JBP advice

PeaceBD

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I picked this grafted JBP a couple of weeks ago from a local nursery.. the original thought was to just chop the trunk at the first node. Would this be a good time to do that? Any other styling advice would also be appreciated as this is my first pine. Happy Independence Day!
 

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Peter44

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Don't mean to discourage you, but I would not waste my time on a grafted pine from a nursery that looked like that. It was not grown/pruned for bonsai and it will probably never be a good bonsai specimen with that big knot on it. It also lacks necessary lower branching. Start with one grown for bonsai IMO. Peter
 

PeaceBD

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Peter
Don't mean to discourage you, but I would not waste my time on a grafted pine from a nursery that looked like that. It was not grown/pruned for bonsai and it will probably never be a good bonsai specimen with that big knot on it. It also lacks necessary lower branching. Start with one grown for bonsai IMO.
I agree. After reading up on JBP I realized some of the points you are making. But I had already bought it. Maybe just keep it in a pot and one day use it when We have a Japanese Garden . Can JBP be airlayered?
 

Maloghurst

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They do not airlayer except in rare circumstances. It needs to be thicker so you should let it grow and keep increasing pot size for several years. Reduce the branches at the nodes to 1 or 2 branches so they don’t create bulges. Nurture those lowest branches to prune back to eventually.
You can just use it to practice wiring and candle pruning and bud selection. But it’s still so young I wouldn’t start any of that for a couple years.
 

Adair M

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Not the greatest of material, as others have said. But, you can put some movement in that trunk! Get some heavy copper wire, and bend it now, while you still can.
 

0soyoung

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It must be a cultivar or p. thunbergii as no one would waste time grafting an ordinary JBP. Maybe it is a corker? The graft is quite young/new, but looks pretty good to me.

Most cultivars of any species are grafted. So using a special cultivar for bonsai effectively means hiding the union from view. Cork bark cultivars are all about the bark, so one wants a very low graft. Then the substrate level is set at the union - a tree with no nebari is a fact of life. Otherwise, one wants, IMHO, the union just below the first branch of the cultivar where it will be easily obscured from view. We frown on grafts with deciduous trees because we prize their bare winter image - there is no way to obscure the graft union.

JBP can indeed be air layered. It is most readily done with a candle from the previous year, but they will produce adventitious roots from several years old wood. George Muranaka, in Nipomo, CA, propagates JBP by layering last year's candle in one year. I have a much cooler growing season and it took 3+ years for me to successfully air-layer a 'Thunderhead'.

But just getting one of George's JBP layers might be a good option. I assume he's still selling them on eBay - maybe call him directly, if you want. @PeaceBD .
 
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Shibui

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JBP can certainly be layered, easier than many people think. Cuttings are also possible given the right conditions.
I would certainly be happy enough to grow this out and see how that graft turns out. Sometimes grafts just disappear, sometimes the graft shows up more and more and will be ugly. Only time will tell. A lot will depend on how far down the roots are. Low grafts close to the roots disappear far better than higher ones.
When growing pines to increase trunk thickness I try to maintain lower branches as they will usually form the basis of the future tree when the main stem sacrifice is cut.
 

Adair M

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It must be a cultivar or p. thunbergii as no one would waste time grafting an ordinary JBP. Maybe it is a corker? The graft is quite young/new, but looks pretty good to me.

Most cultivars of any species are grafted. So using a special cultivar for bonsai effectively means hiding the union from view. Cork bark cultivars are all about the bark, so one wants a very low graft. Then the substrate level is set at the union - a tree with no nebari is a fact of life. Otherwise, one wants, IMHO, the union just below the first branch of the cultivar where it will be easily obscured from view. We frown on grafts with deciduous trees because we prize their bare winter image - there is no way to obscure the graft union.

JBP can indeed be air layered. It is most readily done with a candle from the previous year, but they will produce adventitious roots from several years old wood. George Muranaka, in Nipomo, CA, propagates JBP by layering last year's candle in one year. I have a much cooler growing season and it took 3+ years for me to successfully air-layer a 'Thunderhead'.

But just getting one of George's JBP layers might be a good option. I assume he's still selling them on eBay - maybe call him directly, if you want. @PeaceBD .
Yeah, George airlayered candles. What’s the point of doing that? You get better results from taking seedling cuttings. Mark Comstock has 10,000 of them!

I expect the OP’s JBP is a landscape cultivar. Like a Thunderhead. It’s propogated because it grows fast. My experience with it is that it has long candles, long needles, long internodes, and fat candles. Fat candles make for fat branches. I like thin branches when building ramification.

I may be wrong, of course, but Thunderhead is sold at landscape nurseries.
 

0soyoung

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I expect the OP’s JBP is a landscape cultivar. Like a Thunderhead. It’s propogated because it grows fast. ... Thunderhead is sold at landscape nurseries.
Thunderheads are not particularly fast growing, but they do make a very attractive, low maintenance landscape specimen. I agree that the OPs tree is surely a landscape cultivar, but isn't a Thunderhead, nor is it a Kotobuki. Obviously it isn't any of the variegated or yellow foliage/variegated types that are also produced for landscape purposes.

I suggested one of George's air layers because every noob wants to decandle - it is so bonsai! George grows his layers in pots for a year or two before sale. However, once one has an idea of what they are doing, seedlings from Mark Comstock or Matt O are far more fulfilling fun. Of course there is just doing it all ones self, from seed.
 

mrcasey

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If you can carve out those whorl knuckles without ruining the tree, you could always turn it into a literati.
 

Peter44

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What is a literati? I looked it up and the definition did not match at all.
 

0soyoung

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What is a literati? I looked it up and the definition did not match at all.
stick in a pot

Actually it is a bonsai form that is about the long thin trunk. For me, ones that look like something drawn with brushed ink - the line wanders around and then a blot or abrupt change - something kinda kanji-like. The point is the line of a thin trunk is the focus - it is difficult to be interesting instead of banal.

Another take is the 'rule' that bonsai height should be about 6x the trunk diameter. A lower ratio is a masculine form. In the extreme = sumo. A higher is feminine. In the extreme = literati.

Suggesting literati is just a cop out. One would need to bend (or cut-n-grow) the trunk into something interesting. Just as formal upright is extremely difficult, so too is a good literati. It is very arty, IMO.
 

mrcasey

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To say that turning this tree into a literati would be a cop-out is, in itself, a kind of cop-out. It's thoughtlessly dismissive and a
lazy dodge. Osoyoung says that "One would need to bend (or cut-n-grow) the trunk into something interesting." Well, no shit.

I'm not saying that you should make this tree into a literati. But if you do go that route, get on the internet and pull up google images of
literati bonsai. Then get a 10 piece of paper and a pen. Draw 10 long thin trunks. Make some of them straight-ish and make some of them
crazy curly-Q. Draw some weird looking trunks that bend down below the pot rim. Then get some old coat hangers or used wire about the
length of your trunk. Bend the wire into weird interesting shapes. Play with angles, curves, asymmetries, and especially negative space.
Make curves that go in all three dimensions! Your trunk is so thick that it won't quite match your drawings or wire models. But you might get something startlingly strange, wonderful, and weird. Give it a try.
 

Adair M

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Thunderheads are not particularly fast growing, but they do make a very attractive, low maintenance landscape specimen. I agree that the OPs tree is surely a landscape cultivar, but isn't a Thunderhead, nor is it a Kotobuki. Obviously it isn't any of the variegated or yellow foliage/variegated types that are also produced for landscape purposes.

I suggested one of George's air layers because every noob wants to decandle - it is so bonsai! George grows his layers in pots for a year or two before sale. However, once one has an idea of what they are doing, seedlings from Mark Comstock or Matt O are far more fulfilling fun. Of course there is just doing it all ones self, from seed.
I have purchased trees from George in the past. Including one of his airlayers. The usual JBP, have been field grown for maybe a decade, then chopped at the second node. He usually kept the lower branches pruned, so they were ready to style. They were great starter trees.

The airlayers, he sold not too long after they were separated. Maybe a year. They were little more than fuzzy sticks in a pot. They needed that missing decade.

The airlayers would need another decade of growth before they would be ready to be worked.
 

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