees. Then all your work digging has gone to waste anyway.

If you must dig at this time of year Mel due to availability (from demo sites etc) there are a few things that increase your chances. Many here will already know this but I will type it up in case there is anything here that may help.

Most species with the exception of some conifers like juniper, like a portion of foliage removed at collection, Make sure the roots are wrapped and moist after digging and try to get as many fine roots as possible, Soak in a seasol bath for a day, keep the tree in shade/out of wind and misting several times a day after potting up in a free draining mix. And if you have it, a heat mat under the tree to stimulate root growth. Collecting when the weather forecast suggests cooler days and rain for at least the next week (I can see a 32 degree day forecast for next Thursday in your area). Don't fertilise for at least 3 weeks minimum as this will also increase water loss through osmosis, and begin fertilising at half strength. All of these elements help to reduce the stress of the loss of the trees root system... and you may just manage to keep the tree alive.

But I still must suggest if you can avoid digging now even if the soil is softer due to a weather event and hold off until autumn, my opinion is that you will have better success. What Native species are you digging Mel?

Now I guess what I am most interested in is hearing about is others success/failure rates collecting natives during the summer months. The reason being it is common for people to suggest repotting and collecting native trees in the summer. My experience is that yes it can certainly be done but often there is a much higher mortality rate, or if the tree survives it had to endure a far higher stress level then was necessary.
Last edited by jarryd on December 1st, 2017, 8:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
jarryd
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
 
Posts: 410
Joined: December 7th, 2008, 8:00 pm
Location: Collinsvale Tasmania
Favorite Species: Tasmanian Natives
Bonsai Age: 15
Bonsai Club: Bonsai Society of Southern Tasmania

Re: Major rain event - time to dig?

Postby shibui » December 1st, 2017, 8:35 am

All well said Jarryd.
You are probably correct about spring and summer being better times to collect natives. Maybe I am unconsciously providing better conditions for plants collected in summer :lost: but it remains a fact that I can dig some trees (not only natives) right through summer and have reasonable prospect of survival. Maybe more research required rather than dismissing the idea out of hand?

I agree that plants are plants, no matter where they originate but I do believe there are differences between species and between plants from different regions. To make a point, It would be certain death to water my cacti twice a day in summer like I water my Japanese maples :shake: even though they are both 'plants'

I don't like to generalise and lump all Aussie plants into the same basket but I believe that a great many of the ones we grow do have similar needs. I have found that root pruning my banksias in the cooler months as I would most of the exotics really upsets them. Some have died as a result.
There are differences between Aussie natives and exotics and time of root pruning is definitely one.

Raging Bull: Even though I don't have the clay soils you talk of
it is often very difficult to dig trees because the clay, which we have here on the Gold Coast as well, is very difficult to dig when it's dry.
I cannot see the point of digging a plant just because it might be easy if there is little or no chance of it surviving the process :lost:
Collecting trees needs a number of aspects to get a good result - easy digging is just one of several important aspects to safe collecting. :tu:
shibui
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
 
Posts: 4311
Images: 24
Joined: August 22nd, 2009, 8:41 pm
Location: Yackandandah
Favorite Species: trident maple
Bonsai Age: 33
Bonsai Club: Albury/Wodonga; BSV; Canberra; VNBC

Re: Major rain event - time to dig?

Postby melbrackstone » December 1st, 2017, 8:42 am

Hi Frank, and Jarryd, Thanks for your input. Sorry, and shibui too...

I have a couple of trees that have been in the ground for many years, but the one I really want to try and save is a Jacksonia scoparia, that was damaged by heavy machinery recently, and knocked over and left for dead. It still has some roots in the ground, and appears to be still alive after a couple of weeks of rain. The soil it is in is dreadfully hard and will set like concrete again once it dries up.

I do have a good shaded area, and am able to mist it regularly, so I reckon I can give it a good chance to survive.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Last edited by melbrackstone on December 1st, 2017, 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
melbrackstone
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
 
Posts: 1164
Joined: December 15th, 2015, 8:05 pm
Location: Brisbane
Favorite Species: Willow leaf fig
Bonsai Age: 5
Bonsai Club: Bonsai Society of Qld

Re: Major rain event - time to dig?

Postby jarryd » December 1st, 2017, 8:49 am

Hey Shibui,

You are right I should not completely dismiss the idea, I am sure it is good for some species to collect/root prune in summer. I have found repotting banksia in the cooler months to be fine as long as they are not exposed to frosts afterwards, but I am interested to try some summer repotting if you think it is beneficial. I have just found it safer to go for spring repotting in particular when collecting. Are you root pruning or just slip potting? I am interested to hear which native species you have a preference for summer repotting, as I have a great respect for your horticultural abilities. Potting times and phosphorous sensitivities in native plants are of great interest to me.

I certainly understand there are nuances to our native species and I agree species specific treatment is necessary. I guess my statement of "plants being plants" is in reference to the constant lumping of native plants as this whole other category that need to be treated certain ways "i.e. native fertiliser and native potting mix". But again we use species from all over the world for bonsai and the basic requirements are all very similar. I do agree with your cacti analogy.

Mel in that case sounds like you have all bases covered, worth a shot. hopefully it will back bud for you.
Last edited by jarryd on December 1st, 2017, 11:47 am, edited 3 times in total.
User avatar
jarryd
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
 
Posts: 410
Joined: December 7th, 2008, 8:00 pm
Location: Collinsvale Tasmania
Favorite Species: Tasmanian Natives
Bonsai Age: 15
Bonsai Club: Bonsai Society of Southern Tasmania

Re: Major rain event - time to dig?

Postby melbrackstone » December 1st, 2017, 9:00 am

I do understand your reservations about the up-coming heat too, Jarryd, but *generally* the really foul heat doesn't hit til Feb around here, so I'm hoping that if I dig and try to get the plant established it'll be able to cope with the Feb/March high 30's..

I also live on top of a hill here, so we tend not to get the worst of it, plus have a number of different micro-climates set up around the house...

I'll definitely take your thoughts on board, ta.

I guess it won't hurt to trunk chop that broken trunk anyway, and see if it shoots again whilst still in the ground.... if I don't get the strength to try and dig, it might at least give it a chance to grow again...
User avatar
melbrackstone
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
 
Posts: 1164
Joined: December 15th, 2015, 8:05 pm
Location: Brisbane
Favorite Species: Willow leaf fig
Bonsai Age: 5
Bonsai Club: Bonsai Society of Qld

Re: Major rain event - time to dig?

Postby delisea » December 1st, 2017, 10:26 am

That is a great find. I would chop back some of the foliage to see if will sprout on bare wood, leaving some of foliage as a source of energy. If it sprouts I would then replace half the clay with bonsai soil then only dig it once you have fine feed roots in this soil - hopefully this autumn, probably next spring. This is a lot of work, but it will increase your chances of success. This is how I dig natives.

If it is in clay there will be no feeder roots near the trunk and I bet that it will die no mater when you dig it.

For me on in Coffs we are at the start of the rainy season and it is a good time to dig. But it is all about your local conditions. Lismore where Jarryd was from it is about 2C hotter making now a little marginal to dig.

Cheers,
Symon
delisea
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
 
Posts: 213
Joined: August 31st, 2014, 8:56 am
Location: Coffs Harbour
Bonsai Age: 1
Bonsai Club: Coffs Harbour

Re: Major rain event - time to dig?

Postby melbrackstone » December 1st, 2017, 10:41 am

Thanks Symon, I'm coming around to leaving it in the ground for now, with some pruning. (and hope that SEQEB doesn't come back and clear it away.)

It'll certainly be tough to dig once the soil dries, but as you say, there might not be any feeder roots at the mo anyway.

I might just do a bit of investigation and pruning in between the rain showers.... see what's what. :)
User avatar
melbrackstone
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
 
Posts: 1164
Joined: December 15th, 2015, 8:05 pm
Location: Brisbane
Favorite Species: Willow leaf fig
Bonsai Age: 5
Bonsai Club: Bonsai Society of Qld


Return to Propagation, Collecting and Importing

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No Members and 6 guests