Japanese Black Pine

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I have been training this JBP from nursery seedling imported from Taiwan in tropical Malaysia. Because not many branch available i juz make the best trainning in this shape. What style should this tree be categorize.
 

Attila Soos

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The tree reminds me of the goddess Shiva.

I am tempted to call it the "Pretzel style".

It may be foreign to us, but for a lot of people, the image of a bonsai evokes a very thin and very contorted tree. So, there is nothing wrong with the actual tree, as long as it follows the mental image. It is the mental picture that needs to be fixed first.
 
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Bonsai Nut

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This tree is not good bonsai material. Your styling is not really along the lines of classic bonsai styling. I don't want to make you feel bad - if you enjoy this tree that is what is most important :) However if you are trying to develop a fantastic Japanese Black Pine bonsai I would start somewhere else...

To grow a JBP bonsai from seed you need to let it grow wild, then chop, then grow, then chop. This is best done in the ground or in a really large grow tray or colander. All the time you also need to be careful to maintain the lower branches that will eventually become the form of the tree. You are trying to create the width, taper, and bark that give a JBP its personality and sense of age. It is not particularly hard to do if you know what to do, but you really can't grow a JBP bonsai from seed in a bonsai pot and have it turn out well. It never looks like much more than a little stick in a pot. I'm just being honest. Now if you are ok with this, have fun! Just don't expect that your little JBP bonsai is going to start to get thick and heavy and develop chunky bark...
 

Mac

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What about taking the number one branch as a leader and cutting off everything above it?
I was in Malaysia in the summer (Ipoh) and the standard of bonsai is very high. Can you get some local advice on Black Pines?
 

greerhw

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OK, this is as gentle as I can be. Your tree is as good as it is ever going to look and that's not very good.

Harry
 

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Can you get some local advice on Black Pines?

Best place to start is to find a club with bonsai members who are already good at developing black pine bonsai. Nothing beats first-hand experience.

If that is not practical, and you need to go the reference route, I would recommend the Bonsai Today "Master Series" book "PINES". It is a compilation of many of their better pine articles over the years, and includes a classic "Black Pine from seed" article that shows some amazing progress over five-seven years. You CAN develop some nice bonsai from seed in a "relatively" short time (under 10 years) IF you are willing to commit to aggressively pursuing trunk and taper development ABOVE ALL ELSE. This means your tree will NOT be in a bonsai pot and will NOT look good for many years - BUT it will end up with a lot more potential.
 

Joedes3

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So I may learn from looking at the picture of this tree; Would it be better if it didn' t have all of those S curves? Thanks in advance, again, I want to know where it went wrong.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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So I may learn from looking at the picture of this tree; Would it be better if it didn' t have all of those S curves? Thanks in advance, again, I want to know where it went wrong.

Fair question...compare it to this black pine (Kokufu-ten winning 'Fudo') and share your thoughts...

moyogi.jpgFudo.jpg
 

greerhw

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So I may learn from looking at the picture of this tree; Would it be better if it didn' t have all of those S curves? Thanks in advance, again, I want to know where it went wrong.

First it should have been grown in the ground and pruned regularly to develop the trunk. Way to many curves for a Japanese JBP. Another thing to help the trunk growth is to leave a sacrifice branch to be removed at a later date. These are basic rules to grow a nice trunk on a JBP.

Harry
 

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So I may learn from looking at the picture of this tree; Would it be better if it didn' t have all of those S curves? Thanks in advance, again, I want to know where it went wrong.

Joedes, I would compare it to someone trying to write a book when they don't know the alphabet. In this case, you are asking the wrong question. The question is not about the design of the tree - because the tree is wrong before you even GET to the design.

I will try to distill this into as simple of a concept as I can.

Think of bonsai like a pyramid (I'm talking figuratively here, not literally) You can't build a pyramid until each later underneath is solid. The lower layers are more important than the upper layers. It is the same with bonsai. The most important part of the bonsai is the nebari - the base of the tree where it meets the soil. It gives the tree its power and character - it is the hardest thing to get right, and takes the longest to develop. From the nebari, working your way up the tree, the next most important part is the trunk - it's character, line and taper. Then you get to branches - their placement, taper, line, etc. Then you get to the ends of the branches and see the ramification, balance, and character of the foliage.

I am keeping this really simple but the point is this - it doesn't MATTER if you have great ramification if the trunk is flawed. It doesn't MATTER if you have perfect branches if the nebari is weak. You have to fix the important things first, and then move on with the rest of the tree.

When someone who knows black pines looks as this tree, we see a 3 year old tree seedling with nothing else going for it. It has NO nebari, it has NO trunk, it has no age or character. It is not a bonsai. To MAKE it a bonsai you have to start with the basics - which starts with improving the nebari and thickening the trunk, which in black pines takes YEARS. So that is why people aren't commenting on the design.

I am not trying to be mean or give any offense to the original poster whatsoever.
 
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Thanks. Yes bonsai standard in Malaysia is very high, but you can hardly find any master bonsai that grow JBP. Huhuhu
 

greerhw

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Thanks. Yes bonsai standard in Malaysia is very high, but you can hardly find any master bonsai that grow JBP. Huhuhu

Please don't take the comments to harshly, we are trying to help you on the right path. Continue to post here, we would love to have you as a member.

Best to you in our hobby.
Harry
 

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So I may learn from looking at the picture of this tree; Would it be better if it didn' t have all of those S curves? Thanks in advance, again, I want to know where it went wrong.

Put differently... the tree that is the subject of this post is probably four or five years old, but has never been trained to be a bonsai. Compare it to this tree:

jbpscan1.jpg


This is a tree that is only 7 years old, but which has been grown from day one to be a bonsai. You see the difference? That is why we are saying - don't waste time trying to work on design with this tree (the subject of this thread). Instead, try to develop your bonsai skills to grow bonsai! Try to learn how to develop pine trees for bonsai - NOT to take a tree and bend branches and call it a bonsai. They are very different things. The way most trees are grown for nurseries is the exact OPPOSITE of how you would grow a tree for bonsai. So if you start with a nursery tree you are starting (in most cases) with a bad start. Not always, and there ARE exceptions - but you will only be able to find those exceptions once you know what to look for.

I don't know if I'm being any help, LOL :)
 

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Think of bonsai like a pyramid. You can't build a pyramid until each later underneath is solid. The lower layers are more important than the upper layers. It is the same with bonsai. The most important part of the bonsai is the nebari - the base of the tree where it meets the soil. It gives the tree its power and character - it is the hardest thing to get right, and takes the longest to develop. From the nebari, working your way up the tree, the next most important part is the trunk - it's character, line and taper. Then you get to branches - their placement, taper, line, etc. Then you get to the ends of the branches and see the ramification, balance, and character of the foliage.

I am keeping this really simple but the point is this - it doesn't MATTER if you have great ramification if the trunk is flawed. It doesn't MATTER if you have perfect branches if the nebari is weak. You have to fix the important things first, and then move on with the rest of the tree.

When someone who knows black pines looks as this tree, we see a 3 year old tree seedling with nothing else going for it. It has NO nebari, it has NO trunk, it has no age or character. It is not a bonsai. To MAKE it a bonsai you have to start with the basics - which starts with improving the nebari and thickening the trunk, which in black pines takes YEARS. So that is why people aren't commenting on the design.


Most of this statement would also apply to this small matchstick size pine.

While this place may be fickle as all get out, I have no idea why people do not see this as perfect raw material for growing out a nice pine. This is exactly the kind of material I look for when I am looking for something to play with. The movement that is in this tree right now may look weird to the untrained eye, but after two or five years of growing the movement in this pine will be awesome. I do not consider myself an expert in any way but unlike my colleagues I can show you some pictures of a pine not unlike yours that was developed in three years. I have very little experience with pine material, but I make up for that with moxy.
 

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Goon Salo

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i personally freaking like it! its pleasing to the eye and sometimes thats what counts! just call it your OWN style. bonsai as a hobby is fairly subjective anyways so good job. keep it as it is

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I have been training this JBP from nursery seedling imported from Taiwan in tropical Malaysia. Because not many branch available i juz make the best trainning in this shape. What style should this tree be categorize.
 

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So if you don't have the lower layers underneath to build the upper layers, fold the upper layers down to a lower layer and utilize what you have already. Your pine can be bent down upon itself very easily and compacted much like this one.

Go ahead and select a few sacrifice branches. Bend those branches reserved for the future and bend those to mimmick whats going on underneath.
 

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Smoke

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Then in a couple years time with good feeding and a lot of sun which you have you can be rewarded with a reasonable pine that looks much more classical in design. I took this picture tonight.

The wire looks OK and I think it is large enough to squash this pine. I would bend it over and try to wrap the trunk on itself somewhat. Who knows in a couple years you can come back here and wow everyone with your new pine.
 

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Bonsai Nut

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An excellent example of how to apply classic rules to non-classic material :) The important thing is - you end up at the same place and you are showing a very clever short-cut :)
 

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