Species Specific > Ponderosa Pine Bonsai Discussion

Needles hardened off?

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Treebeard55:
This is another ponderosa-beginner question. Thanks for bearing with me, those of you with more pondy experience.  :)

I'm waiting until this year's needles on my ponderosa have hardened off, before I up the amount of fertilizer to promote bud set for next year.

But I have to admit I'm not sure when to say the needles have hardened off. These two pictures were taken just today. Personally, I'm not ready to say the needles have finished growing for this year. But I'd like the opinions of some others with more experience. Gentlemen?

garywood:
Steve, I can't tell from the shot but how many of the new needles will be in the final design? If there are not many or you are using some for sacrifice, I wouldn't be concerned with length.
Wood

Treebeard55:
Wood, thanks for jumping in: but I'm not concerned with needle length so much as stage of development of this year's needles, how mature they are. Does that clarify my intent a little?

nathanbs:
I think i have a similiar confusion as Garywood, what happens if you fertilize before the needles harden off?

Treebeard55:
Ahh! Until the needles finish growing for the year, the tree's resources are directed toward needle size. Once the needles harden off, resources start going into setting buds for the following spring. Or at least so says every author and experienced grower that I've encountered.

This tree is as big as I want it -- I'm quite happy with its size.  :) I want to encourage plenty of buds (as many of them as possible in the interior) over the next year or two, before it gets its first serious styling.

Have I made myself clearer?

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