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By Funguy

Berkshire, United Kingdom Gb

After looking for over a year i have found some bonsai material. It is an evergreen azalea that is anything over 15 years old, and is growing in a garden that has poor sandy soil. The plant is in poor health. But has a large trunk.
I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice for removing the plant from the ground, i have read differing advice on the internet, so would be great to hear form someone on here. Some advise stated to remove over a couple of years. Other advise states just to remove the plant and put into a pot. I have bought a couple of books as well but they don't contain much info on this process.

I really don't want to mess this up! So not sure how to go about it.

Has anyone had any experience with this process, and creating a bonsai?



Right, well I'm totally confused for one - bonsai means training what would otherwise be a large plant into a miniature, or dwarf, version. If you start with one that's already 15 years old, I don't see how you can create a miniature version from that, given its current size and maturity.

2 Nov, 2011


I have very limited knowledge and no experience but from what i have researched and read up on,i can tell you the plants 'form', resulting from its location, situation and environment, would need to show potential for Bonsai training.

Yamadori is the Japanese term for collecting Bonsai from the wild. Plants collected from the wild could be and are,up to hundreds of years old.

With regard to the plant i mentioned its growth and form due to the situation it has grown and the conditions it has grown in, i think has potential for bonsai.

This person, Walter Pall sources his Bonsai from the wild, I think it is a common practice for Bonsai enthusiasts.

Are you interested in Bonsai, Bamboo?

2 Nov, 2011 has some interesting information about bonsai azaleas. My sister and I had a go at bonsai with self sown seedlings from my garden. Once we got them growing we sold them in aid of a charity with which we were involved. She kept one for herself, a cotoneaster, and it was a great success. Is there a local Bonsai society near you where they would be only too keen to be helpful.

2 Nov, 2011


i have a friend with over 50 bonzie and you realy need to move it in very early spring while its still dorement . the older trees are ideal as when you eventualy chop them down the thick trunk made short gives a realy good aged look and he does this often . i believe at first he pots them up into a normal smallish plastic plant pot and partly cuts it back at this point and cuts some root of then the next year he puts them into a proper bonzie pot and trims the roots even more to fit . its to much of a shock to do it all at once . he also cuts a lot more of the top growth of . this will be when its dorement early spring the next year . i know he wires up the roots to keep the soil round the roots that are left and wires the top to shape . small bonzei need taking out and trimming every early spring but as the mature you do it every other year . also keep them outside unless its an indoor plant . in the summer you must be on the ball with watering because of the lack of roots and know real tap root if they dry out unlike a normal tree that you can bring back you will lose your bonzei . also with the tiny pots you need to rap the pot up with bubble rap as tree roots are normaly down deep wear the soil is a lot warmer and doesnt freeze . he even loses the odd one because it is a very brutal thing to do to a tree . keep them of the floor to if you can so the cold floor doesnt freeze the pot . if you go on holiday what you do is get 4 bits of battening and lay it in a square . then put polythene with know holes in on this frame and fill it with water and place your bonzie in it however you cant do this for ages maybe a week tops as it will just rot out and die . this isnt all the answers to making bonzie but it should help you get started . take care bye for now x .ps good luck .

3 Nov, 2011


Removing the plant form the ground should mean cutting it out with a spade or fork. To Bonsai it you need to wash off the soil and cut back some of the roots to reduce growth (follow guidelines in that from Bonsai websites). I have seen large Bonsai plants but they had great form. Maybe post a pic to see if your Azalea looks ok for what you want?

3 Nov, 2011


I have a book on bonsai, but it does not mention using mature plants - it suggests selecting a pot grown specimen which has a good woody stem or trunk present. I'd like to know whether its successful or not, even just in terms of the plant remaining alive after you dig it up...

3 Nov, 2011


you can do either bamboo and id imagine the asians who invented them consider using older specemins cheating i bet .
as for taking the soil of my friend definatly doesnt . he trims them back and trims the soil back and then uses wire to hold the soil on them . asfor character again he uses special wire to force his trees into narley old looking trees . he gets parts to die on perpous then he bleaches them to look like theyve been dead partly for lots of years . he also does things like every time he repots he leaves a bit of root exposed a bit at a time andeventualy you can get stones under the tree and the roots takethe shape of the stone and get bark on them . the reasen i even know him is his garden backs onto mine and i sore him a few times with these fantastic looking plants . my nosey nature took over and i just had to knock and the rest is history . he is very knowladgable excuse the spelling especialy trees . one of my faves is his giant sacoyer that is only about 4 feet tall its lovley . i mite go get some photos if anyones interested and post them on here .

3 Nov, 2011


I was hoping you'd see the question - I knew you knew someone who was heavily into bonsai. I've tried to get into it, but it just feels like torturing something to me - although I quite fancy trying a bit of cloud pruning, just not on a bonsai, lol!

3 Nov, 2011


in all honesty its not my thing at all thow interesting . hes given me a lovley acer shrub bonzie thats green with alovley red tinge to the end of the leaves and a monkey puzzle and both i put back in the ground . i tell you what the acer was bonsied for 16 years and when it settled in the first summer in the ground it litteraly grew 6 feet in as many months . it is torturing making them stunted definatly .

3 Nov, 2011


I bet your neighbour's not pleased - all that effort bonsai-ing them and then you just let them do their thing, lol!

3 Nov, 2011


yes and know . i did ask before i did it as like you say it would be rude but he said as long as there happy and i take care of them bamboo which ofcourse i do xx .

3 Nov, 2011


Thanks for all the replies and info.

I will go and take a few pics and post them, when i pop back over there on Friday.

I found some really good website's with bonsai related video's and text, and on youtube there are some good video's aswell. Much better than the dvd i payed £10 for!

Nice neighbour you have Nosey! Can we swap? Mine gives me plants of a different type, they come up from under the bloody fence...grrrrrr! Scooze my french.

9 Nov, 2011


lol funguy he is actualy living directly opposit me as in his garden backs onto mine . i kept seeing his lovley unusual looking plants from a distance and my nosey side couldnt help but go and ring his bell which worried me as when i pressed the doorbell all his lights went out . i thaught id shorted his house out somehow but its wired up like that as his ex wife was deaf lol . we are now good friends . i keep trying to get him to come on here but hes a skitsofrennick but a nice one bless him .arnt nieghbers a wonderfull thing lol .

10 Nov, 2011

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