Do you recall when I showed you the saplings I transplanted from the daylily hill where they choose to show up and into Tommy's ever-expanding arboretum? Well, my friend, the very knowledgeable Raymond Alexander Kukkee left a great comment after that post, but unlike most other comments I receive, I would not publish it. Wanna know why? Because I wanted to use it as a guest post about growing Bonsai, something I've always wanted to do.
Lovely man that he is, he said, "Okay!"
Love it when that happens! Thank you, Raymond!
Haha, Glory,nice saplings! Definitely the zeitgeist is at play! I'm guessing they are trying to get your attention, they always like to grow and do best where you're not looking.
By the way, you CAN adapt larger saplings--even 12' high-- and turn them into Bonsai, by cutting off the trunk carefully at the first branch or first visible bud. If you want an atypical (read crooked) tree, encourage the remaining branch to be angular. If you want the tree straight, encourage the new branch to grow vertically. You can tape, wire or tie it up carefully into position. New buds will form below.
You can pick and choose the ones you want. Grow it for a while and lop it off again if you think it's too tall. Pruning encourages stuff to grow. Make a very clean, angular cut and trim it smooth so it won't be noticeable after it grows for a few years and heals with callus. It will heal itself and the scar will be hardly noticeable--or invisible if it's done carefully. Make sure you Seal the cuts if they are big.
That maple, for instance, (for maples, only when they go DORMANT) you can trim it down to the first tiny branch, or even a single bud, seal the cut with tree paint, and clip off the BIG tap root as short as possible, making sure there are still lots of rootlets remaining. The little rootlets ARE the feeders. Place it into a pot of peat moss with a very small amount of soil mixed with it, keep it moist, and let the tree grow a new root system in the spring.
Add NO fertilizer until it is in full leaf again or you will burn the roots. Like any plant, it has to be actively seeking and UPTAKING nutrients before you add fertilizer.
If you confine it to a pot like that and it survives, you're well on your way to your first bonsai--we are getting to that!
Thank you so much for all that great information, Raymond. Well, don't you know, I have a plan now for the next time I spot a tiny sapling growing where it ought not! Now to find an appropriate shallow, decorative dish... As Mr. Miagi would say, "Bonsai!!!!To little trees!"