Wee Trees Bonsai Help Forum Advice for all

Cotoneaster ignorance
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Author:  Rivulus123 [ 25 Jul 2020, 18:35 ]
Post subject:  Cotoneaster ignorance

I have just purchased a little 8" Cotoneaster from a recognized Bonsai supplier. (paid a few pounds inc postage but it might have the makings of something respectable.
It has quite a nice trunk and is growing rampantly. I have removed some suckers etc and adhered to the generalisation of internet info.
What I am looking for is a more in-depth pruning and care set of techniques specifically to this plant for bonsai.
I have trawled the web to try and find something to satisfy my appetite but all seem just in general type of jottings.
I like the look of this little tree (pics to follow) and I'm wondering to to style and prune it properly, when and how.
Any help and inspirational personal images would be greatly appreciated

Author:  Gary Jones [ 25 Jul 2020, 21:49 ]
Post subject:  Re: Cotoneaster ignorance

Cotoneaster is used for hedges so from that you'll know it buds easily and the shoots extend quickly. It's robust and tolerant. All said relatively easy to keep alive and style and you can within reason prune as you like. So the skill mostly comes down to the aesthetics or design that you follow. It's a bush rather than a tree which means it doesn't get a thick trunk easily. #1 priority is therefore to grow and shape your trunk first. If you need to, that could mean time in the ground, even in a pot you should let it grow wild and unpruned if you want to thicken or develop the trunk or branches, but don't forget to wire or prune for movement and taper in the process.

Loads of people have them and they are straightforward. Enjoy being creative.

Here's a couple of mine.

A tiny one allowed to grow out

and after pruning it.

Another one when aquired

and currently

Author:  Rivulus123 [ 25 Jul 2020, 23:23 ]
Post subject:  Re: Cotoneaster ignorance

Thanks, Gary, your help is immeasurable,
I think my problem is, I cannot see the style contained within.
I see something I like (from internet images) but in essence, I cant see my way forward to emulate that style.
For my bush/tree, I would like to steer clear of the semi-cascade style for now. and produce a nice broom (perhaps)
I know it may not have the impact of the cascade but I just want to treat it as a learning process and stick with something #simplistic if you like.
I'll post pics in the morning

Author:  johnbaz [ 25 Jul 2020, 23:23 ]
Post subject:  Re: Cotoneaster ignorance

Some nice trees there Gary :201thumbup:

I love cotoneaster due to the small leaves!

Here's one that I dug back in 20914, I put it in to a box and didn't touch it for two years, It had a split between the two trunks that I filled with epoxy putty as I thought it would rot catching the rain!

I potted it up in to a 16" mica pot in 2017 and it was coming along fine untiol this year when the right trunk died so I set about it with a Dremel, I actually wore the cutting tool out and it would only produce smoke ending up!!

The right trunk is dead in this pic..

My feeble attempt at carving!


I hope the Bonsai Bootsale is on in autumn as I ran out of lime sulphur!!

Some smaller Cotoneaster..

Good luck with yours, They make smashing Bonsai :Big Thumb:

John :smallthumb:

Author:  Rivulus123 [ 26 Jul 2020, 07:40 ]
Post subject:  Re: Cotoneaster ignorance

Some great aspirational examples above,
Thanks again guys, for your interest in this topic and my dilema lol
As promised here are a few images of the tree in question, as I said I'm unsure what way to go.
Feel free to load the image into a paint program and show me where to make cuts and ideas for wiring to make this into the beginnings of something nice.
The front is pretty much chosen for me already I think.
So that as a starting point please educate this newbie into some kind of vision for this great little bush/tree


P.S. I will be probably repotting in the spring (still training but in a nicer pot)
To re-itterate, thank you all for your input.

Author:  wood walloper [ 26 Jul 2020, 07:57 ]
Post subject:  Re: Cotoneaster ignorance

As I have posted before I have dozens of little cotoneaster, they strike very readily from cuttings. So don't throw any decent offcuts away, just stick 'em in a pot and you'll be amazed how many you end up with!. Gives plenty of leeway for mistakes, and makes you experiment more with styles etc, as if you don't like the results, re-style or cut back, leave it to grow out and move on to another, a great way to learn!

Author:  Rivulus123 [ 26 Jul 2020, 09:08 ]
Post subject:  Re: Cotoneaster ignorance

Again thanks for the info.
Does this plant ramify in much the same fashion as the cut and grow method and via directional pruning similar to the Chinese Elm?

Author:  darreng [ 26 Jul 2020, 11:08 ]
Post subject:  Re: Cotoneaster ignorance

Yep, although not as fast growing

Author:  Paul B [Swindon] [ 26 Jul 2020, 11:34 ]
Post subject:  Re: Cotoneaster ignorance

They make good trees to play with, this one I nicked out of the wife's garden and use it at demos and shows to prove that bonsai doesn't have to be expensive.
Every year it gets covered in flowers and holds the berries all year. In a weeping style, lots of people think that it is a miniature apple tree until I explain to them.

This was the tree back in 2013 and now has a better pot

Oct 2013.jpg

Nov 2012 1.jpg

Author:  Gary Jones [ 26 Jul 2020, 11:41 ]
Post subject:  Re: Cotoneaster ignorance

You can't go far wrong with these. The trunk on this looks quite nice. I suggest you get out the scissors and give it a go and you will learn from that process. If you're feeling hesitant then have a rough silhouette in mind as illustrated below. Also focus on cleaning - removing branches/twigs growing straight up or down, removing multiple branches at the same junction reducing to two. Also remove crotch growth. Sometimes you'll want to reduce a branch in length either just because it's too long or lacks movement (wire can address the latter on occasion) Sometimes when I'm unsure, I just start cleaning and I end up with a much better tree and get inspiration as I do it. Sometimes cleaning is all you need to do, but in this case a reduction of some of the longer branches will help as well. Once you have it in a nice pot it'll also improve the aesthetic no end.

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