Japanese Red pine. Best Techniques

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Hi all,

Lots written on JBP but not so much on Japanese red pines.

What are the best techniques for needle size reduction, ramification etc on JRP.

Grant
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I bought a couple JRP in '07 or '08 which are in early stages of development, and have a couple seedlings in the ground. In no particular order, here are some observations:

1. They are BRITTLE.

2. They start growing earlier in the season than black pines, but grow a little slower. Needles open about the same time as or slightly after BP.

3. Candle-cutting is effective in improving ramification and density, but I'm still trying to get my arms around timing. One year, I did it at the same time as BP and it was a little late, this year I did it on June 13 (all at once, leaving long stubs on strong zones, short stubs on medium zones, and left the lower branch alone), and this process could have waited until July 1.

4. Bud-selection is probably more crucial than anything, JRP form MANY buds at branch tips...getting them down to 2 equally-sized buds per terminal in the fall creates order from chaos.

5. They are not as susceptible to needle cast as a BP here, but one has been invaded by scale on several occasions.

6. Shortening last year's candles (pruning between nodes to shorten branch length) hasn't resulted in advantageous buds along the remaining candle, nor at the tip of the cut. New buds appeared at the base of the cut branches instead. It appears that those cut branches will be sacrificed by the tree over time. This was in stark contrast to BP.

7. They take water much more slowly, but don't seem to suffer from overwatering. While the BPs next to it needed water daily in the heat of summer, this one needed water about every other day.

8. This one has been in this pot for 3 seasons and probably won't be repotted next year. I wish I would have used coarser soil, however, knowing that it would go this long between. Next time I'll use lava rock and akadama, 3:1.

9. The JRP in the ground are fine, but the 2 in pots seem to be suffering from a little iron deficiency this year. I was just noticing that the needles are a little pale.

Peter Warren will be back in a few weeks, and this will be one of the trees we'll tackle. I'll start a new thread on it, hopefully with some new photos and info.
 

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Hi Brian,

Thank you for that thoughtful, complete and spoken from experience response.


1. Had not noticed them being brittle but will keep an eye out. That could vary from seedling or cultural conditions of course.
2.It is spring here now and the Reds are slightly more advanced than the Blacks at this stage but the blacks certainly do catch up and overtake in vigour.
3. Timing wise they probably need longer to do what they do instead of black pines. I haven't done the total removal of candles as per black pine in our equivalent of your July as they had a reputation for being weaker than black pine.
4. Your red pines must be very healthy to get heaps of buds; well done.
5. By needle cast if you mean Dothistroma or eqivalent then I haven't had any on Red pines but have had it on black pine.
6. I think real reliable back budding on red pines may be a factor of age and as they get older they do not as readilly bud back between internodes.
7. Yes black pine needs more water but I have had a couple suffer from root rot
8. One I am looking after hasn't been repotted for many years and it is hard to get wet and stay wet. One of my own ones was repotted into a very open mix last year and is doing very well
9. Red pines are nearly always paler than black but the one I mentioned above that I am looking after is now a deep green rather than the almost yellow color it was when I got it.

Here in Aus some good growers of Black pine are now removing 80-90% of candles in the spring and only leaving the weakest untouched; rather than waiting December/January( your July). I was wondering if this has been done elsewhere and if it could be used for Red pine?

Grant Bowie
 
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1. Had not noticed them being brittle but will keep an eye out. That could vary from seedling or cultural conditions of course.
Same as you, but some friends also warned me about that so it may really be a problem for some.
2.It is spring here now and the Reds are slightly more advanced than the Blacks at this stage but the blacks certainly do catch up and overtake in vigour.
I experience a very different situation. Though my Scots (see http://bonsaistudygroup.com/japanese-black-pine-discussion/8-year-old-p-sylvestris/) and my JRPs (http://bonsainut.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5537) grow like weed, my JBP are really slow, observed on about 10 sylvestris, 20 JRP and more than 20 JBP. It may be because of my cool summers.
I feel that they back bud as least as well as JPB and need less water.
 
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Same as you, but some friends also warned me about that so it may really be a problem for some.

I experience a very different situation. Though my Scots (see http://bonsaistudygroup.com/japanese-black-pine-discussion/8-year-old-p-sylvestris/) and my JRPs (http://bonsainut.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5537) grow like weed, my JBP are really slow, observed on about 10 sylvestris, 20 JRP and more than 20 JBP. It may be because of my cool summers.
I feel that they back bud as least as well as JPB and need less water.

Hmm, you live in Brittany France(which I love by the way. spent many weeks around St Malo many years ago). Yes your Winters are cool and so are your summers. i believe JBP doesn't do well in northern england as well.

Here in Australia some JBP can grow a meter a year in the ground and love the heat. A japanese visitor once remarked that JBP grow Woosh(quickly) here. So by comparison the JRP are slower here.

However I live where the winters are cold and longish and at 600 mtrs altitude, so i have a short growing season campared to other parts of Australia.

I will read the threads and absorb.

Thanks
 
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One extra thing,

I don't have any young JRP, I am looking after 3 and they are all older than 1974.

Grant
 

PeterW

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Hi all,

Lots written on JBP but not so much on Japanese red pines.

What are the best techniques for needle size reduction, ramification etc on JRP.

Grant

Maybe you should have a lengthy discussion with Leong at Bonsai south nursery Grant. He has many years experience with JRP. I am certain he could steer you in the right direction.
Peter.
 
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Care to share a photo or two?

OK,

Here is one that dates from around 1965 and had 3 major trunks/branches removed over the last 20 years or so and some heavy bending up top. this is how it was a year ago.

For the last year I have been concentrating on getting it healthier and it is now much greener and starting strong spring growth.

This year I will concentrate on increasing ramification, budding and hopefully shorter needles.

Grant
 

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tmmason10

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That's quit a nice looking tree Grant. How long have you had it? Doesn't seem like you need too much help on the subject looks to be doing just fine.
 
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That's quit a nice looking tree Grant. How long have you had it? Doesn't seem like you need too much help on the subject looks to be doing just fine.

Oh, I should have said that it is not mine but one I am looking after in a Bonsai collection in Australia.

It has been with us for one year and yes it is doing fine but I am always on the look out for more info and experience.

I live in a cooler part of Australia and at higher altitude than most others and although there is lots of experience with pines in Aus ; not so much in the cooler parts of the country and they behave differently here; timing wise because of our shorter season.

So all info is useful,

Grant
 
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Here is a second one that came in after being semi abandoned for a few years.

It lost a number of branches before and after it came in but has now stabilised after a late summer emergency repot(Feb 28th).

It is growing very vigorously now and I will let the spring growth grow vigorously and then decandle in early summer here if it looks OK.

This tree was initially styled around 1974 by John Naka but a lot of years have passed since then and it will need a major restyle in a year or two when I am happy with its progress.

We take photos at critical stages of course.

It should be something quite good in about 5 or 10 years time

Grant
 

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Brian Van Fleet

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Thanks Grant! The first one has a great trunk, and they both look very healthy. It's great to see bonsai that have been a bonsai for more than a generation. What a difference compared to so many of the first-generation material we usually work with. I hope one of my kids continues to think this is a cool hobby...

Keep us posted on these!!!
 

bonsaiTOM

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NICE! I'm drooling. :D
JRP are a new interest for me, particularly bunjin style. I have a few young saplings from Bill Valavanis - to play with/early training. What I really want now is 1 or 2 more mature pre-bonsai to satisfy my hunger. I hope to find some soon.
Thanx - I'm really enjoying this discussion.
 

mcpesq817

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Wow, very nice trees. Thanks very much for sharing.
 

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