Collecting schedule?

Hi all, new member to Mirai Live here and really enjoying it. The videos are top-notch, and the topics are great for someone like me who doesn’t have a local club. I’ve had a love for bonsai for a long time now but had a hard time with design concepts. Ryan does an excellent job of walking you through those decisions.

My question has to do with how to properly collect a tree. I planted two possumhaw hollies, and two yaupon hollies about ten years ago with the goal of turning them into bonsai one day. I think the trunk growth has slowed over the past few years and I’m thinking that I may be at a good point to collect. After removing some of the surface soil, the two yaupon hollies seem to have a nice basal flare and two to three-inch trunks, so they are my targets. They are evergreen, but the new buds are just starting to swell.

My question is two-fold. If I’d like to collect in the fall, should I dig a trench now and if so, how big should it be? Secondly, they are about 7 feet tall, when should I do the first trunk chop? While it is in the ground so the wound can start healing or after collecting? I am new so if there is a video about these topics that will help out, I’d appreciate a link. Thanks for any advice in advance.

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Aaron, with due respect. I think you are asking a lot for a single calendar year. I would make a decision on whether you want to collect or trunk chop. They are major operations that could potentially end in the demise of your plants. To simplify, spring in my opinion is a good time to do either. Chop and then let grow without restrictions to aid in healing. OR… Simply collect and place in a large container with good drainage. I’ve used pumice/lava (50/50) and pumice/haydite also (50/50) with tremendous success. In regards to how far to trench around the plant… I would start with the diameter of the foilage around the plant as a rough guide. You would also have to take into account the container size you have available or build one. Either way after care is where most failures or successes are made.

Hey, thanks for the reply. I threw the chop question in at the end because I think I am still confused as to whether you need to balance leaves and roots. I think I have got it now though, collecting and chopping should at least be a year apart if the tree stays healthy. Sourcing good soil components is also an issue for me, but I’m going to work on that later in the spring.

Aaron here is a link another member posted to source good quality pumice. I have use this brand, bought from a local nursery. I have bookmarked this link so I can purchase online in the future. Pumice


Thanks for the link, I am going to order a 15lb bag to give it a try.

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