Background: Hi guys, well, as it says in the title I need some help. A tree on my school is going to be cut down (probably due to safety hazards, it's quite spikey) in about three weeks, and seeing as I can do nothing about the actual cutting down bit I have decided to take some cuttings. I don't have enough room for a full sized tree, so i thought, how about bonsai? So for the past couple of days I researched till I was all researched out and stumbled on this site. I read all the Beginner's articles on here as well as on Bonsai4me, but I am still left with a few questions. So, here we go. (PS. I know this seems like a lot of trouble for a tree but I honestly love that spikey tree, it's been on the school since before memory and a great deal of legends and lore has sprung up around it. To let it go to the grave without a fight just seems wrong to me.)
Questions: 1) What rooting soil should I use? I've heard of people using a peat and water slurry because the mixture doesn't have the same brittling effects as just water. Is this true? What would you advise?
2) How thick should the cuttings be? How long? How many leaves? How many cuttings should I take to ensure i get at least a couple that survive? (my ideal bonsai is fully grown at one to one-and-a-half feet tall, if this helps any)
3) How many leaves should be stripped off the cutting?
4) Someone on here used a "mini greenhouse" for her Varigated Ficus Benjamina cuttings, should I do the same?
5) Indoors or outdoors? What type of sunlight and how much, ex: outside in the mornings but inside at night?
Useful Information: I live in Southern California, so the winters aren't nearly as severe as elsewhere. However, last year in the deep of winter the condensation froze overnight, sealing our car. So it does get pretty nippy down here on occasion.
Pictures: 1) A picture of the tree this morning
2) A picture of this tree two years ago.
3) Fallen flower for identification purposes.
4) The school has recently begun chopping off limbs of the tree, and the tree has grown new bright green branches in retaliation.
5) Some smaller branches growing from an old scar.
6) You can see the new branches are bright green in comparison to the older more spikey branches in the background.
7) This is the new growth from which I will most likely be attaining my cuttings, as it is the leafiest and the most healthy-looking. (and also the lowest to the ground, im terrified of heights)
8 ) A seed pod the tree has recently grown (one of two). This is the first time i have seen the tree grow anything of the kind.
That is an awesome lookin tree, it looks a lot like.the sandbox tree. As not many of us are not experienced with this tree, ( i assume) i have only a link: www.floridata.com/ref/c/chor_spe.cfm i would advise to wait for further advice though.
I can see why you would want to propagate cuttings from this! I have no experience of this particular species, but I have managed to grow other trees & plants from cuttings. I would look to take as many green shoot cuttings as possible and try them in different soil types & conditions, maybe even a few in plain water. My usual method is to leave only a few leaves on each shoot, cut cleanly at the base and dip in hormone rooting powder, plant into moist soil which is about 70:30 vermiculite and sieved peat compost, cover with a clear plastic top for humidity (soft drinks bottles are useful) and keep in a well lit place at reasonable temperature. I have a few in the greenhouse at present but in a heated propagator now as night time temps are falling. Good luck
The genus of Chorisia is difficult to propagate by cuttings or air layering, but is easily grafted. There are many forms worthy of propagating. Grafting is best performed in early spring just before bud break, but can be grafted any time during its growing season. Use scions made from the previous year's growth. A cleft graft, such as used with Avocado trees, is preferred. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceiba_speciosa
What a cool tree, maybe a save the tree campaign, you know, the democratic thing, petitions, threaten not to vote for politicians, talk to judges, ect. We had a two hundred year old oak tree, the park department cut down, without warning. There was nothing wrong with that tree, limbs rarely fell off any more. They never even expanded the stupid parking lot. They won't do that for a while. Maybe, it'll give you time to get some seeds or something.
Thanks for all of your guys' replies! ironhorse, would Diatomaceous Earth work instead of vermiculite? I'm thinking leaving the cuttings outside during both the day and at night, would this work? The temperatures are getting to about high 50s low 60s at night, and high 80s low 90s during the day. (some winter, i know)