Bristlecone Results?

Tachigi

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Gday all,

To avoid being called a necromancer and dredging up an old thread after 3 years. See here:

Bristlecone Pine?

I was wondering how goes the fight with the people that participated in this discussion. Its been three years ... where your conclusions validated? .... did you learn anything new?

I ask because I recently acquired two Bristlecones ... I wanted to inject a little wonder back into my bonsai life and Bristlecones are new to me and I'm going through the research and discovery process.

I am not a fan of double posts on forums, but I have not as much input as I crave so forgive me. Anyone interested in the stock and my initial inquiry can view it here:

Nursery stock can ROCK!
 
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Bonsai Nut

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Tom, I lost the Bristlecone that was the subject of that particular thread. I got side-tracked on several other projects and never removed it from the nursery pot. I believe it died of root rot. One day it looked fine, and then the needles started to look a little dull. It was the wrong time of year to repot, but I should have done so anyway and taken my chances. Once it started to fade, it went very quickly. I read some articles that suggest that drainage is critical, and you must allow the soil to almost completely dry out before re-watering. The soil in the nursery pot for this tree was very compact and non-porous, and I was definitely not allowing it to completely dry out. I so rarely lose trees now, that this one came as a bit of a surprise. It was on a shelf with numerous black pines and a grafted white pine, so the environment was not bad for pines in general - all the other trees were very healthy and robust. I have to assume it was the soil.
 

Klytus

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I have 1 year old seedlings,i was reading the book of Pines with the instruction to sever all the roots of the Black Pine seedling and grow on.

The Bristlecone seedlings looked like they couldn't take that so the taproots were lightly trimmed back to an emerging lateral root.

After a winter in the unheated 6' by 2' polycarbonate greenhouse they still live!
 

Tachigi

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Greg, sorry about the tree.....just out of morbid curiosity, did you do a post mortem to conclude the rot root?
The letting it go dry makes sense...considering where it originates. Also would make sense why some people say that they do well as a rock planting.

Thanks for sharing your experience I appreciate it and will add it to my collective bristlecone data base.
 

grouper52

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Hi Tom,

My little guy is still alive, looking a bit more ragged, but otherwise it hasn't done much at all. It still sits in a nursery pot - maybe it needs to go in the ground for a number of years, since they occasionally do very well as landscape trees here.

Interesting, given the lack of change, how little progress there has been in three years - if you hadn't posted this old thread I never would have thought so much time had passed.

I'll try to get a picture this weekend.

Will
 

Vance Wood

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And again the saga continues;--no one seems to be able to post a picture of a Bristle-cone Pine as a bonsai with any kind of long term history. That does not mean one or two may not exist, but I have not seen one posted by anyone, master, journeyman, or novice.
 

milehigh_7

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And again the saga continues;--no one seems to be able to post a picture of a Bristle-cone Pine as a bonsai with any kind of long term history. That does not mean one or two may not exist, but I have not seen one posted by anyone, master, journeyman, or novice.

I so wish I had pictures of the trees on my many backpacking trips above timberline in Colorado as a teen. I saw many Bristle-cones as bonsai with a very long term history but the master was God. The trees... beautiful. I understand we have many here in the Sierra Nevada as well but I have not had an opportunity to go up.
 

Vance Wood

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I so wish I had pictures of the trees on my many backpacking trips above timberline in Colorado as a teen. I saw many Bristle-cones as bonsai with a very long term history but the master was God. The trees... beautiful. I understand we have many here in the Sierra Nevada as well but I have not had an opportunity to go up.

I'm sorry and I hope not to have you think I am being condescending but trees in the ground and in the mountains are not bonsai. That's the whole issue with Bristlecone Pines; when one considers how long they live and the conditions in which they survive when every thing else cannot get a foot hold it is surprising that they have never (as far as has been proven to me) been successfully cultivated as a bonsai long enough to approach the masterpiece status you covet when seeing them in the wild. I agree there is no artist as good as God, but there are not BC bonsai to match them. I have asked in the past if anyone has collected one and as far as I know that has not happened either.
 

Tachigi

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That's the whole issue with Bristlecone Pines; when one considers how long they live and the conditions in which they survive when every thing else cannot get a foot hold it is surprising that they have never (as far as has been proven to me) been successfully cultivated as a bonsai long enough to approach the masterpiece status you covet when seeing them in the wild.

Vance, as said above, BC are totally new to me. However, if I were to guess, I would say that we as bonsai enthusiasts coddle Bristlecone way to much. Their genetic make up evolved to deal with the harshest of environments over long periods of time..they are survivors.

Introduce pot culture.....in itself pot culture should not be an issue...while not ever seeing one up close and personal, most that I have seen in pictures are rooted in stone. They send their roots down between the cracks which is natures version of pot culture. So that leaves us with the enthusiast, the only thing left in the equation...watering, feeding, and fussing about. The thought of letting a pine dry out beyond all excepted norms is alien and unthinkable...so they treat this tree as they would a JBP who wouldn't stand a snowballs chance in hell if put in the same environment.

The more I read about peoples experience with BC, the more I'm coming to the conclusion that the enthusiasts needs to be trained...not just the tree. So once someone can over come the coddling challenge ... perhaps then we will see a finished image and the saga will come to an end.
 

bwaynef

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May I suggest that BCP be used to distinguish Bristle Cone Pine from Bald Cypress?
 

Vance Wood

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May I suggest that BCP be used to distinguish Bristle Cone Pine from Bald Cypress?

Your're right but I think in context it was understood, I know you did.
 
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I remember back in the mid to late 1970's living in Savannah, Georgia.

A bonsai friend ran across someone in Colorado I think, perhaps another western state amongst the Rocky Mountain area. You sent them a letter describing what you wanted and they went out into their tree lot of yamadori and made sketches of what trees they had that met your request and put prices on them. Then you sent the sketches back with the trees you wanted to purchase.

They collected the trees from private land they had access to. Kept them in the ground for long enough to assure they survived collecting before they would release them for sale.

We ordered several very nice bristle cone pines and they arrived with no issues at all.

We'll those of you who are not familiar with southern coastal areas it is not uncommon for the humidity to get up around 96% and the temperature to get in the 100° plus range at the same time and stay there for a week or more at a time. When it gets down to 85° at night you will think you are having a cool spell, until the sand gnats come out.

At any rate between my self and the freind we may have killed 10-12 nice trees, most of which were bristile cone pines that just couldn't take the humidity.
 

bwaynef

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Your're right but I think in context it was understood, I know you did.

Merely a suggestion. And actually, one that my experience just proved would've been useful as a mention of BC in this thread *did* bring to mind the notion of Bald Cypress. That was pretty much the catalyst behind my comment.

Again though, merely a suggestion.
 

Bonsai Nut

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Greg, sorry about the tree.....just out of morbid curiosity, did you do a post mortem to conclude the rot root?

The roots were dead and rotting when I dumped the tree. However I could not tell if the root rotting CAUSED the tree to weaken and die, or if the tree weakened and then the roots started to die back. They weren't horribly rotted (not as if they had been in standing water) but they were definitely black.

I reached the conclusion that a combination of time of year (late fall), over watering, and bad soil killed it. A few months earlier it was receiving the same watering, but the low humidity and high heat was not allowing the roots to get too wet. I owned it about a year and the first 10 months or so it was doing very well. I think had I gotten it out of that crappy soil I would have been in a much better place.
 

Attila Soos

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Mine is alive and doing well. I haven't touched it for a few years now, so it may be time this year to do some selective trimming. The soil it is planted in, is 90% very coarse sand. The pot is sunk into the ground, so the tree goes for weeks without any watering, and seems to like it.

It should be a decent bonsai in 20 years, when I retire (I think the tree needs that much time to turn over one set of needles). If I can keep it alive that long, I will regard that as one of my highest accomplishments in life. :)
 
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Tachigi

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Mine is alive and doing well. I haven't touched it for a few years now, so it may be time this year to do some selective trimming. The soil it is planted in, is 90% very coarse sand. The pot is sunk into the ground, so the tree goes for weeks without any watering, and seems to like it.

It should be a decent bonsai in 20 years, when I retire (I think the tree needs that much time to turn over one set of needles). If I can keep it alive that long, I will regard that as one of my highest accomplishments in life. :)

This is very interesting to me ...... your success seems to come from borderline neglect, by bonsai standards. Its in the ground in a well draining soil, sounds like you occasionally water it with no set schedule, you haven't done anything special, or am I reading to much into much into this?

Attila could you expand on your statement a tad more. What is your feeding regime, if any. Have you experimented at all with candling on a sole branch.

Don't mean to single you out :D .....but information is limited at best.
 

Attila Soos

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Don't mean to single you out :D .....but information is limited at best.

No, I can see what you are doing here....pretending to be nice guy and trying to snatch my trade secrets under the disguise of a casual conversation. I've seen that before.:D

Frankly, there is very little I know about this little tree, since, as you said, all I did is to leave it alone. Occasionally, I fertilized it with liquid fertilizer, may be once a month in the growing season. I suspect that I could pay more attention to a fertilizing regime, in order to induce a more abundant growth, but I haven't done it. I am very bad with following any kind of regime.
It gets a lot of sun all day, I suspect that too much shade would kill it very soon. This species needs a lot of sun.

I have not done candle work, since the tree is too small and undeveloped. The only pruning I did, was to cut back the longer branches by half, to induce new growth close to the trunk. The tree responded by backbudding.

I know one thing that I will do: I will not wire and cut back at the same time. First I wire the branches in place. Then I wait for new growth. Then I do some pruning. Also, when I re-pot, I don't do anything else, for at least a month. These are standard rules for me, on species that I don't know too much about. By doing just one insult at a time, ensures that the tree will not die due to too much handling.

I'll start paying more attention to it beginning this season, may be it will teach me some new things about itself. I will let you know of any new development.

Regards,
 
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Tachigi

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No, I can see what you are doing here....pretending to be nice guy and trying to snatch my trade secrets under the disguise of a casual conversation. I've seen that before. :D

rofl.gif

Thanks Attila...I appreciate you sharing trade secrets ... Its interesting and useful information. Look forward to future updates
 

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