Species Specific > Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Discussion

JBP Healthy enough to start work?

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I got this JBP in a group deal a couple of years ago. It was in a declined state and when I got it home I realised why. (Pic#1)
The owner had purchased the tree from Ray Nesci and then with no work plonked the root ball into a bigger pot with potting mix(to lengthen the roots for root over rock  ). It was drowning. From memory this was around summer so I scrapped the soil away as best I could back to the original root ball and soil of Ray nesci. Then put it into a smaller terracotta pot. You can see that it had lost some branches and I was expecting to lose some more but it slowly recovered.
This spring(6 months ago) I did a 1/3 or maybe it was closer to 1/2  soil change with akadama, crushed terracotta mix.
I haven't grown much JBP so at first I thought the tree was going bonkers with a heap of buds but they ended up being male cones I think which was a little disappointing.
Not sure if I should have rubbed them off to conserve energy?
The tree has continued to grow well but I am not sure if it is ready to be worked on?
It is on it's second growth of the year while other JBP are on their third. The strongest growth has 4 buds and the weakest have one bud. Couple with 4 buds, couple with 3 buds, few with 2 buds and a few with one bud. Some needles seem to droop a bit but they are very long so this tells me the growth is strong. I put my healthiest JBP next to it and I am surprised to see there is no colour difference. Maybe the tree is ready for some work?
(Last pic)

More pics

There are a couple of branches that have not revoverd from dead buds but have budded out further back on the branch.
(Pics 1,2,&3)
The way the bark is separating makes me think there is good growth in the trunk also!
I have considerd a Literati but I guess it could be more of an informal upright as well. I am sure there is a tree in their but after looking at it for a couple of years I am still not sure.
Once I start work removing dead and weak branches maybe something will come to me. Might make a good workshop tree.
Any ideas on styling and or where to start with horticultural technique from here would be appreciated.  I was thinking I could work the top now(when time is right   Undecided) giving the roots a rest and repot the other half of the root ball in two years?(Pic4)

It sure looks healthy to me.  I would say you should start with removing the needles that are 2-3 years old, so that you can see more of the structure, and get some light into the interior.

In  the Norther Hemisphere we de-candle in July which is mid summer.  What's the usual routine down under?

- bob

Thanks Bob. It is about December here to remove candles. Are you sugesting I should remove some needles now or just wait to start summer training? We have a pretty long growing period here.


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