Here is my smallest ponderosa. Collected in 2010 and purchased for like $60 I think. The tree has been in a smaller 1 gallon nursery can for the last few years, and its vigor has never compared to the other ponderosas I have from the same year. I put it in this 10" pond basket this spring and cleaned the rest of the mountain soil off its root mass. I would estimate it is 90%+/- free of mountain soil. The tree has responded well to its new home. Lots of roots poking through the pond basket mesh. This tree has me sort of stumped. I feel like the needles will never ever be short enough for this tree. The tree is 12" from the soil to the crown branches. Add on another 5" if you want to measure to the tip of the highest needle. The trunk is about 3.5" at the soil level. I like the trunk line, and there is actually decent branch ramification for a collected ponderosa. Still, if this tree is ever going to become something in my eyes, I think it will require a foliage change. The shorter needle of the JBP will fit the tree's height better, and grafting will allow me to cut back on the legginess of the branches. I play around with the tree occasionally tilting it about waiting for a design to pop in my mind. It has a few constraints, namely the one branch that vertically splits off the main trunk. In the birds eye view of the canopy, you can see this branch sticking out by itself. I am not sure how much I can bend it back into the tree. I included two possible designs I see for the tree once its grafted.
As for the grafting, does anyone have a history of success grafting JBP onto ponderosas? I was planning on doing multiple approach grafts using some 2 year old seedlings I have. Possibly splitting the whole project into 2 phases spread out over two years. I have always wondered "what if..." after seeing so many awesome trunked ponderosas with squiggly needles. This tree should be a good learning experience.