The ultimate guide to designing and raising a mini forest of miniature trees from seedlings to a full-grown forest. In addition to step-by-step instructions for growing each plant, this book includes instructions for the design of a mini tree grove of your very own.The perfect gift for anyone who loves the beauty of trees, Bonsai is an ancient art form that has made a comeback thanks to the worldwide appreciation of nature. Growing your own redwood bonsai is easier than you think with the help of this care kit’s step-by-step instructions, and it’s also a great way to learn about plants.
bon = shallow tray | sai = plant or planting
bonsai is a recreation of nature, artistically interpreted, that is constantly growing and changing; the art of gardening in its purist sense. While there are masters who have pursued and perfected this ancient skill for generations, bonsai remains an entirely simple process.
The tree species for this kit was carefully chosen for its beauty as a bonsai specimen and for its fast growth rate. Your bonsai kit includes everything needed to grow and sculpt an authentic bonsai tree into an elegant work of living art.
dawn redwood forest | Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Ancient trees related to the coastal redwoods of California, Dawn redwood was once thought to be extinct. In the 1940’s, was re-discovered growing in a remote region of central China. What makes the Dawn redwood truly special is that it is a deciduous coniferous tree. Meaning, in the autumn, the light green foliage turns bronze and ultimately, like leaves, drop off as a normal part of growth.
- Place bonsai boxTM cover under the bonsai boxTM to serve as a drainage tray.
- Remove the bag of bonsai soil and tin of seeds from the box.
- Open soil bag and fill with enough water to meet the soil line. Seal soil bag and work water into soil with hands. Over sink, poke holes in base of bag and let water drain from bag.
- Take pre-wetted soil, put 3/4 cup in each training pot and press to fit pot.
- Remove dawn redwood seeds from tin and divide seeds among the training pots, pushing them down into moistened soil just under the surface of the soil. note. If seed is planted too deep, it will not germinate.
- Place the pots in a shallow dish and fill dish with 1” of water. This will help keep the soil at the right moisture level. Loosely place a piece of plastic wrap over the top of each pot and place in a warm area out of direct sunlight. Do not let the soil dry out. Dawn redwood seeds need to remain wet to germinate. Monitor the water in the dish and refill as needed. If the surface of the soil begins to dry, water from the top to wet the seed.
- Your seedlings should sprout in about 15-30 days. note. Temperature is important for seed germination. Soil typically is 5ºF/-15ºC cooler than the surrounding air. Optimum soil temperature for seed germination is around 70ºF/21ºC. If your room temperature is cooler than 75ºF/24ºC you will need to supplement heat with a simple desk lamp about 8” from top of pots. If your room temperature is warm enough, place pots and seedlings in a location with morning sunlight.
- When seedlings have their first true needles, remove trees with soil from the training pots and arrange in the empty bonsai box.
- Take the bag of bonsai soil and pour the mixed soil around each of the tree seedlings filling the bonsai box.
- Sprinkle moss seed over soil surface and water in gently
Sun & watering
Morning sun is required to keep your forest healthy. Place in a warm sunny location and rotate the container often to allow all growth to receive sun. In the winter months your forest will need to be stored in a cool location to allow it to remain healthy. Select a cool windowsill, sheltered garage or basement to overwinter your trees in. Water your forest when soil begins to dry out. Cooler temperatures often require less watering. Water the soil deep enough to reach all roots and until water is draining into the drainage tray. note. If planting your forest during winter months, when light is low and air is cool, it may help to supplement your growing environment with a simple desk lamp
(please refer to note in step 7).
After transplanting seedlings to bonsai boxTM, fertilize at half strength every 2 weeks until fall when trees go dormant (leaves turn brown). Do not fertilize during dormancy. Fertilize every 2 weeks through the spring and summer after new leaves appear.
Dawn Redwoods are deciduous and will lose their needles each year. The needles will trun brown and fall off. During this time, your trees will only need a light watering and light. Your trees will begin to bud out again after 3-4 months.
Pruning & wiring
Use the provided bonsai shears to prune back undesired branches. The forest is best suited to a formal upright style. The Dawn Redwood is a vigorous grower and continuous pruning is needed throughout the year. If you wish to train your trees into a specific shape, wiring is a method commonly used although not required. To best understand this technique we recommend purchasing an instructional book, researching online or joining a local bonsai club.
It is necessary to re-pot your bonsai when the root system becomes root bound. Re-pot your forest every 2 years. You may use the same pot or choose a new container. When re-potting, use a well drained soil high in organic matter. Re-pot the trees to the same soil level as the previous planting, taking care not to plant the trunk too deep.
Tips & planting video
We have a detailed blog with a planting video available on our website. For best success in planting, please watch the video and plant along with us. https://www.pottingshedcreations.com/video-demonstrations/
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