Advanced Techniques > Advanced Collecting Discussion

To dig or not to dig?

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Leo in NE Illinois:
Just noticed this thread.

The tree with the simple leaves, and the alligator checked bark might be American Persimmon - Diospyros virginiana. The leaves are large, but will reduce, they make excellent bonsai for autumn or winter display, usually shown with fruit hanging. If this tree is female, it is definitely worth thinking about collecting. See whether it has fruit this autumn, Persimmon have separate male and female trees. The males have nice flowers in spring, but they are not very showy, and the leaves tend to be large so most prefer to use the female trees.

the pine in your last post is a bit large to collect, those epicormic sprouts near the base are not strong enough. They will not support the roots if you harvest without a couple years of prep work. If you want to harvest this tree, this year cut about half of the foliage off the top of the tree. Next year, cut the remainder of the upper foliage in half. This means that by the end of the summer of 2015 the upper part of the tree will be about 1/4 the mass it was. The epicormic sprouts should take off and grow the summers of 2015 and 2016. If they develop a lot of mass, you might be able to chop the top and dig the tree summer of 2017, but it may take to 2018 or later to have enough low foliage to support the roots.

Make sure when you chop the top back in 2014 and 2015 you leave a healthy branch on each side of the trunk to keep as many of the sap lines active and roots all around active. There tends to be a branch to root connection in pines, so you want one branches all around the trunk still viable to support roots all around the trunk. Cut too much on one side only and you can loose half the root system, and have a trunk dead on one side.

Looks like it might be virginia pine or pitch pine, they are both noted for being able to bud back on old wood, like your photo. Could be short needle pine too. They are all closely related.

I'm not sure I would be willing to do the work to collect this, but if you take the time, it could be done.

Leo in NE Illinois:
By the way, I actually like the irregular placement of trunks of the azalea as it currently is better than the trunk placement you have in your drawing. Of your recent collections this azalea will become the most "show worthy" the quickest of the bunch.

You can thicken the trunks of the azalea at different rates - to get more variation in size of trunks by allowing the trunks you want to thicken carry more foliage - extra "sacrifice" branches. The more foliage a trunk supports the quicker it will thicken. Later once you have the differences in size you want you can thin out the amount of branches and foliage.

Do I have it right Owen?, you know more about azaleas than I, please chime in if I have it wrong. Also about the others too.

Pine with epicormic sprouts needs no grafting.  If able to collect with survivable root system.  Blank mind cannot remember species but should be great Bonsai subject on its own.  On second thought believe is Pinus resinosa/ Pitch Pine ;).


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