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

Post by bodhidharma »

G'day to you HBK, An insightful and observant response and i thank you for it :clap:
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by MattA »

Hey Bodhi,

I do & dont agree with you.

When I first started out I wanted as many different types of tree possible, so inevitably ended up with a lot of poor sickly half dead chuckout nursery stock (all i could afford out of my meagre weekly pocket money earned doing chores round home) It did not discourage me, on the contrary, it gave me lots of experience getting them healthy!

A beginner can spend $100 or $1... no matter which tree they bought it is most likely going to die, so what is going to be more discouraging??? Losing a $100 tree that was super healthy or $1 tree that was already half dead....What a thrill to watch that half dead tree come back to life.. After all the experience i have built up by getting those half dead ones healthy again I have the confidence to tackle a more expensive piece of stock, using the knowledge learnt from that sick one and applying it to the better tree, I worry less about killing it & can therefore go further with the styling side.

Another aspect of all that practice with rubbish is, I know what to do to get a yamadori going strongly... If I had only ever bought good trees I would be at a loss with something that needs nursing!

Now I am not advising beginners to not buy good trees but to spread it around, get a couple of good pieces of stock so you can be working on them & actually see some quick (relative) progress towards becoming a bonsai and also buy those cheapies so you get lots of practice caring for plants ( and making them healthy in the process)

Bonsai is not just about styling, the greatest artist in the world isnt much good if they cant keep the tree alive!~

I think what Ron is trying to say is, most bonsai nurseries have the same dim view of beginners as many of the more experienced members here seem to have (they will just kill it so why sell them the GOOD stock) This does more damage than anything else.... it is no diff than the poor quality trees they sell to retailers like B*%%#@$... Yet most seem to think there is no problem with this disparate way of promoting our art!

True many of those trees bought from retailers rather than nurseries do not receive proper care while on sale in the stores but they were not good representatives of what bonsai truly are anyway and the pathetic care instructions provided its no wonder most of those trees are destined to die... Most people who buy from the likes of B*%%#@$ are doing so to give as a gift to people who really dont want to have to wade thru a million & one differing opinions on the multitude of sites & forums just to keep there one gifted tree alive...

My :2c: :2c: :2c: :2c: :2c: Thats 10c, the cost of one of my first trees and i still dont spend much more but have some great potensai amongst them and some dogs. Then again i am a bit different to most bonsai folks.. I dont want a bench full of great finished trees or even one semi finished tree.. i will stick with my dogs & yamadori that need another decade of dedicated care to bring to fruition, then I can move them on to those who just want to have finished trees & keep replacing them with dogs :lol:

Matt

Edit: spelling
Last edited by MattA on January 21st, 2011, 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by bodhidharma »

I, also, agree and disagree with you Matt. Firstly, why do we have this preconceived idea that we have to kill our first tree. It is like a right of passage. People coming into the Art of Bonsai armed with horticultural knowledge of say, gladiola growing, :cool: Are perfectly capable of keeping their first Bonsai alive. I am 100% supportive of people having cheaper trees to play with. What i am hoping to accomplish is that people know the difference between a healthy and unhealthy tree to promote better knowledge on this forum. HBK actually hit it on the head with his post. The quicker the person can tell the difference the quicker that persons knowledge will grow that is what benefits the Bonsai community as a whole
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by rowan »

Although this thread started as a guide to healthy vs unhealthy trees, a few other good points have been made. I certainly can't critisise anyone, let alone a beginner, for choosing unlikely or unhealthy plants as I still do it even now - doesn't everyone? It is fun to see what you can do with them and a challenge. Basically I agree with Matts post in this regard. :tu:

As a nursery owner I love beginners, even if they usually choose the crappiest and cheapest stock. They tend to ask questions and be willing to take advice, and as they learn they come back for better stock later. With loyal customers I get a thrill with them as I see them learning and choosing better each time they come back. If they want something expensive and more of a challenge that is fine but I like to encourage them to buy cheaper plants to learn on so they don't get disappointed. Some of my trees may be cheap but they are carefully chosen by me sometimes years before they are dug though. I could never sell the crap you see in shopping centres or Bunnings.
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by bodhidharma »

G'day to you Rowan, thanks for the input and, as a Nursery man myself, i agree. This thread is losing its point because somewhere, someone put 100 dollars compared to $1 dollar value. Money has not been mentioned in any of my comments. I said cheap and when i say that I would compare a ten dollar sick tree to a thirty dollar healthy tree a no contest. It is also not a healthy vs sick but a hope of a beginner recognizing a sick tree and avoiding it. Now if a beginner recognizes an unhealthy tree and sets about with purpose and skill to remedy it more power to them. It is the beginner who cannot tell the difference that i am targeting with this thread. These are the people i want to help..pure and simple.
Last edited by bodhidharma on January 21st, 2011, 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by MattA »

Hey Bodhi,

Your right, someone coming to the art of bonsai with some sort of knowledge of growing plants, or even keeping animals alive in an artificial environment are perfectly capable of buying there first tree & keeping it alive. Kudos to them, the reality is most beginners come to it with absolutely no prior experience or knowledge or do have lots but not with such small pots. Many don't even think about getting into it until they are given one... As we all know all too well, a bonsai can die in less than a day if not given the right care.

Case in point, Today I had to pick up a cupboard for a friend from one of those shops selling all sorts of genuine & replica antique asian furniture & artifacts etc. As i am prone to do i struck up a conversation with the shopkeeper & the conversation eventually ended up on Bonsai. She is a mad keen gardener and also has lots of pot plants, yet admitted to killing more than a few bonsai. As we talked about them she finally understood why they had died, noone had told her the amount of care and attention really needed, she waters the rest of her pots every other day so was miffed why her bonsai died... I explained i water daily & when its hot or windy twice & even 3 times a day in extreme heat or strong winds.. "AAAHHHHH :idea: thats what i was doing wrong :!: :!: :!: "

Not one retailer (several of whom are well respected bonsai nurseries) had told her about how to care for her purchases (even tho they were quite happy to take her money) & she gave up after losing several thousand dollars worth of trees over the course of a few years. She is a keen & confident gardener but no idea about the extra demands bonsai make on us their carers.

I think most beginners will realise there cheap stock is so because they are not healthy & need to be brought back to life. So then they post here & get the response HBK mentioned...and one we know all too well.

The hard part is picking what has potential and what doesnt, irrespective of the health of the tree...Would you say the pic attached has potential? Syzigium in a 30cm pot, sorry no pics of before its chop.
R0014822.JPG
It cost me $5 they were glad to be rid of it, the rest of the dozen or so similar sized trees did not have the same potential. If I had never bought those throw out trees in the early days I would be here posting pics of it in all its crappy glory asking for advice.

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

Post by MattA »

bodhidharma wrote:G'day to you Rowan, thanks for the input and, as a Nursery man myself, i agree. This thread is losing its point because somewhere, someone put 100 dollars compared to $1 dollar value. Money has not been mentioned in any of my comments. I said cheap and when i say that I would compare a ten dollar sick tree to a thirty dollar healthy tree a no contest. It is also not a healthy vs sick but a hope of a beginner recognizing a sick tree and avoiding it. Now if a beginner recognizes an unhealthy tree and sets about with purpose and skill to remedy it more power to them. It is the beginner who cannot tell the difference that i am targeting with this thread. These are the people i want to help..pure and simple.
Apologies Bodhi, it was i who bought dirty luka into the discussion & yes exagerated it to make my point.

As a 12yr old kid I would have been devastated to lose a $30 tree less so a $10 tree. My pocket money was $1/week.. thats alot of lawns, weeding, dishes etc to resave the extra $20 if it died.

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

Post by bodhidharma »

Ahh Matt, that is why i like ya. An honest man, in my book, is the salt of the earth or, for us, the nutrients in the Bonsai soil :tu: :tu: :tu: .
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by Pup »

bodhidharma wrote:G'day to you Rowan, thanks for the input and, as a Nursery man myself, i agree. This thread is losing its point because somewhere, someone put 100 dollars compared to $1 dollar value. Money has not been mentioned in any of my comments. I said cheap and when i say that I would compare a ten dollar sick tree to a thirty dollar healthy tree a no contest. It is also not a healthy vs sick but a hope of a beginner recognizing a sick tree and avoiding it. Now if a beginner recognizes an unhealthy tree and sets about with purpose and skill to remedy it more power to them. It is the beginner who cannot tell the difference that i am targeting with this thread. These are the people i want to help..pure and simple.
Bohdi this is a very good point. Healthy versus sick, we need our beginners to know this. I say beginners because as we progress though this maze of information that is available, we need to process it properly.
As in read the original reason a thread has been started, now having said that, all nurseries sell the bad stock if you want it. They also sell the healthy stock too.
Now if you know how to keep it alive fine, but if you don't.
Don't buy it is what Bohdi is trying to say. So in essence the right direction in the first place. I know if I had had this information I would have learned a lot quicker what is and what is not worthwhile. Thus I would have had, what I started Bonsai for, to produce a tree somewhere near what I see in the books.

So I thank you Bohdi, for trying to point our newbies, in the right direction, and repeat customers do prove a lot do they not.
:aussie: :imo: Pup, after 25plus years still learning. :fc:

Ps this was posted as another post was being, I appologise for any missunderstanding, by any one as no insult or injury was intended. Pup
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by bodhidharma »

They certainly do Pup and thanks for your input into this thread and help keeping it on the right track. God knows, these things can get lost in translation. Its very difficult to put your thoughts and passion onto a keyboard. But i do know, that people who know, can pierce to the heart of the message.
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by Pup »

In keeping with trying to help with healthy and good stock. If you have some one to help you then please take that advice.

In March of 2009 we had a nursery crawl. I did not need or in particular want any more trees or stock. I went along to help the newbies. I saw what I considered good healthy stock, a juniper procumbens nana, for the princely some of $30-00. I pointed this out to a newby with some insight as to what could be done with it.
Where by I was told I can get these 4 trees :!: :!: for $ 40-00 that's better.

He has since lost 2 of those trees, and has offered to buy my tree now, for $ 100-00 to which I said well, :tounge: I still have the tree.
Here it is.
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by bodhidharma »

Didnt the great John lennon sing something about ,Instant Karma's gonna get you.. I'll bet that person rues their Judgement on that particular day.
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by MattA »

Bodhi,

no point in not being honest... it just comes back to bite ya on the @*#%

I guess i didnt really make my point to well.. picking whats healthy or not (thats relatively easy even for a beginner, just compare to the full priced stock) The thing that takes the most to learn is seeing potential... I still generally only buy discard stock from nurseries, but I dont buy them because they are cheap but because they have some potential.

When I buy a good quality tree it is because it is something different eg viewtopic.php?f=6&t=7298 even to my eye there is little to recommend this tree as a possible bonsai subject, regardless of its obvious good health... And that is why I did pay full asking price.... the challenge of making something out of it. Buying a healthy tree with potential is the best way but not my way :palm:
bodhidharma wrote:Didnt the great John lennon sing something about ,Instant Karma's gonna get you.. I'll bet that person rues their Judgement on that particular day.
I would hope they learnt from it...

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

Post by Ron »

bodhidharma wrote:
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....
I hope you'll accept my apology if I gave you the impression that I thought your topic was negative. I certainly don't see it that way at all. It's good that someone like you takes the time to put together a tutorial.

Regards,
Ron ...
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Re: Are you new to Bonsai..Please read this.

Post by bodhidharma »

Ron wrote:
bodhidharma wrote:
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....
I hope you'll accept my apology if I gave you the impression that I thought your topic was negative. I certainly don't see it that way at all. It's good that someone like you takes the time to put together a tutorial.

Regards,
Ron ...
Ron, thank you for your gracious apology. I am, maybe, in the same boat as yourself in that what is in your mind and in your heart does not necessarily translate onto a computer screen as you would like it to. i turn 60 next month and am used to talking things out and solving misunderstandings verbally. Ahh, for the good old days :D
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