Species Specific > Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Discussion

JBP 3 - Cascade - Advice, suggestions etc

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Hi All

During our monthly bonsai meet, I got myself a new JBP that I believe will work perfectly as a cascade.  My vision and idea for this is as follows.

Pic 1 - The tree is long and but with good growth all along the trunk.  This will allow significant branches to grow and add to the cascade.
Pic 2 - All the growth areas along the trunk have new growth sprouting from them that I see as adding branches and ramification.
Pic 3 - The green circled branch I see as a sacrificial branch that I can leave to assist with the base trunk thickening. Ultimately it will be cut back and a Jin created.
Pic 4 - The yellow circle I also see as sacrificial growth with the cut line marked in blue. 

As it is mid Autumn here and quickly heading into winter there are a few things that I am wondering about and maybe get some advice on.

1.  Am I off base with my thinking above?
2.  Can I look at wiring it now or should I wait till spring before I start.
2.  Right now it is in a very small pot and I want to thicken up the trunk.  Should I repot it into a larger container?
3.  What is the best way to grow a cascade?  I have been advised to wire in my initial bend and then keep the pot at an angle so that the branch runs horizontally to the ground? Is this correct?

Thoughts, suggestions, comments always welcome.

Adair M:
Late fall and winter is the best time to wire pines.

Just to let you know, you've chosen a difficult style to do well with JBP: cascade. JBP want to grow up, not down.

And, you've got young material, that you want to bulk up. Which indicates letting sacrifice branches run.

I have one cascade, not as nice as John's but on the way there.

Here's what I suggest:  go ahead, and wire it down so that your trunk will be positioned as you want. When you do, select a couple of sacrifice branches. Wire your trunk so that these sacrifice branches are on the UNDERNEATH side of the trunk. (I know this sounds wrong... Bear with me). Now, these sacrifice branches will need to be wired so that they point straight up. So, they start from the underside of the tree, then turn up, and point straight up. You see, eventually you will cut these off, and you will want to hide the scars. Best place is the bottom of the trunk.
You will need to let these run for several years to bulk the tree up. Meanwhile, you can be developing your permanent branches.

Your challenge is keeping the cascade lung trunk vigorous while the sacrifice branches do their job. Other fertilizer. And make sure to keep the cascade trunk line in full sun.

Good luck!

Hi Adair

Thanks so much for the information.  At first I thought that growing from below the trunk was wrong, but when you explained it, I totally get the logic.

Definitely is a difficult style to do but then that is why I love bonsai.

This is my vision forwards after reading what you had to say and having a good look at the JBP.  Please feel free to let me know if you do not agree and any suggestions on moving it in the right direction.

Pic 1 - This branch right at the base is a sacrificial branch.  I want to let it grow to assist with the thickening up of the trunk and then eventually cutting it off and creating a jin.

Pic 2 - These 2 branches are also sacrificial branches.  The only problem I see is that they both are coming off the top of the trunk and I am not sure if the trunk will bend and twist enough for them to be at the bottom.  I will have to look at when I wire it to see if it can be done.   I want to leave both branches growing for now as I think that 2 branches will allow more thickening of the trunk then one.

Pic 3 - Another Sacrificial branch.  This one should have no problem with being bend to the bottom of the branch.

Pic 4 - Loads of growth on the sacrificial branch which should help with thickening up the next section of trunk.

Your thoughts on my thoughts?  :)

Next Part

Pic 1 - This area I believe will be my main growth part.  There is loads of growth happening here and I can work on this to develop my permanent branches.

Pic 2.  I am not sure about this part. I must leave this to grow for a few years to assist with the thickening up of the trunk and with assisting the growth of my permanent branches.  I will either cut it in a few years below the red circle or I will cut at the yellow line eventually and then use the last area of growth as more permanent branches.    Maybe I should look at when I wire it, I can put some bends into the red circled area and bring the growth closer to the previous growth.

As it is only beginning autumn now, I still have a month or 2 to look at how to proceed.

Anyone want to comment or suggest, please do.

Adair M:
That's a young tree, you can bend it and twist it pretty easily at this stage. Get the trunk going, and let it grow. Don't overthink it. The tree will react to what you do to it, and you'll have to change your plans anyway.


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