Bonsai Study Group Forum

Species Specific => Ponderosa Pine Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: mcpesq817 on October 15, 2009, 08:21 AM

Title: One of my ponderosa pines
Post by: mcpesq817 on October 15, 2009, 08:21 AM
Here is a Ponderosa I acquired from a workshop with Larry Jackel last year.  It was collected in spring 2008, and is about 22" tall with a 3" base.

First picture shows the tree from when I acquired it.  I didn't do anything with the tree until spring of this year, when I repotted it, trying to take off most of the original soil/pine duff.  Not sure if the timing was right - I asked Larry at this year's workshop his thoughts on the first repotting, and he recommends leaving the tree alone for a few years after collection.  But you can see from the second picture that I got considerable growth on the new needles this year, along with some back budding.  Lots of water, fertilizer, sun and in a free draining mix - just like Walter Pall advises.

I ended up restyling the tree a couple of weeks ago.  I didn't like the two-dimension look to the movement in the second picture, so I think the new front will be angled a bit like in the third picture.  Eventually, the lower left branch will come off, along with some smaller weak branches off the back of the tree.  I left them on because I had removed a few branches on the lower right, so not only did I not want to cut off too much on the tree, but I figured I should save some branches in case some of the branches I wired ended up dying.

I still need to work on needle length management, and filling out the canopy and first branch, but I am pretty happy with the effort.  It was my first time wiring an entire tree and using copper wire, so go easy on me there :)
Title: Re: One of my ponderosa pines
Post by: bonsaikc on October 15, 2009, 09:45 AM
Coming along very nicely! The tree looks very healthy. I like where you are going with this, it's showing good development. Thanks for showing it!
Title: Re: One of my ponderosa pines
Post by: mcpesq817 on October 15, 2009, 10:27 AM
Thanks very much Chris.  After lurking on boards for the past two years, I figured I should maybe start posting some trees :D

I think the tree is pretty healthy.  It looks very scraggly from my poor picture and especially with the long new needles (measuring 6"+ in length in many spots) interspersed with the older needles (which are only 2" or less in length), but over time if I can manage the new needles, it should hopefully start looking a bit more refined.  I figured my more immediate goal was to get the tree nice and strong, and then worry later about needle length reduction once the tree is established.  It looks like the repotting in the spring didn't hold it back any, though I was a bit worried because a number of the white root tips had broken off while I was slowly and carefully removing the old pine duff (which took me a good four hours).  

Collected ponderosas are definitely fun to work on - nice bark, interesting movement and flexible branches.  As others have mentioned, the ancient roots can make styling a bit more difficult.  Part of the reason I repotted my tree the way I did in the second picture was because the ancient roots mostly grew on the right side, extending a good 6-8"in straight lines to the right.  

My original thought was to have the tree move right to left, using that lower left branch as my first/character branch, but from the fact that the lower left branch is weak and with the ancient roots the way they are, I think the movement from left to right works a little better.  Hope it's ok to post a link to Boon's website, but the general style I am going for is similar to this tree (although the movement in the trunk is a little different): (