Advanced Techniques > Advanced Collecting Discussion

What is your ideal aftercare set up look like?

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This is a long question, feel free to only answer what you would like and be as short or in detail as you would like. As with anything in Bonsai there are tons of different opinions on aftercare, hopefully this can generate some new ideas and show what others are doing. Please share any experiences you’ve had both positive and negative with aftercare situations.

What is the ultimate aftercare situation for collected conifers within a realistic price range and why? Let’s say you have $3,000 you could spend if needed on everything. However you’d rather save than spend if possible.

Some points to touch on:

1. Structure-What type of environment would you create for the trees to be in? Greenhouse, shade structure, full sun/partial shade, no structure? What materials would you use and why? What temperatures are ideal inside your structure? If out on your bench-shade, partial shade or full sun? What else would you need in a greenhouse-fans, pest/disease control?

2. Misting & Watering-What would you use? How would your system be set up? Would most of this be done by hand or on a timer? What type of environment are you trying to set up? How much humidity or moisture is ideal? What type of temperatures would be ideal? For how long and what frequency would you mist?

3. Soil and Container-What type and particle size would you use? Would you custom make a box, use a plastic pot, air pruning pot? What size container is ideal compared with the root ball? What else is important to consider?

4. Initial Potting-How do you handle the root ball? Do you completely or partially bare root? Do you comb out any roots or rinse with a hose? How do you tie the tree down? Do you soak the roots in something before potting? What else?

5. What else?-Is there anything else you might use? Bottom heat, humidifiers, cold frames, mulch beds, magic dust, etc? Why would this thing be beneficial?

Well, this is going to be a difficult question to answer.  Since conifers are widely different, their collection and aftercare are going to be quite different. 

For instance, I collect Coast Redwoods, that need no aftercare at all.  I dig them up with no roots and trunk chop usually below any foliage and throw them in a pot with my bonsai mix.  After care is smile at them when they push growth all over the place.

- bob

Owen Reich:
Sounds like you need to carry tools and do the grunt work for a yamadori collector.....  ;D.  I do not understand the weather in California at all; or the conifers you'd likely be collecting.  I have collected Juniperus virginiana many times successfully from railroad tracks and placed in a mist house used for rooting cuttings.  Metal frame, double layer inflated poly. The house had 60% shade cloth, automated exhaust and intake for temperature control, and a mist system (4 differerent ones actually).  I placed my trees next to a mist zone and left them there for two weeks. Then moved them to an open-ended 40% shade hoop house for a few more weeks before placing in full sun.

I've heard you should put the trees in full sun right away and also heard to put them in deep shade......  Those two individuals never had a high success rare for J. virginiana.  It seems to me that different species require different aftercare, media, etc.

I used to bring a rare plant or 6-pack of high-end beer to nursery people that I wanted to learn something from back in the day.  Jack Daniels works in Japan.  Anything you get from an Internet forum will likely be incomplete including from me as there are lots of little details.

Thanks for your reply's some good feedback.  On this same topic, does anyone know of a good timer which can water for less than 1 minute?  I'm talking about the battery powered one's that connect directly to your hose.  Currently I can only mist my newly collected trees for 1 minute every 4 hours with my timer.  I would prefer something like 10-20 seconds every 1-3 hours if possible. 

I've tried drip works and ebay already, but they don't have anything I can find.

Owen Reich:

These are not cheap, but the only thing I 100% trust.  Make sure it is a model with the minutes / seconds feature.  Another good thing about Sterling is, the service line is manned by the guy who wrote the program  ;D.  He helped me set up a 12 zone multiple stage mist program on speaker phone once.   Anyway, I'd suggest a dedicated water line and a good controller.  That may be a nightmare in CA though.  Once you have a solid system, you can grow or stabilize whatever you want. 


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