Bonsai Study Group Forum

Species Specific => Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: tanlu on June 19, 2011, 12:35 AM

Title: Pinus Rigida care info please.
Post by: tanlu on June 19, 2011, 12:35 AM
Hi, does anyone have experience successfully using pinus rigida (pitch pine) for bonsai? I've heard they take well to bonsai cultivation and I'm planning to collect one in my area.

Although my experience lies primarily in Japanese White, Black and Red pines, I believe most pines require more or less the same care requirements to keep them healthy and alive. However, I would like to know specifics such as: growth pattern, vigor(or lack there of), back budding reliability, time to collect, pruning and pinching techniques, etc..

Title: Re: Pinus Rigida care info please.
Post by: Dave Murphy on June 19, 2011, 08:31 AM
 Nick Lenz devotes an entire chapter in "Bonsai from the wild" to their collection, care, and styling.  The first yamadori I collected was a pitch pine that had been regularly stepped for 30 years on along a park path on Cape Cod.  I had no clue what I was doing, but the tree survived.  I subsequently killed it 2-3 years later (still didn't have a clue and was WAY too aggressive with styling and re-potting).  These trees are both very winter hardy (USDA zone 4) and heat and drought tolerant.  They will readily back bud from old wood far away from foliage, unlike most other pines.  I really wish I still had that pitch had thick, plated, flaking grey bark and natural shari which, according to Lenz, is generally very resistant to decay due to it's high resin content.
Title: Re: Pinus Rigida care info please.
Post by: tanlu on June 19, 2011, 01:25 PM
Thanks Dave, That was very informative and I also read on some official govt website on native species in the Northeast that pitch pine's dead wood doesn't root easily due to high resin content. I collected, for the first time, what I thought was a river birch this spring and it's doing great, which gives me confidence in collecting pitch pine too. I had previously mistakened it for pinus resinosa, but I revisited it on a hike yesterday and I noticed it had 3 needles per fiscal and unique small cones, proving it to be pitch pine. They seem to make excellent bonsai subjects and the one I have my eyes on has beautiful plated bark too. It's characteristic looks a bit like cross between Japanese Red and Black Pine, but like you mentioned, pitch pine back bud readily on old wood!

Sorry about the loss of your pine, I also learned bonsai care the hard way on my first tree, a juniper.