Small Black Pine Progress

Small Black Pine Progress

Bonsai Design Japanese Black Pine Phutu

Each fall, I can hardly wait to get started working on my Japanese Black Pines. The long summer season of working on Juniper and Cypress finally winds down, and I can get to serious fall work on all types of conifers. While I probably have more Cypress work that I could be doing (they never stop growing!) I’ll gladly take some time to go through my black pine collection and focus on needle pulling, bud thinning, and wiring.

Each tree needs slightly different work, on the stage it's in. Many of the trees that I’m growing are need wiring touch-ups each year.

This first tree was dramatically reduced the year prior - and improved in the process - but it will take a few more years to really see where we’re going with this one (the sketch below is my long-term vision.)

Before work. The tree grew shoots after candle cutting that are bit longer than desired.

After work. The central apical bud from the previous fall grew strongly and two small buds appeared at it’s base. I bent the upward growing shoot toward the back to allow the smaller buds to grow also.

Second, is a tree that is now 10 growing seasons old. The main work here is reduction of buds around the decandling sites, reduction of old needles and in this case I had to decide on a top once and for all. The prior year I left two candidates but I finally cut off the one that was larger and further to the right because it just didn’t seem like it would ever work as a compact top for the tree.

The previous year, after cleanup and wiring to create the basic style.

Six months later, a closeup of the problematic top on the right and what I ultimately decided to use on the left.

Before work.

After thinning, needle pulling, and some wiring. You can see the eliminated apex as a jin on the right near the apex.

Finally, the little tree below is one of my better successes from my second batch of Japanese black pine. I have others coming along, but none quite as well as this one. While it may be good enough to show now in most club shows, I think another year or two of refinement and repotting into a smaller container will really polish this tree.

Before work.

After needle pulling, thinning, and a little wiring.

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