I bought this thing in the winter time, it's awakening now or something?:[

OrganicSeasonal

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Hello all. Well I bought this beautiful jbp bonsai from Grove Way bonsai in Hayward ca in the winter time. I'm a veggie Gardner with good plant knowledge, but I've been putting this beauty to the side since he's been asleep, and because I'm new to bonsai. I learned a bit from a book and some vids but would like guidance because I really don't want to mess this dudes tree up(the bonsai dude). He let me pick one of the saplings he's been growing for 5-10 years or so. And let me watch him pot and do some basic wiring. It has never been fertilized since being potted in winter. Some basic guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much!
 

Bonsai Nut

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Don't panic :)

He hasn't woken up yet - not in the way that you think of with typical spring plants. Pines wake up by pushing new candles (in about April) which will open up into new bundles of needles (in late June in San Fran).

You are already well ahead of the game because it is a healthy tree, and it is potted up in good soil, so you probably don't need to repot for two years at the minimum.

Black pines are considered advanced material for bonsai because you have to learn an annual rhythm for their care. But it isn't really that hard once you learn it. There have been several great threads on this site talking about Japanese black pine care, so do some reading and let us know if there is something confusing. But you probably have at least three months before you need to do ANYTHING to that tree other than water it and provide some general organic fertilizer. (Yeah when you get advanced you will want to time your fertilizer use, but for now just keep your tree strong and healthy and feed it a low level of organic fertilizer).
 

OrganicSeasonal

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Wow, thanks! Well, I like the idea of organic fert. Most importantly like the idea of a slow release(up to 3months) easy peezy typrle of fert. The only prob is there are tons to choose from can some recommend a good easy/safe slow release?
 

ConorDash

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Wow, thanks! Well, I like the idea of organic fert. Most importantly like the idea of a slow release(up to 3months) easy peezy typrle of fert. The only prob is there are tons to choose from can some recommend a good easy/safe slow release?
Choosing fert and having others recommend, is a very.. very big topic. Of which there are many already on forum. It usually causes a big debate and share of opinions.
Personally I want to try slow release this year, but last year used miracle grow, (don't remember npk values), soluable in water, use recommended concentrate or more, depending on substrate used, every 2 weeks.
 

M. Frary

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Choosing fert and having others recommend, is a very.. very big topic. Of which there are many already on forum. It usually causes a big debate and share of opinions
Soil too. In the not so far past men have been maimed in soil wars. One guy lost an eye and part of his frontal lobe in one particularly vicious skirmish.
 

sorce

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This tree is awesome!

Crazy potential there!

isn't really that hard once you learn it. There have been several great threads on this site talking about Japanese black pine care, so do some reading and let us know if there is something confusing.
Very key that!

There are a few excellent JBPer's here, I would Latch onto one like a Lamprey and suck them for every ounce of info!

I see a gracefully thin dual trunk beauty there, not too traditional, almost penjing, but wickedly whimsical.

Please keep us updated!

Sorce
 

OrganicSeasonal

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Haha, I love doing this garden type of crap this time of year, it makes me so happy! Well I took the time to take pics and pose a good question, and learned a lot. I agree, I shall now utilize thee search and use this site as a great resource/encyclopedia. I do however have a question coming up one day about my potted 2-3 year old jbp(or that's what seller said) saplings. They seem really tall, and have been in full sun. Idk, I might start preparing roots and put in training pots or let grow for 1-2 yrs. I just dont no if ur supposed to chop em down some?
 
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sorce

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Bonsai Nut

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There is a famous saying with bonsai - "one major offense per year". Generally this means if you do a major repot, you should wait to do a major pruning - because you want to give the roots a chance to recover before you stress the top of the plant, and vice versa. There are about a million exceptions to this rule that you will learn over time, and once your trees are more advanced you will be able to do an "easy" repot at the same time you do a "light" pruning, and there are times when you want to reduce roots and branches at the same time. But for young trees, trees that have just been collected, or trees that have just come from rootbound conditions, it is a good default rule to live by.

In most cases, with black pines that are in early development, you want to let them grow for a year or two, get really strong, and then prune them back. This will develop a thick trunk, and encourage back-budding. The key to black pines is that they are very apically dominant - they are much stronger at the top of the tree then the lower branches. If you just let a black pine grow, it will grow tall, fast, and the lower branches will weaken and die (since the tree no longer needs them) and once dead they are hard to replace because black pine almost never buds back on old wood. So you want to keep your lower branches maintained and not let them get too leggy or long, let a "sacrifice" branch grow like crazy for a few years (thickening the tree and increasing the root mass) and then you prune the sacrifice branch and the tree will shift all of that energy into the remaining branches. The lower your sacrifice branch the better, because you want the base of your trunk to thicken faster than the top of your trunk - giving your trunk taper and character.

In a nutshell, I wouldn't prune those trees this year because you just repotted them. I would, however, wire the trunks to introduce movement or else you will find yourself growing telephone poles :)
 

OrganicSeasonal

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Huh ok, got it. One last question for today. What size wire would you recommend for these saplings. I have wire but it's way too thin. Thank you.
 

ConorDash

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"The rule of thumb for selecting the proper gauge wire is to use a wire that is
roughly 1/3 the width of the section of your bonsai that you are planning to
wire. Apply the wire at a 45-degree angle; making certain that it is wrapped
neither too tight, nor too loose."

http://www.bonsaiexperience.com/BonsaiStyle3.html

Great site for wire info, diagrams, details.
I also used Colin Lewis's online course, it was free! (I can find a link to that if you want it) And he is rather good when it comes to wiring, so you can trust it.
 

OrganicSeasonal

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Hey. Thanks dudes, very informative/helful/kind. I gotta put in some reading time on this site. I also have
the complete practical encyclopedia of bonsai
Bonsai from native trees & shrubs
 

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