Species Specific > White Pine Bonsai Discussion

Decandling White Pines

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Frank Serraiocco:
Hello,

I am relatively new with bonsai but I have learned quite a bit in the time that I have been practicing.  Unfortunately however, I cannot seem to find any information on how to decandle white pines in order to develop shorter needles.  One bonsai dealer near me that has practiced for about 40 years told me that one way of doing it is to cut all of the new shoots in mid summer all at once, and then the second wave of growth in late summer will be shorter.  Is this technique okay and does anyone know of other methods to develop short needles? 

Thanks for any help.

Frank

John Kirby:
Frank,
Because of the growth strategy of mountain pines (like JWP) decandling is not an option because they do not respond strongly as the low land pines like JBP. Breaking new growth (pruning) in summer can help, but the best methods are associated with watering and fertilizing. If you water JWP less, not frequency but volume and you delay adding fertilizer in the summer, the needles will shorten. For example, I don't fertilize JWP until the first of August in NW Arkansas, about the same time that I start fertilizing Ponderosa pines, this gives the new shoots plenty of strength in the spring when the are forming, but doesn't lead to excessive lengthening in the summer, when we start fertilizing the new growth has just about hardened off.

Where do yo like? getting that info (Zone and general location) will help folk to be more specific.

John

Frank Serraiocco:
I live in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan.  Thanks again for the help.

Frank

tanlu:

--- Quote from: John Kirby on October 28, 2010, 06:13 AM ---Frank,
Because of the growth strategy of mountain pines (like JWP) decandling is not an option because they do not respond strongly as the low land pines like JBP. Breaking new growth (pruning) in summer can help, but the best methods are associated with watering and fertilizing. If you water JWP less, not frequency but volume and you delay adding fertilizer in the summer, the needles will shorten. For example, I don't fertilize JWP until the first of August in NW Arkansas, about the same time that I start fertilizing Ponderosa pines, this gives the new shoots plenty of strength in the spring when the are forming, but doesn't lead to excessive lengthening in the summer, when we start fertilizing the new growth has just about hardened off.


--- End quote ---

John,

That's very interesting. I've heard people reffer to JWP as a "mountain pine", but I never understood what that meant. Do all "mountain pines" in general respond slower than pines native to lower elevations? Besides having them grafted onto JBP roots, do you have any tips to improve their vigor? Can you recommend any good literature on JWP? It's my favorite subject for bonsai, and I'm always looking for new info on the species.

Frank,

I have one unusual 12 y/o JWP seedling with longer needles (about 2.5 inches), so I understand where you're coming from, but don't most JWP already have needles short enough for bonsai culture? I read that lots of direct sunlight (depending on where you live) back-budding, and finer branch development, will also result in shorter needles.

-Theo

John Kirby:
Ah, it is all a matter of degree. I think you just need to understand that they are different. There are some relatively fast growing JWP, like zuisho, but they are more difficult to manage because of the growth habit. I think you just have to deal with the fact that it takes longer to develp JWP, but once developed are easier to maintain, without dramatic rebuilding and restructuring.

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