Author Topic: New to Bonsai - Salvaging Bonsai Tree from Store  (Read 3510 times)

mrnst7

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New to Bonsai - Salvaging Bonsai Tree from Store
« on: July 12, 2014, 10:26 AM »
I recently got into Bonsai about a month ago. Along with the seeds I have just started to grow, I also purchased two ficus bonsai from a general store such as Walmart/Home Depot. I was wondering if I could have advice on how I should prepare the trees for the future or what exactly I should do to them.

I heard I should re-pot the trees as soon as I buy them because of the way the store sells them with the soil and glued rock layer on top. I made soil that is composed as followed:

40-45% lava rock
15-20% grit/granite
15-20% little pebble stone
20-25% pine bark/ peat moss (organic material)

If anyone has any advice they could give me it would be greatly appreciated, I will be posting pictures of the two trees as soon as I can.
 

mrnst7

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Re: New to Bonsai - Salvaging Bonsai Tree from Store
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2014, 11:44 AM »
Here are the two trees in the new soil.
 

mrnst7

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Re: New to Bonsai - Salvaging Bonsai Tree from Store
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2014, 11:52 AM »
.
 

jlushious

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Re: New to Bonsai - Salvaging Bonsai Tree from Store
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2014, 12:10 PM »
That's a good start! It looks like your soil components will work well. Just make sure to fertilize them regularly so that they get nutrients as the soil mix you have chosen (which is similar to what most other growers use) doesn't have a lot of nutrients in it.

I am by no means an expert, only been in this for about a year now, but I have mostly been focusing on learning my tree species and how to care for them (aka not kill them) before I worry too much about shaping and styling. Sure I do some minor pruning and have bought some cheap trees to butcher and practice wiring and stuff on, but the ones I like I try and leave alone until they have settled in.

Repotting can be stressful for a tree so sometimes they need a good season of growth before you play around with pruning and wiring etc.
 

mrnst7

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Re: New to Bonsai - Salvaging Bonsai Tree from Store
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2014, 12:34 PM »
Thank you for the reply. I had a lot of trouble finding good inorganic material for my soil. Not much to buy around here that closely relates to any suggested material. It took me all day to beak the lava rock into small pieces. Also the pieces in my soil are probably larger than usual, but there is no way I can afford Akadama for 50 dollars a pot so I went with the 2 dollar lava rocks instead.

I was planning on pruning/wiring after the winter season has ended, but I was not sure whether to leave my trees inside or outside.
 

jlushious

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Re: New to Bonsai - Salvaging Bonsai Tree from Store
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2014, 12:47 PM »
They look like ficus, but I am not very good with those, almost all the ones I have had, have died (part of the learning curve!). Maybe someone else who is good with tropicals can respond to the inside/outside question!
 

mrnst7

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Re: New to Bonsai - Salvaging Bonsai Tree from Store
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2014, 12:54 PM »
This winter I am also growing Black Pine, Red Maple, Katsura, and Bougainvillea Glabra. I figured I should grow a lot since most will die due to my learning curve. I am starting with roughly 100 trees hopefully I can end with around 10 nice ones alive lol. I am trying all types of methods indoor and outdoor during different seasons and documenting all of the sucess they bring and the failures that come along with it. Ill have to let you know how they turn out.
 

Sorce

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Re: New to Bonsai - Salvaging Bonsai Tree from Store
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2014, 02:58 PM »
The first looks like a fukien tea. I have none.

You can keep ficus out til 50° F.

I put only one ficus out. Inside under flourescent "plant" bulbs for 16 hrs in winter. Ben not ginseng. Wasnt till about a month ago this year. I havemt had  one drop its leaves after a move. But they don't move often, or soon again after.


Welcome to the addiction. And the group.

Sorce
 

mrnst7

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Re: New to Bonsai - Salvaging Bonsai Tree from Store
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2014, 03:05 PM »
I wasnt quite sure what that tree was but I knew the second one was a Ficus. Do you know what I could do about the size of the trunk on the Ficus? It seems rather large and makes the tree look abnormal, I dont know much about forming or pruning trees so I am not good at envisioning finished products in my head.

I purchased each tree for around 10 dollars Idk if that is a good price or not but it was hard to find bonsai trees around here and I wanted a few larger ones to start with.
 

Charles Willis

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Re: New to Bonsai - Salvaging Bonsai Tree from Store
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2014, 12:44 PM »
I would recommend going to http://bonsai4me.com and reading all his articles. Another good source of information is http://evergreengardenworks.com/articles.htm. The ficus is a "ginseng ficus" and is generally considered poor material. You could try air/ground layering it to get rid of the bulbous roots. The fukien tea probably shouldn't be messed with right now. When they get moved and have to adjust to the new location they will drop most if not all their leaves. I wouldn't use peat in your soil mix. Bark is the only organic component I'd use and even then I wouldn't use much at all.
 

DougB

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Re: New to Bonsai - Salvaging Bonsai Tree from Store
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2014, 10:26 AM »
One of the best ways to learn is with and from others.  The Pittsburgh group is at http://www.pittsburghbonsai.org/.  Check them out.  OH and welcome to what many consider insanity.