Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Share your success stories about defoliation, bare rooting and anything else relating to maintaining healthy bonsai.
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bodhidharma
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Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by bodhidharma »

O.K, I want to be especially sure for newby's to Bonsai to..1) not be offended by this post..and 2) take this info in the helpful manner in which it is intended. Of late i have noticed trees being posted in the, "advice required for this tree" and the trees have no redeeming features and are very,very unhealthy. They had one theme in common, they were cheap. The reason they were cheap is because the nursery wanted to be rid of them! So, we need to learn that when buying our first pride and joy, we need to know what is a healthy tree and what is not a healthy tree. I will post a picture of a healthy tree and an unhealthy one so you can develop an eye for a potential Bonsai.

BASIC RULES.
1) the foliage must be vibrant and radiating health.
2) it must have lower branching and that branching must also be healthy.
3) it should be of a type conducive to good bonsai material e.g Maples.
These are three basic rules set in stone that must be followed to the letter. If someone more learned than myself feels they can add to this, feel free to do so. Bonsai is not about scoring a cheap tree and hopefully turning it into a showpiece, it is about developing an eye, or sense, for a potential good tree. How do i know this, i made the same mistakes and am now trying to save you some grief that i experienced. :palm: learn and study a little before you purchase. :tu: Than, be informed when you purchase. Please, take this information in the manner in which it is intended..benefiting the beginner.
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by Chris Sirre »

Hi Bodhi,

I totally agree with you! Starting with bad material will give you a bad tree. That's why we are maybe a little bit more expensive than other nurseries but we have great quality stock. It's sad to see that Australians are struggling to see that while the Vietnamese, Chinese,etc do see that we have great stock and keep coming back to buy. Is it just in their culture? Do they have the money available? Is it their skill level?
And I do admit that we have some stock that we want to get rid off and is priced very cheap (starting at $1). But what I normally tell people to do with that stock is to put it in the garden and dig it up in 4-5 years time and you might have a good tree to turn it into a bonsai.
Ofcourse we can only spent what we can afford but maybe save up it bit more to but that better stock.
I'm interested in to see what the feedback is on this. Like Bodhi, I have no intention to offend anyone so if I did please accept my appologies.

Cheers,

Chris
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by Scott Roxburgh »

I agree.

I have a garden full of poor stock that I bought years ago after reading that 'bargains' can be had in the discount bin at regular nurseries. :evil:

I think my time could be better spent working on my good trees, rather than trying to keep these alive :!:

Half of these trees will be going into the ground for landscape trees and the other half I plan to take to a club meeting and offer to beginners.

Although I do think all bonsai-ists go through a stage of the 'one-of-everything-syndrome' I know I did, but I have since seen the light.
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by paddles »

Scott Roxburgh wrote:I agree.

I have a garden full of poor stock that I bought years ago after reading that 'bargains' can be had in the discount bin at regular nurseries. :evil:

I think my time could be better spent working on my good trees, rather than trying to keep these alive :!:

Half of these trees will be going into the ground for landscape trees and the other half I plan to take to a club meeting and offer to beginners.

Although I do think all bonsai-ists go through a stage of the 'one-of-everything-syndrome' I know I did, but I have since seen the light.

I think every beginner goes through this stage. I (several years ago) decided that I would be better to keep only a few relatively good trees (the ones "I" liked) that I could keep alive and work on myself.. so any pines that were still alive went, and recently I had a massive cull and got rid of all the ???? stock, keeping only a few. It takes many beginners years to accept what quality they can achieve (some turn brilliant, some never will) and the number of trees that they have the time and inclination to keep. (and keep well)

In my opinion, it is better to have 3 good trees, than 100 poor trees..... :imo: ( and by good trees, I mean trees that we are happy to own.... )
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by bodhidharma »

All very true Scott and Paddles :yes: What i am trying to impress on future tree buyers is the difference between a healthy or unhealthy tree let alone a potential Bonsai. At least if the tree is healthy it will still reward you with a glow that unhealthy trees do not have. Also, if the tree does need a radical makeover to bring out its potential then it should be healthy to survive the ordeal. The first mistake that i am noticing is that the trees being presented for advice have no vitality. If we can change that perception here on A.b it might inspire future Bonsai'ist's to persist instead of throwing it in if the first tree dies. I here that story every week, endlessly, from visitors to my place.
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by Benji1980 »

I for one and extremely greatful for this post. As a newbie (zero plants still at this stage, looking to purchase some shortly), it was good to receive this tip, and spend a few more dollars on a couple of plants instead of getting 5 or 6 'maybes' that I won;t be able to do anything with in the short term anyway.
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by StrangeAttractor »

Just the kind of post I need to be reading, thanks guys :)
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by Ron »

(I'm not including plants bought at general nurseries here.)

As I've said before on this forum, professional bonsai nurseries have a lot to answer for when it comes to beginners having poor stock (a lot of rubbish no better, actually in many cases a lot worse, than you get at a local nursery for a lot cheaper).

I realise they're in business, but until they treat newcomers with the same level of professionalism as they do advanced bonsaiists (who in reality probably contribute very little financially to the nurseries' financial health), and not just sell for the sake of sales, I think the advancement of Australian bonsai will continue to be retarded and current aging hobbyists will die off with very little new blood (read younger people) coming through (look around your club - how many members aged under 30 are there?).

A lot of beginners follow the advice of 'old-timers' and buy their bonsai stock from bonsai nurseries. Then they're still likely to be told later they've bought junk plants.

I still think beginners need to be encouraged at the beginning, not dumped on with negative criticism. If it's absolutely necessary to give negative advice, then it should be done in a sensitive and constructive way.

It won't take long for beginners to learn by seeing - from this forum, from their club etc. - just what is reasonable potensai (I think I understand the meaning of that). It's a better way than having them hit with negative attitudes right from the start and turning them off the hobby right at the start.

Ron ...

/end Image
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by makro »

Thanks for posting this Bodhidharma . I am a newbie and must say that I would pick up plants that were really cheap, but this has meant that I have quite a few cheaps plants that maynot ever become a bonsai, but I still need to keep maintainingg/growing it in the hope that it may.... and this could be heartbreaking/tiresome if it doesnt come through...

In the long terms this is slowing down my progress as a bonsai-ist!
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by bodhidharma »

Ron wrote:(I'm not including plants bought at general nurseries here.)

As I've said before on this forum, professional bonsai nurseries have a lot to answer for when it comes to beginners having poor stock (a lot of rubbish no better, actually in many cases a lot worse, than you get at a local nursery for a lot cheaper).

I realise they're in business, but until they treat newcomers with the same level of professionalism as they do advanced bonsaiists (who in reality probably contribute very little financially to the nurseries' financial health), and not just sell for the sake of sales, I think the advancement of Australian bonsai will continue to be retarded and current aging hobbyists will die off with very little new blood (read younger people) coming through (look around your club - how many members aged under 30 are there?).

A lot of beginners follow the advice of 'old-timers' and buy their bonsai stock from bonsai nurseries. Then they're still likely to be told later they've bought junk plants.

I still think beginners need to be encouraged at the beginning, not dumped on with negative criticism. If it's absolutely necessary to give negative advice, then it should be done in a sensitive and constructive way.

It won't take long for beginners to learn by seeing - from this forum, from their club etc. - just what is reasonable potensai (I think I understand the meaning of that). It's a better way than having them hit with negative attitudes right from the start and turning them off the hobby right at the start.

Ron ...

/end Image
I am not sure if i understand your point of view here Ron. Are you saying this is a negative post :?: :?: :?: If you think it is then i apologize that it is construed by yourself that way. I see it as a positive thing to advise newcomers to understand what, and what not, a healthy tree is. This will enhance their experience into Bonsai. Also, in the long run it will save them a stack of money. On the point of young people into Bonsai, we at the Goldfields Bonsai society have people as young as 10 participating in our group and not just a couple. I personally have Bonsai enthusiasts (one is nine) coming back to me as regular visitors to learn about repotting etc. It sounds to me that you have not had a positive experience with some of the nursery's in your area but please, do not tar every body with the same brush. That will only serve to promote negativity throughout the community when the experience should be positive.
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by Stewart_Toowoomba »

As a newer enthusiasist, i am really pleased to be a part of the wider fellowship of our hobby (obsession) via internet ..... investigating information about specific plants, techniques and tips and hearing from people from around the country. From my point of view, this internet experience compliments the fantastic opportunities that await me from actually attending a local meeting of fellow enthusiasts... rolling up my sleeves, lugging a few plants along and being courageous enough to ask for advice or help. We learn by doing! I hope this message may prompt other newbies out there to visit (and persist with...) their local bonsai clubs, get to know some local people and build some relationships. Don't worry... they're all just as weird as you are! :P
Cheers and happy snipping
Last edited by Stewart_Toowoomba on January 21st, 2011, 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by bodhidharma »

Stewart_Toowoomba wrote:As a newer enthusiasist, i am really pleased to be a part of the wider fellowship of our hobby (obsession) via internet ..... investigating information about specific plants, techniques and tips and hearing from people from around the country. From my point of view, this internet experience compliments the fantastic opportunities that await me from actually attending a local meeting of fellow enthusiasts... rolling up my sleeves, lugging a few plants along and being courageous enough to ask for advice or help. We learn by doing! I hope this message may prompt other newbies out there to visit (and persist with...) their local bonsai clubs, get to know some local people and build some relationships. Don't worry... they're all just as weird as you are! :P
Cheers and happy snipping

That is excellent and common sense advise Stewart.
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by LLK »

Bodhi, this thread is partiicularly interesting in relation to "Junipers for beginners" in the Bonsai Cafe.
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by bodhidharma »

Thanks for pointing that out Lisa :tu2: You are correct, these two threads correspond to each other perfectly.
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by hbk13007 »

Hi all,

I would agree wholeheartedly your original post Bodhi and Stu. I guess some of us I have the benefit of being patient by nature (virtue which would be pretty important I would have thought!!), added to which I bit of a book worm who enjoys the process of reseraching, learning and observing as much as the 'doing' itself. :reading:

Consequently, I have found the Aubonsai site a fantastic resource. I too enjoy following all the various threads posted as I always find them useful. I guess there are folk out there who just enjoy leaping in the deep end. This inevitably leads to the situation where posts, questions, threads etc are started which quite frankly, quite painful too read, much less responded to in a similar vain time and time and time again (and I'm only new to the forum!!). Is it just me, or do others feel that same 'oh here we go again' when a post sits and sits and sits without a response until it appears somebody finally caves in and responds!?!!??

I personally have already found this quite exasperating so I think your advice, though direct is much needed and hits the nail on the head!! :tu:

Just my :2c: . As I said, I find the advice and information here freakin' awesome and after several months I still find myself trolling through various indexes and threads in search of inspriation and edification!!
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