A tree that you have lost

So who had a bomsai die on them? The horror… the anguish, grief, the guilt…

Having listerned to lots of the pod casts it seemed as if this might be an interesting discussion topic. “You learn from your mistakes”…

Well I had a Japanese Black Pine. Was not very expensive from ebay… but I had done a lot of work to take an overgrown bush into the basis of a great bonsai. But after a massive prune a year gap, a repot with removal of bad surface crossing roots and a years rest… then finally I get to prune it as a multi growth pine… and the week growth was not enough to keep it gping in the next spring. Three years tlc… and it gave up…

I listernened to Peter Warrens podcast and he talks about JBP and JRP being very hard to grow in the uk as the climate does not have a long enough growing season…

Moral of this… I am feeding my JBP and JRP just in late autumn to push the second growth out of them.

Maybe I wont feel so bad but a year on and I am still not able to burn it!


Lost a couple of collected mulberry to
Chemical fertilizers this season. They had come back nicely from trunk chops and pushing hard. Forgot they were super sensitive to chemical and had not yet switched all my trees to organics. Oops. Bummer !

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If you’re not killing trees you’re not trying hard enough. That’s not to say go for broke on every tree you see and it doesn’t matter if it lives or dies…but it’s definitely a reality of practicing bonsai. I lost three collected trees this year…a higher death rate than usual for my collected material…it bothered me and still does. I hate the fact I took trees from the wild and killed them. But at the end of the day, if you’re pushing yourself to grow as a practitioner, it’s inevitable. I think the important thing is to make damn sure you learn something from the failure. I keep detailed notes on all of my 60+ trees. That way if something goes sideways I can always back track to see where it went wrong.


Good idea for a topic! It’s humbling to know all bonsai people, beginner’s and experts alike lost trees :confused:

Here are some of mine that were moving in the right direction but didn’t make it.

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I have to say I learned and got motivated from killing by not trying hard at all tho :slight_smile:

I was fascinated by bonsai trees and art many years and talked about it a lot without knowing anything. I didn’t even know that there are indoor and outdoor trees. I got 3 bonsai trees from friends over the course of time (2 chines elms and one sort of redwood) and killed one by one. This actually led me to search for some information about ‘how to keep any tree in a pot alive’ some 3-4 years ago and now I can call myself a beginner :nerd_face:
One of stupid mistakes and lack of effort to find out what is wrong was chucking both chinese elms after they lost leaves. Even after the second of them eventually managed to come back with leaves… You know elms do this for any kind of stress esp. due to drought but they are such strong specie their leaves come back.
These trees were cheap trendy ones from whatever plant shop but anyway!! I had no rights to kill any tree with such disrespectful attitude. Well, learned my lesson and this brought me to where I am now learning about soil, tree species, bonsai art, horticulture…everything I need to know before my first purchase of real bonsai tree from a professional worth few hundreds - it will be my reward once I know how to keep it alive with 100% confidence :muscle:
And here is one of them in two stages: stage 1 what I called ‘dying’ and stage 2 when it showed plenty of tiny buds after couple of weeks. Then it happened again and as it just probably took longer to leaf back I thought it’s dead…

Phew! It’s like I just made a confession :innocent:


The third one on the picture looks amazing! Absolutely loving the trunk - such a character.
Sorry for the loss :cry:

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I think I’ve heard/read that in colder areas, people sometimes only decandle every other year due to the shorter/weaker growing season. Seem to recall in one of the live streams, Ryan said that was how the black (or red) pines were handled at the Pacific Rim collection in Seattle.

It’s a shame, thanks : ) I hope I learned, but those two hornbeams still puzzle me.