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Starting from Seed

 

Starting bonsai from seed is a very humble beginning. Most people think starting bonsai from seed is a very long process which will be discouraging before the seedling starts to look like a tree. The opposite is true, i have found that using seeds, i can grow trees in a shorter period of time and produce a tree that looks much older than it really is. Secondly, a seedling does not develop a taproot as thick and quick as you might think because it is removed before it can give you hassles. A seedling can be shaped from the beginning the way you want it to develop, without any large or thick cuts and marks .
A bonsai tree grown from seed will have the most perfect proportion between trunk, branches and thinner branch lets. The other advantage is, sowing seed sometimes give you a tree with a slightly different leaf or colour variation in comparison to the mother tree. This is where the different sub varieties derive from and in future take cuttings from, to produce multiple offspring's with the same characteristics. Take a seed from the variation tree and plant it, this will reflect back to the original tree.

SOWING SEED IS FUN AND A LOT MORE LEARNT FROM NATURE

White Stinkwood, wild olive, Chinese elm, Chinese maple, American swamp Cypress, Bauhenia and the Pomegranate are some of the easier type of seeds for sowing without special treatment.
Baobab, Knob thorn, Monkey thorn, Black monkey thorn and other hard shell seeds should be treated with water before planting.

WATER TREATMENT

At least one to two days prior to planting, place the seeds in a container which has been filled with warm water until the seeds start to swell. Plant the swollen seeds. Replace the old water in the container daily with new lukewarm water, then plant the rest of the seeds as and when they swell.

SEEDLING SOIL MIX :

Two parts of seedling soil ( available at nurseries )
two parts of BONSAI FRIEND bonsai soil or sifted garden soil
two parts of fine washed river sand

 

CHECK LIST FOR SOWING SEED :
SEED
SEEDLING SOIL MIX
DEEP SEED TRAY
WATERING CAN
 

BONSAI FRIEND SOW ALL SEED BETWEEN SEPTEMBER AND DECEMBER.

The day prior to planting, fill the seed tray with the premixed seedling soil to the top. Do not compress the soil. Water the seed tray slowly with a fine spray-mist, to avoid a muddy situation . The next day you will have soil that is wet but wind-dry. The seed must be planted in rows of five centimetres apart. Press the seeds into the soil at a depth equivalent to the size of the seed. If the seed is four millimetres in diameter, it should be planted four millimetres below the soil surface. Larger seeds need to be planted deeper. Cover the holes above the seed with the seedling mix and water the soil SLOWLY BUT THOROUGHLY.

 

Once the seed has germinated, make four holes of about one centimetre in diameter on the left and right side of the terrarium to allow more airflow to harden the seedlings off. Water every second day for the next twenty days and remove the terrarium .
Seeds that germinate slowly must be watered more often until they germinate. Thorn tree seed sometimes germinate within two to four days .
When the seed starts to grow and the first two leaves appear, make a few more holes in the front and back side of the plastic to allow more airflow to harden the seedling off. Watering should now be done once a day . When the seedling has three to four leaves, make more holes in the plastic to increase the air flow . As the airflow increase you must increase the watering accordingly. When six to eight leaves have formed, remove the plastic completely and water the seedlings at least daily to twice a day . At the age of three to four months, the seedlings should be strong enough to be transplanted.
Use small nursery black bags that have been half filled with bonsai friend bonsai soil and watered well. Remove the seedlings from the seed tray with a table fork, remove the excess soil and cut only the tip of the taproot off . Place the seedling in the bag , spread the roots evenly flat on the soil and fill the bag with bonsai soil. Water in well and place it in the shade to recover for the next four weeks and water daily

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PRUNING

Pruning only starts after the first winter, in spring , when new growth appears, cut the seedlings off at pencil height. Defoliate two to four nodes above the soil this will form the stem. Allow three to five nodes with growth on to form the top crown.
Remember the height you start the tree, times three, will determine the size of your bonsai later. Starting at fifteen centimetres, the tree will finish up approximately forty five centimetres in eight to ten years time.
From the first year onwards start to apply leaf nipping, as described, in maintaining your bonsai, LEAF NIPPING.
 

SEVEN STAGES FROM SEED TO THREE YEARS OLD

 

SEVEN STAGES FROM SEED TO THREE YEARS OLD