Author Topic: Wintering Princess Persimmon in zone 6b  (Read 20465 times)

tanlu

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Wintering Princess Persimmon in zone 6b
« on: February 14, 2012, 09:38 AM »
Hi everyone,

I just purchased a male and female princess persimmons from Julian Adams. He said to repot them asap, as they tend to come out of dormancy quite early and were both severely pot-bound. They both had some dead roots, but upper growth seemed quite vigorous.

As for wintering, Julian leaves all his p. persimmon outside mulched together, but he wasn't confident that would work north of his area (central VA). I'm wondering if leaving them in the basement as a post-repotting treatment, where it's always about 46F, is a good idea? Should I be worried about fungus?

They are still pre-bonsai that I intend to thicken up a little bit, but already look pretty nice to me. I'll take photos tomorrow.

Does anyone have experience with or comprehensive bonsai care info on Princess Persimmons?

Your info would be most helpful!!!!

T
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Wintering Princess Persimmon in zone 6b
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2012, 10:52 PM »
I kept my princess persimmons (about 20) in an unheated coldframe for years (4).  A few years back, I left half outside over winter and they were fine in Nashville.  They were in one-gallon nursery pots and not old.  Mulching in sounds like a safe bet though.  Bill Valvanis has better experience up there.  Kaki rootmasses often have a mix of black and white roots; this is common here in Japan.  Their root systems are coarse like Gingko.  We use blended mix for them (kind of like Boon's mix).  Ours is Aoki blend.  We repot as the buds swell.  We prune in late spring after the flush extends as we want long, thin, and graceful cascading branches.  We also fertilize and water like crazy in Spring and summer but pull off after fruit set.  Fall fertilizer will cause the fruit to mature quickly and also drop quickly.  This goes for all fruiting bonsai as a general rule of thumb.   
 

tanlu

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Re: Wintering Princess Persimmon in zone 6b
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2012, 11:52 AM »
Hi Owen,

I'm glad you replied to this. I've enjoyed watching your youtube videos and looking forward to your next one! This winter has been unusually mild here in New York so I'm leaving them outside for now. When I repotted them I didn't see any white roots, but lots of crumbly dead ones that fell off. The buds were already green at the base, which seemed to be a good indicator that it was the right time. I don't really have access to affordable bonsai soil here, so the only "bonsai soil" I use is high-fired moltan clay particles I purchased at Advanced Auto Parts. My pines love it, but I've never actually used 100% on deciduous trees. I guess I can incorporate some organic matter with organic fertilizer? I use miracid on my pines, but I'm not sure if princess persimmons like acidic soil.


 
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Wintering Princess Persimmon in zone 6b
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2012, 11:02 PM »
That media is ok I suppose as long as you monitor well for adequate moisture.  We water our persimmon here a lot but I've heard they like to fry dry out between waterings in Spring and Fall.  Kaki aren't acid loving like say satsuki or blueberry.  I'd use something general.  I've been filming a lot and will release a bunch in a month or so.  I don't really use organic matter in my mixes any more although I did use composted peat in the past; composted pine bark for rough stock as it was free.
 

tanlu

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Re: Wintering Princess Persimmon in zone 6b
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2012, 01:08 AM »
It sounds like they like to be watered like pre-bonsai JWP. I read in an interview that Walter Pall uses chicken manure and and average chem fertilizer he purchases at local garden stores. Can you recommend any organic material to incorporate into my soil that's readily available in the States? Blueberry sounds like my next bonsai project. I'm looking forward to your next videos. I would like to see some progressions or pines, deciduous, and if possible, princess persimmon ;)
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Wintering Princess Persimmon in zone 6b
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2012, 07:37 AM »
When was in the wholesale nursery biz, we used composted pine bark (not fresh), milled peanut hulls (there's a product called Biocomp that has them in there, composted black peat moss, and occasionally Douglas fir chips and bark.  The latter is popular in Oregon and we sometimes recycled it for really big trees.  Some people use composted leaves.  The important thing is that whatever you use doesn't prevent your pots from draining properly.  I always preferred black peat moss for Japanese maples and other deciduous trees (say 30% max and the rest inorganics). 

Walter also said "my neighbors hate me".... 
Try making your own fertilizer cakes (recipe in another thread) or liquified sea kelp.  I'm sold on organic fertilizers for bonsai that are past the rough styling stage.  You get bigger leaves and thicker branches with inorganics which leads to clunky branches and a stiff silhouette especially on deciduous trees.  That just my opinion. 

As for progressions on the mentioned trees, we are basically told what our projects are although we can request to learn about a  given species and eventually work on some.  There will definitely be more deciduous work filmed this year as we started the series after all our yearly Spring work was almost done.  The real problem with deciduous tree progressions is they take years.  We'll wire some though. 
 

Chrisl

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Re: Wintering Princess Persimmon in zone 6b
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2012, 11:56 AM »
Hi Owen.  There was a recent discussion about the bioavailability of organic ferts in inorganic soil.  Some were saying there's not microbes in inorganic soil, and when you use cakes for instance, it takes months to build up the microbes to breakdown the cakes and therefore are inefficient.  What are your thoughts here.

And I too love your videos and look forward to seeing more!
Thanks,
Chris
 

bwaynef

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Re: Wintering Princess Persimmon in zone 6b
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2012, 06:53 PM »
Have you seen Pines that've come out of Boon's mix?  He recommends using organic cakes (almost exclusively?) with pines because you're able to regulate the timing as well as the amount (if I'm understanding correctly).  The trees are COVERED in Mycorrhiza in 2 years, and I believe I've seen pictures of trees repotted in only one that looked just as convincing.
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Wintering Princess Persimmon in zone 6b
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2012, 10:38 PM »
Thanks, we enjoy making the videos a lot  :D.  As for bioavailability of organic nutrients in an inorganic mix, the roots are what absorbs the nutrients.  Unless you dunk your trees in bleach or put them in a chamber full of methyl bromide, there will be microbes present on the tree's trunk, roots, old soil etc.  There is a delay in effient adsorption of nutrients right after repotting but that's the tree not the soil.  We do not fertilize newly repotted trees for about 2 months.  Trees have nutrient reserves in their tissue in the interim.  Sure, a little organic matter mixed in might be nice but I've seen trees here at Kouka-en that have been in akadama for decades and are very happy living on fertilizer cakes.  We drench with an inorganic about every 2-3 weeks for some species that are heavy feeders and I've campaigned sucessfully for a trace element liquid feed for everything  ;D.   

The cakes biodegrade rapidly from their solid form although do not decompose per se into microscopic particles.  If you've ever heard of compost tea or other organic fertilizers, the cakes release nutrients slowly when the water hits them in small doses.  I am a believer in fertilizer cakes as you can add more, quickly remove them, etc.  They are also nice to toss into the garden after their stay in the bonsai pots is done.  I agree with Boon about black pines.  We time our removal and addition of cakes here as well.
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Wintering Princess Persimmon in zone 6b
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2012, 10:48 PM »
Sorry, yes microbial populations do take time to rebuild but their life / division cycles are quite fast.  My feeling is, if the trees don't get stressed, keep doing it  :).  If trees start dying, rethink your strategy. 
 

tanlu

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Re: Wintering Princess Persimmon in zone 6b
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2012, 10:56 PM »
Pines take up most of my humble collection, and I leave out all organics from their soil in exchange for maximum drainage, which they seem to benefit from. Owen, I think you made a good point about using organics mainly for "finished" material, and I have nothing of the sort. Also, I'm going out on a limb here and assuming most of Boon's trees are in that refinement stage, and are already in bonsai pots. I think the argument about organic vs chemical shouldn't be about which is healthier for the tree, but rather which is more appropriate in its current stage of development.

I've repotted pines that only received chemical fertilizer that had tones of the white fungi covering their roots. I think mycorrhiza colonization will happen on its own with or without our help. Brent Waltson said it in one of his articles that the plant doesn't care whether it's fertilizer is chemical or organic. It just takes what it needs. However, I may go organic and chemical on my princess persimmons mainly as a way of putting organic material into the soil to retain moisture, but not with my pines. I find they do just fine with good old fashion chemicals  :)
 

Chrisl

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Re: Wintering Princess Persimmon in zone 6b
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2012, 07:30 PM »
Thanks bwaynef and Owen!  Good to hear the quick bioavailabilty of organics.  Good explanations!

But I was thinking the same thing as tanlu after reading your posts.  Wondered if organics are for finished trees only?  Boons trees from what I've seen certainly are finished.  On the other hand, I'm not so sure if it makes a difference or not... What's your thoughts on this Owen?

 

Owen Reich

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Re: Wintering Princess Persimmon in zone 6b
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2012, 10:39 PM »
To reiterate a point earlier in the thread, inorganic fertilizers are generally powerful and cause new leaves to be bigger on deciduous and or broadleaf trees or can make the needles longer on pines.  A really strong flush of growth on any bonsai will cause thicker stems and "clunky" branches.  I've been at a loss up until recently as all I've had in Japan is an iPod touch and no photo management software.  I have access to a laptop now so will start posting photos for better explanations. 

While bonsai creation and refinement is a longterm process, people everywhere want their trees "ready" asap.  One of the many reasons good bonsai in Japan have such soft branch silhouettes and delicate branch structure is the use of organic fertilizer.  Slow steady growth over years is better than pouring on the Miracle Grow year round.  I think using both is a good idea and each species will respond to different fertilization practices.  Learning your tree's seasonal needs and limits is important as well timed cultural practices will make your trees "ready" faster.  I do not think organics are just for finished trees.  Inorganic fertilizers are essentially concentrated salts.  Cakes are a hell of a lot easier to apply than figuring ratios and worrying about dropping the pH of your soil environment too much; I used to knock fertilizer cakes as I did not understand their merits  :'( 

This thread was started because someone did the right thing and asked to get the low-down on a new species they were unfamiliar with.  This is crucial for success.  The next step in my opinion would be looking into common styles for the species, aesthetics for branch placement, and future pot selection. 
 

tanlu

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Re: Wintering Princess Persimmon in zone 6b
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2012, 01:58 AM »
Owen,

Your reply was quite informative. I won't argue that organics are great for the plants' health and overall finished look of bonsai, but I'm not sure how helpful they are when most of my material is pre-pre-bonsai, and are in need of trunk thickening. I like the overall shape of my persimmons, but they need to thicken up their lower trunks to at least an inch, and I'm thinking to use both organic and chem fertilizers to achieve that in 3 years. Would you say that a combination of chem and organics should be used for developing young material? Does Kouka-en have material they have started from seed or cutting?

However, I do have two pines I would like to refine, in which now I can see how using organics would be beneficial. Do you find that organics (cake or pellets) decrease drainage in bonsai soil, particularly for pines?
 

Chrisl

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Re: Wintering Princess Persimmon in zone 6b
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2012, 09:44 AM »
Thank You Owen for explaining that concept of inorganics vs. organics.  Very interesting how they stimulate growth rates in different ways.  And using a combo for developing trees makes sense.  I'm glad I made some cakes now last fall as after I made them a friend told me they were used primarily for finished trees.  Now I know better.  Again Thanks for taking the time to explain this to me Owen!  And I look forward to seeing some photo's when you get the chance.  Seeing is believing no? ;))

Chris