Brand new member. First time post. Just recently started with bonsai. Got a small juniper at a bonsai type store here in Dallas Texas and applied simple wiring and repotting and am letting it sit-grow. At least it is not dead. Found a baby boxwood at a regular nursery and it is not ideal but still getting some practice. But need MORE nursery stock, larger material I think with more to work with. Nurseries here seem to have expensive Japanese maples or small single branch repetitive junipers. Any suggestions? Mail order? Big box places like Home Depot? Still need to practice and not sure I am ready for very expensive material or something old and rare. But need material to practice
I have found Rocky mountain junipers and common junipers at Lowes and Fleet Farm. Usually 3 to 5 gallon nursery containers. If you are not in a hurry shopping at the end of season will get the best price. Also frequent old mom and pop nurseries locally that grow their own trees in the ground. Older larger trunks and occasionally trimmed by deer or mower or line trimmer to give them a unique trunk line. The trick is to look for botanical name. Often a cultivar for home landscaping is given a name to increase marketing. Juniperus Scopulorum or Juniperus communis. The common juniper is a true needle juniper so make sure the needles looks sharp when you buy them. Juniperus procumbens is frequently available at nurseries and commonly labeled as a japanese garden juniper. Buy several and give yourself a challenge to improve with each plant. The plants you buy at nurseries should be able to thrive in your zone.
Do you or can you meet an excavator? Old foundation plants have been the best way I have got my hands on bigger material.
Have a look at the clearout area or „junk yard“ at nurseries (don‘t think the big box stores have these). Many times the nurseries have plants there that are partly broken, half dead or else not suitable to be sold at full price. Can make for some nice material as you tend to have larger plants and „character“ from random acts of nature/staff.
Join the Dallas club. Come to a meeting. Meet some folks, ask some questions. We have some digs coming up in Feb/March.
Our local County Conservation District has a spring sale. Mostly saplings and young trees. Mostly hardy local pines and decideous. This year they have Trident maples and Dawn redwoods…? Great for forests and long-term frustrations!
Go online and check your local county and Conservation District…
Thanks for the tip @KurtP. Looked mine up and think I will get some come spring and they are way cheaper prices then any where else like 5 saplings for 10 to 20 bucks depending on species.
This has been a fulfillng and great source for starter bonsai. Be aware they are longterm projects.
Some healpful notes:
Plan ahead. Ready pots and soil ready BEFORE you receive the stock. 80 trees take a while to plant up…They will (probably) be longish bareroot, and tall whips. Only clip the tops back to GOOD buds or limbs! Wire now if you want movement in the main trunk… Guage the tap roots and cut. Leave as much fine roots as you can. Initial planting into a tall plastic pot…
Its going to take YEARS to grow these up. Maybe plant into a garden plot? Then, dont neglect them! I have ~50+ overly large oaks, hedge maples, etc at the foot of my garden… Turn your back and they get 10 feet tall…
I put half good potting soil with 1:1:1 bonsai soil for the first round. Almost all of the trees I have received survived. Mostly death from initial root pruning. Order more than you need and trade off unwanted trees later…
My 20 year old Dawn readwood 5 tree forest was from this source… Awsome. Bought 10 more last spring! They ALL survived the summer.
Yea they are bareroot which is making me think of staying away from conifers since I can’t just plant them in the grown yet, but really want some larches.
If you do have any tips on how to get a bareroot conifer to survive in a pot that would be very helpful?
My one idea to help them is to use something like this.
Big Foot Mycorrhizal Granular (4 OZ) with Kelp, Biochar, Worm Castings, Humic Acid, Micronutrients (1 TSP per Plant/ 32-1 Gallon pots) Amazon.com
If any one has any prior experience to using mycornhizal to help bare root conifers?
No, no, they will be just fine…Young pines have a different set of survival abilities than older potted and yamadory trees.
Don’t (EVER) Cut ALL the taproot off the first potting! Leave as much fine roots as possible. Larger pot. At second season repot, clip a little more… sapling taproots grow like crazy!
My thought is you do not need any fancy fertilizer mixture. Way over kill. At leasy for the first three months. The potting soil / bonsai mix I mentioned will have enough of all that. It WILL keep the roots from drying out.
Also, the current Mirai canonical theory from the podcasts is that the species specific required mycorrhizal come inside the plant’ s roots. IN the roots, from the seed…
The bareroot white pine, ponderosa, dawn redwood, etc seadlings and saplings did just fine! Didn’t lose ANY on the first potting! Buy a few extra trees for longterm. You WILL lose some. Over time. Plan for it.