Inducing bud break on pine seedlings

pwk5017

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Hello,
I have JBP and JRP seedlings ranging from 1-3 years old. The 3 year olds have nice nebari's and have a future of 5 years of growth to achieve decent shohin trunks. However, very few of the trees have low branches. The first 1-3" are barren of needles and buds on 80% of the plants. My question is: If I performed candle work on these trees or chopped the large apex sacrifice branch, would this force some buds to break along the lowest part of the trunks? I want plenty of buds down low for sacrifice branches to create a powerful base and nebari.

This isnt my photo, but it is the closest thing I could find in a 30 second google search to explain my intention. If I cut the apex off at the red line will buds break at the blue circle?
 

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tanlu

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I have 3 Japanese Red Pines that are maybe a year or two older than your tree. This year I cut off two shoots on each one to have two left on each one. About 2 weeks later I was surprised to see tiny green buds in the lowest sections of the trunk. Some of the strongest buds appeared where there were previously no needles. I used lots of organic and inorganic high nitrogen fertilizer to get these results. It should also work for your JBP.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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If you cut at the red line, you'll get new growth at the red line, and maybe a weak, advantageous bud somewhere in the circled area; which you could strengthen and cut back to in a couple years. More thoughts on the question:

1. If you're trying to grow a trunk, do not cut at the red line; this is the sacrifice branch that will thicken the trunk and strengthen the tree.

2. If you're trying to get the branches in the example to ramify, candle-prune THEM. One will be the trunk later, the other will be the first branch. Let the apex continue to grow big and tall so it will thicken the trunk.

3. If you don't get buds breaking where you want them, down the road, you can always graft them in.
 

biglou13

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it is possible to get low breaks. there is a technique when growing them out but you need to start with 1/0 or younger.

following brent walston advice. on vigorous trees!....

(simplified) at end of season prune back this years growth.

following this direction i got a generous amount of low bud breaks in spring, i also pruned back the middle area, to allow sun to hit lower bud breaks. top left to grow wild. (on 2-3 year old trees)

the trees that had low branch/s to start with, all had bud breaks in that 1-3 inch area.

trees with higher first branch, not so good in low bud breaks

I also had higher percentage of low bud breaks with field grown trees vs. potted vs. smart potted

this technique is posted on his blog. and here-- http://www.bonsaisite.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=20445
 
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with JBP


following brent walston advice. on vigorous trees!....

(simplified) at end of season prune back this years growth.
I second that. Prunig JBP and JRP at the end of the season is very effective.
However, I would question the very need of new buds in the circled area : if you wire and bend the lower part of the trunk as shown in numerous articles (and this should be done now), they wouldn't be useful. So, I would cut back at the end of this year only the two branches under the red line, and keep the apex to fatten the hole tree. Of course, if you plan a upright style, the situation is completly different.
 

pwk5017

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In response to my desire for low buds, I am attempting to grow shohin pines of near sumo proportions. Therefore, in order to achieve a powerful base(awesome taper), I need sacrifice branches in the first 3 inches. If I just let that sacrifice apex grow, everything below it will be of relatively uniform diameter. True, that will be the best way to thicken the trunk in the present, but it will not produce taper. It will just produce a large uniform trunk. That pine I posted could be grown out to produce a tree of a final height of 12-18" no problem. Like everyone has said, you let the apex grow, chop it, grow again etc. to achieve taper. However, I am shooting for 8-10" trees, and therefore want more branches down low to grow as sacrifice branches. From what I have understood so far, it seems like fall pruning is my best bet for inducing bud break?
 

garywood

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Patrick, if you grow with low sacrifice branches you will end up with scars all over the trunk. It's much better if you have only one scar from a vertical growing position. The scar will be a top scar which can be incorporated with movement and "heals" faster and not as visible. You need growth and lots of it now so feed very aggressively. It's way to early to be concerned with buds now. The pine on the table in my blog is 10 years old. It could have been cut at any place on the trunk to start a new leader. Or sooner for a smaller tree. Plan your tree and grow it.
Wood
http://thingsofwood-gary.blogspot.com/
 

pwk5017

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I would say I feed pretty aggressively as it is. I use Dale's organic cake recipe, and I feed with miracle gro every 2-3 weeks. Gary, I checked out your blog. Those are some great maples and pines you have started. The photos on your blog are great, but you allude to a technique for growing pines, but never really tell the reader what the technique is. Do you just grow one large sacrifice branch? Also, you mention relying on advantageous buds for final branches. How do you get these buds to pop? This is sort of what I am trying to achieve and I thought candle work/major pruning would encourage the tree to give me these buds.
 

garywood

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Paul, backbudding is a survival/defense response. There is a standard model of tree physiology that we/all have read or should read. Too much to write here and easily found with GOOGLE. This is the premise for most everyone's growing techniques. This standard describes what makes a tree,a tree. When we grow for or do bonsai we deviate some from this standard model. The cambial growth, both quantity and cell size is controlled by ratios of Auxin, Cytokinin and Sugar with ample hydration. This is the basic mechanism that keeps trees from "outgrowing" their potential. If any part of this Triad is deficient, growth is minimized. What we do in bonsai is manipulate the hormonal response to keep our trees in check.
Cutting branch tips (removing auxin inhibitor) works for forcing back buds. But it also slows the trees growth. An other way is to address a different part of the Triad, Sugar, by removing some needles and weak growth at end of the growing season. This triggers a defense/survival response (backbud). The strong buds keep the tree growing strong with minimal loss to growth potential.
as far as technique goes, it's very adaptable to whatever size you choose to grow. It's only a function of time, how much and how large. If you are relatively new to pines then I would suggest several trees with differing techniques used in order to understand how and when they should be used. Feed more often. This was very basic I hope this helps.
Wood
 

biglou13

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how successful are your JBP, getting back budding on older trees/wood +5 years, that got trunk chops/major prunes, (of course leaving green below chop)?

i have a few that didn't bud break well, and am considering above technique as alternative to fall cutback.
 

garywood

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Lou, I think there is a misunderstanding of what I said. The buds are there before any chops and a new leader is growing before a chop. If you chop first all you are relying on is hope.
Wood
 

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Pine Barron

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Gary,

I love pictures like that. Please show us more if you can. I would also love to hear any details or more information on the trees in those three photographs.
 

biglou13

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Lou, I think there is a misunderstanding of what I said. The buds are there before any chops and a new leader is growing before a chop. If you chop first all you are relying on is hope.
Wood
i understand what you're saying, i think.

in addition to the buds there before you chop, when making major trunk chops, are you getting new bud breaks on old wood? i think picture 3 answers that ?

do you get die back when chopping? or cut/chop at, (or less than) desired line of design? when do you do major your major chops?

how is growth in grow bags? looks like you have them both above and below ground? how do they compare to air pot/ rootmaker?
 

Harunobu

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I second that. Prunig JBP and JRP at the end of the season is very effective.
However, I would question the very need of new buds in the circled area : if you wire and bend the lower part of the trunk as shown in numerous articles (and this should be done now), they wouldn't be useful. So, I would cut back at the end of this year only the two branches under the red line, and keep the apex to fatten the hole tree. Of course, if you plan a upright style, the situation is completly different.
If you want taper don't you need a sacririce branch that is below the first branch? Else the trunk will be largely parallel before the first branch up to where the first sacrifice branch was.

This was the best article I have found:
http://bonsainurseryman.typepad.com/bonsainurseryman/2010/04/a-plan-for-young-pine-material.html

I watched some of Lindsay Farr's bonsai videos about Japan. It seems almost all good bonsai are growing in specialized production nurseries in Japan and then exported to the west.
It seems the Japanese know several secrets to growing excellent bonsai on a large scale in a small enough time.
Yet many western people seem to believe these are wild collected yamadori and much older than they actually are.
The same is true with azaleas which cannot be found in the wild as they are all cloned cultivar.
The Japanese deliberately grow bonsai completely from scratch and know pretty well how to do so.

It seems to me that backbudding can be very essential. I see in the forest young pine plants. To some obviously something happened along the way to encourage back budding, making them different from the others.

The plant in the OP seems to have been able to grow without anything happening to it. It has 2 small branches at the same spot. and that's about it.
It really seems the OP is right that something needs to happen to encourage back budding in the blue area. This must be possible but I don't know the answer.

It can be very true that if cut at the red line most or all the backbudding will happen just below the red line.


Another thing maybe of interest. I grew several chili plants this winter on my attic under bright artificial lights. I noticed that compared to the plants I grew outside there was a huge difference in internode length.

The internode of the plants grown with lots of light in the cold was maybe half a cm and less. The internodes for the plants grown in the shade during summer (bright sun would kill them) created internodes of like 6 cm and more.

I don't know if this applies to pines or maples or other subjects. But if you grow a plant with a lot of light but with low temperatures, the internodes will become really short. This seems really helpful for getting a lot of low branches really close to each other.


Gary is very right about growing tips preventing dormant nodes from growing because of hormones. But if a plant is apical dominant it may be impossible to get dormant nodes close to the roots to grow if there are other dormant nodes higher up the teee. And once those grow, they create the hormones that keep the lower ones dormant once again.
I had a chili pepper plant that had obvious dormant nodes low on the stem. No of the growth tips would trigger them to grow. In the end a trunk chop did but of course set the plant a year back in the goal of growing tall and fat.

I collected some pines from the forest. One had a spoke wheel. I pruned all but the lowest of the spokewheel branches. I got backbudding only just below the spoke wheel.
A few weeks ago I cut off all the tips on all the new growth to see what this does to pines.


Removing foliage is done on azaleas and is called motobadome. It's not a azalea unique term so maybe it is called the same for pines.
It does enourage backbudding.
I have seen people say, especially with respect to pines, that removing needles will unshade the tree and that the unshading will encourage backbudding. I never found this to be a plausible theory. So maybe indeed it is a sugar related hormonal thing.

I am going to try motobadome on some pines in the forest and see what that does to them.
 
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