Insulting a Scots Pine

chansen

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I recently took the plunge and added a pine to the bench. Up until now it's been maples, elms and junipers. I've read what I could find about pines, and just wanted to make sure I'm not pushing the tree too hard too fast.

I realize I could/should have repotted it in the summer, but I think that window of opportunity is past. It's currnetly in a small nursery pot in a growers mix and I think it would be much happier in freer draining soil. However, the growth is also getting dense, and I don't want to run into the problem of losing the interior growth by letting it get too thick. Finally, I think there's at least one pencil thick branch that needs to come off. So, the question is, can I needle pluck/wire in the fall and still repot in the spring? And if so, can I still remove the un-needed branch, or is that something I should wait on? I know it's one insult a year, but I'm floating in personally uncharted waters and I wanted to get guidance from the more experienced.

I'll try to get a pic tonight.

Christian
 

Jay Wilson

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Welcome to B'nut Christian!
I can't really give you any advice on your pine but the pine experts here would be better able to help you if they knew what kind of pine. Pictures would be a help also so they can see the health of the tree etc.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the B'nut experience.
How about showing us some of your other trees?
 

chansen

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Jay -

You're right, I should have included the type of pine in the body of the message, not just the subject line. It's a Scots Pine, english variety from what I was told.

I'll go to the intro page and introduce myself there.
 

chansen

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No problem Jay. I really should have included it in the body, it is too easy to miss in the subject line.
 
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You can wire this tree in fall if you can protect it from freezing. Wiring and bending branches opens small cracks in the bark that can allow water to freeze, extending the damage. I would recommend waiting until February to wire, then repot in spring. I know Vance recommends repotting mughos in summer, but I can't vouch that the same would be true for Scots pines.
 
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You should clean up old needles (two years old) and you can reduce some of this year's needles, too, except that that process is for regulating energy. I would leave all the new needles on that you can and still wire. You want the tree to become this engine of vitality and growth before you prune it to induce back budding and make your foliage tighter.

Removing older needles allows light and air to penetrate which will stimulate budding as well.
 

Vance Wood

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You can wire this tree in fall if you can protect it from freezing. Wiring and bending branches opens small cracks in the bark that can allow water to freeze, extending the damage. I would recommend waiting until February to wire, then repot in spring. I know Vance recommends repotting mughos in summer, but I can't vouch that the same would be true for Scots pines.
I repot Scots in the summer as well, just like Mugos.
 

Vance Wood

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Vance -

Would it be too late in the season to repot it now?
No it is not too late but I suggest that you read a couple of articles first then get back with me before you proceed.

http://forum.bonsaitalk.com/f14/root-pruning-how-why-12967.html?highlight=Root+pruning

http://forum.bonsaitalk.com/f14/cultivating-mugo-pines-9631.html?highlight=Root+pruning

I cannot find the second article on the subject of root pruning, it seems to have been removed, but the first article should help.

Vance Wood.
 

chansen

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Thanks Vance for the article links. They are very informative, and I have read them before. It was good to review them again and refresh my memory.

Here are a couple pics of the tree. Obviously the first branch needs a lot of back-budding. I also need to thin the growth to allow light to continue to penetrate the inner reaches of the tree to I don't miss out on some good interior buds and branches.

The tree has been growing very vigorously since I picked it up.

Advice, virts, and any other comments are welcome.

Thanks!

Christian
 

Vance Wood

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This tree has a lot going for it but without seeing details of the other branches and spending time with it for inspiration I am tempted to suggest you lose the large bottom branch. If not the only way to get this to back bud is to cut back the growth it is supporting, brutally without removing all of it. I would consider doing this soon or waiting till spring. The tree is now in bud forming mode so doing it now might give you some good results. In the spring as the new growth flushes the removal of a lot of growth would do the same thing.
 
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My thought is along the same lines as Vance's on that lower branch, but you might find it easier to graft a bud or two close to the trunk, shortening by a long way the time needed to bring the growth closer to the trunk. The advantage here is that even if you get the branch to back bud, introducing movement by wiring will be difficult. Far easier to start with a much younger branch.

Your tree obviously needs some cleaning up, which I would recommend this October. Removing obviously "bad" branches, such as most of the branches that might be forming a whorl, or one branch where two come out of the same spot, will sort out a lot of the tangle there. Once you can see more clearly the structure of the tree, then you can make more sense of where to go with it.

One caveat: don't go overboard trying to cut off everything but essential branches. Leave more than you might need. You will appreciate this advice later.
 

chansen

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I had not considered removing the let branch, I'll think about it. I'll be able to make a better decision once I've cleared out some of the clutter.

Thanks for the suggestions. This being is my first pine, I really appreciate the help.

Christian
 
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Glad to help. Keep us posted with photos showing more of the structure of the tree.
 
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Vance gave some great advice here, I have followed his teachings on pines over the last couple years and the results have indeed proved his words.


Hey vance when are we going to see that new and updated article on root pruning published? :D


Will
 
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