Beginner Pine/Best Back Budding Pine?

SilentMouse

Sapling
Messages
27
Reaction score
16
Location
Eaton County, Michigan
USDA Zone
5b
Next year I plan on getting a pine for the first time, though I am not sure which. So I'm guess I am gathering the wider thoughts. On both what is species is most beginner friendly, and which one has the strongest back budding (and the potential for some good foliage density and ratification). Have done research elsewhere...but I think here with people who've grown these trees would be a good idea.

Also, for anyone else in similar zones...do either Japanese Black or White Pine do okay lower than -20F in the winter? What I've heard has been mixed so any experience would be greatly appreciated :).
 

0soyoung

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
6,774
Reaction score
11,101
Location
Anacortes, WA (AHS heat zone 1)
USDA Zone
8b
For your climate, I would point you toward pinus sylvatica (Scots pine).

P. parviflora cultivars for bonsai are grafted onto Scots pine root stocks by OR/WA growers and will be okay in your climate, Regardless, they are much more challenging subjects. More commonly, maybe, JWP cultivars are grafted onto pinus thunbergii root stocks and will be marginally cold hardy for you, I think.
 
Messages
1,412
Reaction score
1,727
Location
Central NJ
USDA Zone
7a
NJ often drops to below 0 during winters. Michigan, the poster's location, often drops below -15/-20 during winters.

I think many alpine pine species would work well for you. Possible Ponderosa Pine, Jack Pine, or Pitch Pine would be suitable choices.

Pitch pine back buds readily on old wood.

JBP would also be a good choice and with minimal winter protection should do well in your area.

Look at native pines in your area as well. These natives you can be sure will be hardy to your winters, and you can then look up bonsai history and curation to see how they take to training.
 

SilentMouse

Sapling
Messages
27
Reaction score
16
Location
Eaton County, Michigan
USDA Zone
5b
I’m guessing you live in Antarctica. The coldest I think it ever gets is like 15F in nj
Nope! That is actually the average low for my area of Michigan. 20 degrees below zero. Though I can see why you'd think that- it would sound like I lived in the coldest place on earth XD.
NJ often drops to below 0 during winters. Michigan, the poster's location, often drops below -15/-20 during winters.

I think many alpine pine species would work well for you. Possible Ponderosa Pine, Jack Pine, or Pitch Pine would be suitable choices.

Pitch pine back buds readily on old wood.

JBP would also be a good choice and with minimal winter protection should do well in your area.

Look at native pines in your area as well. These natives you can be sure will be hardy to your winters, and you can then look up bonsai history and curation to see how they take to training.
Ah, thank you so much. Pitch pines/other alpine pines- noted! Scotts Pine was also suggested several times, so perhaps they could be worth trying?
 

Wires_Guy_wires

Masterpiece
Messages
3,379
Reaction score
5,258
Location
Netherlands
I vote scots pine or ponderosa. I found jack pine to be less suited for beginners, because it's pretty finicky about watering. Scots pine does well in almost every climate.
I'd like to add Pinus Nigra to the list. It has almost the same traits as ponderosa, but it's more vigorous and a tad more forgiving. We don't see them a lot unfortunately.
 

PeaceLoveBonsai

Chumono
Messages
597
Reaction score
1,649
Location
Franklin, TN
USDA Zone
7a
I also recommend Scots Pine, Pinus Slyvestris. They backbud pretty well. The needles can get quite short. They are easy to start from seed. All great attributes!

Do you have an unheated garage or place to protect trees in the dead of winter? If so, the Japanese black pine would also be a good option. The great thing about JBP is that there is tons of great information out there about to grow and style that newer growers can find what they need to grow them successfully.

Good Luck!
 

HorseloverFat

Masterpiece
Messages
3,303
Reaction score
4,393
Location
Northeast Wisconsin
USDA Zone
5a
Scots pines grow well in my climate... It is pretty cold here...
🤓
But I’d like to get some clarification on...
actually the average low for my area of Michigan. 20 degrees below zero.
...are you in the upper penninsula?! That’s CRAZY... these are MY Average lows throughout Winter.
9554B510-44A0-4C36-8F99-870CD049D440.png
...and I would think I’d be colder than “mainland” Michigan. 🤓


Shows what I know ‘bout stuff.

🤣
 

0soyoung

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
6,774
Reaction score
11,101
Location
Anacortes, WA (AHS heat zone 1)
USDA Zone
8b
Scots pines grow well in my climate... It is pretty cold here...
🤓
But I’d like to get some clarification on...

...are you in the upper penninsula?! That’s CRAZY... these are MY Average lows throughout Winter.
View attachment 338835
...and I would think I’d be colder than “mainland” Michigan. 🤓


Shows what I know ‘bout stuff.

🤣
The extreme cold temperature in USDA zone 5 is -20F, meaning that in some years the extreme cold temperature recorded in that particular year was something even colder than -20F and in a roughly equal number of years, the extreme cold temperature was something warmer that -20F, but over the course of a decade or more it averages out to about -20F is as cold as it gets. I don't know what the weather service standards are for recording the extreme cold temperature - for 10 minutes, an hour?

At any rate, this -20F average stuff
the average low for my area of Michigan. 20 degrees below zero.
is just a restatement of the meaning of USDA zone 5b.
 

SilentMouse

Sapling
Messages
27
Reaction score
16
Location
Eaton County, Michigan
USDA Zone
5b
Okay, back for a second round of slightly more narrowed down questions. The thought on Mugo Pines? Will they backed well and eventually form a dense, full canopy?

The thing about Mugos is I know they are at several nursery places around me. They wouldn't be hard to get, so it'd be a secondary option- or one if my wallet allows me to chose more than one attempt. Also know they are more naturally bushy and dense then normal pines and my initial thinking is that habit would lend well to something that bud back well...but I'm a novice for a reason so that assumption could absolutely 100% wrong.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

Masterpiece
Messages
3,379
Reaction score
5,258
Location
Netherlands
Okay, back for a second round of slightly more narrowed down questions. The thought on Mugo Pines? Will they backed well and eventually form a dense, full canopy?

The thing about Mugos is I know they are at several nursery places around me. They wouldn't be hard to get, so it'd be a secondary option- or one if my wallet allows me to chose more than one attempt. Also know they are more naturally bushy and dense then normal pines and my initial thinking is that habit would lend well to something that bud back well...but I'm a novice for a reason so that assumption could absolutely 100% wrong.
Mugo pines are awesome, but they take a lot of patience and a bit of a specialized approach. I found them to be not as vigorous as scots pines, but still pretty solid trees. It takes a while to get the hang of them, and they can make very rewarding bonsai - in a period of 6-15 years.
On the resources page of the forum, there's a compilation of Vance Wood's advice about mugo's, there's also the mugo train thread which is worth a read.

The drawback of mugo, compared to most other pines, is that relatively speaking, they don't take insults very well. I can strongly recommend to go for a more flexible/versatile type of pine, but then again, mugo's are cheap and there are plenty to be found. So killing a couple isn't that big of a deal.
Other pines just develop faster in my backyard. With mugo's I can apply one technique every year and they really need the rest and relaxation the rest of the year. Results can take a year to show themselves, so if you didn't perform a technique perfectly, you've just "lost" a year. For me, that's a major drawback. I have five or six of them, but they're mostly a 2-hour-a-year playthingy and spend the rest of their time sunbathing.
Other pines just recover faster, which is good for a beginner; they show you what you did right or wrong within 3 months.

There are some mugo fans and experts that are likely to disagree with me, either because they have a better climate or because they have better care habits than I do, or just because they're better at bonsai. I lack the patience for mugos, and I'm well aware of that.
 

penumbra

Masterpiece
Messages
3,015
Reaction score
3,647
Location
Front Royal, VA
USDA Zone
6
Unless you are in my area in which case, for whatever reason, fungus goes absolutely nuts on them.View attachment 339363
That is odd as our climates are very similar. I have not had fungus on a Scots pine and I have been keeping them for over 30 years with no issue and no treatments. Do you have fungus on other pines?
 

A. Gorilla

Omono
Messages
1,005
Reaction score
1,500
Location
N/E Illinois
USDA Zone
5b
That is odd as our climates are very similar. I have not had fungus on a Scots pine and I have been keeping them for over 30 years with no issue and no treatments. Do you have fungus on other pines?
No. My nigra and ponderosa are maintenance free. The landscape scots along the roads look generally quite ragged too, in my specific suburban area. Not sure why they even bother. On the other hand they grow like literal weeds along I-80 in Ohio. Not sure whats going on here.
 

HorseloverFat

Masterpiece
Messages
3,303
Reaction score
4,393
Location
Northeast Wisconsin
USDA Zone
5a
. The landscape scots along the roads look generally quite ragged too, in my specific suburban area.
This is very interesting! All the landscape Scots here are very dominant and virtually issue-free... the “parks” guys like them.. because they are “easy”..

I wonder what’s goin’ on in your area that they are not “vibing” with?
 

penumbra

Masterpiece
Messages
3,015
Reaction score
3,647
Location
Front Royal, VA
USDA Zone
6
No. My nigra and ponderosa are maintenance free. The landscape scots along the roads look generally quite ragged too, in my specific suburban area. Not sure why they even bother. On the other hand they grow like literal weeds along I-80 in Ohio. Not sure whats going on here.
Interesting. Austrian pines don't have much longevity here. Must be diseases endemic to our different areas.
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom