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General Bonsai Discussion / wintering in Iowa zone 5A
« Last post by ronzog51 on Yesterday at 02:17 PM »
I've been into Bonsai for a couple years and have a few tropical bonsai but want to get into hardy bonsai like Maple or Pine but I'm having trouble understanding how to winter these where I'm from even with all the reading I've done. like the specifics where to put them, I've read mulching them, putting them in a shed, putting them back in the ground. Do the conifers still need light, how do you know if they need water if its below freezing. Can any of you northern Guys help me out :-\
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Hi and welcome. Yes, there is a lot to learn with Bonsai. It is really two things in one. The one you see is the Artistic part. I have been 'doing' Bonsai for over 20 years and I'm still improving on this aspect.
The other is Horticultural. If you can't keep your Bonsai alive and healthy, growing well... You never can do the Artistry. By placing a plant in a pot you are obviously changing its growing ability. A Holly or an Eastern White Pine, in a pot are far from the same tree in the ground. Additionally where the trees lives is important. You are in Georgia... I am in Northern Vermont, we can grow different trees and we will do things differently to them.
I VERY STRONGLY, suggest that you do a little research and find a Bonsai Club near you or at least close enough that you can go from time to time. The members will be extremely happy to help you. They will probably be able to get you started with a few trees and most clubs have beginners workshops. If you are really going to make a go of it, this is the way to go.....
As for taking cuttings.....they will help you and tell you if the Holly is a good candidate. It will take a few YEARS to get a cutting going. And although you can try Bonsai with any plant that will have a wooded stem, some are better than others. Pinus Strobus, Eastern White Pine, do not get a nice bark and are not usually used for Bonsai.
That's my two cents
Jay
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So guy's I am new, new like I am going to buy supplies tonight new :D lol. So this is something I have interested in for a long time, I am finally just going to pull the trigger on it. I have done quite a bit of reading but as well all know reading doesn't always mean you will be good at the application. So I have a few questions I hope some more experienced people will help answer them.

So my first question is I want to take some cuttings from my evergreen holly bush and attempt to bonsai them. So my question is I have seen people state to use a soilless growing medium for cuttings, so how do they get nutrients?

Should I really use a soilless medium with Bonsai in general?

Do I start a bonsai in a larger pot and gradually move it down to more of a tray type pot?

Do I need to put a bag over cuttings?

If I use soilless growing medium how often do they need fertilizer?

I am been watching Nigel Saunders on youtube he really seems to know his stuff, but sometimes I see him trim a root ball to almost nothing is that ok? Everything I read has stated to cut no more than 1/3 off at a time.

Sorry for all the questions at once I just really want to start off right.

Thank you for your time and answers I really do appreciate it.

Oh also I really wanted to try my hand at bonsai with an Easter White Pine, we have them EVERY where in Georgia I probably have 10-15 in my backyard ranging from 1 year- to 30+ years old. Can I just transplant a 2-3 year old specimen and start to train it?
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General Bonsai Discussion / Re: Calgary Bonsai?
« Last post by Jay on November 04, 2017, 07:14 PM »
RedJen the idea you have sounds fine. You are not looking to do a Bonsai Sauna. You are just looking to raise the temp of the pot (roots) not the plant. Remember as you said you do not want to go....freeze thaw etc. just raise the temp a,bit to the mid 20f is perfect.
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General Bonsai Discussion / Re: Calgary Bonsai?
« Last post by RedJen on November 04, 2017, 02:18 PM »
Jay, thanks for the idea. At first I was confused by what you meant by "heat tape" my first thought was the reflective tape used as a heat barrier, but because that didn't make any sense I quickly dropped that idea and thought that some kind of heating cable made more sense. I did some research and found that Heat Tape is a brand (I also discovered that heat tape is simply a term interchangeable with heating cable) but it doesn't appear to be sold in Canada. There are other heating cable brands I can get my hands on but I'm very inexperienced when it comes to using them outside their intended function. Because of this inexperience I'm hesitant to settle on a specific type, I was thinking the Wrap-On brand would work but the instructions say it has to be wrapped up with fiberglass insulation after it's installed. I'm not sure if that's absolutely essential or more or less a way to keep the heat from escaping into the air. I was also looking at the soil heating cables but the reviews aren't promising.

I did have an idea about using a small seed starting mat and placing that inside of a plastic tray/tub lined with heat tape (the kind that's reflective) so it can bounce back the heat and limit heat loss into the air and hook up the mat to a thermostat so I can regulate the heat to something more moderate, at least above -10C. It dipped to -20 last night without windchill, but as you and others have said, staying freezing is better than freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw. I can only try my best and learn from this.
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General Bonsai Discussion / Re: Calgary Bonsai?
« Last post by Jay on November 03, 2017, 07:10 AM »
Well negative 40 is cold and the point where C and F are the same.
What I use is unique to me, I made a grid out of copper pipe, filled it with auto antifreeze and place heat tape on it.
The heat tape keeps the pipe at temps just above freezing. By placing the pot right on (touching) the pipe the heat transfer to the pot and moderates the temps....there are many other methods
J
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General Bonsai Discussion / Re: Calgary Bonsai?
« Last post by RedJen on November 02, 2017, 07:38 PM »
Hi Jay, thanks for getting back to me. I agree that -10C isn't that cold, but in Calgary it can get to -40C in the later winter months and like many places our night temperatures can plummet. I should have enough time to prep for that hopefully. My juniper has been out in the front most of the day and I won't be home until much later because of work but I've asked if anyone is home to bring it into the shed. Hopefully it didn't get blasted too badly by the windchill factor which is currently reading at around -20C now that the sun is beginning to go down. What type of heat mat would you recommend? I could try to find a power pack or something along those lines that can go in the shed with it on especially cold days. Thanks again for your input!
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General Bonsai Discussion / Re: Calgary Bonsai?
« Last post by Jay on November 02, 2017, 06:19 PM »
Hi.... First I do not live anywhere near you. I am in northern Vermont in the US. But... We do get cold here. -10c really isn't that cold. Your shed has possibilities. A major issue is desecation, the wind will dry out your tree real quick. Keeping it inside the (unheated) shed sounds fine. During dormancy the need for light is near zero. I keep my Larch and Junipers as well as Boxwood and spruce in my unheated garage, with barely any light. When the temps go below -10F I use a heat mat for the roots, and only until it gets up to +10F. Freezing isn't usually the issue.... Freeze , thaw, freeze, thaw etc is.
My two cents
Jay
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General Bonsai Discussion / Re: Calgary Bonsai?
« Last post by RedJen on November 02, 2017, 04:16 PM »
Hi everyone, I'm also new to bonsai and live in the Calgary area. I think there have been several attempts to revive a Calgary bonsai group but nothing has stuck, at least from what I've been able to find. I have a Shimpaku Juniper that I've owned for a little under two years now that I bought from the shop 'Plant' in Inglewood. I mistakenly thought I could keep it inside, I kept it inside all of last year because by the time I found out it was a bad idea it was already deep into winter and I didn't want to shock it. Since late Spring/ early Summer of this year it's been outside and seemed to really enjoy it. I have noticed some minor browning and did an emergency transplant into a larger pot a couple of months ago. I probably botched this as I only removed some of the original soil from the root ball for fear of damaging the root system too late into the season, and have it now surrounded in proper bonsai substrate/soil.

But here lies my greatest worry. I have not given myself proper time for winter preparations and the snow is already here. Mostly because I'm trying to suss out what is best to do. I've pored over several sources all with different recommendations about what to do to prevent my bonsai from dying and all with warnings about not to do something that another article is advising. I have an East facing yard and that's where my juniper has been for most of the season, sitting on the deck. I've now moved it to the front of the house facing west in order to put it on some ground and up against the house to try to give it some shelter from the snow (when I woke up this morning the juniper pot already had a layer of snow in it). Though I think it might be getting more wind the ground is covered in mulch and the snow hasn't reached it yet. I'm very worried about the temperature because I was reading anything lower than -10C and all the roots will die. My basement is too warm and I have a small shed with an east facing window in the backyard but it's also on the patio and not on the ground and there isn't any way for me to implement temperature control in the shed. I plan on buying some sort of cold frame and getting some burlap and mulch and trying to dig out a hole in the front under my bay window where I have it now to try to give it some shelter, especially for the roots and perhaps a touch of residual warmth from the house to keep it around or above the -10C range, if that's even possible. My other greatest concern is our Chinooks, something that we look forward to to give us a break is detrimental to trees and plants. I was reading some earlier comments on this thread about a user whose worked with bonsai for 30 years and only a temperature controlled greenhouse worked for keeping her bonsai alive in our treacherous Calgary winters. I'm hoping there's something I can whip up in the next couple of days until I can arrange for something better. I am open to any and all recommendations from those who have more experience in Calgary bonsai.
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Ponderosa Pine Bonsai Discussion / Re: Cricket on my Ponderosa
« Last post by KurtP on October 29, 2017, 11:09 AM »
Existentially...it is a GOOD sign. (Ever seen Mulan?) Not gonna eat that tree. 🙏
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