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Thread: Limber Pine?

  1. #1
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    Limber Pine? (Photos Added)

    I have looked in several books and done some searching on the Internet and here about limber pine.

    I see it said to be a great candidate for bonsai, but I haven't found anything beyond a couple of photos of a few yamadori. Nothing about their care and techniques for developing into a bonsai.

    I have run a cross one at a nursery here (North Carolina). It has a 4" dia. trunk at the soil level and a great bend about 6" up and lots of branching to work with. It stands over 6 ft. tall and could be taken back to 2 ft. tall and have a great deal to work with left.

    Can anyone fill me in on the tree? We are talking about $120 here. I'll spend it if limber pine is something that can be developed and be worth the effort.

    How do they react to drastic pruning, root trimming? Do you handle them the same as all the books tell you to handle Japanese White Pine? Anything I should be aware of?

    Help!

    I have added these two photos of the Limber Pine. I went to the nursery and picked it up. I cut about 2 ft. off the top and trimmed up the bottom area.

    Lots of small sprouts coming off the main trunk. I am taking that as a sign that it buds back quite easy.

    This think already has the bend that I love to see in the old pines. A very good taper. Lots of limbs to work with in the upper area.

    Now if I can just keep it alive. It is in a burlap ball that has been set in the tub and then topsoil filled in around the ball.

    I have to get it out of the ball an into a training box.

    As I said and good advice is welcome.
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    Last edited by Mac In Oak Ridge; February 28th, 2010 at 05:53 AM.

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    I'd treat it just like you would Pinus parviflora. I've nver done one, but have seen several. They make very nice bonsai. Here is one from the North Carolina Arboretum display near Asheville. You might e-mail Arthur Joura, curator of the bonsai collection. You can reach him via the Arboretum website: http://www.ncarboretum.org/
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mac In Oak Ridge View Post
    I have looked in several books and done some searching on the Internet and here about limber pine.

    I see it said to be a great candidate for bonsai, but I haven't found anything beyond a couple of photos of a few yamadori. Nothing about their care and techniques for developing into a bonsai.

    I have run a cross one at a nursery here (North Carolina). It has a 4" dia. trunk at the soil level and a great bend about 6" up and lots of branching to work with. It stands over 6 ft. tall and could be taken back to 2 ft. tall and have a great deal to work with left.

    Can anyone fill me in on the tree? We are talking about $120 here. I'll spend it if limber pine is something that can be developed and be worth the effort.

    How do they react to drastic pruning, root trimming? Do you handle them the same as all the books tell you to handle Japanese White Pine? Anything I should be aware of?

    Help!
    Randy Knight at Oregon Bonsai has some amazing Limber Pines, mostly large ones. They do need to be treated like JWP and drastic removal of foliage (chopping quite a bit at once) will result in the death of the tree. Reduce gradually over a few years. Root work is same as JWP....

    BTW, $120 is a very inexpensive tree if it is as good as you say it is.

    LP is very much worth the time and effort to be bonsai, they are awesome trees actually.

    Go buy it.....

    Jason
    Jason's Bonsai Blog!
    NW Oregon
    Zone 8

  4. #4
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    Thanks, jkl and JasonG,

    I went back late this afternoon and got it.

    I'll post a picture or two here tomorrow.

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    Photos have been added to the original post.

  6. #6
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    the best person to contact for information about limber pine for bonsai would be Larry Jackel.... he collects them regularly and has an impressive collection of both Ponderosa and Limber Pine as bonsai. When collecting with him and Daniel Robinson (my teacher) last year this was mostly what Larry collected , we don't collect them and have them up here mostly because WP here doesn't do so well on its own... that doesn't mean they don't make great bonsai ( i walked by literally hundreds of wonderful candidates some that needed little to no work to be master pieces) if you can grow WP successfully then it will provide you with a wonderful tree.

    In the wild this tree grows to be a magnificent ancient specimen with massive multiple rounded crowns and undulating branch structures that are truly impressive to behold.

    It appears that the tree you purchased was field grown and not a collected tree? Is this correct? not sure the $120 price for a non collected LP is all that great but it is a large tree indeed... with great age they form wonderfully flaky aged bark.

    good luck

  7. #7
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    It is field grown from a commercial grower. It was dug, wrapped in burlap, stick in the big tub and some top soil used to fill in around it. When I took the burlap off the "dirt" around it was a dark gray clayey material. Amazingly few roots for such a large tree. I hope it makes it.

    One other detail came out when the burlap was removed. It is a graft. And unfortunately the root stock material, Eastern White Pine I suspect is a little smaller in diameter than the grafted on Limber Pine. So now I have to figure out a way to thicken the first 3" above the nebari.

    I am going to let it alone until next year, just try and get it through the transfer from field to growing box. I put it in a 16" X 16" X 5" wood box. No tap root to have to deal with which was nice.

    Naka says to hit the bark surface with a hammer to get it to swell up. I have read of putting a nail in a stick, sharpening the point and then whacking the area to be enlarged with the nail. All the hole poking is supposed to make it swell in reaction. And also read of cutting lines into the bark with a sharp knife in a pattern keeping with what real pine bark looks like.

    I also have thought I may try to air layer new roots at the graft area and then cut off the original root stock when sufficient roots are established. Wish I knew why they would graft this. Perhaps Eastern White Pine roots do better on the east coast than the Limber Pine roots would.
    Last edited by Mac In Oak Ridge; March 2nd, 2010 at 01:02 PM.

  8. #8
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    interesting...the collected limber pine from Oregon Bonsai don't look anything like this one but it likely because it a young nursery tree and the bark hasn't had time to age. They do make quite impressive trees when collected from the wild.

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    Grafting is fast and reliable - combining the attributes of the rootstock with the desired foliage, character of the other plant - in this case the Limber Pine. Almost impossible to find a seedling grown Limber Pine in a commercial nursery. Also - this was for landscaping purposes - so the graft union is meaningless. I thought this was a grafted tree when the original photos were posted - just could not locate the graft union. Unless the grafting is executed by a bonsai nursery - the graft union on most conifers is very bad - high abovethe root base, ugly and impossible to hide. Inverse taper at the graft union is very hard to overcome - another low graft below the graft union - perhaps could result in some thickening of the base - but this is a longshot. When looking at conifers at a nursery - you have to go thru alot of trees to find a graft union that you can work with - maybe 1 out of 50 is really good; no inverse taper and the bark blends fairly well.......

  10. #10
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    Howdy Tom, Good to hear from you. Thank you for the comments. I'll make a few more photos tomorrow, if this dang snow will go away. It is making it rough to get off in the mountains to look for yamadori, I guess there is plenty of time left.

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