Bonsai Study Group Forum

Species Specific => Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: dre on October 29, 2012, 12:40 AM

Title: JBP fall maintenance
Post by: dre on October 29, 2012, 12:40 AM
i know everyone has there own ways to deal with JBP as there are many different techniques to deal with JBP how do you deal with them?
Title: Re: JBP fall maintenance
Post by: John Kirby on October 29, 2012, 03:14 PM
There is really only one way, check back threads, lots of content.
Title: Re: JBP fall maintenance
Post by: bwaynef on October 29, 2012, 04:27 PM
Here's a good place to start. (

Have you seen Boon's JBP video series?
Title: Re: JBP fall maintenance
Post by: Adair M on October 29, 2012, 05:12 PM
I concur with John Kirby. 

I might add, that some "ways" are right, and some "ways" are wrong!  Unfortunately, some people are advocating wrong ways.

At my local bonsai shop, I see many JBP in various states of mismanagement.  I inquired about a couple of them, and was told a prominent bonsai expert used it as a demo tree and the particular technique was to be done in the fall.  (It had been decandled in the fall.)  I said, that decandling is best done in the early summer.  Oh, no, I was told, he specifically said that decandling is a fall technique.  And this was on a "finished" tree.

Well, I couldn't really believe it, there had to be some miscommunication.  (So I thought.)  So, when he came again this fall, I attended his seminar.  On pines.  And yes, indeed, he did have everyone working on JBP decandle their pine.  In the fall.  I didn't say anything.

I took a tree that I had decandled last June and had cleaned up the old needles, and removed the old wire.  He said it looked "weak".  Because it had short needles, I suppose.  And there's tons of backbudding continuing to occur.

So, here is what I would do, if I were new to the hobby, and wanted to learn about JBP:

Find one of the of the new artists who have actually studied as an apprentice in Japan for several years.  Learn from them.  I'm going to Boon's intensive this week, and I'm really ready the right techniques, at the right time, the right way.
Title: Re: JBP fall maintenance
Post by: John Kirby on October 29, 2012, 05:49 PM
Steve is a nice guy, doesn't know modern pine technique, just look at his trees. I own a copy of his book, somewhere.

You can decandle in the fall, it is designed to really slow a strong tree down. You follow that with a normal summer decandling. The problem with fall decandling, from my own attempts and a nice piece by Jonas on, is that you don't get a lot of new candles, but it Does slow strong trees.

Fall work varies on what you plan is, winter show, summer show, etc. boon's DVDs cover it very well. You live in Mass., you will need to be sure and get you timing right for the area. Suthin does as well as anyone out here.

Adair, if your needles are too short, adjust timing, adjust water, adjust fertilizer and Make sure the roots are good. Have fun at Boon's. If our power comes back on I will be there late Fray Night. John
Title: Re: JBP fall maintenance
Post by: Adair M on October 29, 2012, 07:32 PM

If the "Steve" you are referring to is Steve Cratty, the owner of Plant CIty Bonsai, you are indeed correct:  He is a very nice guy, and yes, he does not know modern JBP technique. 

The Bonsai expert who came in and did the workshop was Warren Hill.  Again, a very nice guy, but he doesn't know modern JBP technique.  I went to the workshop primarily to hear what the others were being taught so that when I hear what they say, I will know "where they're coming from".

Of the dozen people at the workshop, which was supposed to be a "wiring" workshop, the only person who put more than two pieces of wire on their tree was me.  I brought my own copper, and no one else had ever seen any.

Warren actually discouraged the use of wire on pines, saying that the best trees do not have any.  He was a big proponent of "jinning everything".  Some people left there with more jin than tree.

And, he was the one that said my tree in training was "weak" because it had 2 inch needles.  That's pretty much the length I was after on an 18 inch tree.  I decandled July 3rd.  And this was the second year the tree had been decandled.  Over the winter (2011-2012) the tree backbudded heavily, and produced a lot of new buds on old bare wood.  Dormant adventitious buds.  I did not decandle those, obviously, but instead trimmed the 5 inch long needles back to stay in proportion with the new second growth candles.  And, I had already performed fall maintenance.  So, the tree was a little "bare" since I had pulled all 2011 needles.

Oh yeah... I told him I used the "decandle once" method, where we leave longer stubs on the top, and none on the bottom.  He told me that doesn't work, and the only way is to decandle 3 times in the summer, starting with the bottom, then mid, then top, each 10 days apart.  I just nodded.

One more thing, he doesn't believe in needle pulling, he told me to just let them fall off after they yellow.  And then, after I had styled my workshop tree, I started to pull the bottom hanging needles to clean up the undersides of the branches, he pulled out a pair of shears, and trimmed them off.  En masse.  Somehow, I don't think we'll be doing it that way at Boon's...  LOL!!

John, I'm lookiug forward to meeting you!  You have given me great guideance thru this forum, and I really appreciate it.  I owe you a beer, at least!
Title: Re: JBP fall maintenance
Post by: John Kirby on October 29, 2012, 07:41 PM
Nah, the Steve I was referring to is known as "The American Pine Master" in his promotional materials. I have always found Warren to be a thoughtful and talented person, tho I haven't worked with him, I have rescued some south Texas trees from his peat and sand/gravel potting mix from a decade or so ago. John
Title: Re: JBP fall maintenance
Post by: dre on October 29, 2012, 08:18 PM
bwaynef i haven't seen boon videos is anyone willing to lend the pine series to me
Title: Re: JBP fall maintenance
Post by: MatsuBonsai on October 29, 2012, 08:57 PM (

Well worth the price of admission, and far better than some of the "experts" making the rounds these days.
Title: Re: JBP fall maintenance
Post by: davestree on October 29, 2012, 09:43 PM
I was in a workshop with Ryan Neil, and in 15 minutes he explained pine technique completely. He drew a nice diagram which I refer to, but the principles are not that hard. Candling everything at once really simplifies things.  My pines have 2 inch needles too, but they are healthy.
Title: Re: JBP fall maintenance
Post by: dre on October 30, 2012, 09:20 AM
Davestree if you don't mind explain what Ryan taught you about pines I would be interested in finding out what he does. How I said each professional has there own way of dealing with pines and there are many ways to get the same result
Title: Re: JBP fall maintenance
Post by: John Kirby on October 30, 2012, 11:16 AM
They don't have different ways of doing it, I have heard Ryan explain, his version was the same as Boon's, was the same as Kondo's, the same as Nomoto's, the same as Peter tea's. they all may have subtle differences in which buds to keep, but you don't get that from the 15 minute workshop spiel. I wouldn't do anything else to your cork bark black pine, it needs fertilizer and rest.
Title: Re: JBP fall maintenance
Post by: nathanbs on October 30, 2012, 01:15 PM
the one thing I may add because it isn't emphasized loud enough is that you only do these techniques if your tree is healthy otherwise rewind to the part of the lesson that focuses on watering, fertilizing, potting etc. until you figure that out you likely should not be candle pruning and needle thinning
Title: Re: JBP fall maintenance
Post by: dre on October 30, 2012, 07:40 PM
john have no plan on doing anything to the cork bark