After finally finding JBP seeds in 2011, I sowed around 400 in Winter 2012.

Around 99% sprouted, and I took around 100 seedling cuttings.

Late Winter/Early spring is the ideal time to be repotting the seedlings.

As I have both seedling cuttings and straight seedlings I thought it would be interesting to show the differences between using the technique and just letting them grow freely.

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Seedling cutting: Roots
The roots are growing predominantly laterally.

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Seedling cutting: The gap between the roots and the first set of needles

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The gap between the roots and the first set of needles is around 2.5cm, the seedling cutting is around 12cm long.

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Straight seedling: Roots
The roots are growing predominantly vertical.

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Straight seedling: The gap between the roots and the first set of needles

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The gap between the roots and the first set of needles is around 5cm, the straight seedling is around 15cm long. Significantly larger, stemming from the undisturbed growth, probably around an extra four months.

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Comparison picture of the two, demonstrating the difference between the seedling cutting on the left, and the straight seedling on the right.

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The seedling cutting and the straight seedling potted up.

Both seedlings are useful for bonsai, and it is easy to see why commercial nurseries do not use the seedling cutting technique. The aim for commercial nurseries is to get the most salable material to market as quickly as possible. However, it is good to see some high quality nurseries applying the technique to good effect.

Neil at Shibui bonsai has devised a variation to the technique that produces two for one trees! Check out the links above for more.

Watch this space for updates on these seedlings, my aim is to get some quality small shohin trees in 5 years, and some quality larger shohin in 7. It might be an optimistic time frame, but we have to aim high to improve our bonsai!

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