Where can you get free bonsai trees? George S

There is no such thing as a free lunch, same applies to bonsai trees.

You can grow them from seeds, or cuttings and there is a cost, your time and effort.

You can also rescue tree or shrub stumps from skips and plant them in training pots and make them into bonsai trees. Again the cost is your time and effort. You can use old washing up bowls, make a few drainage holes and use homemade bonsai soil mix.

You can also collect material from nature, but must have the land owner’s permission to remove the material such as pines, hawthorn, blackthorn etc, the choice is endless.

Learn to make your own bonsai trees and you have free bonsai trees.

Watch and learn from my bonsai channel on YouTube:

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Why is it recommended not to bare-root a Bonsai during re-potting? When taking nursery stock with poor soil, isn’t it better to replace all of the soil? Gary Mishuris

You are right about the advice and recommendations with regards to not to bare root bonsai trees and that at every repot we should reduce it to a nice root ball, as has been suggested in one of the earlier answers before. This process will take forever to sort the roots out. A handful of us believe in bare rooting the trees and speed up the development of the roots.

There are a few of us who do bare root the trees at every repot to sort the roots out, remove any ugly and criss crossing roots and leave a radial pattern. This process speeds up the root development and also helps develop the surface roots. During this process all thick tap roots are removed as well. I bare root my bonsai trees at repotting and also nursery plants and remove all the soil by dunking the roots in water, followed by gently washing with a hose.

Bare rooting comes with risks that you may end up killing the tree. This risk can be reduced if you bare root when repotting in spring and also ensure that the roots are always wet, spraying them often to prevent them from drying out.

Another big myth in the bonsai community is to repot in spring only. I repot throughout the year. Again you have to ensure that the roots are wet throughout the repotting process. If any one wants to either repot and then also bare root at times other than spring, first do in Spring and then try it in the summer with cheap material and if you get that right then move on to other trees.

I have come under attack from well known bonsai experts for bare rooting trees, repotting in summer and autumn, and their followers have also been abusive on social media. Their argument is what is wrong with the traditional methods ? My own view is that change is well thought out tried and tested and it works, its progress. They do not like change and also the fact that they did not have the courage to do the things that a few of us are doing and pushing the boundaries.

This is Progress and I have received many positive comments on my YouTube videos from a Japanese nursery, that they are now learning from the west and they too are now re-potting throughout the year. Their channel link is:

Bonsai & Killifish from Japan

There are many repotting videos where I bare root the bonsai trees and nursery stock. My channel link is:

https://goo.gl/R9IKFp

Here is a link to one of my Malus Crab Apple tree which was in a training pot and at the repotting, it was bare rooted:

Bonsai Malus Crab Apple tree repot from training pot into to a Bonsai pot by mikbonsai

For more information and over 250 bonsai videos, visit my channel to pick up more tips and tricks at: https://goo.gl/R9IKFp

How do I take care of bonsais? from Lola van Dijk, Aruba.

All trees grow outdoors. Trees which normally grow in the tropics and warmer climates, can in cold countries be grown indoors. Examples are Ficus, Jade, Chinese Elm etc.

Light is important for the trees survival and to make sure you need to find out what specie you have and then what position it prefers, shade, partial shade, full sun. For example Japanese Maple prefer partial shade.

Watering has to be right, don’t over or under water. The bonsai soil should only be soaking wet when the tree is watered. After that the soil should be moist and water again when the soil is moist on the dry side. During very hot summers, I have had to water twice a day. In Japan the bonsai nurseries water a number of times a day. Due to excessive heat the small amount of bonsai soil in the pots dries out quickly, so keep an eye on watering.

Feeding is also important to maintain the health and vigor of the tree. I used balanced feed 10:10:10 most of the time. If you cannot get this strength, then get the next higher one and dilute it down. I also use Chicken Pellets, these smell, but are very low cost and produce excellent results.

Pruning is essential to maintain the shape of the tree and if you use clip and grow method, you are styling the tree as it grows. Pruning during the growing season also helps keep the tree small instead of letting it become a bush. Some basic rules to follow are to remove any growth growing inwards or towards the trunk, also remove any growth growing downwards so that there is no growth on the underside of the branches. Also remove any growth going straight up.

Wiring techniques are used to move branches into desired position and also create movement in young trunks and branches.

Repotting is important and should be done in spring. The roots are combed out and a third of the roots are removed. The tree is kept small by pruning the new growth and also by root pruning at repotting time. Deciduous trees need repotting every two years and the evergreens like the pines and junipers every eight to ten years.

Above is bare minimum to get you going.

For more information and if you want to learn to bonsai, visit my YouTube bonsai channel “mikbonsai”. Subscribe and also click the bell icon next to the subscribe button and you won’t miss anything. There are over 250 bonsai video and the link is:

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How is your bonsai doing? I managed to kill mine by Anonymous on Quora

You have provided very little information, such as where you live, was this your first tree, the specie, age etc.

The way you have asked the question, my guess is that this was your first bonsai either given to you as a gift, or you purchased it as a treat. Either way you were not in possession of some basic knowledge to care and maintain it.

“I killed my bonsai tree” I hear this a lot and people feel guilty for the tree having died in their care. However, it is not entirely the owners fault. Majority of the the trees such as the one you had are commercially grown and imported. These trees are in already in trouble at the point of sale.

Going back in time to when these trees are harvested from the growing fields in China, they are potted in farm soil and some sand thrown in to aid drainage. The pots tends to be blue in colour and if you look at the bottom of the pot, you will find one or two drainage holes and there is no wire mesh to prevent loss of soil. There are no anchor wires either to secure the tree in the pot. The amount of time these trees spend in these pots after being harvested is upwards of two years and the trees are root bound before they arrive in the West.

The trees are watered, packed in trolleys which are shrink wrapped and then packed into containers. Dry ice is added into the containers and then sealed. It takes up to nine weeks for the containers to get to the west. In the meantime inside the container it is dark and cold and the trees think its winter and go into dormancy.

The containers in the west are unloaded, and distributed to the retailers after cleaning up the pots and adding leaf shine to the tree to make it look attractive.

So the tree you got may still be dormant and also due to being root bound, watering normally would have been difficult, some sellers tell the purchasers to use the dunking method but remain silent on when the trees needs repotting, at best give misleading information on when the next repot is. The reality is that the tree needs repotting as soon as possible using good quality bonsai soil mix and also in a pot which is the right size for the tree.

Different species have different needs to thrive. Some need more water than others and some prefer the soil to virtually dry out before the need for watering. The tree should neither be over watered not underwatered. The soil should not be soaking wet, but moist. In summer months it will need more water and in the winter months less.

Also a lot would depend where the tree is i.e indoors or outdoors. Trees kept indoors need a lot more care and attention than the ones outdoors. Then the tree needs light and sunshine and its location would depend on the specie. Also keep away from heat sources such as radiators.

Age is also relevant as a younger tree has high risk of perishing when neglected than and older tree is sturdy and can survive delays in watering.

Then there is fertilising and that should be done during the growing season. I would suggest a balanced fertiliser 10:10:10 If you cannot get this strength, get the next one up and dilute it down.

I have gained very valuable insight into these bonsai trees as every year there is a constant stream of people I see with their trees in trouble and I have helped save majority of them. I also got to know from the owners where the trees were purchased from and the information they were given at the time of purchase. All this has helped me build a picture of what is happening in this industry. To help people buying these trees, I made three videos and these are in a playlist.

Anyone who is new to bonsai or is given a bonsai tree ought to see these three videos. All you need to know is covered in these videos and the link is :

How to Avoid Common Problems with Bonsai Gift Trees | Bonsai Gift Trees Made Easy Part 1

Bonsai Trees How to bonsai an old neglected jade tree; Bonsai; Portulacaria Afra, small leaf Jade

Lucy Whelan’s Old Jade Tree had been neglected for many years and it is being worked on and gradually being turned into to a bonsai tree that Lucy will be proud to possess. Here the bonsai wiring from the previous session is removed. The new growth is pruned to leave one set of new leaves. All growth growing downwards is removed. The pot is cleaned. The pruned cutting are taken by Lucy to propagate into little jade trees.

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My Bonsai Trees and Garden in first snow | mikbonsai

My bonsai Trees and bonsai garden in First Snow, December

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How to Bonsai and Putting thins right; John Hanby | mikbonsai

John Hanby on how to bonsai and putting things right; Bonsai Demonstration continues with more Styling Juniper Bonsai Trees Advice, Tips and Tricks at the Heathrow Bonsai Show. Learn from John Hanby’s words of wisdom on how to Style your Bonsai Juniper trees and a lot more.

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John Hanby Bonsai demonstration more juniper styling trips and tricks Part 5 | mikbonsai

John Hanby Bonsai Demonstration continues with more Styling Juniper Bonsai Trees Advice, Tips and Tricks at the Heathrow Bonsai Show. Learn from John Hanby’s words of wisdom on how to Style your Bonsai Juniper trees and a lot more.

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John Hanby Styling advice, tips and tricks Part 4

John Hanby Bonsai Demonstration Styling Bonsai Trees Advice, Tips and Tricks at the Heathrow Bonsai Show. Learn from John Hanby’s words of wisdom on how to Style your Bonsai trees and a lot more.

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John Hanby Bonsai Demonstration Styling Bonsai Trees Advice, Tips and Tricks Part 3 | mikbonsai

John Hanby Bonsai Demonstration Styling Bonsai Trees Advice, Tips and Tricks at the Heathrow Bonsai Show. Learn from John Hanby’s words of wisdom on how to Style your Bonsai trees and a lot more.

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