Grafted bark difference in big Scots Pine var "Hillside Creeper"

Jphipps

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Hey guys. I was very fortunate to find an amazing deal on this tree as well as 2 similar sized Mugo Pines var 'Green Alps'. $25 each, so I was pumped. They are monsters though.

Just repotted the Scots a couple days ago. It was a balled and burlapped tree. A good amount of the heavy clay came out easily and I put it in a grow box.

I was very excited to find a really fat trunk under the soil but you can clearly see the difference in bark because of the graft. For now I'm going to let it recover untouched for at least a year.

Thoughts on peeling off some of the thick bark at the bottom in order to improve the transition to the flaky bark at the top of the tree?

Thanks!
 

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MichaelS

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I say no, just leave it. Hopefully it is grafted onto another Scotts pine and eventually the HSC will catch up with it. I have grafted Hillside onto regular scotts and there is a noticeable difference but it gets better every year. (see below - the graft starts just above the lichen on the left of the nebari ) If it's on Black pine it will always be noticeable and you'll just have to live with it.

P1130656.JPG
 

Jphipps

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That looks great! I have no idea the original stock that it was grafted into. I bought it from a regular tree nursery so I'm not sure what is typically used.
 

Vance Wood

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Wait till the middle of Summer before you do anything with the tree other than water, weed and a bit of fertilizer. I would assume we are talking about mid December down under, at which point carefully rwemove all of the needles that grow on the underside of all the shoots, leave the rest. You will be amazed at how good this looks and the effect it produces. I do not see evidence of grafting. This looks just like the difference between the beginning of the second or third years growth not a graft. I don't know why anyone would graft a Mugo onto a Black Pine the Mugo is far stronger and there is very little reason to graft a Mugo to a Mugo except for special namec cultivars.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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Scots pine roots are usually strong enough to be used as understock. JBP is way less versatile and grafting scots onto JBP rootstock would be detrimental.
It could potentially be grafted on pinus nigra understock, nigra has plating bark and can be pretty vigorous.
I wouldn't peel off any bark. If you're going to let it grow for now, I'd just wait it out and see what happens.
 

Vance Wood

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It's very clear in picture #4 & 5 (and it looks like black pine bark to me)
I have grown trees from seed for many years and you can see a clear line of demarcation between where the seed cotyledons and the seedling trunk were divided. I have two JWP I grew from seed 30 yrs ago that still show this trait. There is no reason to graft a Mugo scion onto a JBP base, the Mugo is far stronger in a cross section of environmnts than the Black Pine. It would make more sense to graft onto a Mugo stock, or Scots Pine stock that JBP stock understanding that JBP is at risk in more Northern environments.
 

Jphipps

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Yeah, I highly doubt the root stock would be JBP since this was purchased at a regular tree nursery.
 

MichaelS

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I have grown trees from seed for many years and you can see a clear line of demarcation between where the seed cotyledons and the seedling trunk were divided. I have two JWP I grew from seed 30 yrs ago that still show this trait. There is no reason to graft a Mugo scion onto a JBP base, the Mugo is far stronger in a cross section of environmnts than the Black Pine. It would make more sense to graft onto a Mugo stock, or Scots Pine stock that JBP stock understanding that JBP is at risk in more Northern environments.
Not sure why you keep going on about mugos. I never mentioned them. I hate the bloody things.
 

River's Edge

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Hey guys. I was very fortunate to find an amazing deal on this tree as well as 2 similar sized Mugo Pines var 'Green Alps'. $25 each, so I was pumped. They are monsters though.

Just repotted the Scots a couple days ago. It was a balled and burlapped tree. A good amount of the heavy clay came out easily and I put it in a grow box.

I was very excited to find a really fat trunk under the soil but you can clearly see the difference in bark because of the graft. For now I'm going to let it recover untouched for at least a year.

Thoughts on peeling off some of the thick bark at the bottom in order to improve the transition to the flaky bark at the top of the tree?

Thanks!
I would leave the tree to grow out and improve in health after the repot! I see variation in the bark which could easily be explained by changing conditions as the tree was grown, up potted and exposure changed. The heavier bark could simply be exposed root/base area from previous years, then buried when repotted. I do not see in your pictures any clear evidence of grafting! Perhaps you could let the lower portion dry a bit, clean off and take a set of closer up pictures showing where you suspect a graft to be. Or ask the nursery if they have any knowledge passed on from the grower?
At any rate I am with Vance, no clear evidence of grafting in my point of view.
 

MichaelS

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I would leave the tree to grow out and improve in health after the repot! I see variation in the bark which could easily be explained by changing conditions as the tree was grown, up potted and exposure changed. The heavier bark could simply be exposed root/base area from previous years, then buried when repotted. I do not see in your pictures any clear evidence of grafting! Perhaps you could let the lower portion dry a bit, clean off and take a set of closer up pictures showing where you suspect a graft to be. Or ask the nursery if they have any knowledge passed on from the grower?
At any rate I am with Vance, no clear evidence of grafting in my point of view.
There is no way to propagate Hillside creeper other that to graft it. The graft union is the most obvious I have ever seen.
 

Jphipps

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Here is a slightly better image of the trunk base. The bark at the red line and below was buried in heavy clay so its still a bit gray in color. I've been spraying the bark with a spray bottle to try to slowly remove the clay remnants.

The bark below the line is vertically oriented and really thick and plate-like. The bark above is reddish brown and thin and flaky.

It very much looks to be grafted to my eye seeing it in person. I was very excited to find a thick trunk base buried under the soil line but having some concerns and questions about how to address the bark differences in the future.

I'm planning on leaving it be and focusing on letting it recover from the repotting and allowing for root development in its new soil for the next year or two.

There's a ton of foliage that I haven't touched but will need major back budding over the years to create a tighter image and smaller tree. I have a lot of research to do in this area as I'm not up to speed on Scots Pine development.
 

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Vance Wood

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Not sure why you keep going on about mugos. I never mentioned them. I hate the bloody things.
Because someone asked the above question. In passing I don't think it is the Mugos that you dispise it is me, and for that I am truly sorry.
 

Jphipps

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I did also mention Mugo pines in my initial post which might have caused confusion here.
 

MichaelS

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Because someone asked the above question. In passing I don't think it is the Mugos that you dispise it is me, and for that I am truly sorry.
Lol. Not at all. I can assure you it's the mugos not you. The only people I truly despise are those that eat dogs and cats. ;)
 

Forsoothe!

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What's logic got to do with a graft? Someone grafted it for now unknown reasons. I know I've done things that seemed like a good idea at the time that in retrospect were questionable. And I'm sure people look at some of my trees and ask, "Why did he do that?"
 

River's Edge

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Here is a slightly better image of the trunk base. The bark at the red line and below was buried in heavy clay so its still a bit gray in color. I've been spraying the bark with a spray bottle to try to slowly remove the clay remnants.

The bark below the line is vertically oriented and really thick and plate-like. The bark above is reddish brown and thin and flaky.

It very much looks to be grafted to my eye seeing it in person. I was very excited to find a thick trunk base buried under the soil line but having some concerns and questions about how to address the bark differences in the future.

I'm planning on leaving it be and focusing on letting it recover from the repotting and allowing for root development in its new soil for the next year or two.

There's a ton of foliage that I haven't touched but will need major back budding over the years to create a tighter image and smaller tree. I have a lot of research to do in this area as I'm not up to speed on Scots Pine development.
Ok , clearer differentiation in bark now and easier to see a bit of inverse taper. Still no obvious v line from graft. The graft itself is very well done, perhaps on a more cold friendly species such as Pinus Nigra. The bark can be vertically fissured in that manner and it is a common under stock for some nurseries to use. As the normal habit of Hillside Creeper is ground cover like, developing it as a shoo-in or cascade style may suit the low graft mores over time. Have fun.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Yes, it looks like a graft union to my eye also.

Looks like Pinus sylvestris 'Hillside Creeper' grafted on to Pinus nigra. Since 'Hillside Creeper' will not air layer, and will not root from cuttings, the only way to propagate this cultivar of scotch pine is to graft it. Most nurseries use either Pinus nigra, or Pinus sylvatica as grafting understock, because both are winter hardy and both have very few disease or compatibility concerns.

This is a well done graft. Part of the obvious difference is because the tree had been buried to the graft line for years. As the now exposed trunk ages and is exposed to sunlight, rain and water without the dirt, the differences should fade some. Unfortunately, the differences may never disappear entirely. But there is no way around it, and you should just learn to ignore it. If the graft union really bothers you, plan to have a branch cross the trunk between the viewer and the graft union. A little foliage in the way will hide the union. But to my eye, it is not that bad. I would be able to ignore it myself. A minor flaw, not a major, "fatal flaw".
 

Jphipps

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What is the long term tendancy for graft unions on pines? I've heard grafts tend to get worse with age on deciduous trees. I'm more than patient to let this one do its thing now that the union is exposed to the elements. Does anyone ever peel or reduce the mass of bark on pines to create better taper or to help the image of continuity with the rest of the tree? My thought is peeling or removing bark from the root stock to thin out the thick plated and fissured bark to more accurately match the grafted portion that is lighter in color and thinner overall. Maybe a dumb or crazy idea, but I know there are a ton of drastic measures people take in this hobby to achieve certain desired effects. I'm invested $25 for the tree, plus soil, training box, and a sore back. If I mess it up and it doesn't achieve the desired look, it isn't the end of the world.
 

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