30+ Year Old Pinus Silverstris “Beuvronensis” in 5 Gallon Pot

lillarch

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I have a 30+ year old Scots Pine in a 5 gallon pot that has only received water and never left the pot. I would like to prune and shape it. I am wondering if there are any extra considerations I should have when pruning such an old, pot bound tree. Also, how much of the roots can I remove, say, every year in order to compact the tree? Any advice appreciated! 503889F5-8AC4-44E9-9B2D-02ED97B5384D.jpegF13F86F9-9C69-436A-A3E7-AACD975265B9.jpeg5916B874-E9D0-47FE-B5D9-0B64CC0F0A9A.jpeg3224F523-65D1-4F72-AEF1-27007874B620.jpegBF9F7243-F736-4A5F-B748-046DD39DDF2A.jpeg6DC98C93-CCCF-48DF-8E83-8891845ECA45.jpeg4D4D05CB-1ED6-4BE7-B8CA-BD6463736B42.jpeg
 

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hemmy

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BUMP!

Where’s our Scot’s Pine experts?! @Adair M @Alain BERTRAND @MichaelS @dirk hoorelbeke @Mike Corazzi

or if it’s been in a container for that long maybe our yamadori experts! @wireme @yenling83


I have a 30+ year old Scots Pine in a 5 gallon pot that has only received water and never left the pot
you might clarify this. How long has it been in that can and how long have you had it? Also what is your climate or general location.

that tree has a nice trunk and decent primary beaches but pretty leggy secondary. I don’t know how well they backbud, but I’d consider grafting branches or taking it somewhere to graft foliage closer to the trunk.

Cheers!
 
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Hi, I don't consider myself as a pine expert. First step is getting the tree more vigorous by repotting. The strong roots will be at the outside of the rootball. Leave the core intact during the first repot and focus on the bottom. First dig and expose the nebari, then remove the mat at the bottom. Remove a bit of the sides so there is contact with the new soil medium. Use a free draining mix. Akadama, pumice, lava. After a few years the roots will be in the new mix and you will be able to work the core over the next 2 or 3 repotting. For styling next fall, use as much green as you can. Buds should be bigger, needles longer, back budding will follow.
 

lillarch

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you might clarify this. How long has it been in that can and how long have you had it? Also what is your climate or general location.

It has been in that exact pot for 28 years. It belonged to a neighbor that I helped with watering and he recently gave it to me. My climate is maritime in the Pacific Northwest.
 

sorce

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You need a fence!

Welcome to Crazy!

Like, someone to sell your diamonds.

If you're just starting out, I'd try to sell the trunk to a professional.

Only because both repotting and styling are at around 80% impossible.

Sorce
 

Cosmos

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This is fantastic material.

How solid are your repotting skills? Substrate choice, how much/what to remove, reading a rootball, tie-down techniques, appropriate container selection, top-dressing, etc.? If you’re not fairly comfortable, I’d seek help from a professional or an advanced practitioner, because that root system will likely be very hard to work. Totally worth doing the best rootwork you can at this stage though, and forgetting about the foliage for a year or two at least.
 

lillarch

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This is fantastic material.

How solid are your repotting skills? Substrate choice, how much/what to remove, reading a rootball, tie-down techniques, appropriate container selection, top-dressing, etc.? If you’re not fairly comfortable, I’d seek help from a professional or an advanced practitioner, because that root system will likely be very hard to work. Totally worth doing the best rootwork you can at this stage though, and forgetting about the foliage for a year or two at least.
I have experience with repotting Larch trees, but nothing this pot bound. I would imagine starting with what dirk suggested above wouldn’t hurt. First repot to encourage new root growth, then gradually trim from the bottom of the root ball.
 

lillarch

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You need a fence!

Welcome to Crazy!

Like, someone to sell your diamonds.

If you're just starting out, I'd try to sell the trunk to a professional.

Only because both repotting and styling are at around 80% impossible.

Sorce
Thank you
 

penumbra

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That is a darn sturdy pot to last that long. The advice given is very good but you can't know for certain what action to take until you study the roots. I think it is very doable.
 

Paradox

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I would repot it but it is going to be tricky
I would get help from a bonsai professional on this tree.
Its a very nice tree and you dont want to do something that might compromise it
 

parhamr

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It has been in that exact pot for 28 years. It belonged to a neighbor that I helped with watering and he recently gave it to me. My climate is maritime in the Pacific Northwest.
Hello! I’m in Portland, OR. If you feel okay providing a more exact location I might be able to steer you toward helpful people. It’s almost too late for a repot in this season on pines, so you might just have to wait for next year.

The warm, sunny weather of the past week have caused a lot of bud movement and candle elongation for me. I’m in the St. Johns neighborhood and friends around the Portland Metro area are seeing similar spring activity.
 

hemmy

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I would repot it but it is going to be tricky
I would get help from a bonsai professional on this tree.
Its a very nice tree and you dont want to do something that might compromise it
I second enlisting a pro or a VERY experienced club member to help with the repotting and eventually grafting. I don’t know how they backbud, but I would expect that grafting will be also be required in the future to get tighter branching. This tree looks like it has the bones to be really nice.

I don’t think anyone has mentioned container choice. I think you will want the correct size for the root mass and shallow. I’d consider building a shallower wood box, but not too shallow (maybe 2x the diameter of the trunk base?). I like using the “4-inch rule” from nursery cultivation up-potting when they only shift to a container that is no larger than 4” from the current rootball. I’m not sure how that fits with yamadori wooden box size selection.
 

Paradox

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I don’t think anyone has mentioned container choice. I think you will want the correct size for the root mass and shallow. I’d consider building a shallower wood box, but not too shallow (maybe 2x the diameter of the trunk base?). I like using the “4-inch rule” from nursery cultivation up-potting when they only shift to a container that is no larger than 4” from the current rootball. I’m not sure how that fits with yamadori wooden box size selection.

I think 2x the trunk diameter is going to be too shallow for first training pot.
The problem is that we have a tree that has grown for nearly 3 decades in very narrow, deep pot.
I suspect a lot of the current roots will be rather woody and stiff so not really able to be spread out in a wider pot at this point.
So its going to take several repottings over many years to get it to start to get some lateral roots going.
So I would opt for a deeper training pot to start and try to gradually get that shallower over the years.
 

lillarch

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I would repot it but it is going to be tricky
I would get help from a bonsai professional on this tree.
Its a very nice tree and you dont want to do something that might compromise it
Agreed. I am very weary of negatively affecting this one!
 

lillarch

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Hello! I’m in Portland, OR. If you feel okay providing a more exact location I might be able to steer you toward helpful people. It’s almost too late for a repot in this season on pines, so you might just have to wait for next year.

The warm, sunny weather of the past week have caused a lot of bud movement and candle elongation for me. I’m in the St. Johns neighborhood and friends around the Portland Metro area are seeing similar spring activity.
I’m up in Seattle. Let me know if you know anyone up here!
 

lillarch

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I think 2x the trunk diameter is going to be too shallow for first training pot.
The problem is that we have a tree that has grown for nearly 3 decades in very narrow, deep pot.
I suspect a lot of the current roots will be rather woody and stiff so not really able to be spread out in a wider pot at this point.
So its going to take several repottings over many years to get it to start to get some lateral roots going.
So I would opt for a deeper training pot to start and try to gradually get that shallower over the years.
Little by little is my plan.
 
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