Author Topic: Bonsai Tree age - Just out of interest  (Read 11874 times)

DorianJF

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Bonsai Tree age - Just out of interest
« on: February 10, 2015, 01:37 AM »
Hi All.

I have been wondering about this for a while and thought it would be best to ask.

I believe the age of one's bonsai is a vital part of ones tree as I believe most Bonsai enthusiasts will agree.  But how would one calculate the age of a bonsai if you have grown it from a cutting or an airlayer etc.

For example.  You have been doing some air layering on branches from your maple tree that has been growing in your yard for the last 20 years.  The branch is a really fat and you come out with a great start on a future bonsai.  Do you then start it off as year one when you cut it off the main tree or do you count the rings of the branch and start at what ever you counted?

Thoughts  on this?
 

Anthony

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Re: Bonsai Tree age - Just out of interest
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2015, 04:39 AM »
Dorian,

on my side, it is when the cutting or airlayer grows it's own roots. Though there is a survivor Celtis, which was a main root on a tree, that kept on growing when the main part of the tree died, and it's age is given as that of the original plant.

It is also with great pride that you can tell an observer, that this tree is x years old, from seed/cutting/airlayer.

A few weeks ago, we repotted a few of the 30 something old trees, the look into the cores, was fascinating, no large thick roots, just fine, wirey roots. Onto the next 30 years.
Good Day
Anthony
 

DorianJF

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Re: Bonsai Tree age - Just out of interest
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2015, 05:01 AM »
Hi Anthony

Thanks for the input.

I think it would probably come down to the individual who is talking about the age.  Some I am sure will use the age of the host tree and others will like you said, say the age from seed etc.

I have 2 JBP  grown from seed and some cuttings that I currently working on so for me they started at 0
 

J.Kent

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Re: Bonsai Tree age - Just out of interest
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2015, 09:59 AM »
When you get right down to it, actual age is totally immaterial.  We're striving to give the illusion of age.

Anyone who purports to "know" the age of a yamadori is telling a fib, unless he has actually bored a core through the center of the tree to determine its probable age by counting growth rings.

In your case, you'd could count it as the age spent as a bonsai.

What is the first question asked about a tree by some total newcomer to bonsai?   "How Old is it?"  The only answer is "How old do you think it is?"
 

DorianJF

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Re: Bonsai Tree age - Just out of interest
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2015, 11:05 PM »
Very valid point and I never thought of it that way.
 

SHIMA1

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Re: Bonsai Tree age - Just out of interest
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2015, 11:42 PM »
When you get right down to it, actual age is totally immaterial.  We're striving to give the illusion of age.

Anyone who purports to "know" the age of a yamadori is telling a fib, unless he has actually bored a core through the center of the tree to determine its probable age by counting growth rings.

In your case, you'd could count it as the age spent as a bonsai.

What is the first question asked about a tree by some total newcomer to bonsai?   "How Old is it?"  The only answer is "How old do you think it is?"
Or...How old does it LOOK?
 

DorianJF

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Re: Bonsai Tree age - Just out of interest
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2015, 12:57 AM »
 ;D
 

Anthony

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Re: Bonsai Tree age - Just out of interest
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2015, 04:37 AM »
I would suggest, it has less to do with the illusion of age, and more with the illusion of it being a tree. Not every Bonsai is trained to look as though it is x hundred years old, some are trained to be trees, in any stage of a tree's life.

If it is illusion you are after, the greater illusion is does it look like a tree in the small ?

As - devil's advocate - many of those old Shimpaku, don't look like trees, they look like designs, very attractive designs.
[ response to the the yamadori remark ]

Any takers?
Good Day
Anthony

* Please keep it friendly, this is just abstract discussion - okay.
 

DorianJF

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Re: Bonsai Tree age - Just out of interest
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2015, 06:19 AM »
Another very good point.

As - devil's advocate - many of those old Shimpaku, don't look like trees, they look like designs, very attractive designs.
[ response to the the yamadori remark ]


I have to agree with you on that Anthony.  Incredibly stunning trees but very few that look like a natural tree.
 

J.Kent

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Re: Bonsai Tree age - Just out of interest
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2015, 08:37 AM »
Quote
Not every Bonsai is trained to look as though it is x hundred years old,

True  enough, I suppose, but MOST good bonsai are designed to look old.  There's nothing riveting about a sapling.
 

Anthony

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Re: Bonsai Tree age - Just out of interest
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2015, 12:10 PM »
J.Kent,

how about a sapling that is full of movement, as in a young buttonwood, that has been altered with sea winds. Tons of movement in the branches.

Nature provides much variety once you are willing to look.
Good Day
Anthony

* There used to be a beautiful, slender bonsai on-line in a black and white photo, if I can find it again, I will give the direction to the image.
 

Jerry Norbury

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Re: Bonsai Tree age - Just out of interest
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2015, 04:11 AM »
Age is unimportant but the appearance of age IS important.

I neither know nor care about either about the age of  my own trees or those of others.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 04:14 AM by Jerry Norbury »
 

Sorce

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Re: Bonsai Tree age - Just out of interest
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2015, 04:36 AM »
I thought that too of those" artistic"  junipers.

But then Dan W. And those other high mountain folk post pictures of the old junipers and there is quite a resemblance.

I think it doesn't click as real too much unless you've spent a lot of time up there with them.

That said,.....I still enjoy them for the art more than the realism.

All around....old, young, art, there is no illusion in beautiful, or amazing,  that's what usually gets me.

Like Dorians Silverberry.  Anthony's Seagrape. Judy's Monster. The 2 exposed root pines from Matsu and Adair. ..and Kirbys Big Western that eclipsed them in the TOTM a while back!

Sorce
 

Anthony

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Re: Bonsai Tree age - Just out of interest
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2015, 05:42 AM »
On our side, since we have minimal contact with Oriental Philosphies, when someone asks how old a Bonsai is, it is a genuine question.
To encourage the interest, a response of x years, will normally get an eyebrow raised, remarks about dedication, discipline and conversations about imagination, mental growth and so on.

Very frequently a young person will join the society, because they like the idea that down the road, they will have achieved.

This is the moment you look for. Someone who takes up a hobby, because it is a hobby.

Additionally, that length of time in growing, will represent stability of character to a young person needing an anchor with their future. They tend to listen more deeply and are happier as they age.

So it is more than just boasting that you have a bonsai that is x years old.

It is also a good way to weed out those that would waste your time, because they don't like committment.
A good teacher also knows how to discourage a bad student.
Good Day
Anthony
 

Leo in NE Illinois

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Re: Bonsai Tree age - Just out of interest
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2015, 01:51 PM »
Just looking at prices for bonsai sold, age is only a component, and not the principal driver for price. ''Appearance is everything''. Age only adds to the value of a good looking tree, age is trivial if the tree ''looks good''.

Many public displays will list approximate age of the tree, meaning years from seed and then list years in training. Others will only list years in training, and other public collections don''t list age at all.

I have a number of orchids that are vegetative divisions of famous old plants, some are well over 100 years old. No living part of the orchid will be much over 5 or 10 years old, but the seed it sprouted from could have been planted over 100 years ago. In that the history can make an interesting story, most of the ''antique'' orchid hybrids are lost to cultivation because the more recent hybrids just look so much better. The history along was not enough to keep people interested in vegetative propagation of that clone. But the ones that are still around today really were special, in that they still meet todays standard for beautiful orchids. I do refer to Paphiopedilum Maudiea 'Magnificum' as an antique - water color portraits were done of it back in 1898 and subsequent photos over the years document its history. Vegetative divisions of it are available today for less than $50, it is still popular.

I think for bonsai purposes, vegetative propagation,  age would start when the cutting puts out its own roots. The history of the cultivar, or clone is only of value if it is interesting to the purposes of the parties involved.