"Garden Bonsai" Japanese white pine


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Stockholm, Sweden

last fall I picked up this Japanese white Pine var. Negishi at a plant center for a steal, around $70 which to me seemed very cheap for a tree of this size.

Anyway, my initial thought was to turn it into a smaller bonsai, but my thought now is to keep it as a potted tree, but quite big but also still styled in a simlar fashion to a traditional Pine Bonsai. Something even vaguely similar to the large white pines that Bonsai plaza sells(under the category Garden tree) would be a (very)long term goal. For example:

Sorry for posting a link and not the photos but since I don't own the rights to the pictures, it doesn't feel right to post them directly here. There is a big difference in the girth of the trunks and main branches compared to my tree, but I assume it just needs to grow, a lot. One issue I don't know what to do with though is that there are a lot of places, both on individual branches and on the trunk where there are between 5-10 branches sticking out from the same place in a radial fashion. This has of course caused swelling in these places. Now I'm not sure how to proceed... from what I have learned regarding bonsai so far is that you generally don't want more than 2 branches coming out in the same place. So I guess I should remove some of them, but then the swelling in that place becomes more obvious. Also, the branches coming out at these places vary with some being very short and thin and others long and thicker. I guess it would make sense to keep the thicker, more developed ones but many times these have a long section without any foliage closest to the trunk which makes it look less lush. Is it then better to remove the strong growing ones to put energy into the smaller ones keeping the foliage more dense?

Also, when it comes to creating the shape and pads of a big tree like the one in the link, is it reasonable to assume that that is created using the same techniques as for bonsai trees like wiring etc.?

Here are some pictures of my tree:

This is basically my first pine so I don't have any experience with developing these apart from what I have watched on youtube. So any other general tips would be appreciated!


Imperial Masterpiece
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Yackandandah, Australia
First need to understand what you see now is not what can develop.
What you see immediately after pruning is not what will develop.
You need to look past the current to see the future.

Definitely need to reduce the number of branches at each whorl. Yes, that will make it look open but it is just a step to improvement.
2 branches coming from the same place actually includes the trunk so really just 1 branch from each node however you don't have to go straight there. Branch reduction can be gradual.

Stronger branches are putting the most thickening into the trunk and to the swellings. You are also correct that often thicker branches have longer internodes therefore larger bare sections so often make poor branches for bonsai or for niwaki (shaped garden trees). Smaller branches will grow larger given space and some time but we can manage that growth to make sure it does not leave long, open sections.
It is often better to remove strong branches with long bare sections and use weaker branches that have more compact growth. Select branches that have closer side shoots if possible. End growth can be pruned and a side branch becomes the end if that makes a nicer, more compact branch.

The upper trunk also has longer open sections. Trunks are developed in much the same way. Remove long sections and replace with a convenient smaller side branch - you may need to wire or tie it in position for a few months until it becomes set as the new apex.

There's so much to understand. Hard to put into a few words in a post.

Further growth is managed each year to prevent the long sections this one currently has. You'll need to research white pine management or single flush pine development and maintenance to get some ideas on what to do and when.


Imperial Masterpiece
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Eugene, OR
So true, so good advice. You are aware there are Bonsai 4,6,8'? Also if possible to change in favor of smaller tree will be MUCH easier to repot in coming years😊.
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