Species Specific > White Pine Bonsai Discussion

white pine care

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Hello Don,

thanks for the reply

I also think it is field soil, thanks for the advice. to answer your question:

No i dont keep my trees under a roof, those are my wife's japanese maples with the odd azalea in between, i'm only putting up a bonsai area under shade cloth later, the maples will go under 50% shade cloth. they stay under the "stoep" veranda i think you will know it by, because our african sun will bake them a bit. they do get an hour or so of morning sun. except for those all my other trees get a full day's direct sunlight, oh yes,,,except also for this white pine and a shimpaku  bonsai and itoigawa cutting, that only gets sun until 3 hours after mid day, this will also change, most of the others will go underneath 25-30% shade cloth, except for the wild olives and black pine

best regards

It does sound like you need to repot.  I would suggest that you don't do any other work until it is recovered, as you'll probably have to do extensive rootwork to free it from that soil.  I have had good luck with compacted trees by soaking first in a tub, then swirling.  Also I tend to use a sharp spray from a hose instead of trying to rake.  The water will be more gentle than tearing at the roots. 
You may need more than one season to do the whole thing, but if it's soft enough maybe not.
You will probably have to wait another year before styling...

Also I've found that in the very hot parts of summer, that mine prefer partial shade conditions more than full sun. And they are thirsty in the heat as well.

Hi Judy,

I have been very vigilant controlling it's water, if it rains i get the pine under a roof before it starts raining. it only gets water when the soil is almost dry. This seems to have halted the needle die-back. Guess i have a plan now....

I will remove all the field soil over a couple of repottings by bare rooting only a part of the root ball at one time, get the tree strong and very healthy and then work on it. I will not wire it until it is happy,strong and established in a better soil mix. I can maybe manage to build some density in the lower branches? Energy balancing through bud selection and candle pinching?

Can I give the tree fish emulsion from early summer to autumn? I've read somewhere that white pines go lanky when fertilized like a black pine, in other words; from before buds start moving until dormancy.

Thanks for all the help

ps. You mentioned when it gets warm you place it in semi shade, this is when it gets how hot? I will have to compensate for this.

Best regards

Herman, there are far better folks to tell you the ways to develop JWP, I only know what I've done and how it works for me, so keep that in mind.  
I do fertilize earlier in the year, but I fertilize with a mild fertilizer at that time.  Just a low dose each watering of the Dyna-gro product, it's a liquid I add when I water.  I do feed stronger at other times except in the very hot part of summer, which for me can be in the 90'sF, at which point I place it in a semi shade spot.  I think that fertilizing heavier in the spring can be beneficial if you are still in the development phase, as you'll get more growth, longer needles too, but that shouldn't matter if your goal is to grow the tree.
Honestly, it sounds like you could water a bit more, mine don't like having water withheld, but I know yours in in chancy soil right now... I had one of these that was in soil from China once, it's one of the only trees I've ever lost. For me it was the combination of cold and wet that did it in, not just the wet part. I didn't have any problems with it during the warm season.  Warm and wet seems to not be as much an issue.  Shame....  

Judy, right now you are posting advice, not someone else, plus you seem to have more experience than me, even if you are not an expert yet, any advice is valuable :)

If it makes you feel better, I did email Michael Hagedorn earlier this morning....night for you guys(depending where i guess), he will reply soon I'm sure.

I am replying from my work computer, so I am not able to upload photos, i have to do it from my phone, something is going wrong for this poor pine...shame indeed... i took pics and will post them later, the needles are drying out white and then dropping off on a very small scale, so far its been 15 needles. I'm very concerned though, as i know with pines that if symptoms show up it's usually game .... over....

i think it may be the alkalinity of the water im using to water it? although my black pines seem fine with it... i gave a very weak dose of acid loving plant fertilizer(to drop the ph within the soil a bit) about two weeks ago? or it is the heat... i dont know....  ??? too much water or too little? usually it shows a problem with the roots not transporting water to the leaves?
I let slip and left the tree in the rain for a few days whilst i had other things drawing my attention away. think it was three days that it rained continuously? might be the wind injuring those needles? the wind was strong(38 to 50 knots) at about 3 in the morning

best thing is to keep calm ...

best regards


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