The basics of my field growing techniques
I do almost all of my own propagation of starter material by either seed, cuttings or air layer. I have used nursery raised starts before, but I find I have better control and get better results from starts I have raised myself. I place my seeds or cuttings in trays for six months to a year depending on the growth rate. I then prick out the starts and place them into four inch by four inch “root-maker" starter cells I root prune my pine and deciduous starts I more or less leave the roots of my junipers alone unless they are exceedingly long. The soil mixture I use for all of my starts is one third each of pumice, diatomaceous earth and peat moss. I place the starts in full sun fertilize heavy and usually in one season they have put on enough size to put into root bags and place them in the ground. I use five gallon root bags, when I first started out, I made my own. I would purchase heavy felt at the fabric store, they are easy to make I made sure to use polyester thread. I am too busy now, so I use root pouch brand bags. My soil mixture for my field grown trees is one third each of pumice, diatomaceous earth” I use Axis brand regular size” and Douglas fir bark. I fill my bags all of the way to the top: ”there will be some settling” and I make sure the soil is wet before placing the starts in the root bag. I try to get the trees, into the ground as soon as possible but as long as they are hydrated, they are Ok for a while. I hand dig the holes for the root bags and make them deep enough so when the root bag is placed in the hole the top of the soil is more or less even with the top of the soil in the root bag. Then I back fill the hole making sure the soil is filled in all around the root bag. Spring starts early here on the southern Oregon coast and I start fertilizing as soon as I see plants starting to put on new growth. I almost exclusively use organic fertilizer and the kind I use is either strait chicken manure pellets or I use a mixture of seed meal, ”either cottonseed or rapeseed” and bone meal at a four to one ratio seed meal to bone meal I am looking for an approximately 5-5-5 NPK . I pretty much fertilize all of the trees once a month, early in the season not all of the trees are active, so I wait until they wake up before applying fertilizer. There is no doubt in my mind that starting to train your trees at a young stage gives the best results. If the starts are big enough, I will wire and shape them when I first place them in the root bags, if they are not large enough, ”about the size of a pencil” I will let them grow a little and wire them in the ground. I have spent many hours crouched down or laying on the ground wiring and unwiring trees and I feel you have this unique opportunity to put more or less any kind of movement into your material if you do it before it thickens too much to bend, I use only copper wire and I let it bite in quite a bit before removing unless it is deciduous in which case I remove the wire earlier. For most of my field grown trees I only worry about wiring the trunk and maybe an important branch. I have been developing clump style trees and for those I wire them quite a bit. For me Junipers are another story, I like wild and crazy movement in my junipers and I will wire and unwire and rewire them by far more than anything else. What often times happens is when you wire one strong branch another will take over and now this one needs to be wired, also when left to their own devices, junipers will want to put on totally straight branches. I do quite a bit of pruning in the field and there is probably too much to say about pruning here but one go the basic’s I try to focus on is letting lower branches go using them as sacrifice  branches if they don’t fit into the design and then I will selectively prune branches as I move up the tree removing branches growing on the inside of a bend and trying to minimize bar branching. On some of my trees that I have really let go I will be sure to prune them late summer early fall the summer before, I am going to remove them from the field, so I have reduced the foliage mass so when the tree is transferred into a small growing container the roots won’t have to support an over-sized foliage mass. I start to remove my trees from the ground in mid-January starting with pines, then junipers, then elongating species and finishing with deciduous trees. I always remove my material from the root bags and place them in a bonsai pot, terra cotta pot, or Anderson flat, immediately using the appropriate bonsai soil for these species. I use equal parts diatomaceous earth, pumice and crushed lava for my conifers and equal parts diatomaceous earth, pumice and Douglas fir bark for my conifers. At the start of the re-potting season I will place trees in my greenhouse but pretty soon things warm up enough that they are placed outside, and I usually put them in full sun. I think one of the most important things to keep in mind when the trees are freshly re-potted is to not to over water them