Any ideas for pruning this nursery pine?

Znickles

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I got rid of a few unsightly branches and now im stumped with what to do with it... im not going for an "instant bonsai" but i have little experience with pines and need some kind of idea.

Don't plan to repot for a while..

Any tips will help
 

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0soyoung

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The basic routine with pines is to keep the lowest branches and let one run, positioning it so that it doesn't shade the low branches (essential to keep them alive). This free-growing branch is sacrificial, used only to thicken the trunk. Usually starts with the trunk itself as the sacrifice. When the trunk from the ground up to the first or second branch is as thick as you want it to be, one cuts the off the sacrificial part of the trunk. Then, say, the second branch is wired up so that its tip is the highest and allowed to grow freely (it is the next sacrifice) until the second section of the trunk is almost as thick as the trunk base (we want taper - lower sections won't thicken much at all until the section above is nearly as thick). And then you do this again once or twice. The minor branches that you've kept exposed to the sun along the way are developed into the branches of your bonsai.

Were you to exercise this routine in a straight forward way, you wind up with the classic zig-zag trunk. Wiring and bending these sections when they are young, thin, and easily manipulated is how one avoids straight-line zig-zags if you prefer. Hard, sharp zig-zags will feel "manly' or masculine. Smooth curves feminine. Tradition is that JBP are masculine, JRP feminine, but it is for you to decide. Personally, I like bending things and I also prefer feminine forms.

Problems always arise of not having folliage/branches where you want/need it/them. We solve that by grafting. I think you will wind up grafting some lower branches to this tree. While it is lanky and bendy, approach grafting is possible. Later it will likely be verneer/side rafts of scions made by cutting off last year's candle. One could even graft a different pine species onto this tree. People sometimes replace Ponderosa foliage with JBP, for example.

Many years of fun ahead.
 
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Znickles

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Znickles

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Im gonna re read this a few times till its engrained in my head. I understand the basic idea but its gonna take me a bit to figure out how to apply those principals to this particular tree.

Ive only got a couple years of experience under my belt so naturally i have much to learn...thanks for the wisdom.

Theres no need to rush this material into somthing that its not- im gonna take my time and wait for it to come to me..
 
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