What to do with the HUGE jade-tree...

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What to do with the HUGE jade-tree...

Postby oproudfoot » Mon Dec 24, 2007 11:12 pm

Hi all, I have been given a large jade tree (about 5 foot tall) for X-mas, it has a great lower trunk but is weepy/ lanky atop, so I want to convert it into a bonsai(s). I’m wondering how to go about this, and would appreciate any advice on my ‘amateurish’ first thoughts… see pic of the plant at the end of this post.
Initially I wanted to create a ‘forest’ using measured segments of it, but now I’m thinking it might look good if I can incorporate a ‘miniature pond’ (which I already have, made of fibre-glass) into the mix, and make it more of a ‘pond-scene’ with 3 or so main trees… all mounted in a 1M long rectangular pot. But then I thought maybe jade trees around a pond might look a bit odd, because they actually like dry conditions (practically speaking, it wouldn’t be a problem, as their root-systems would not be in contact with the pond/water). But then again maybe the scene would evoke a nice ‘tropical’ type feel with the round/ succulent leaves of the jade, and the mini-pond … ? I’ve noticed that bonsais tend to depict natural scenes, so I’d aim to make it look like a naturally formed pond/ waterway; hence the problem with using a succulent… Maybe I'm thinking about this too much ?!?
Whatever I decide to do, I’ll have to chop the jade-tree at points where the trunk is really thick… I’m not sure if the usual advice about jade-cuttings holds true for segmenting fat sections of trunk. Particularly, I’m wondering if I should leave them for at least a week to dry out as usual, or for a shorter or longer time. Re cuttings that are from a mid-section of stem (i.e. have a ‘clipped’ top, as well as bottom), should I attempt to seal the top wound in any way, or just let it dry up naturally … Final question is about ‘shaping’ the trunk at the top of a clipped sections of fat-trunk; can you kind of ‘file-away’ at it gently to get it looking how you want it with jade trees, and it will heal up looking respectable … ?
Any advice on any of these questions would be appreciated…
Cheers, Owen
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Re: What to do with the HUGE jade-tree...

Postby oproudfoot » Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:37 am

Still no advice re the big jade tree... oh well...
as an aside, never ask a young kid what makes a good bonsai, and promise to make it for them, because they might say:
“A big tree (?!), a tall rock, a fisherman, the fisherman’s house, grass in the small garden (maybe meaning moss?), small rocks and big rocks in the group (maybe actually meaning separate?)… and paths to a secret jewel”…
Or you might have to try and make it for them ... which leads to a seriously over-crowded/ unprofessional looking 'bonsai' !
Cheers, Owen

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Re: What to do with the HUGE jade-tree...

Postby taffyman » Thu Dec 27, 2007 9:15 pm

I've never worked with Jade trees Opf, but the idea of making a mini forest round a pond sounds pretty good. In that sort of setting - and because of the reasonably small leaves, the Jade trees wouldn't look out of place even though it is a succulent. We had a large Jade tree in our garden in Sydney and I was forever knocking pieces off it, so what I did was to just stick them straight in the ground - and every one of them grew. Hopefully some of our members have more experience with Jade trees than me and can put you on the right track with the correct treatment for them.
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Re: What to do with the HUGE jade-tree...

Postby Luzy » Fri Dec 28, 2007 10:55 am

That's one big jade, Owen! I'm another without 'jade' experience but one my mum had would practically grown before it hit the ground when bits got knocked off. I don't remember that the bits were actually put in soil, so I guess they did dry off before sending out roots.

And well done with your tree/rock/fisherman/etc scene. Is the youngster going to look after it?
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Re: What to do with the HUGE jade-tree...

Postby imonetwo » Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:25 pm

Gday Owen
I dont know if you have already shaped ya jade plant,( jade tree is different) but you have the makings of a fine bonsai even though the japanese would frown at succulents :)

Idea Number 1
I would pick a side branch a third of the way up the trunk and make that the new leader,cut off all branches that dont fit your design reduce all branches you intend to keep,repot in to a very free draining mix and leaf cut every remaining leaf. The main branches you left and the top will the reshoot with even smaller leaves and then you can shape the branches as the extend into the design you are looking for.

Idea Number 2
Choose a part of tree from the top down and cut it off an inch below where the new bottom of the trunk will be, get an 8 inch pot and place an inch of soil in the bottom, place the jade cutting in the pot with the cut facing down so its just sitting on the soil, place the pot in a shady area for a week only allowing minimum sun, then after a week plant it in a low container and water sparingly till new roots start growing and you see new growth, after which increase watering and start shaping as it grows.

My personal Fav

Idea Number 3
Do both :)

The best part is its safest in mid summer.
Regards
Eric
PS I hope I explained myself well enough for you to see the possibilities.
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Re: What to do with the HUGE jade-tree...

Postby lmrk » Tue Jan 08, 2008 12:13 pm

I got this jade plant from a trash & treasure market for $10, including the pot. It was literally sitting in sand, not wired in, & held in the leaning position by a rock :shock: Brought it home, repotted it with a mixture of some of the sand it was in, and including a bit of soil and some pebbles, and wired the roots to the base of the pot to keep it in the angled position it's in. After about 2 weeks after repotting, added some osmocote. Had is about 6 weeks now & so far so good. Water it about twice a week. It may give you some idea's for your potential bonsai.

Jade plants are very popular as bonsai with people from the Vietnamese community who like really huge bonsai. I've seen a number of enormous ones around and they can look spectacular. I like the lines around the trunk. Gives it a good "aged" look!

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