Processing a stock plant


I got this tree from Rob Addonizio. I’m sure he grew it from a cutting.
I’ve had it for awhile now so I figured it was time to process it and start it on its way towards being a bonsai. 20120805-180230.jpg

here’s the trunk. It’s busting out of the pot. 20120805-180408.jpg

another view. It’s in a ten inch wide container.
Real healthy growth. What I do to this today will not kill the tree, promise. 20120805-180615.jpg
If I wanted to spend a lot of time I probably could rake this out. But I don’t. Plus, there is an opportunity here to share a secret with you. 20120805-180759.jpg

saw saw saw

There we go 20120805-180921.jpg
The sawn off bottom I will save and20120805-181004.jpg
put here.

From those cut root ends a forest of shoots will grow. And that is the first secret I will share. This will grow into a small clump; all the best salicaria clumps are started this way. It was a technique discovered by Jim Smith. He would toss the “waste” roots into a pile.

Then they began to grow Jim, being the smart man he is, let them grow.

And turned them into art. 20120805-181840.jpg
You end up, after a few years, with clumps like this.
Good roots. This was planted in bonsai soil so,instead of just some big chunky roots,there are nice fine roots. Good job Rob, you proved a point I’ve been making about soil.


Cut back all the larger roots and save the feeder roots.


This has a good base and good taper. This is superior stock. All I have to grow now are branches. I wish Japanese black pines were this easy. (There’s a question for everyone. If a JBP was this easy would people still value them as much as they do? Think about it. I think I would.You? )

Tie it in and add some good soil.

Water, fertiliser, and sunshine. I’ll do an update in a couple of months.


I cut off here and here. These will make good cuttings.
Here’s my second secret.

How to have better bonsai from cuttings.


First trick. Take cutting. Split with scissor, wedge something in between cut (I use something organic but you can use a stone)
The roots will emerge from the cut ends and the base will automatically be spread out.
I have not tried this with other species but I know it works amazingly with ficus.


Now, here’s an idea for non ficus species to get a bigger base.
The heel cutting

Now, instead of roots emerging from one or two spots they have the opportunity to emerge from almost anywhere. Where a branch splits off from another spot is called a node. The tree has the ability, from this node, to grow either a root or a branch, depending on light. When you do a cutting, it is best to have the cut end close to a node. This will increase your success rate.

This is a good cutting.

Here they are ready for soil.

And plant them. In a free draining mix.
Someone told me I use too expensive a soil in my nursery pots.
My thought is, if it works better and grows the trees better I will have less years growing, therefore less labor in a tree.and less overall soil use. I think, in the long run, it’s cheaper.

About adamaskwhy

Visual artist specializing in bonsai, mostly.
This entry was posted in Advanced basics and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Processing a stock plant

  1. nickalpin says:

    How about to prevent the cuttings from drying out? I’ve used the grocery store produce bags with good success. A lot of people write about moisture loss and the leaves being the only way to take in water until new roots are pushed.

    Just found a humidity some to try with one of my cloners, I’ll have a side-to-side test.


    • adamaskwhy says:

      Forgot to mention that. Next post on cuttings I’ll go more in depth.
      LSS- I tend to cut the leaves off. They help get moisture but they also cause moisture loss.
      The tree will draw up water from the stem in the same way as a bunch of flowers will. Or old celery (good trick that)
      I don’t use clear domes or greenhouses either. I find I don’t need them. Shade works well in my yard. I’m sure I’ll do a post more in depth as to the whys.


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