This project takes a landscaping bush purchased at Lowes for $16.98 and starts its training as a bonsai specimen in what's known as a "training box" to start to make the roots the right shape for a more shallow pot. It involves building the box itself, pruning (with root pruning), and potting the tree.
This bonsai will be kept outside year round unless there is some extreme in weather. According to many I've spoken to about bonsai the most common mistake is to try to get a plant which is meant for outdoors to live inside. There are some tropical species which can tolerate this, but most evergreen and deciduous trees need humidity, lots of light, and seasonal weather changes which are nearly impossible to replicate indoors.
I wanted to plug a couple of sites which have helped me out considerably:
The Helpful Gardener - Bonsai Forum:
- Very good (free) forum which has always given me quick, well informed responses from cool people.
Wichita Bonsai Club
"The Rules of Bonsai" - A set of rules that everyone interested in bonsai should read.
Step 1: Materials
I plan to be relatively brief on the construction of the box itself, but I'll elaborate on the drainage and wiring aspects.
The materials used for the box were (mostly improvised):
A piece of poplar I had sitting around which was 9.5 inches wide by 5/8th's inches thick.
- this thickness was not necessary but only used as I had it lying around.
A long piece of pine which was 1 inch by 6 inches (which is actually 3/4ths inches x 5.5 inches)
A good belt sander (always important to try to cover my mistakes with)
A miter saw deep enough to cut a 5.5 inch width board.
A hand saw for the long cut at the base.
A drill press with a 3/4th inch hole boring bit.
An electric drill/screw driver with about ten 2.5 inch deck screws
A good pair of hand hedge clippers.
A little sand paper for hand sanding
For the potting itself:
Pea gravel purchased at Lowes for about $4.00
One gallon of all-purpose (open to debate) Bonsai soil purchased at a local nursery which specializes in bonsai for $6.50. It looks like it is mostly composted of akadama and peat.
Some of the mulchy soil removed from around the roots.
A piece of aluminum gutter guard mesh
18 gauge copper wire