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Complete Novice trimming/bending question
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Author:  nathanholly [ 09 Jan 2020, 09:25 ]
Post subject:  Complete Novice trimming/bending question

Hi Folks
I've always been facinated with Bonsai and have seen some incredible examples at Chelsea Flower Show. I was once given a 5 year old bonsai as a gift and I don't know what I did but it only lasted a few months before dying.
So last year (May) I planted 6 lemon pips and 2 started growing after one month. I had them on my window ledge at work and asked a colleague to water them while I was on holiday. She forgot and the smaller one died, but the larger one (which I had surrounded with moss) seemed fine and is still growing strong at 8 months old.
I haven't done anything except water it and wondered when and how to start bending and pruning?
Also, the moss has recently gone from a lovely bright green to a dull brown colour. Is that normal?
Thanks for your help.

Author:  Keith Hansell [ 09 Jan 2020, 14:32 ]
Post subject:  Re: Complete Novice trimming/bending question

The moss possibly saved it, retaining some of the soils moisture. The moss has gone brown from lack of it and being in an office from a dry atmosphere. Well done in getting the seeds to germinate and despite its lack of watering looks healthy. However it is a long way from a bonsai so allow it free growth. In the meantime nip into your local garden centre, or sometimes supermarkets, and buy a cheap bonsai to practice on. Often you can pick up ones that they have failed to water properly but can be bought back to health with some TLC, which gives the buyer a sense of achievement.

Author:  Gary Jones [ 10 Jan 2020, 20:58 ]
Post subject:  Re: Complete Novice trimming/bending question

I agree with the above but I would put movement into the trunk so as it becomes too tough to bend there's already some movement in it. It would obviously need to grow a lot (perhaps in a large container in a greenhouse) to become a high quality bonsai and although I don't know lemon trees, the leaves look very big and probably won't reduce much so this is probably more of a fun project than anything else. I've done similar stuff myself with avocado.

Author:  bluesky [ 11 Jan 2020, 09:27 ]
Post subject:  Re: Complete Novice trimming/bending question

Hi and welcome to weetrees!
Gary's right, you need to put some wire on it while the stem is still green, because citrus wood is hard and brittle so once it lignifies (turns to wood) it is basically set in that shape. You can probably wait until around May after the next spurt of growth. Before then, in March or so, move it to a deeper pot and careful to keep all the roots, to maximise growth this year and next. Another advantage of a deeper pot is you can plant the main wire down into the soil to achieve bends right from the trunk base, if you want.
About wiring, you should keep an eye on the stem growth and carefully remove the wiring before it bites into the newly forming bark. The thinner the stem, the sooner that will be. If you wire it in May you might find already in July you need to remove the wiring. You can then re-wire, if you want. Don't prune it this year.
Another thing, citrus trees seem to suffer a great deal if they are allowed to dry, they can lose leaves quickly and a small shoot will die easily as you have seen.
I have this citrus lime, not really a bonsai as such but it gives lovely fruit! Lime is a different variety of the same species as lemon.
When you do eventually need to prune in a year or two, you will experience the pleasure of the aroma. The familiar smell grows right throught the stems and leaves on these trees.

Author:  nathanholly [ 16 Jan 2020, 15:41 ]
Post subject:  Re: Complete Novice trimming/bending question

Thank you all so much for your help and advice. Like you say, not really a pukka bonsai, but good fun and an interesting project to get started on - and a bonus if it grows lemons!

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