Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sassafras Bonsai

This Sassafras tree was growing in the yard, protected between two metal fence posts.

I had thought about making a tea out of it, but after looking up Sassafras (in Wikipedia) I was surprised that the teas are banned by the FDA because Sassafras contains chemicals that can cause cancer and liver damage. I doubt it's all that harmful, compared to other things, but decided I'd try making it into a bonsai.

The wild plant:

After digging it up. I had to trim the roots down a bit for it to fit in the new container:

It's new home. I'm not sure if it will survive .. it's more or less an experiment. Although I do know Sassafras is pretty sturdy. To propagate it, you can just cut off small branches and plant them.

I'll trim this back a little more after it bounces back from the transplant.


KW said...

Do you think you could turn a peach seed into a bonsai tree?

sevkeifert said...

I think peach/plum would work pretty well. They are cool looking trees too.

KW said...

I wonder if bonsais bear fruit.

sevkeifert said...

I've seen a few fruiting ones. The fruit tends to be out of proportion, but I've seen a crabapple that looked about right.

Snidley said...

Two things.

First, I'd like to know what ended up happening to the Sassafras. Second, fruit bonsai are not uncommon. Firethorn (Pyracantha) and Cottoneaster are examples of fruited plants that are turned into bonsai. Peach, expecially dwarf varieties, would be nice, but the fruit would be an issue. You might try a flowering peach instead. Those fruit are significantly smaller. You could also try other stonefruit - like cherries, or wild cherry. Some citris also can be very nice. How about kumquats?

sevkeifert said...

Well, the Sassifras did not do well for me long term. Within a few weeks or so, the leaves all turned soft and brown. Possibly I traumatized the plant when digging it up pruning it. Though I did some research and read that Sassafras does not handle root trimming very well. I'm not sure it's well suited for bonsai. The maples on the other hand were fairly sturdy.

I can see fruit trees doing well as bonsai. I had a large calamondin orange tree a while back growing in a relatively small pot. Kumquats probably would work well, I would think.