Bristlecone pine?

Bonsai Nut

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Anyone with any experience with Bristlecones? I just picked up a decent one at GSBF and before I wade in and starting removing needles I thought I'd ask. It is my first Bristlecone, and I love the needles and what appears (to me) to be rather profuse back-budding (on old bark and trunk). Any comments?
 

cray13

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Don't pluck the needles.

I tried a couple of Bristlecone here in NC and they didn't make it. From the research I did at the time I remember reading how slow the growth is on these guys and that their natural environment is the arid desert. I remember reading they also do well with a little dolomite "limestone" for fert and sandy soil... I think. I also read not to pluck the needles. Instead of dropping needles like other pines they keep their needles for years... so do not pluck the needles you have.

Here is a link to Lindsay Farr's video on Bristlecone.
 

irene_b

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And just where are the pics?
You know ya gotta show it off to us! :D
Mom
 

rlist

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Maybe Vance Wood will happen along and comment. I think I read his comments on BT a while back and how he related them to working along similar timing to his mugo recommendations.
 

grouper52

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I'd been put off by all the stories I heard about them - no back budding, long internodes, need very dry desert conditionds, etc - all BS. My mind started to change when I saw one at Bonsai Northwest two years ago with great ramification, well-reduced needles, etc. A large shipment came in to the local nurseries here shortly thereafter, and a bidding war ensued, and I picked up a nice one cheap. What I can tell you is as follows.

Rich is right - they follow Vance's mugo strategies as far as timing goes.

They back bud like crazy all over the place, even way up onto the old wood of the stump I left when I did my initial chop beneath a major whorl!

They have short internodes when trained.

Like so many plants that thrive in desert conditions (my Mondell and other desert pines come to mind), they don't necessarily NEED such conditions to thrive, and are very pleased with the wet Northwest climate here, and mine came to me in a ten ton impenetrable clay root ball in which it was thriving, and hardly missed a beat semi-bare rooted into bonsai soil. I mostly ignore it, and it rewards my benign neglect with vigor.

Looks to me to be a five-needle pine, but whether one needs to follow JWP techniques strictly is open to question. Mine's a long-term project, and I'm still just in the early phases of getting to know how it responds to various techniques. I think they have a lot of potential.

Some guy from Colorado posted elsewhere that there are two major varieties with different characteristics, but I can't recall the specifics - hopefully someone who knows about that can fill us in.
 
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I could be wrong, but what I believe Vance said concerning this species is that he has never seen one that has been in container cultivation for a great deal of time.

Does anyone have a picture of one that could be called a decent bonsai? One that has been in a pot for, let's say, 5 to 10 years?


Just curious.



Will
 

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And just where are the pics?
You know ya gotta show it off to us! :D
Mom
Not much to show atm. Here's the tree. It certainly LOOKS super healthy. I am a sucker for five-needle pines and have not been able to find any that do well in Southern California.



Here's an example of some of the back-budding I am seeing. Note that the tree is NOT being aggressively trained at this time, nor have there been any trunk chops or similar reductions that might have caused aggressive budding. There are buds like this all over the branches.

 

Attila Soos

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That's a great little bristlecone.

Who was selling them at the GSB convention? I must have missed them?

I have one growing in a nursery pot for over 6 years now, but it's much smaller than yours. I've found it pretty trouble-free, as long as it is not bothered too much. But I would love to purchase a larger trunk.

I think the reason why one can hardly find a decent bristlecone bonsai is that it's almost impossible to find mature material, and the ones grown from seedling take forever to finish. It is just too slow to be popular. But the mature specimens look great, and the cultivation is not as difficult as many believe.
 
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irene_b

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WOW Son!
That is a sweetie!
No doubt that you got a dang good deal! :D
Mom
 

grouper52

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I could be wrong, but what I believe Vance said concerning this species is that he has never seen one that has been in container cultivation for a great deal of time.

Does anyone have a picture of one that could be called a decent bonsai? One that has been in a pot for, let's say, 5 to 10 years?


Just curious.



Will
I don't have a photo, Will, but the one I saw at Bonsai Northwest, a little windswept shohin with old looking bark, looked to be 20 years in training at the very least, I'd say, given the degree of ramification, and the needles were very nicely reduced and attractive looking. Hopefully someone can post a picture of a nice mature one.
 
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Thanks!

A few pictures and some information would restore my faith in this species. Do you know if it was collected or grown?




Will
 

grouper52

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Thanks!

A few pictures and some information would restore my faith in this species. Do you know if it was collected or grown?




Will
I don't know, but I would say grown - just didn't have that wild yamadori look about it. Next time I'm over there I could ask the guy who showed it to me and see if he remembers it and recalls such details -- he probably would, since it seemed to surprise him as well. As I recall he knew the name of the guy who had styled it and brought it in to sell on consignment. I'll try to remember to ask him.

BTW, Dan Robinson wasn't in the other day when I was there, so I didn't get a chance to ask him about manzanitas, but I'll do so when I next see him.
 

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Who was selling them at the GSB convention? I must have missed them?
Brad Coleman of Blue Oak Nursery had two of them. When I first saw them (Thurs around noon) one was on reserve, though I believe this one was the better tree. Price was very reasonable - I want to say I paid $90 for it (?) though it might have been $125 (?). Brad had some great material at the show; I almost bought a big shimpaku from him but someone else was looking at the same tree and the other person was a beginner so I talked him into taking it because it was such a good deal :) I would have bought it in a flash had the other guy not done so.
 

Attila Soos

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Thanks BNut. I left a message to Brad to call me back if he has any more left. The $90 - $125 range sounds like a steal for a bristlecone of this size. It looks amazingly healthy and vigorous.

By the way, if you feel like making a profit, I can get it off your hands for $200.:)
 
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Attila Soos

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...just talked to Brad Coleman. He said that some nurseries sell these bristlecones to model train enthusiasts, for their miniature outdoor landscapes surrounding the railroad. They make ideal landscape trees due to their slow growth and their looks as an "instant bonsai".
 

JasonG

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I have a bristlecone that I picked up last year. It has pretty good bark and is in a pot now. I did the root work last year and planned on styling this year.... I will post a picture of it later today. Attila, it could be yours?????

:) Jason
 

Attila Soos

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I have a bristlecone that I picked up last year. It has pretty good bark and is in a pot now. I did the root work last year and planned on styling this year.... I will post a picture of it later today. Attila, it could be yours?????

:) Jason
Well, let's see what you've got?
 

JasonG

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Here is my bristlecone.... It has a 2"+ trunk and is about 24" tall. It is in a nice lotus pot and has been barerooted. Now it is in the Boon mix and doing well.

I see the tree as a much shorter tree, and would be really easy to style and have a nice little tree. I appologize for the bad photos, lighting was all wrong outside......

Pics of front and back of tree, bark and buds on the trunk.

Thanks, Jason

Atilla, send me an email if you want to chat about it....
 

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rlist

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Crappy pics. It is actually has a decent framework that will make a nice informal upright about 16" - 18" tall.
 
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