Field grown bonsai


Fern Valley Bonsai Nursery in Tauranga

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Trees for sale



We often stand in awe next to an old tree that displays the signs of surviving many winters and we admire it's character, bark and gnarled trunk. This is often our inspiration for creating a miniature tree in bonsai. The backbone to creating an impression of age and character is starting with a good trunk that is more than a pencil in a pot. This is where fieldgrown trees holds the advantage. In the open ground thick trunks can be grown much quicker and pruned back regularly. It can be dug up after a few years and starts it's development as a bonsai. We have done the work for you and you can start with the years we have put in to grow the tree.

In the photo's at the top we see a Dawn redwood and Chinese alder, with trunk sizes of 5cm and 12 cm in diameter, respectively. The hight is often determined by cutting of the top and growing a new apex. In many deciduous species the scars of pruning heal quickly and create additional character. Just above, to the left of this page is a Chinese hackberry, four years old with a trunk size of 6 cm in diameter. This is highly useful material to utilize for bonsai.

Growing bonsai does require some patience and often we do not see the progress from day to day. This impressed on us the importance of having a good start with a thick trunk as a frame to build a future bonsai on. Making an investment of time on the solid foundation of a thick trunk will be rewarding in creating a quality bonsai in the near future.

The left photo is of a Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia), approximately 40 cm high and a trunk of approximately 10 cm in diameter. We also do have Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila) in the open ground nursery.

To the right is a Chinese hackberry (Celtis sinensis) with a trunk of approximately 10 cm in diameter and a trunk of 30 cm in height. Not only are they quick growing but also produce dense ramification of twiggy growth and lovely yellow autumn colours.

To the left is a Trident maple (Acer buergerianum). This species is well known world wide and commonly grown in the clip and grown method. It's autumn colours is outstanding as well as it's ability to heal and callus over the pruning scars. To the right is a Swamp cypress (Taxoduim distichum) with it's interesting brown-red bark colour, bronze autumn foliage and flaky bark. 

We also have Pond cypress(Taxodium ascendens) and Mexican swamp cypress in stock. The latter remains ever-green in our moderate climate. We only receive a few light frosts during our Winter months in the Bay of Plenty area.

After digging up these trees from the open ground we mainly transplant and grow the trees in bigger square timber boxes in a well draining mix of equal parts of pumice and compost. Especially in the wide and flat timber boxes, the trees rapidly develop secondary branches and regular wiring can commence.  


To the left and right is the same Trident maple in Autumn and Winter. It was lifted one year ago from the open ground and was started as a 0.5 cm cutting in 2001. The trunk is 14cm in diameter and 50cm in height.  Secondary branches are allowed to grow and then cut back in Winter. 

To the right a Swamp cypress of apprximately 70 cm high, planted in a polystyrene container. Basic wiring is done early on flexible shoots to bring them to a horizontal position. This tree also has a good display of strong surface roots. To the left is a European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus. We also have Japanese hornbeams in the open ground.

 To the left a Chinese hackberry (Celtis sinensis), 17 cm trunk diameter and approximately 55 cm tall in a timber box. Course sawdust is used as a cover on the surface to suppress weeds but also to protect new surface roots from drying. To a the right a Field maple (Acer campestre) in the next phase of development.

We hope that this gave you a limited impression of our stock and pre-bonsai trees that you may encounter if you come to visit. We sell trees growing in the open ground that can be dug up during July, August and September during their period of dormancy. We also sell some trees in timber boxes and black bags that have been dug up and some basic bonsai pruning has started. Please have a look at our Trees for sale list for available trees, sizes and prices. Give us a call to arrange a visit. we are only two hours from Auckland and 90 minutes from Hamilton.

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