A newbie question

(Mert Çiftdemir) #1

I have one Quercus ilex and one Cuppresus arizonica (nearly 80 cm tall) given as present.
What to do with these? And when to do?
I live in SE Europe with an elevation of 40 m above sea level. Please share your thoughts, any advice will be helpful.

(Jonas Dupuich) #2

Two things come to mind. If you want to train them as bonsai, you could wire the trunks and add some movement. Repotting the trees toward the end of winter or the start of spring will let you start developing the strong roots the trees will need to develop as bonsai.

When repotting, the goal will be to use soil that facilitates root development. Checking with relatively local bonsai enthusiasts, if any, would be a good place to determine what kind of soil is used successfully in your area.

(Mert Çiftdemir) #3

Thank you very much Jonas. What about the lower leaves of the oak? Should I pluck them when wiring?

(Frank Corrigan) #4

I agree with Jonas, introduce movement with wiring at this stage. When you choose to repot, consider choosing larger development type containers or pots. This will allow you to develop them faster with better growth rates and repot less often in the early stages. I like to work with containers of approximately 35 to 40 cm in length and width. Depth approximately 12 to 15 cm. Retaining lower branches or leaves until you are sure they will not be part of the design is always a good idea, as long as the lower branch does not grow too strongly and disfigure the base with a scar that is difficult to heal.

(Mert Çiftdemir) #5

Thank you for the response. I have have just the pot you said. 32 cm wide and 12 cm deep.
Now I decide to wire them and repot with lava rock, pumice and akadama in early spring.

(Frank Corrigan) #6

Your welcome, if you have time post on the progress:grinning:

(Mert Çiftdemir) #7

Of course I will post

(Mert Çiftdemir) #8

Wired those two according to your recommendations. Put the cypress into a plastic pot only without touching the roots. Used 1,6 mm copper wire for the cypress, but 5 mm anodized aluminium for the oak, because it was very hard to bend. In early spring, I’ll do repotting with some permeable soil.

(Frank Corrigan) #9

Well done. Good start.

(clive bennett) #10

plant them in the ground trunk growth will be much quicker, and cut the tops off to encourage lower branches. Also you will find bends will tend to grow straighten as the trunks fatten up stronger bends will work better at this stage. Good luck and have fun

(Mert Çiftdemir) #11

Oh thank you,
As you see, I kept them in their containers for the dormant season. In early spring, I will repot them in larger containers using a draining and coarse soil. Also I will prune new growth in order to thicken the trunks.
I think I gave good and strong bend to the cypress. But the ilex oak is a very tough one, it is not easy to bend it as the cypress. This is what I was able to do…


I have a couple of Arizona cypress I started from seed. They grow very rapidly and have a profusion of feeder roots, really nice to work with and easy to develop a nice nebari. They do get a bit brittle, so best to set the trunk bends now.

I grow mine in lava with a little perlite mixed in, they love it. Given how surprisingly fine their roots are (at least compared to other conifers) you can go with a relatively small-diameter particle mix. Make sure it’s a really well-drained mix, no fines or organics. Good luck!

(Mert Çiftdemir) #13

Thank you for the response. I thought it was hard to raise a cypress or a juniper from the seed. I have lots of cypress (mostly C. sempervirens) and various local pine seeds (mostly P. nigra and P. sylvestris) which I had from their cones in last autumn. Waiting for the spring to come…


They can have complex dormancies, both cypress and juniper. Most cypress are serotinous, i.e. they need a fire to release the seeds from the cones, and ash in the soil helps to break dormancy. But Arizona cypress is not serotinous, so I think that may explain why it is relatively easy to germinate, though I didn’t get a high success rate. Fun natural history facts for the day!

(Mert Çiftdemir) #15

I broke the cypress cones and collected the seeds. After the sinking test, I kept the sunken ones. I don’t know if it is a good idea or not. Maybe planting the whole cone will be better. But I will keep your advice and add ash to the soil of cypresses which I’ll plant in the spring.