First try at yamadori; collected fir sapling

thirdyearbonsai(Zone 4, VT, USA)August 3, 2009

Fellow bonsai enthusiasts,

First of all, thank you all for creating such a useful and extensive forum. Bravo!

That being said, I need your help!

I recently collected a young fir tree and I'd really like it to survive. I saw the tree on a hike around my buddy's property and removed it about 2 weeks ago (July 27 or so).

I have several pictures that I'll post if anyone is interested in helping. Here are the details:

-It is currently in a 10" plastic tub, transplanted carefully during/after a heavy rainfall.

-I potted in Schultz compost-based potting soil, to which I added sand and perlite (maybe 1/5...)

-I treated it with Superthrive once, the day after transplanting.

-It currently sits under a shady south facing porch.

The tree looks very healthy, I am happy to say.

And here are my questions:

1. What am I doing wrong, if anything?

2. What do I do with this thing in the winter? Winters are very cold here...

3. Assuming it survives the winter (fingers crossed) what do I do with it in the spring? Plant it in a different substrate?

4. When should I start pruning? I have no idea how to do this to a conifer.

Any help would be greatly appreciate

I have lots of experience gardening, growing houseplants, etc, but this is my first attempt at collecting a wild specimen for bonsai. I have the green thumb, please help me become a master.

Thanks for reading!

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Welcome...we didn't create this forum and most of the functions are very out of date. Garden web is one of the hardest ones to use, especially for posting pics.


sounds like you did a lot 'right', I would loosen the soil mix up a lot more by adding at least 40% pine bark mulch (screened to 1/4 and 1/2 inch pieces) or at least get the fines and big chunks out. I've never seen Superthrive kill a tree but have never noticed any benefit from using it.
If you didn't put any holes in the tub now would be a good time.

The time of year you collected the tree wasn't the best but it's done. You can make any changes in the soil now without causing problems: don't feed it now and I would suggest just taking care of it till next spring. For this winter I'd suggest just leaving it under the porch buried to the top of the tub in mulch. It was growing in the wild so winter shouldnt be any problem at all.

As for becoming a master...that takes many years, a lot of work and a lot of dead trees.
good luck

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 5:23AM
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thirdyearbonsai(Zone 4, VT, USA)

Thanks for the reply Bob.

The plastic tub does have drainage.

So I should take the tree out of the pot and add 40% pine bark mulch to the substrate then re-pot it?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 9:45AM
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I would, it hasn't been potted up for too long so you won't do any damage.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 7:30PM
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thirdyearbonsai(Zone 4, VT, USA)

Ok thanks. This weekend I'll take a run out to the garden center and get some pine bark mulch.

As for winter care, winters get pretty cold here (Vermont)...I just wonder whether a tub of mulch will provide the same protection to the tree.

I am also wondering how to care for the tree in winter. Do I water it at all? Etc.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 1:06PM
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