(5yr Native Tree Challenge) Nuttshell's Shortleaf Pine

nutshell

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Here is my first entry for the 5yr Native Tree Challenge, a Shortleaf Pine (Pinus echinata).

This one's leader had died back giving plenty of options for direction. After cleaning it up I was happy to see a nice bend down low, but the nebari doesn't look too promising. Spring repot will tell.

I'm excited to see where this goes, and to watch the other trees progress. Comments are welcome!

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Gabler

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Put a piece of slate or an old plate under the tree when repotting it to force the roots outward, and then bury the trunk a little deeper to thicken those roots you currently have exposed. For that matter, bury them deeper right now to protect against frost.

Edit:. Those fallen needles looked like fine roots on the tiny image on my phone screen. Disregard that part about planting deeper. Just be sure to encourage side roots in favor of the tap root.
 

nutshell

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Just be sure to encourage side roots in favor of the tap root.
I read that shortleafs have large tap roots and don't like being disturbed. Hopefully this one is young enough to survive the initial work.

Thinking I'm going to wire it to a board and put it in the raised bed 2-3 years? Then colander/pot.
 

Gabler

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I read that shortleafs have large tap roots and don't like being disturbed. Hopefully this one is young enough to survive the initial work.

Thinking I'm going to wire it to a board and put it in the raised bed 2-3 years? Then colander/pot.

Yeah. Definitely only a little bit at a time. Don't prune the roots back hard on a pine. Take off no more than 25% every other year.
 

LittleDingus

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I read that shortleafs have large tap roots and don't like being disturbed. Hopefully this one is young enough to survive the initial work.

Thinking I'm going to wire it to a board and put it in the raised bed 2-3 years? Then colander/pot.
Looks like we have an echinata category filling out in this challenge :) I started my thread on them today.

Not sure if it helps or clouds the issue, but mine were ordered sight unseen from an online nursery and were shipped bare root.

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I suspect the tap root was trimmed on these though. My reason for saying that is that one of the defining characteristics of echinata is a J shaped crook at the root color. This crook is what protects protobuds at the root from fire and what allows echinata to re-establish after a fire before the competition does. But maybe seeing how little root system there is on a nursery grown 4' tree can help you make some decisions.

You can also see that mine have very little low growth. I do not know if these will back bud except from the root collar. But you may want to start early to do what you can to encourage and preserve low growth if that is your plan.
 

nutshell

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Very interesting, thank you. Looks like they aren't as tender as I thought.

I was considering doing a small literati with the time crunch and how little foliage they require. After seeing those behemoths, my dreams are shattered. I should have started with more tree haha.

BUT, I have more tricks up my sleeve(besides material selection). Side bet?
 

LittleDingus

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Very interesting, thank you. Looks like they aren't as tender as I thought.

I was considering doing a small literati with the time crunch and how little foliage they require. After seeing those behemoths, my dreams are shattered. I should have started with more tree haha.

BUT, I have more tricks up my sleeve(besides material selection). Side bet?
Well, we shall see how tender they are! The nursery ships them that way. Also, the department of conservation ships their yearlings bare root. Often younger trees are more resilient than older trees. My fear is that it takes them 3 of the five years just to re-establish!

Literati are me least favorite bonsai, but yeah, there may be little choice given the amount of foliage and the time frame. I should have thought through some plans a little more before potting mine...I might have tried a mother daughter. Still might. At least with yours there may be a shohin buried in there :) Have you thought about directions other than literati? I'm not sure you'll get enough hieght from yours in 5 years for literati unless you ground grow or put in a large grow out container.

For a side bet: I bet mine don't survive 5 years of my abuse ;) Hopefully your fares better!
 

nutshell

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mother daughter
You could always combine them down the road. Half the branches to develop per tree. Clever shortcut.

Literati is probably the wrong choice for my tree when the Shohin bones are there. But I don't expect to win this with a textbook tree anyway, so I'll go obscure. Aim for an honorable mention lol, or best noob.

Last man standing? I'm in.
 

nutshell

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Shortleaf turned pretty yellow after snowpocalypse but a lot of pines in the area did the same. Noticed the buds starting to move today so here's the repot.

Roots looked healthy but not overly vigorous. Decent amount of what I assume is mycorrhizae.
I did bare root but did not wash the roots. Tap root had already been cut to about 6in. I cut it back another inch or two to the next branching root.
No root pruning besides that and what came out with teasing.
New soil is 1/3 pumice, lava, oil dry and a handful of the old soil.

As far as style, going for an exposed root. Was open to other styles but the roots look good for it.
Thinking with the time crunch maybe I can use the roots to create a wide base and have more time for the canopy?
 

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nutshell

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Well, the most likely outcome has occurred.
Although I did notice some yellowing after the heavy freeze this winter. The needles began loosing color mostly after repotting.
I think it just dried out too much in the cylinder(where most of the roots are).
I'm hoping it will push some latent buds on the trunk in pic 2 but if they're not going by this point idk. It looks pretty dead to me.
 

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nutshell

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I picked up a replacement shortleaf in June. This one has been growing well over the summer in its nursery pot. On the leader a second flush of candles are extending their needles, which means echinata can be treated as a double flush I think? Either way, fertilizer>winter protection>repot in spring is the plan.
 

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