Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => Evergreen Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: jacksmom on July 10, 2011, 02:24 PM

Title: Austrian B lack Pine
Post by: jacksmom on July 10, 2011, 02:24 PM
I am very new at this, and wondering if anyone has used Austrian Black Pines as bonsai. 
Title: Re: Austrian B lack Pine
Post by: Treebeard55 on July 10, 2011, 03:29 PM
Welcome, jacksmom.

Good move to give your location (in general terms.) It gives others some idea of your growing conditions.

I've seen some nice Austrian pine bonsai (Pinus nigra,) and I'm experimenting with them myself, since JBP is not quite winter-hardy here, when in a pot. If you want to see some outstanding Pinus nigra bonsai, just go to Walter Pall's gallery <>. Be prepared to say "WOW!" Walter has some world-class collected Austrian pines.

From what I've seen and read, Austrian pine does OK with standard JBP care. There are a few significant differences, most important one being that Austrian pine (or European black) doesn't have a second growth flush in late summer/fall. That for me means repot in spring, period.

So far, Pinus nigra has responded well for me when it comes to backbudding in response to pinching. It comes thru our Zone 5b winters with flying colors when protected from wind.

Austrian pine is coarser in appearance than Japanese black, or any of the white pines.  So you probably want to plan on a medium-to-large finished product, to keep things in scale.

Keep two more important points in mind (and forgive me if I'm going over what you already know.) First, very few pines will produce new buds on branches that have no foliage. So don't prune back past all the existing needles, unless you're making a jin. Second, a good rule for any pine is "No more than one major insult per year." An "insult" is anything that stresses the tree or reduces its photosynthetic capability. Repotting, heavy pruning, major repositioning of branches with wire, are all examples of major "insults."
Title: Re: Austrian B lack Pine
Post by: jacksmom on July 11, 2011, 03:08 PM
Thanks for the advice.  I went to the gallery of Walter Pall.  WOW is an understatement.  I purchased a small (24")  Austrian black pine at home depot for $3.49 and figure I have nothing to lose by trying and learning.  However, I will heed your advice about one insult a year, that will be the hard part.
Title: Re: Austrian B lack Pine
Post by: Treebeard55 on July 12, 2011, 12:11 AM
... one insult a year, that will be the hard part.

Tell me about it! Even after 20-plus years, I still sometimes start to get ahead of myself; for an example, you can look at my thread "Valid option or dangerous whim?" under Ponderosa. That's one benefit of a forum like this: others can remind you to keep things to the tree's pace.  :)

A couple of suggestions that may help. (They're not mutually exclusive.) One, you could get an essentially finished tree, something to admire and enjoy while your pine develops. And two, you could consider buying a tropical tree for your collection. They develop much faster, and can handle more frequent insults than a pine can. You do have to be able to provide them the conditions they need in the winter, tho.

One of the best things you can do is join a club near you. ("Near" is relative, of course. I drive an hour each way to meetings and consider it worth the time.) Local people will have direct experience of your climate and growing conditions, and you can take a tree to a meeting, if you feel the need, for "in person" examination and feedback.

Several organizations have club-finder features on their websites. Mid-America Bonsai Alliance <> is one; there are also the American Bonsai Society, and Bonsai Clubs International, the URLs of which I don't recall off the top of my head.

Title: Re: Austrian B lack Pine
Post by: SamC on December 02, 2011, 08:48 PM
Hello All,

I thought I might post here in an existing thread which deals closely to my question rather than start a closely related thread.

I have been studying pine de-candling techniques, specifically related to Japanese white and red pines, and how they do not work for Japanese black pine.  I have also read that it doesn't work particularly well for Austrian black pine.  The results sound that if you de-candle you essentially stop the growth for that year?  I assume that resulting budding out occurs the following year?

I have an Austrian black pine that was collected as a volunteer from a relatives yard.  I ended up making a plywood box for it, arranged the roots in a radial fashion, and actually drilled small holes and wired the roots in place.  That was several years ago.  It has just thrived beyond my expectations and along the way the needles have reduced to perhaps an inch and a half in length.

I figure its winter time, and that is a good time to plan out the work for the coming year.  I may end up repotting it, I may end up doing a trunk chop or other styling, but I realize I should do only one or the other.

I've looked on several forums and many sites and haven't found explicit de-candling information or results concerning this particular species.  Any suggestions would be welcomed.
Title: Re: Austrian B lack Pine
Post by: John Kirby on December 03, 2011, 08:13 AM
First, Japanese white Pines are not decandled, they absolutely will not develop. Japanese Back Pines (P. thunbergii or thunbergiana) and Japanese Red Pines (P. densiflora) are both decandled in the same way (generally) following the burst of spring growth. I decandle the few Austrian Back Pines (P. nigra) but not with the same level of aggressiveness. They just don't grow the same way. I hope Walter or Bill Valvanis (The first really nice P nigra bonsai I saw in person was Bill's) might chime in and suggest how they manage the Austrian Black Pines.

Good luck.
Title: Re: Austrian B lack Pine
Post by: SamC on December 04, 2011, 04:40 AM
Absolutely right John, black and red pines...

Sorry about screwing up the species, posted when too fatigued and not proofreading!

Thanks for the correction, and yes, hope someone may chime in with further information.