Author Topic: Black walnut as bonsai?  (Read 7758 times)

cswink

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Black walnut as bonsai?
« on: April 05, 2012, 05:34 PM »
Has anyone ever tried to grow black walnut trees as bonsai? I have several 1 and 2 year old seedlings in my wife's garden. I know that the leaves of the walnut are way to big for bonsai but the one old and mature tree around our house looks wonderful in the winter. I am thinking that these seedlings could potentially make nice formal and informal uprights as bonsai for their winter elegance alone.
 

Yenling83

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Re: Black walnut as bonsai?
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2012, 07:37 PM »
I've never seen it used.  However, that does not that you can't do it or you shouldent especially if you really like the look of the mature trees.  Good luck!
 

cswink

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Re: Black walnut as bonsai?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2012, 10:44 PM »
Thank you Yenling83. I think I will dig these little seedlings out of the garden and place them in another area of the yard to grow in the ground for a few more years. I do really enjoy the look of these walnuts in the winter. Not so much to look at in the summer though. Hopefully I will have something worth looking at in the next 7 to ten years.
 

rockm

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Re: Black walnut as bonsai?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2012, 09:03 AM »
Black walnut is a very very frustrating choice for bonsai. Seedlings aren't worth bothering with, unless you plan to plant them and allow them to grow into substantial trunks six to eight inches in diameter. Such a larger frame is necessary for this tree, as its leaves and roots are extremely coarse. The smaller the tree, the more exaggerated those things get. Any bonsai from Walnut under say, three feet tall and a trunk less than five or six inches in diameter will look weird.

Walnut's don't have leaves. They have compound leaves--each leaf is made up of dozens of smaller leaflets. They don't reduce. You have to prune the compound leaves into smaller portions to even begin to make the tree look natural. Their roots are also extremely coarse and tend to stay that way.

Don't be afraid to try it, but don't be frustrated when it refuses to cooperate. ;)

 

cswink

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Re: Black walnut as bonsai?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2012, 11:05 AM »
Thank you rockm. I am planning on letting these grow in the ground for quite some time. And we will see if anything can come of them in the years to come. We have several walnuts pop up every spring along with hundreds of elm and hedge maples. If only I had the room to grow more. They most inevitably end up at the blade of the mower.
 

sdonny

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Re: Black walnut as bonsai?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2014, 12:12 PM »
Hello,
I'd love to hear of any progress you have had with your black walnut saplings cswink.  Squirrels bury the nuts everywhere i my yard, so i figured I would do something with them too!  I now have a handful of black walnut saplings I have dug out of my gardens that have been field growing the past few years.   Trunks are 2-3 inches in diameter now and growing straight about 10 feet high.  I planted them initially on tiles, any advice on field growing these going forward?  I was planning on digging up ever few years to trim roots but not sure best way to select which roots to keep and remove (most roots were big at planting with little fine rooting at the time).  Also, should I cut back top growth if/when I prune roots or would I be better to just let them grow wild without digging up at all until i have adequate trunk diameter?  Any thoughts appreciated.