So, I came across a JBP with the start of a good nebari, nice movement in the trunk, branches in suitable places, and buds all over the branches. The problem being that the tree is in poor health. Entire branches without a needle. Most (ok, probably all) of the needles are discolored, badly.
The paradox is this: there are small living buds all over the tree, needle or no.
My first step to rehab it was to repot it. I bare-rooted half of the tree, and loosened the edges around the other half (and top/bottom). It apparently was in pure akadama that'd disintegrated. I imagine that it came to the nursery in that soil, and I remember that tree being at the nursery at LEAST by spring of last year. I was able to clear away the old soil and replaced it with Akadama, Pumice & Lava. Any mycorrhiza present was negligible, so I added some from the bottom half of a jbp rootball that'd been severed and was literally covered with the stuff. I also wired the tree into the pot. I then sprayed the foliage with Daconil to take care of any fungus that might be causing the discolored needles.
Now, I come to the masses for wisdom. What can I do to/with/for the tree now? I have a heat mat, a 4-bulb fluorescent t8 setup, a greenhouse, ...and a wife that tolerates my foolishness all too well. (That is, she won't object too loudly if I bring the tree inside (and certainly not if I move it into the garage).)
See the attached pictures. I know common wisdom is that a tree w/o needles is dead ...but those buds certainly look green.
ps. I offer my apologies for the inconsistent coloration of the pictures.