JBP Development

golf72

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I am a new to this forum and am hoping I can get some help with early stages of development with Japanese Black Pine.

I have some questions regarding growing Japanese Black Pine. I do have several Japanese Black Pine in various stages of development. I have quite a few in the ramification stage and fully understand candle pinching, shoot trimming needle plucking and bud selection. Most importantly I know the cause and effect of those techniques and when they should be applied as my trees are all quite healthy and are ramifying quite nicely. These trees were purchased from reputable Bonsai Nurseries and already had been styled with the trunks having the appropriate girth and the branches pretty much in place but only needing further development.

Since having great success with this I decided to purchase some younger Pines that had light years of development ahead of them. I have read Brent’s article about growing Black Pine about a million times and have The Master Series “Pines” Book that I purchased a while back. I have found this book to be quite informative and have applied some of the ramification techniques with good success. This book is very vague in regards to actually growing a Japanese Black Pine and really doesn’t have much information regarding early stages of development other than candle pinching. Brent’s article is very informative but I am still a little confused about what really needs to be done and when.

I purchased a Pine from Graydon about three years old that last fall that had been pruned hard the previous spring. I transplanted the tree in February for my climate zone in about 90% inorganic 10% organic soil mix and experimented with Michael Persiano’s super feeding program. Put the tree in full sun in spring and let grow. It grew like a weed. I didn’t do any candle pruning has I wanted the tree to regain its strength after the previous springs hard pruning. You would not believe the growth I got out of it. I have branches in all the right places but my concern is with the internode distances on the branch extensions. I also got some fox tails as well on a few branches that I would like to keep for the final design. I understand the theory about sacrifice branches and I already have identified them. My question is how do I get back to shorter internodes? Do I prune back to smaller candles on the branch??? If so at what time should this occur as everything I have read is let the tree grow in order to develop the trunk? How do you develop the trunk and keep the internode distance in check on the branches you want for the final design??? If I can’t get some help with this then I think I might have it. Any and all advice would be appreciated.
 
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I'm pretty sure I could understand your questions a little better with a photo or two. What do you mean by "fox tails?"
 

John Hill

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Hi Golf,
Have you tried pruning off the previous years growth in the Fall on the branches that you want back budding?
As for the fox tails (which I believe you mean plenty of buds all along that branch) you would probably just do the regular maintenance?

A Friend in bonsai
John
 
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I am a new to this forum and am hoping I can get some help with early stages of development with Japanese Black Pine.
First off, welcome to the forum! It's good to get to know other Japanese black pine enthusiasts! It's my favorite species, and becme that soon after I lost my fear of them.

I have some questions regarding growing Japanese Black Pine. I do have several Japanese Black Pine in various stages of development. I have quite a few in the ramification stage and fully understand candle pinching, shoot trimming needle plucking and bud selection. Most importantly I know the cause and effect of those techniques and when they should be applied as my trees are all quite healthy and are ramifying quite nicely. These trees were purchased from reputable Bonsai Nurseries and already had been styled with the trunks having the appropriate girth and the branches pretty much in place but only needing further development.
I'd love to see a photo of your bench. I have several black pines in different stages of development, most very early. Good for you in looking for quality prebonsai stock. For JBP, that can save years of work.
 
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Since having great success with this I decided to purchase some younger Pines that had light years of development ahead of them. I have read Brent’s article about growing Black Pine about a million times and have The Master Series “Pines” Book that I purchased a while back. I have found this book to be quite informative and have applied some of the ramification techniques with good success. This book is very vague in regards to actually growing a Japanese Black Pine and really doesn’t have much information regarding early stages of development other than candle pinching. Brent’s article is very informative but I am still a little confused about what really needs to be done and when.
One good way to work young pines like this is to do what you do with mature pines, and at the same time, but only the terminal candles get cut. This forces growth inward, and of course the needle removal serves the same purpose here insofar that you are allowing light and air to pass through.

The advantage of candling in June instead of in autumn is that your second flush of growth will come out and you get 2 years' ramification in one year. For example, if I allow my candles to all remain on the tree until autumn, then candle or prune, there is little time for the tree to set new buds. It will do it, but they will not open before the tree goes dormant. So in spring, those buds open as new candles.

However, if I candle the exterior buds in June, the tree will set new buds that will then open into needles, acheiving in one season what otherwise would happen in two. You will also receive the benefit of back budding to increase interior ramification. It sounds like you understand the need for "superfeeding," or as the Japanese call it, "feeding." LOL most Americans starve their trees. With proper soil, root work, and heavy feeding, your trees will respond with a good deal of new budding.
 
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I purchased a Pine from Graydon about three years old that last fall that had been pruned hard the previous spring. I transplanted the tree in February for my climate zone in about 90% inorganic 10% organic soil mix and experimented with Michael Persiano’s super feeding program. Put the tree in full sun in spring and let grow. It grew like a weed. I didn’t do any candle pruning has I wanted the tree to regain its strength after the previous springs hard pruning. You would not believe the growth I got out of it. I have branches in all the right places but my concern is with the internode distances on the branch extensions. I also got some fox tails as well on a few branches that I would like to keep for the final design. I understand the theory about sacrifice branches and I already have identified them. My question is how do I get back to shorter internodes? Do I prune back to smaller candles on the branch??? If so at what time should this occur as everything I have read is let the tree grow in order to develop the trunk? How do you develop the trunk and keep the internode distance in check on the branches you want for the final design??? If I can’t get some help with this then I think I might have it. Any and all advice would be appreciated.
For branches that you wish to extend instead of just forcing to back bud, when you candle, just cut a portion of the candle, between needles (careful not to cut needles!). This will give you the extension without it being too leggy, and you might even get some needle buds to pop.

Your internodes will shorten over time as you work the tree, but yes, you will replace branch terminals from time to time to improve that.

As to developing the trunk, how big is it and how big do you want it to be?
 

golf72

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Wow thanks to all for the quick responses to my questions. I guess I could have went it to all little better. The trunk right now is probably about an inch in daimeter. I would like to get it to two inches.
I have three very low branches on the trunk. Two are scarifices that I am going to just let grow and one that I would like to use in the final design. I picked a strong candle at the Apex to extend out as this well to help thicken the trunk. Final height of the tree is going to be right around 10 inches. Sorry I can't take photos as my digital camera just gave out on me. When I get a new one I will definetly take some photos so you can see the trees. As for my comment about a fox tail I probably used the wrong description. It is a long candle that just has needles at the end. There are some needles at the base of the branch about a inch from the trunk. Can I cut back to that???? I understand your point about candling in June I do it July. I didn't want to decandle this year as I wanted it to put out as much top growth along with root growth to re-pump the tree. I thought about doing it but didn't for the above forementioned thought. It makes perfect sense to me now that I should have done to keep it check. I guess to correct my oversight is to prune back in the fall to candles further back on the branch. Next summer I can candle these to the length I want for the next extension. Does this sound about right?? I am definetly going to have to prune and needle pluck as the tree put out so much growth you can't even see the outline of the tree. That super feeding regimen worked beyond my wildest imagination.

I can't thank everybody enough for the responses. You guy's are super as I think I really found a good source of information as where I live it's just to much of a drive to go to a Bonsai club. Once I get a didgital camera I'll take some photos of my bench to share as I am sure I will have some questions to ask along the way. Best Regards to all.
 
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I would wait until next summer. It won't hurt the tree and you will get better back budding. I wouldn't cut back your "fox tail" all the way to the needles, I would just wait till next summer and candle it. It will back bud for you.
 

golf72

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Chris

I think a better term for fox tail would be witches broom. Don't even know how I came up with Fox tail must have been really tired last night. You made a good point about over coming fear when it comes to JBP. I think thats were I am at with these trees in early development. I just don't want to blow it. I think I am going into information overload which sometimes creates in action. I have read what John proposed about cutting all the new growth in the fall. Have you ever done this and if so swhat kind of results did you get? John if you read this you can pipe in here and share your experience with this.

Thanks

Mark
 
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Yes I have done it and was not as happy with the results as I have been doing it in June. If the tree is very strong, you get twice as much result. I learned this from Boon and have been much happier with what I get.
 

John Hill

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One good way to work young pines like this is to do what you do with mature pines, and at the same time, but only the terminal candles get cut. This forces growth inward, and of course the needle removal serves the same purpose here insofar that you are allowing light and air to pass through.

The advantage of candling in June instead of in autumn is that your second flush of growth will come out and you get 2 years' ramification in one year. For example, if I allow my candles to all remain on the tree until autumn, then candle or prune, there is little time for the tree to set new buds. It will do it, but they will not open before the tree goes dormant. So in spring, those buds open as new candles.

However, if I candle the exterior buds in June, the tree will set new buds that will then open into needles, acheiving in one season what otherwise would happen in two. You will also receive the benefit of back budding to increase interior ramification. It sounds like you understand the need for "superfeeding," or as the Japanese call it, "feeding." LOL most Americans starve their trees. With proper soil, root work, and heavy feeding, your trees will respond with a good deal of new budding.
Chris is this what you do to get buds to pop closer to the trunk on old wood? I know some young JBP that get a bit leggy and need buds closer to the trunk. I myself have had some good luck to actually prune all the same years growth off in the Fall here in zone 6 and if lucky it will bud back further back on old wood in the spring. (I do not pluck older needles or the tree has a harder time throwing buds closer to the trunk.) I then let them grow a season or two and then prune that branch back to that bud closer to the trunk.
If in the ground I will prune the heck out of it and the buds will pop out like crazy.
I really do not do a lot of candling (other then to balance the trees energy)until the tree is ready for final stages.
I let the tree gain strength before doing a hard prune again. But usually if I prune hard in the fall and let grow unrestricted the following year they usually regain their health until the following fall and then I will repeat. Then when the tree is ready for needle reduction I will do the energy balancing act. (needle plucking and bud removal)

My two 1/2 cents worth

A Friend in bonsai
John
 
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This is the way it is typically taught, and it works fine and does a good job. But I believe I get better results more quickly with this method. From time to time, pruning will come into play, but you have to have the growth inside to make that viable. Either way will get results, but one thing I like about this method is its symmetry with candling an advanced tree. The theory is the same, the only difference is the stage of the branch.
 

golf72

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John

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience regarding cutting off all the previous years growth. I had read about his some time before, but couldn't remember. I think applying both techniques depending on the actual situation and what you want to achieve will provide the results needed. I will try both approaches depending on of course the situation and report back at a later date with some photos showing the results. Again thanks for sharing your knowledge with me as I feel I have a better understanding of what to do/why to do it and the results of doing it.

Best Regards
 

John Hill

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Thanks Golf,
This is what I do when the tree is in its earlier stage.
I look forward to your pictorial past in the future.


A Friend in bonsai
John
 
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Chris

I think a better term for fox tail would be witches broom. Don't even know how I came up with Fox tail must have been really tired last night. You made a good point about over coming fear when it comes to JBP. I think thats were I am at with these trees in early development. I just don't want to blow it. I think I am going into information overload which sometimes creates in action. I have read what John proposed about cutting all the new growth in the fall. Have you ever done this and if so swhat kind of results did you get? John if you read this you can pipe in here and share your experience with this.

Thanks

Mark
Mark, I think Witch's Broom may be the wrong term. A witch's broom is a deformity in which the nature of the tree's budding, etc. are changed to a more compact, almost chaotic state. Sometimes they are beneficial and new cultivars arise from them.
 
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