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Dallas Pensai/Bonsai #6: Hackberry Bonsai

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Blog entry by chscholz posted 01-29-2013 06:05 AM 3225 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: T-Graft Part 6 of Dallas Pensai/Bonsai series no next part

How do you get good bonsai material?
There are two choices:

1) you start when you are young—very young, plant a tree and wait (It helps to believe in re-incarnation)
2) you go somewhere and dig up the gnarliest old little tree that you can find.
2b) ok you can buy something on e-bay.

Given that most of us are not that young any more we do a few club digs every year. Usually the dig is somewhere in the TX Prairie (or better what used to be the TX Prairie), at a farm that belongs to a club member (or a friend of a club member, or a friend of a friend …)

This year we dug up three hackberry trees. I must tell you, this is a lot of work. You are looking for a decent size trunk, nice movement and in general, tree material that can be trained into a bonsai over the next 5-20+ years.

Digging up one of these trees is a lot of work, in contrast to what one of our most experienced club members though, hackberry trees have a huge taproot right under the trunk. Digging up a nice rootball and removing enough soil that you can cut the tap root with a saw is quite a task, particularly since there there is a dense layer of limestones a few inches below the shallow top-soil.

Next order of business is to keep the trees alive.





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chscholz

156 posts in 2690 days
hardiness zone 8

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3 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3807 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 01-29-2013 07:40 AM

oh very interesting!!
“oops” re the surprise taproot :D

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View OttoH's profile

OttoH

140 posts in 2846 days
hardiness zone 9

posted 01-29-2013 06:12 PM

Never thought of Hackberry as Bonsai material. 5 to 20 years to get it into Bonsai form is truly a labor of love, looking forward to seeing how the process goes. Good Luck!

-- My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant's point of view. ~H. Fred Ale

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4312 posts in 3069 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 02-01-2013 04:19 PM

Sounds like you had quite an adventure gathering bonsai material. Good luck with it and post photos of your bonsai if it survives the shock of the transplant. I wish you success.

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

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