Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => General Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: Jay on December 09, 2009, 10:28 AM

Title: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: Jay on December 09, 2009, 10:28 AM
Greetings to All and May your Holidays be wonderful and full of Good Health!

I am one of those members who have come on board after the loss of BonsaiTalk.  I have been reading and trying not to put my ‘two cents’ in until I have something worthy of a post.  I now need the advice and thoughts of those knowledgeable with relocation.

As information to those who are not familiar with me or my trees, I have been enjoying Bonsai for over ten years. My love for Bonsai is far greater than my ability.  I am retired and presently live in northern Vermont, zone 3b (fall through spring). I moved to Vermont 5 years ago and had problems with many of my trees adjusting to the change to zone 3b from zone 5b.

My family is discussing a major move. If it occurs I will be moving to the Austin/Georgetown area of Texas. This move is still uncertain but has gained steam lately. If this move does occur I would be in Texas from approximately mid October through mid to late May. During the summer months I would still live in the northern Adirondacks’ in New York (zone 3b but only for the summer).

After this long and winded introduction, my question is:
From the list below, which trees should I find new homes for before I make this move, Again wintering in Texas (zone 8ish) and then summering in New York (zone 4ish)?

Maples….. Trident, Japanese, and Amur
Hornbeam…. Korean
White Cedar…. Thuja Occidentalis
Apple…. Crab and Malus Indian Magic
Larch
Birch…. White
Boxwood… Buxus Microphylla Koreana Nana
Blueberry….. Vaccinium Tophat (Blue Betty)
Spruce

Thanks for your thoughts
Jay in limbo
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: Hotaction on December 09, 2009, 01:04 PM
Jay, am I understanding correctly that the trees will move with you back and forth each year?  What part of the adirondaks.  If the trees move with you in mid to late may, I imagine the temp difference between Texas and Northern NY would be quite extreme.  I know the larch can't go south with you, as they require the colder temps.  I can't comment on the others, but imagine the spruce and EWC enjoy the cooler weather also. I know they are plenty of people growing bonsai in texas. Also at least one or two on this forum have made a north/south (vise versa) relocation.  Perhaps they can share their experiences with us. 

For anyone who grows bonsai, moving can present a great challenge.  From speaking with others, my advice would be don't take trees with you and hope they will survive.  Take the ones that you KNOW will survive. 

Dave
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: Jay on December 09, 2009, 02:40 PM
Dave,
IF this move occurs, it will probably be after next summer. I had hoped to scale back my collection to 10 to 12 max trees. I had hoped to be able to keep a few of the present and obtain others that could withstand the travel.

I believe I would be departing Texas in the late spring and arriving in upstate NY after the last frost. Leaving NY before the first frost and returning to Texas. I could bury the Larch at the end of the summer and hope they would survive. I realize that some of the others would need to find new homes (spruce Cedar etc), but hoped that the Maples, apples, hornbeams and Boxwood could make it.

I agree totally with the advice to only do this with trees that can survive, I'm hoping that there ARE trees that can survive.
Jay
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: noissee on December 10, 2009, 02:15 AM
I think they would all do fine. The three I don't know about would be the spruce, larch, and white cedar. All the other trees are grown successfully here in the south.
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: rockm on December 10, 2009, 09:55 AM
Larch will die--possibly outright--in Texas. They decline and die here in Va. because of the summer heat. I've tried to grow them repeatedly, as have others in Va. All the folks I've talked to here have had similar results with this species. Growers 30-40 miles north in Maryland, however CAN grow them and do. The Mason Dixon line seems to be a rough dividing line or sorts, for North/South tree species.

I'd also think White Cedar might be iffy, as well as apple (unless it's a crab apple) in Texas. Spruce (depending on the species) probably won't do well in Texas either. Japanese maples will scorch and sunscald very easily in the Texas sun--the thinner the leaf, the more prone JMs are to sunlight. Laceleaf varieties get burned to a crisp here in Va. in August even as landscape specimens. (Eastern Va. is roughly the same growing zone as Dallas---Zone 7)
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: Jay on December 10, 2009, 10:47 AM
Thank you both. I agree the Larch, cedar and Spruce are probably not going to make it to Texas. I 'think' the area we are thinking of moving to is less hot than others. Also with moving the trees up north in May I'm hoping to avoid a good deal of the burning.

Are there any species that you feel would be better matches for me and my moves.

Jay
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: Dave Murphy on December 10, 2009, 11:39 AM
Are there any species that you feel would be better matches for me and my moves.

Jay
Juniper immediately comes to mind...in my experience they are the toughest, most adaptaptable conifer.  I'd also consider elm, either the chinese variety or some of the southern varieties like water or cedar elm (I readily admit I have not grown these plants myself).  I wish you the best of luck.  Having moved my 70 plus tree collection from Massachusetts to Georgia this past summer, I can certainly understand your concern...I have up to 10 years invested in some of my trees and I probably won't know if they will adjust to the N.GA climate for several years (I'm pretty sure I won't ;D)...and I did have to leave some nice trees behind.  Take care and let us know how things transpire.

Dave
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: rockm on December 10, 2009, 02:00 PM
Two words for you:

"Cedar Elm"

...Get a large collected trunk, which are easily available in Texas from many bonsai sources--and go from there. Or dig your own while you're down there--they're easy to dig (I've dug several over the years).

I have had my largest cedar elm bonsai for going on 13 years now. I overwinter it here in Va. only under mulch. It has had no dieback or winter kill with that treatment in that time. It is extremely summer hardy also--it handles higher temps with not much fuss, not so with other elms, like Chinese elm, which are prone to black spot in summer.

CE is easily the most responsive and satisfying bonsai material I've worked with. It easily handles mispruning, harsh treatment, etc. yet is also capable of very subtle development in expert hands.

I'd urge you to look into one while you're down there. They are extremely common in East and Southeast Texas.

I guarantee once you begin working with this species, you will be spoiled.
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: rockm on December 10, 2009, 02:36 PM
. "I 'think' the area we are thinking of moving to is less hot than others."

 ;D ;D Well, the east side of the sun might be a little cooler than the Western side, but it's all sun...

Average August daytime temp in Austin is in the mid-90's--and the true meaning of "It's not the heat, it's the humidity" will become blindingly clear. That said, Austin is a terrific place-especially for bonsai.

Also Texans are terrific.
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: Jay on December 10, 2009, 02:53 PM
Ah yes... the humidity. As far as the temps, we are more than likely going to be in the hills in the Georgetown area. I talk like I know what I am talking about.... I don't. If the move comes off it will be to follow the family.

Also remember, we will not be in Texas from mid May till October, thus missing those super hot days of summer. Of what I can find on the net, Georgetown isn't all that hot October through May.

At this point I'm almost hoping this fall through.

Jay
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: Dave Murphy on December 10, 2009, 03:13 PM

At this point I'm almost hoping this fall through.

Jay

If I remember correctly, you do alot of skiing...I doubt the hills around Georgetown will have a venue like Smugglers Notch...
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: Jay on December 10, 2009, 04:10 PM
Dave, You are correct. I do enjoy winter sports and no Georgetown Texas will not have any. What it will have is my grand kids who may be moving with their parents. If they do, my wife and I will probably follow. We can (and will) take a few ski trips during the season.

My love of my family trumps my love of my trees.

Jay
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: Larry Gockley on December 10, 2009, 07:22 PM
Hi Jay. So you're going to become another " Winter Texan" as they say.  I would say in central Texas, the boxwood, maple,  and maybe apple and hornbeam will do OK. I wouldn't try the others. You might try to goggle "Jade Gardens", and perhaps contact Chuck Ware who owns an awesome bonsai nursery in Wimberley, Tx. He is also active in the local clubs, and would be able to best answer your questions.   Good luck, Larry
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: JMac on December 11, 2009, 12:33 AM
Hi Jay,
Welcome to the wild world of Texas Bonsai!  Seriously though if you don't plan on staying through the heat of summer, you shouldn't find too many problems.  Oct - May is our wet and cool season (we have two, the other being hot and dry).  :)

Looking over your list I'd say these will do just fine:
Maples….. Trident, Japanese, and Amur
Hornbeam…. Korean
Apple…. Crab and Malus Indian Magic
Boxwood… Buxus Microphylla Koreana Nana
Blueberry….. Vaccinium Tophat (Blue Betty)

These you may have problems with:
White Cedar…. Thuja Occidentalis
Larch
Birch…. White
Spruce

The issue isn't going to be heat, humidity, or any other problem but rather your trees won't get a long enough cold dormancy period.   Contrary to popular belief, it does freeze down here (tonight in fact) and we have about a 2-3 month dormancy in Central Texas.  However, we'll get many many warm days inbetween, and northern trees need more cold time to keep them happy.  If the travel is safe for them, most of your trees will experience the "soft seasons" of both climates and maybe they'll love it.  It's interesting to think about!

I'd say another resource besides Jade Gardens located nearby in Wimberley (a great nursery!), is MBP Bonsai located in Pflugerville, only minutes away from Georgetown.  Both have local experts and can help with any problems.  I live in N. Austin, very near Georgetown, and I'm the president of the Austin Bonsai Society.  We have a very active club and lots of members to give assistance too if needed!  In addition, the Shohin Society of Texas meets in Austin and the Texas State Bonsai Exhibit is being built just outside of Austin as well.
Joey McCoy
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: joe cervantes on December 11, 2009, 01:25 AM
Well said Joey! Hows your Yaupon Hollies din?
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: Jay on December 11, 2009, 07:44 AM
Joey and Larry,
THANK YOU!

I will keep this info in mind when (and if) the time comes for the move. As you have read the decision on the move is not in my hands and not yet decided. Being up here in Northern Vermont waiting for the skiing to become worthwhile I decided to research this issue. It sounds like I have a chance with some of my trees and will need to find new homes for others. The resources you mentioned will be of great help when the move occurs.

I found when I moved to Vermont 6 years ago that Bonsai people are on the whole... Wonderful and helpful. I'm sure if we come down to Texas I'll get the chance to meet you and have a cup of coffee (or Beer) over Bonsai Discussion.

Thank you and everyone who has interjected into this thread.

Jay
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: JMac on December 11, 2009, 09:58 AM
Hi Joe!
Those collected Yaupons are budding all over the place.  Some buds get nipped by the freeze every now and then, but overall mine seem fine.  Yours?
FYI everyone else.. the San Antonio and Austin Clubs often do wild and urban collecting, and the one Joe's talking about was a backyard filled with Dwarf Yaupon Hollies, maybe 30 years old, with enough for everyone to take and have plants available for future club use.  Fun time!
Joey
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: joe cervantes on December 12, 2009, 04:58 AM
Not a bud on mine yet. Hope I didnt kill em.
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: joe cervantes on December 12, 2009, 05:47 PM
My Trident hasnt even begun to change color yet. LOL!!
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: Jay on December 13, 2009, 08:16 AM


    
Joe, you Tridents aren't changing color? I only wish! Look at the forecast for  for later this week here in Northern Vermont!

Tuesday-Snow Showers 32° F | 18° F
   
Wednesday-Chance of Snow 23° F | 5° F
   
Thursday-Mostly Cloudy 14° F | 2° F

Welcome to my world!

Jay
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: joe cervantes on December 13, 2009, 10:13 AM
Jesus!! One word comes to mind.BRRR!!!!
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: Jay on December 13, 2009, 11:01 AM
Joe, every place on earth has its upside (and down). Without weather like this skiing and winter sports would be difficult. Also, Larches Spruces White Cedar etc would not be possible..... Oh Well

Jay
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: Jay on January 11, 2010, 05:27 PM
Thought I'd give (and you all deserve) an update.

My son-in-law has arranged to take the job and work remotely. He will be visiting Texas but living in Vermont. Therefore we will (at this time) not be moving to Texas.

I greatly thank those who offered advise and it REALLY did help. I was at ease and ready for the move if it occured.

Thanks again
Jay
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: rockm on January 12, 2010, 08:35 AM
Jay, that's great and too bad... ;D ;)

I just got back from visiting my parents in East Texas. Every time I go down there, I am simply amazed at the trees. They are among the most picturesque I've seen in the US and I've lived in just about ever portion of the country at one time or another.

Texas oak savannah, swamps, prairie and other environments produce some pretty scenery and tough trees. Additionally, collectible species are very common --from Bald cypress (4 inch diameter already containerized specimens are available at roadside nurseries for $30  ;D), to live oak and cedar elm (which, along with hackberry, self-seeds in just about any viable patch of dirt available, step out into your yard in the spring, pull up a cedar elm seedling...), bonsai material is easy to come by.

Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: Jay on January 12, 2010, 03:00 PM
I agree, it would have been interesting to be able to grow Bonsai in a Climate that is far better for many species. It would have been nice to pick up some Bald Cypress for $30 or so. Live Oak and Cedar Elms would have surely been in my future... But I will take what I have and enjoy what I got. 

The biggest upside is I do not have to find new homes for my trees. Don't get me wrong, non are show or near show quality. But, they are mine and I enjoy them. I will have to keep to those species that enjoy the overwintering and accept the fact I will have short growing seasons.

Thanks again to all who offered help and advise

Jay
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: noissee on January 12, 2010, 07:21 PM
too bad... texas ebony is an amazing species. As well as all those tropicals
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: ocean on February 12, 2010, 04:58 PM
Two words for you:

"Cedar Elm"

...Get a large collected trunk, which are easily available in Texas from many bonsai sources--and go from there. Or dig your own while you're down there--they're easy to dig (I've dug several over the years).


How do you identify a cedar elm in the wild? Any special considerations with digging them?
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: JMac on February 12, 2010, 06:53 PM
Quote
How do you identify a cedar elm in the wild? Any special considerations with digging them?

If you're digging in the wild in Central Tx, and you've found an elm, you can be almost certain it's a Cedar Elm (Ulmus crassifolia).  Many people say we have Winged Elm (Ulmus alata) here, but the Cedar Elm also displays wings (these closely related trees probably have cross polinated quite a bit).  There is a wide variety of differences from tree to tree such as flat plate-like bark to fully corky bark (like the corticosa), "winged" branches and those without wings, larger leaves & smaller leaves, trees that only turn golden colors in fall & those that will turn a deep red.  If you question type, the best way to tell is to feel the leaf.  If the elm leaf is rough like sandpaper, it's a crassifolia.  Of course we also have a tree called Anaqua (also called the Sandpaper Tree) which is similar but a different species.

Easy to collect.  Only dig while they're dormant, no leaves.  Try to collect a good root system, but don't sweat it if you are not able to get much because they're remarkably tough and can spring back from being root pruned hard.  Cut any tap root and keep as much of the side roots as you can.  Plant in well drained soil, fertilize well once it's established and leafed out well and odds are you'll have it growing like crazy in no time.
Title: Re: Possible Move to Texas - Need your thoughts
Post by: ocean on February 13, 2010, 11:53 PM
Wow , that is good information JMac. Thanks!
I have been dying to dig a native tree and the cedar elm is my first choice. I will have to post some pictures once I harvest one.