Bought Online Pine Reverse Taper

Palmer67

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I'm pretty new to bonsai and this site. I've learned so much just reading through the forum and resources here. Thank you to everyone that contributes to help us newbies. Well, I made a purchase online because of the convenience factor. The tree is a Japanese Black Pine and was fairly cheap, less than 100 bucks. I won't mention where I bought it, but I did contact them. After looking at my pictures they said, "this is a perfectly healthy tree. We won't entertain any refund or replacement. Good luck". They didn't offer any advice either! And I'll never buy from that nursery again.

I've stared at it for 2 weeks and haven't touched it. I just keep watering it. It's definitely top heavy and hasn't fallen over. That's a win I suppose. I've read about ground layering but I'm not sure that's an option with pines, or where to start. Can I bury the skinny trunk and be okay? Maybe it will sprout some roots if I bury that pencil trunk in big pot?

Seriously, is this a 'proper' bonsai or some style I don't know about? It looks like someone's mistake to me. And is it worth it? I have a few other trees and I'll be getting a better pine soon. I'm tempted to eat the cash I spent and toss it in the garbage. Any advice appreciated.
 

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0soyoung

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It looks to me that the straight peg from the ground is actually the tap root.
The trunk above that is now really fat because the wired was allowed to bite in and is now engulfed - this is a trick some growers use to get fat trunks in a short time.. So, yes, you've bought someone's mistakes.

My suggestion is that you see what you can make of it - when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. My inclination is to put it into a colander/pond-basket with the substrate upto the fat trunk level to see if it will make roots near this area - I doubt it will, but there is little hope in trying to ground layer it, IMHO. At any rate, potted this low would make the fat part of the trunk look like a fat trunk base - who has to know? On the other hand, I find this fat trunk sitting atop a peg of tap root somewhat interesting - maybe it eventually becomes a feature.

Otherwise, development from here, if you want a bigger tree, is to let the highest branch tip run. This will ultimately be removed as its purpose is solely to thicken the lower trunk. Yadda, yadda, yadda. If you want a smaller tree. maybe wire and postion the existing branches into a nice canopy sometime in Aug-Oct. Then next year you decandle it around 1 June (2020) to reduce the internode and needle sizes. Fertilize well until then and you should be rewarded with good back budding that will become apparent the year after (2021).

Lastly, if you are unsure but want to do everything, you can select a sacrifice leader now and try out decandling on a few branch tips next year, then decide what your development course will be given time and this experience.
 

sorce

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Looks like @Mellow Mullet 's dolphin tree thingy.

A reincarnation of what folks liked about that tree if you will.

Embrace the shit that pisses people off.

It's under the Artbrella...

Sorce
 

Palmer67

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You're right, I'll see what I can do with it. I'm so new at this, what do I have to lose? I'll be happy if I can keep a tree alive in a pot longer than a year. LOL! Burying the 'tap root' was my first thought too. I don't like the look and I'm afraid it's going to tip over. I'll get a suitable pot, remove that wire, sink it and hope for a root or two. If this ugly duckling ever grows into a swan I promise to give you credit for telling me to go for it. Thanks again for the advice and encouragement. Cheers.
 

bonsaichile

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Sorry you bought someone else's mishajes, as @0soyoung put it. And I am sorry you had to deal with crappy customer service. I think yoh should post the nursery's name, to helpmothet people make the same mistake.
 

Palmer67

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Sorry you bought someone else's mishajes, as @0soyoung put it. And I am sorry you had to deal with crappy customer service. I think yoh should post the nursery's name, to helpmothet people make the same mistake.
Good point & thanks for the kind words. It was the only tree I bought from them so I have nothing else to judge them on. And it sucks because I like the YouTube channel and the owner seems knowledgeable and helpful. Also, they're on the west coast so delivery times would be fast for me. But, I'll pass for burning me on this pine. At least I feel burned? You've probably heard of them.... Eastern Leaf.
 

sorce

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I don't think we should look at it like buying someone else's mistakes, but rather like completing a vision, or, MAKING a vision out of something when someone else couldn't.

Motherfuckers (sorry drunk) didn't start making "mistake" art without the mistake that happened first.Capture+_2019-08-04-22-40-17.png

Me and my daughter are going to see if we can get a permit to keep chickens tomorrow.

If you can't see how this makes sense you can't make a good Bonsai.

More?

My favorite, and least favorite persons ever here would change that last statement's "you"s to "one"s.....

Who Are They?

The first person (inside the US, or outside [PU only]) to answer that riddle wins this pot.

20190331_105432.jpg

20190331_105445.jpg

20190331_105352.jpg
20190331_105410.jpg

It's roughly 6x4, not going down to measure.
The Windows have one panel of ...
Band, natural Iron Oxide and River Glaze in the window.
And 3 panels of ...
Band, River Glaze and Commercial glaze on the inside.

All gloss black with a red kiss.

Sorce
 

Shinjuku

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I bet you were disappointed when you saw your new tree, and I can’t blame you. It’s definitely atypical.

Do you ever watch Family Feud? At the end during the fast money part, sometimes the 1st contestant does poorly and gets nowhere near 100 points. Then the second contestant comes out. When this happens, what does Steve Harvey say?

“I’m not going to tell you how many points you need, but if you’re able to pull this off, it will be the greatest comeback in Family Feud history!”

As much as I respect 0soyoung, I’d disagree with him on one thing. This tree is not a mistake. It’s a unique opportunity for you discover the vision for this tree. It will be a journey, but if you’re able to see it through to the end, you’ll come out the other side with both a masterpiece of a tree and a wealth of knowledge about bonsai that you couldn’t have learned any other way.

For example, in this thread, @just.wing.it received a tree where the end vision for it was not immediately clear. You can read the thread to see part of his process to see the vision for it:
https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/new-mugo-from-brussles-bonsai.38129/

Here’s another thread about “challenging” trees:
https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/ugly-ducklings-suggestions-advice-please.32833/

You’ve been given a tremendous learning opportunity with this tree, so take advantage of it!

I think this is what @sorce was talking about above.

A lot of us on the west coast buy trees from Evergreen Gardenworks and highly recommend Brent there:
https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/evergreen-gardenworks.89/
 

Potawatomi13

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I whole heartedly agree you were taken and glad you called out EASTERN LEAF:mad:as crooks! Will not deal with them. Also agree with Shinjuku as to opportunity to find beauty in mongrel tree🤪. And get it out of that pot and into the ground or a larger growing container to grow trunk size.
 
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Palmer67

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Thanks for the encouragement and links. I have over 200 houseplants so bonsai seems right up my alley, but the rocky start with this pine is definitely discouraging. This is one of my first trees and I think it caught me off guard. I expected something else, like the picture this company has on their website. I can't find anything on the internet that looks like what I received. I'm not forgiving Eastern Leaf, they know what they're selling and they've lost a customer. I'll buy locally from now on.

However! The comments I've received here have absolutely helped, and I'm thankful to everyone for the encouragement and knowledge I've picked up. I'm learning and accepting if it's not "traditional" bonsai maybe it can be something in the end. I'm more determined than ever to make something out of this lemon. Trust me, I have cactus that looks weirder than this pine. I'm hoping to post some updates in the future. Thanks again. :)
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I haven’t seen anything from that nursery that would encourage me to buy from them, including their videos. Did you buy this tree from photos of the actual tree? If so, it would have been hard to miss this. If you bought from a representative photo, I’d be demanding a refund. The nursery, while not impressive, surely knows this is a cull.

However, you can correct this in 2 growing seasons with pines. They fatten up fast in big pots or the ground. You can also play with the planting angle, by tilting it forward and planting it at maybe a 7:00 position so the yellow line is the new soil line.
82BDF813-82D1-4B64-B5E7-9556839D0D8D.jpeg
Regardless, get rid of that wire at the bottom. It is only there to cause scarring and thickening at the reverse taper. It will slow down growth and make a bad situation worse. Let this thing grow and you’ll see some improvement in a year or two.
 

Bonsai Nut

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However, you can correct this in 2 growing seasons with pines. They fatten up fast in big pots or the ground.
Regardless, get rid of that wire at the bottom. It is only there to cause scarring and thickening at the reverse taper. It will slow down growth and make a bad situation worse. Let this thing grow and you’ll see some improvement in a year or two.

I agree and disagree with Brian. I agree that this is a flaw that can be fixed in a couple of years. The only reason why there is reverse taper in the first place is that they did a poor job with the initial wiring. The wire should have wrapped the base of the seedling all the way down into the soil, causing the entire base of the tree to swell - not just create a knob.

Where I disagree with Brian, is that I'd keep the lower wire on. Some black pine nurseries actually leave the first wire on forever - allowing the seedling to grow over the wire and causing fast initial thickening of the base.

You may not know this, but we are about 18 months into a 6-year JBP growth contest. You might check some of the threads to see what people are doing with JBP. You can see my thread here, and see some of my pines with wire wrapped and embedded around the base.
 

sorce

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Sorce, what is my "dolphin tree thingy"?

Ok, this one makes yours look damn good!


Sorce
 

Palmer67

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I haven’t seen anything from that nursery that would encourage me to buy from them, including their videos. Did you buy this tree from photos of the actual tree? If so, it would have been hard to miss this. If you bought from a representative photo, I’d be demanding a refund. The nursery, while not impressive, surely knows this is a cull.

However, you can correct this in 2 growing seasons with pines. They fatten up fast in big pots or the ground. You can also play with the planting angle, by tilting it forward and planting it at maybe a 7:00 position so the yellow line is the new soil line.
View attachment 256264
Regardless, get rid of that wire at the bottom. It is only there to cause scarring and thickening at the reverse taper. It will slow down growth and make a bad situation worse. Let this thing grow and you’ll see some improvement in a year or two.
Excellent idea of changing the planting angle, I never thought of that. Thank you!
 

Palmer67

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I agree and disagree with Brian. I agree that this is a flaw that can be fixed in a couple of years. The only reason why there is reverse taper in the first place is that they did a poor job with the initial wiring. The wire should have wrapped the base of the seedling all the way down into the soil, causing the entire base of the tree to swell - not just create a knob.

Where I disagree with Brian, is that I'd keep the lower wire on. Some black pine nurseries actually leave the first wire on forever - allowing the seedling to grow over the wire and causing fast initial thickening of the base.

You may not know this, but we are about 18 months into a 6-year JBP growth contest. You might check some of the threads to see what people are doing with JBP. You can see my thread here, and see some of my pines with wire wrapped and embedded around the base.
If the wire wont hurt the tree, I'll leave it and change the planting angle. I'm thinking the wire might actually help anchor and stabilize the root ball a bit. I'll check out the growth contest, sounds interesting. Thanks again for the tips. :)
 

Palmer67

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Ok, this one makes yours look damn good!


Sorce
Agreed, maybe mine isn't so bad after all, and it surely deserves my attention now.
 

Mellow Mullet

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Ok, this one makes yours look damn good!


Sorce

Oh, that one, lol. It died, I did too much to it at one time.
 

Smoke

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I'd chop it and grow a whole new top on it....
 
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