To sow or not to sow

The concept for this project is really simple.

10 different species of tree seeds, ranging from the huge giant sequoia to the small cotoneaster dielsiana were divided into two groups.

Both groups of seeds were soaked in sterile water for 48 hours. This is called the scarification phase and is aimed at cracking the outer seed shell to expose the seed-kernel to moisture.

After the seeds were scarified the two groups went into different treatment.

The first group was sown directly into damp seedtrays and then put in a dark place for germination. 

This approach directly skips the cold stratification phase, which all theory on tree seed germination is based upon so this project will put this theory to a test.

Every species of trees has, according to scientific experience, to be exposed for a cold period of variable length to trigger a chemical reaction that makes the seedkernel able to germinate.

This step is where all the magic of nature occurs. In nature, most of the seeds fall from the trees in autumn. Consequently, they spend the winter period under colder temperature permitting the chemical in the seeds to develop and trigger the germination process once the ideal temperature is reached in spring. In the forced germination process, you attempt to recreate the winter period. (source:

What about the other half of seeds? Well, they will be treated exactly as according to scientific experience. First a 10 day warm stratification phase (22 grades Celsius) and then The Deno method will be followed, except for the paper towel to be replaced by Vermiculite, that has a good ability to keep moisture without keeping the seeds too wet.

The bags will be checked for germination every week. If the process has started the seeds in question will be sown into seed-trays and put into the same dark place as the first group. If not, they will stay at 2 Celsius degrees until something happens or the tree species cold stratification phase has ended. If no germination has occured by then, the seed bag will start the cycle over again. Warm Stratification for 10 days and so on.

Humans that can something and loves something are never boring
-Alexander L. Kielland


Spring Agenda

My Trees

Norway Maple
Will be transplanted into bigger pot
The conch fungus will be watced closely, but no repotting this spring. Aggressive watering and feeding should make the tree strong and vigorous.
Siberian Maple
After posting an image on IBF showing the fungus on this maple i have found a treatment. As soon as I get my Lime Sulfur from, this will be mixed with water (1:30 solution) and sprayed on. Should take care of this irritable shroom.
Treasure Beech
My treasure beech is doing okay, but it needs a repotting in the spring. I will follow the guidelines for backbudding beeches and hopefully get some buds further down the trunk as time goes by.
The Ash going Kabudatchi with a big JIN
Needs a repotting in spring, keeping its container, but pruning the main trunk down to the size of the three others, making it more clump-stile like, as opposed to its no-stile-like of today. Also cleaning the "stump" with my new dremel and some lime sulfur.
The Rowan
Repotting into a bigger (new??) pot in spring, as buds extends.. Making a new leader down the trunk to ensure trunk fattening.
The Mispel
Repotting into larger pot, otherwise follow plan; New leader on top, restraining growth elsewhere to get the upper trunk thicker..
The Pine
Repotting, bud selection, pinching and fertilizing. Check the guide at for pruning pines for a good guide on bud selection etc.
The Larch 
Wiring, pruning and creating deadwood will be done late winter, aka mid-february. Then before the buds break in spring its time for its first bi-annual repotting.
The beeches
The time has come to prune all the beeches. Removing all strong buds at the tips of all branches will ensure backbudding.

The one year old Acer Palmatum, with the living larch cutling

Repotting for both of them. Excellent acer development guide from Morten Albek: Extract from this article:
"What is important is to develop short internodes (distance between leafs), and this is done by pruning and controlling the growth of twigs by removing the leaf sheeds when new leafs develops in spring."

This year I will also experiment with giving my trees more fertilizer than earlier, since all of them are residing in well-draining soil, there is little or no chance to burn the roots. Walter Pall is a pioneer in this area, posting that the substrate  that most modern, western Bonsai artists of today is using, has a much more drainable substance than what has earlier been used and is claiming in so that WE NEED TO CHANGE THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT WATERING AND FERTILIZING our bonsai trees. I will follow his guideline  from now on, feeding with strong nitrogen - (20-10-10) fertilizer every 10 - 14 days throughout the growing season.

Read the full article on his blog:

Applying limesulfur:

Creating deadwood:

Limesulfur or its "none-white" comparison, can be bought of kaizenbonsai webshop. In addition i need some jin-pliers for my tool-box and a multipurpose tool for removing wood. I think this will quite suffice:

Roots and Leaves Themselves Alone

By Walt Whitman
(1819 - 1892)

Roots and leaves themselves alone are these,

Scents brought to men and women from the wild woods and pond-side,

Breast-sorrel and pinks of love, fingers that wind around tighter
than vines,

Gushes from the throats of birds hid in the foliage of trees as the
sun is risen,

Breezes of land and love set from living shores to you on the living
sea, to you O sailors!

Frost-mellow'd berries and Third-month twigs offer'd fresh to young
persons wandering out in the fields when the winter breaks up,

Love-buds put before you and within you whoever you are,
Buds to be unfolded on the old terms,

If you bring the warmth of the sun to them they will open and bring
form, color, perfume, to you,

If you become the aliment and the wet they will become flowers,
fruits, tall branches and trees.

Longing for the repotting season

Some of my new pots from Walsall Studios, looking very forward receiving them. 

The uppermost will most likely act as a new home for my Pine. 

If the Acer Palmatum stump survivies it will probably own the green oval low pot, and for the blue one, maybe a forest of Limes. 

Came over 6 small Tilia Cordatas at a bargain from Plantasjen and maybe a forest will be the thing for them. 

The Hexagonal pot was meant for the Jade Tree, but it is currently having a serious depression and I do not think it wants to live.

There is still one more pot in the order,a handmade rivet drum pot, and as soon as Marks kiln has done its job they will all travel over the ocean and to their new home.

Germination Resources

Evergreen gardens guide to bonsai seed germination

The following is a direct copy from the excellent guide and will form the basis for my experiments:

How to Experiment
Take SOAKED seed and place it in paper towels and place in thin plastic bags such as baggies and fold over the top. It has not been demonstrated, but it is entirely possible that oxygen is necessary for the reaction to proceed. Keep it at seventy degrees for ten days to two weeks if you don't know whether or not a forty degree inhibitor is present. In my experience, if no 40 inhibitor is present and the seed is fresh, it will begin to germinate right away.
If you get nothing at the end of two weeks put it in the fridge for three months, checking it each week for signs of germination. Often fresh woody seed will begin germinating after one month. At the end of three months and no germination takes place, then a seventy degree inhibitor is most likely present. Keep the seed at about 70. For most woody seed the inhibitor is broken down quickly and it will begin to sprout in a week or two. If not, hold it at 70 for three months. If nothing happens, a second 40 degree inhibitor is present (assuming of course that the seed is viable). Back to the fridge, repeat the cycles until germination occurs, you have a fit, or the seed rots.
You can of course, run multiple experiments if you have no information at all on your seed. One bag in fridge, one at 70, etc.
A few notes on care. The seed must stay moist INTERNALLY throughout this process. Deno doesn't talk about this much, but my experience with woody seed is that it can stay a lot drier on the outside than most people would believe. Keeping it this dry eliminates a lot of the fungal problems involved with long storage times. This is why I am so particular about getting fresh seed that has not been dried, it already has internal moisture and if an impermeable seed coat is present it won't make any difference.
Some tips on determining the proper moisture: Know the difference between moist and wet. If a film of moisture is on the seed or the plastic bag it is wet not moist. The paper towel should feel almost dry. If it starts to get stiff during the process, it is dry, and a very few drops of water should be added or a single spritz from a spray bottle.
For seed that does not take long to pretreat such as Cedrus I don't even use paper towels or other media, I soak the seed, dry it in the sun for about fifteen minutes until the outer husk feels dry to the touch and put it in a baggie and into the fridge. The seed is very fleshy and retains adequate water for the month that it must stay in there. Cedrus is VERY sensitive to excess water and will rot in an instant (see my Cedrus article for more info).
If your seed does get very moldy but has not yet cracked the seed coat you can wash it with a ten percent bleach solution. Let dry, then return to storage in fresh bag and towels. Deno points out that sound seed has natural antibodies for most fungi, and this is true. But keeping seed too wet is just too risky. Once you get a pathogen it seems like you have it for life and precautions are in order."
Notes on Fahrenheit / Celcius:
70 f = 21.111 C
40 f = 4.4444 C

Guide to Growing Seedlings from Bonsai