Bonsai Study Group Forum

Species Specific => Ponderosa Pine Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: oakandwalnut on March 21, 2012, 10:13 PM

Title: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: oakandwalnut on March 21, 2012, 10:13 PM
Hello, I have a collected Ponderosa Pine that has been in a pot for 1 year. I purchased it from Golden Arrow. I have read online that Ponderosas should be re-potted in bonsai soil as soon as possible and make sure you have removed as much of the original collected native soil as possible. Any thoughts on this? I live in Zone 6, is it the right time for me to repot this pine?
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: Chrisl on March 22, 2012, 11:53 AM
When did Andy collect this pine?  Is it extremely healthy?  Dark green waxy needles, growing candles, new back budding?  If not, wait another year.  IMO.  i have one collected last spring and though it's growing, it doesn't look the healthiest.  I'm leaving it for another 1-2 yrs.
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: oakandwalnut on March 22, 2012, 01:43 PM
Thanks for the reply. It has been in the pot for 1 year. I read a post of Walter Pall's that said get ponderosas out of their native soil as soon as possible in this forum. It looks healthy, but would it be healthier if it was put in bonsai soil?
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: Adair M on March 22, 2012, 01:48 PM
Pictures would be nice.

What soil is it in?
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: oakandwalnut on March 22, 2012, 02:01 PM
It is in its native soil with some large aggregate on the sides and top. Here are some pictures.
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: bwaynef on March 22, 2012, 02:49 PM
I have zero (0) Ponderosa Pines.  My understanding though, is that they decline in their native soil once they're potted up so its recommended to get them out of that as quickly as possible.  Walter (I believe) suggests doing it almost immediately.
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: oakandwalnut on March 22, 2012, 02:51 PM
Yes, he does recommend that. This is my concern.
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: Chrisl on March 22, 2012, 10:42 PM
I thought that Andy told me the PP I bought from him is in 100% aggregate.  Mine seems so at least.
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: oakandwalnut on March 23, 2012, 12:54 AM
Mine has some aggregate, but a large portion of dirt.  I'm interested in finding out if anyone has done what Walter Pall seems to suggest  - repot the ponderosa in bonsai soil and remove native soil as soon as possible.
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: Brian Brandley on March 23, 2012, 07:45 AM
I've collected quite a few Ponderosa, and have about an 80% survival rate.  Personally, I think the choice of which tree to collect has had the most effect on my success.

When I bring a collected tree home, I try to remove as much of the native soil as will come off easily.  I don't worry about getting all of it.  Then I pot up in something very freely draining, and make sure the tree is secure in the pot.  These trees then sit on a pea gravel bed on the north side of the house for a year, and get buried in the pea gravel over the winter.  Usually when I pull them out of the gravel the next spring I can see roots growing out of the pot.  At that point, I pull them out of the pot, remove most of the rest of the native soil, and repot as before.

If this tree were mine, I would gently pull it and examine the roots.  If they are growing well, I would try to remove most or all of the native soil.  If the roots are iffy, I would only remove the native soil that comes off rather easily.

Brian
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: John Kirby on March 23, 2012, 07:53 AM
Yes. Actually Andy (golden arrow) does this when he has time, and if you ever participate in his "Bare root bonanza" internet sale, he sends the tree as collected, with very good instructions on how to clean the root ball. I think the point needs to be made that all of the folks suggesting that getting the rotting organic guck off of the roots are not suggesting the use of a high pressure hose nozzle. If you use water, make sure that it is gentle and the roots are teased apart using chopsticks or tweezers or the like, it takes time and as Brian said above you don't need to get every bit off, you can get the loose stuff later when the tree is repotted during subsequent maintenance work. John
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: oakandwalnut on March 23, 2012, 08:47 AM
Thanks Everyone for the clarification.
I really like Andy's trees, and want to make sure I take the best care of mine.
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: Chrisl on March 23, 2012, 09:22 AM
Brian said:    These trees then sit on a pea gravel bed on the north side of the house for a year

But pines need direct sun to flourish.  I don't see how keeping them in the shade for a year is healthy?
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: Brian Brandley on March 23, 2012, 09:56 AM
Chris, I should clarify - they sit on the north side of the house (morning and late afternoon sun) only for the first summer after collection, and each winter buried in the pea gravel.  After the firs summer, they are out in full sun.  I'm not sure if the extra shade after collection is essential, but I can tell you they do well with this treatment.

Brian
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: Chrisl on March 23, 2012, 10:10 AM
Thank You for clarifying that Brian. 
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: Zolljer on March 27, 2012, 11:55 PM
I have not heard this information before, but it might be helpful, as I am hoping to collect a ponderosa Pine soon. Are ponderosas not as dependent on mycorrhizae for their well-being as other pines are?  Until now it was my understanding that bare-rooting Pines is detrimental to their development.  Is this not the case with ponderosa?
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: John Kirby on March 28, 2012, 07:48 AM
"Barerooting" is risky on all conifers, however the danger of leaving significant amounts of mountain duff are also great. the eaiest time to remove the majority of duff is after collection. As has been stated in this thread, the goal is not to get the roots clean, jut get the majority of the rotting material off before it goes in to the pot. If you have a tree with a weak root system then you can leave it alone for a year, then if it has grown, remove the tree from the pot and clean 1/3 to 1/2 of the roots  back to their origin at the tree base.  Ponderosa pines also need Mycorhizae, however they will be able to reestablish themselves from spores/fungi left on the roots during the light cleaning. The key is not so much to place the tree in shade, the key is to place the tree in a protected area where it will avoid intense hot sun, have elevated humidity levels and will be protected from strong winds to prevent the tree from drying out. Hope this helps.
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: Treebeard55 on April 01, 2012, 11:02 PM
Brian, are you finding that the available sunlight is an issue in Indianapolis? I'm referring to the fact that Indy is at a much lower elevation than the ponderosas' native range, and Indiana has more cloudy days. Have you noticed anything?
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: Brian Brandley on April 02, 2012, 08:17 AM
This is my first year with bonsai in Indy, so I'll have to let you know later.  My first impression is that this was a highly unusual winter/spring.  Might as well have been in northern California!  My Ponderosa's and lodgepole pines are pushing candles nicely.  I'll be curious to see how they handle the humid summers - more of a concern for me than anything an Indiana winter could throw at them.

I did notice one thing - a lodgepole pine I had given my mother a few years back is very yellow but otherwise appears healthy.  She had planted it in her garden and it behaved as if it were still in a pot.  None of the aggressive growth that I would have expected from it in the ground after 4 yrs.  None of the rest of her plants showed any signs of chlorosis.  I dug it up earlier this spring and have it in a pot now giving it extra iron and ferts.

Brian
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: John Kirby on April 02, 2012, 10:07 AM
Brian, I have one word for you: Fungicide. You may want to see what kind of rotation the commercial folks are using.
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: Chrisl on April 02, 2012, 10:24 AM
John, is now a good time to start preventative fungal infections on our conifers? 
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: Treebeard55 on April 03, 2012, 09:22 AM
John, thanks for reminding us all to avoid high-pressure water or other rough measures.

I got a "Burlap Bonanza" tree from Andy in 2010, and potted it up with much of the native soil still in place; I took off only what came off quite easily. This spring I brushed away the potting mix above the original rootball, and found that the native soil had loosened considerably. I was able to wash away a good deal more of it without depotting the tree.

That's my (present) compromise between getting rid of the old soil immediately, and not touching the old soil for the first 3 years. Feedback on the approach is welcome, 'cuz I'm still figuring out the best approach for my climate and conditions!  ???
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: Chrisl on April 03, 2012, 10:23 AM
Good for you Steve!  Got any pictures?

Unfortunately, my PP I got from Andy last summer is pretty much dead.  I did all that I could to keep it alive.  No evidence of any disease at all.  And it was healthy last fall even.  Very heart breaking to watch.  Andy is going to replace the tree, so that's really generous of him and speaks great of his character.  But I feel I lost a whole year, basically of getting the tree established.  Now I'm a bit shy of buying a yamadori that was just collected in the same year of purchase.  The tree I bought from Walter Pall, collected in '09 or '10, is very healthy, pushing candles and even new back buds.  What a difference.
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: John Kirby on April 03, 2012, 12:40 PM
I use systemic when they start growing, lime sulfur over the winter (didn't do it this year as trees were outside until late).

Repotting Ponderosas is an interesting topic. I will guarantee this- fail to repot your ponderosas out of the gunk they come from the mountains in, and you live in warm humid place (even just summers) and you will have a tree planted in a septic mess before you know it. The trees grow in the mountains in a mix of granite dust and rotting pine needles and junk (duff). It is dry most of the time (either frozen or drought) and is wet for only short, generally cool, times. There is a faction of folks out there who don't repot or ever work their trees roots, especially collected trees, they will say "leave them alone, never touch the roots", they will also tend to have trees spontaneously die from time to time, after just being a little "peaked" or slow growing.

The best way I have found to kill collected trees is to collect them, pot them up, and then throw them in to a vehicle and drive them somewhere that year. Doesn't always work, but does from time to time. I would rather do the bareroot bonanza, repot the tree at home, and then not move it for a year or two so that it can get its roots well established and hardened off.

 
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: Chrisl on April 03, 2012, 01:16 PM
That's good to hear John on the bareroot bonanza because that's what one choice Andy said I could have but wasn't sure about it.
Thanks for the information!
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: oakandwalnut on April 03, 2012, 01:19 PM
Can someone please explain what Bareroot Bonanza is?
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: John Kirby on April 03, 2012, 02:23 PM
O&W,
Andy Smith (Goldenarrowbonsai.com) digs, scores that roots and ships freshly collected Ponderosa Pines. He tends to only ship trees with really good root systems, it is your responsibility to clean em up, secure them in the pot and take care of them. Nice medium sized trees that don't get rattled around after you repot them. John
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: Treebeard55 on April 04, 2012, 01:25 AM
Good for you Steve!  Got any pictures?
...

Chris, I snapped a couple on Tuesday afternoon. Please ignore the state of the rack in the first picture: rebuilding it is high on my to-do list!

We're expecting a freeze Thursday nite; Friday the ponderosa will go back up to the deck, which is less sheltered than the side yard but gets a heckuva lot more sun.
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: Chrisl on April 04, 2012, 07:38 AM
Great Steve!  Nice and healthy and even two bud sites on that one pic....very good!  Did you see the crappy roots of mine that I dug out of the box last night?  Pretty sad.  So you took two yrs. to get all the old soil off?  Lucky you it's thriving! 
When are you going to give it it's first styling?
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: Treebeard55 on April 04, 2012, 09:32 AM
Thanks, Chris. Actually, there are 4 buds opening on that branchlet, tho 2 of them are fairly hidden. But yes, the tree seems to be to be quite healthy, for which I'm thankful.

Yes, I saw your other thread: that's too bad! Losing such a fine tree is always a real bummer.

As for first styling -- well, I've been trying to make sure I don't rush with this tree. (A few of you will be thinking, "He's finally learning."  ;) ) But Andy Smith is coming to Ft. Wayne in June for a B.Y.O.T. workshop, and I'm thinking that may be a good opportunity. Still weighing pros and cons at this point.
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: gron7642 on May 07, 2012, 06:53 PM
I use systemic when they start growing, lime sulfur over the winter (didn't do it this year as trees were outside until late).

Repotting Ponderosas is an interesting topic. I will guarantee this- fail to repot your ponderosas out of the gunk they come from the mountains in, and you live in warm humid place (even just summers) and you will have a tree planted in a septic mess before you know it. The trees grow in the mountains in a mix of granite dust and rotting pine needles and junk (duff). It is dry most of the time (either frozen or drought) and is wet for only short, generally cool, times. There is a faction of folks out there who don't repot or ever work their trees roots, especially collected trees, they will say "leave them alone, never touch the roots", they will also tend to have trees spontaneously die from time to time, after just being a little "peaked" or slow growing.

The best way I have found to kill collected trees is to collect them, pot them up, and then throw them in to a vehicle and drive them somewhere that year. Doesn't always work, but does from time to time. I would rather do the bareroot bonanza, repot the tree at home, and then not move it for a year or two so that it can get its roots well established and hardened off.

 
I have a pine from andy I got in Jan. (collected in 2010) its back budding, nice green new needles, but the old needle are getting pretty light green and some dying off. This discussion of the PP not liking humidity is making me nervous. The soil seems to have alot of granite dust. It drains slowly and seems to retain moisture much longer than my other trees, which are planted in mainly haydite and a little pine bark. I really dont want to take a chance and loose the tree. I was planning on repotting next year but maybe should I go ahead and repot and a better draining soil mix. Is it to late in the season? Oh and I live in oklahoma so our summers are very hot and humid. Thanks for any advice.
Title: Re: Repotting of Ponderosa Pine
Post by: cbobgo on May 07, 2012, 07:42 PM
well, old needles are supposed to die, so I'm not sure that is cause for concern in and of itself.  That is, if you are talking about needles that are 3 years old or more.  If you have good new growth, then you are likely fine, as usually the first sign of trouble is lack of strong new growth.

- bob