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Author Topic: leggy yearlings  (Read 2421 times)
UrbanBonsaist
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« on: March 04, 2013, 05:22 PM »

Hello everyone,
I was recently gifted a tray (2x3) of black pine yearlings.  It was a generous offering by a fellow club member.  My problem is they have been in there for probably 4 years with no grooming.  The original idea from what I understand was to plant these in one tray then separate them once they matured some.  Well, life caught up with him and they just grew and grew.  There are at least 50 trees in the tray, probably many more.  The "trunks" range in size from very thin to the largest being about a quarter inch.  The biggest problem is that they have been fighting for light so they are very leggy.  Some have an excess of 12 inches from roots to first branch.  My plan is to get them separated soon.  I know there are some that are going to be great but my question is what to do with the thin trunk long ones?  Are they worth keeping or donating to the club?
Thanks,
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Stan Kengai
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USDA Hardiness: 7a

« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2013, 06:23 PM »

Raffia, wire and twist them up like yamadori style junipers.  Something like this one http://bonsaistudygroup.com/shimpaku-juniper-discussion/shohinkifu-itoigawa-shimpaku/.  I have seen tutorials on other sites, but can't recall one here.  Hopefully someone else can chime in.
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pwk5017
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2013, 07:35 PM »

Man, that is going to be arduous to separate them. You have 50+, experiment with them!  I have grown pine from seed for 5 years, and I grow hundreds each year, probably a few thousand the last 2 years.  I also throw out hundreds.  Dont be afraid to cull.  They are cheap, and not alot of effort and resources has been put into them so far.  Look at your 50+, I bet if you separated them into As, Bs, and Cs that the Cs would be about 50% of your numbers. Pitch them.  They arent worth the time and effort of developing for 5-10 years. Now with the As and Bs, you can raffia some and wire them into funky shapes to account for the lack of needles/branches down low, but I think you will be surprised with how JBP respond to proper care. For example, I attached two separate pines in different age classes to illustrate what happens when you give them 9+ hours of full sun, water like crazy, and fertilize like crazy(all in the proper soil mix). All of my trees are grown from seedling cuttings, so the buds popping at the soil line probably wont happen for you, but I do think you will get buds along the 2"-12" of bare trunk you have now.  The trees in my pics are 3-4 years old.

Your nebari is most likely going to be terrible.  Now is as good a chance as you will ever have to correct it.  I would focus my energy on nebari improvement, trunk movement, and re-invigorating these trees this season.
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UrbanBonsaist
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2013, 07:24 PM »

Well,
I got them all separated and it ended up being right at 50 trees.  I was going to try to keep and pot them all but that plan went out the window fast.  I decided to to keep about 15 and I took the rest out to a local bonsai grower/dealer.  He is good friend of mine and the bonsai community.  We made a deal that he would plant them in his grow area and I would have pick of the litter of 10 once they mature.  Not a bad deal huh.  Anyway here is a general overview of the ones I kept.  Can you please look them over and give me your recommendations on where to go from here?
Thank you,
« Last Edit: April 26, 2013, 07:39 PM by UrbanBonsaist » Logged

UrbanBonsaist
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2013, 07:37 PM »

JBP
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pwk5017
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« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2013, 10:48 AM »

How thick are these trunks? If it is possible, I would begin to wire some movement into the lower sections of the trunks.  It doesnt look like you have any buds down low, so wire is the only way you are going to achieve movement.  Other than hopefully wiring trunks, not much else to do, but water and feed like crazy.
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pwk5017
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« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2013, 10:54 AM »

Also, on your first pine, you have the option for a pretty standard pine development technique. The top strong part is your sacrifice leader to get a desired trunk caliper on the first section of trunk. Then, your two side branches become future branch #1 and trunk leader#2 after you cut the primary sacrifice leader. It is a pretty cut and dry method of growing pines.
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rxa
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« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2013, 01:51 PM »

Although the trees are currently leggy, it is amazing how wiring stimulates back-budding. Pine branches are extremely flexible, (providing you don't try to bend them too much in the dormant season). I suggest you grab some wire and make some interesting shapes. Don't worry about the wire cutting in, this will soon grow out on young whips and aid thickening.

I was inspired by the mini bonsai on e-bonsai, found here http://www.e-bonsai.org/photo_Folder/syouhaku_Folder/kuromatu_Folder/kuromatu.html -
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UrbanBonsaist
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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2013, 05:49 PM »

I have some wire and actually wired up a couple before planting.  The ones I didn't wire I was going to give time to get settled in the new pots.  The largest trunk is about the size of a nickel. The smallest is pencil sized.  Do you know where I might find pictures of wiring examples?  Not technique.  I have mixed suggestions on wiring design.  Some say that too much can look like mallsi and some say bend the hell out of it.  Should I cut down some of the tops or just let them grow.
Thanks for the replies,
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pwk5017
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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2013, 07:46 AM »

Personally, I would let them grow out unhindered this year. You just repotted them, which means they most likely lost a decent amount of root mass. To get the best backbudding possible, before chopping/cutting, you want your pine going gangbusters. Next, I think you are going to be surprised with a lot of these pines developing dormant buds down low.  Think about it, these things have been stuffed into a flat growing on top of each other. Very little to no light reached the lower portions of their trunks. Now that they are separated, they are going to received a lot more light. This increase in light plus a proper fertilizing and watering schedule is going to give you excellent growth and more importantly, more buds(hopefully, low buds!).

I do have some pines wired like the above. They are fun little novelties, but I would say you are beyond that stage by 1-2 years. I would like to meet the guy that can compress a 1/2"+ pine trunk that much. That said, you do need to wire the trunks so you dont kick yourself 3 years from now when you have a 1"+ dimeter  stovepipe for a trunk.

Patrick
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UrbanBonsaist
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« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2013, 07:33 PM »

Thanks Patrick,
You kind of lost me, are you saying to let them be this year and wire next year, or go on and wire this year.  My thinking was, the bigger ones are probably to big to bend but the smaller ones wouldn't be much bigger next year but would be well rooted.  I was going to wait until then to wire them.
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pwk5017
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« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2013, 07:48 PM »

Yeah, i would wire now/in june. How big are the biggest ones? I was in a similar situation as you last year. I had a flat of pines that were semi overgrown and I had forgotten about them. Anyways, I wired ones that were 1/2" diameter.  It took 5-6mm wire to do it, but you can still put a subtle bend in them when they are that thick. I actually wire all my pine seedlings as I repot. It is 100x easier to wire them when they are out of a pot and essentially barerooted.  That way you can apply extreme force in some cases without tearing the pine out of the pot. Then, after you wire the trunk and bend it how you wish, you go ahead and pot it up.  I still would wire these pines this year.  Whether its now, june or september, you dont want them getting away from you and setting yourself up for poor/mediocre material 10 years from now.  Nice material can still be had without wiring the trunks, but this requires low buds and a series of trunk chopping and training new leaders to create taper/movement.  Right now you dont have many low buds, if any, so you are going to be severely handcuffed in the future if you dont wire, and you dont get new buds to develop this year.  How large of a final tree you want also comes into play here. 
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UrbanBonsaist
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« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2013, 08:07 AM »

I took one wired it and tried to bend it but it is about 12 or more inches between the roots and first branches.  Didn't really work well so I think I am going to just let them get settled in the new pots and wire them later. That shouldn't be a problem, they are only pencil size, or I may get them healthy and try to air root them  close to the top.  Our local bonsai meeting is tomorrow but unfortunately I can't attend.  Thanks for your help, advice still welcome.
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