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Black locust bonsai: from seedling? from root?

Posted by sudeva NYC (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 6, 10 at 12:19

Hi, all. I'm a bit new to bonsai, so bear with me. I've read books but had not planned to make my first attempt at cultivation until maybe this spring or next spring. I may have to dive in, though, because I'd previously seen black locust turned into beautiful larger size bonsai, and I happened--while gardening this morning--to come across a number of young specimens. I also came across a fascinating bit of black locust root that was pretty much independent of the nearest tree. Is it worth trying anything with the root? Seems potentially more aesthetically rewarding but also more difficult to cultivate. I'm not sure where I would start cutting; the horizontal element seems like it'd require some serious curtailment with an eye toward future nebari shape, but maybe I should just try to keep the whole thing as alive and healthy as I can for now. (The vertical element was almost, but not quite, breaking the surface of the soil when I found it.) I really have no clue--haven't been able to find much information on cultivation of this species. Advice would be much appreciated.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Black locust bonsai: from seedling? from root?

These trees grow so quickly that I actually doubt you'll be very successful Bonsaing it.It sounds interesting but I've been studying this art form for a long time and have yet to see a mature one.Members of the pea family are notoriously difficult to bonsai well....Good luck with it!

RE: Black locust bonsai: from seedling? from root?

This is awsome. Im actualy very curious. I have been asking alot of questions about this as well. The black locust is amazing. its the hardest wood in the u.s and is awsome for burning. it puts out alot of heat and burns slow.. it rots very slowly Theres a saying that a wall made from black locust will last fifty years longer then rock.. lol. plus it makes very durable lawn furniture. Why we dont take advantage of this what they call invasive tree i have no idea. It is said that the tree is very difficult to kill seeing that it will regrow from even thick stumps. And is known to put out new trees from roots left in the ground. I think it will make a very exellent bonsai. I think the tree is very magistic in its power to survive. The leafs are wonderfull" i wonder if they can be downsized." and the flowers are very nice.. much better then the other (purple robe variety). If you dont mind id like to stay in contact with you. my search for a wild speciman began a week ago when i heard about this tree on talk radio. making arguments of its renewable energy aplication. and why we dont take advantage of it. Ill put pictures up when i find mine..

RE: Black locust bonsai: from seedling? from root?

I thought I was the only person who could be interested using a locust tree as a bonsai! I'd like to stay in contact also. I have six seedlings and am going to try growing some from seed. Am I correct in thinking that I will need to find conditions that will slow/stunt the growth without killing the tree? Are we on a road parallel to trying to make bonsai from bamboo sprouts?

RE: Black locust bonsai: from seedling? from root?

I'm pretty new at bonsai too. We have black locust growing everywhere and I started a small black locust seedling last spring and it did ok through the summer. Just recently the power company clear cut along the lines through the woods and the field behind my house. I found a 3 inch diameter stump with really good roots that had been uprooted. The stump has been really chewed up but like I said the roots are really good. I'm looking forward to spring to see if I get new growth from the stump. Let me know how yours has turned out.

RE: Black locust bonsai: from seedling? from root?

As many have said, Black Locust is a very fast growing species. It also has compound leaves, which will nearly always look out of scale. That being said, If you are new to bonsai, having a fast growing species in which you can experiment with be a great learning experience. Experience and knowledge of how a tree will react to your actions will make bonsai a very rewarding activity.

I would look at pictures of mature "acacia trees" as a general idea of how I would train a Black Locust.

Here is a link that might be useful: Acacia Tree

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