JBP training - Creating the base trunk

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Hello everyone,

Some of you may remember me posting this Black Pine I had just purchased from a nursery. I am glad I new enough back then to know how to pick one out, low branching, good surface rootage, etc. I did not know much more than that at the time.

http://bonsainut.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1349

Anyway, I am so exited about the potential from this tree I decided to post a new thread on its progressions. I have to especially thank Brent from Evergreen Garden Works for really helping me learn how to train one of these from 1 year old material. There is literally nothing out there on this except from his writings and getting to talk with him in person. This has been critical.

Part of why I am posting this is to help give back some of this knowledge to beginners from my actual experiences thus far and to also learn a thing or 2 more from others more experienced than I. This is specifically on getting the trunk and Nebari well before refinement work. I think the lack of info has to do with the fact that this is the boring part for some. The refinement stage is where all the glamour is. However, so far, this tree has been my most rewarding species I have. Just building this trunk so far and trying to not make to many mistakes has been a challenge and a lot of fun.

Anyway, in the first pic from 2008 you can see where I had selected out of the rats nest of branches, the new leader with it’s 1st and 2nd branch, these are marked in red and blue respectively along with my planned sacrifice branches in light blue. It made sense to me to have a good sacrifice right at the nebari so as to get that big dinner plate. In the second pic in 2009 during December, I performed the trunk chop. I then wired up the new leader with its attending 1st and 2nd branch. I think this was a mistake, but not a critical one, because I had a backup and because this area is ripe with adventitious buds.

Over the next growing season the tree grew so vigorously the new leader twisted 90 degrees (I also was not paying attention). This caused the first 2 branches to be out of alignment with the planned front, woops. You can see this in pic 5, the upper branch that I cut back was the second and the first branch labeled “S” is the new 2nd internodal sacrifice. The new leader labeled “P” has perfect location and internodal distances to be the new leader and the branches have not even grown yet. As you can see in pic 5 I did several things wrong. I should have cut midway into the internode at the top, leaving a few needles and I should have candled the 1st and second branch and depended on enough back budding to also get another internodal sacrifice or two, this should have been done last year around this time of year.

How it turns out, I actually like the fact that I blew it; I think I will have a better base trunk doing it this way. The new leader is in a better position for the 1st branch and I think I will have a big low turn below it.

Pic 3 shows the sacrifice branches labeled “S” and the Primary new leader extension labeled “P” and the “backup” secondary extension or potential future sacrifice branch labeled “B” Pic 4 shows a few large roots That I cut back about half way during last springs lite root trimming. I would be curious to hear others opinions on weather I should eventually cut these off and grow many more smaller diameter roots out of the same location. They are not overpowering yet, I do worry that they may become too big in the future.

continued below...
 

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Anyway, the last pic 6 here is the future 1st, back and 2nd branch and trunk extension. I want this to be one of those massive informal upright pines that require 2 to 3 people to carry. Maybe before I die hopefully.

So how will I get what I have drawn in this last pic. I think next year at this time I must candle "P" back to the last node, I think this is critical and if I am to avoid making my mistake again I must do this. Why? Because otherwise I may not get enough new buds for the branches in this area. Also The internodes (next years new candle(s)) will get two long. I need 3 finish branches in this next area; 1st, back and 2nd + a sacrafice or two to create taper in this next section. The internode must be shorter by half the distance from the top of the soil to the first branch. The back branch will come out of this area. This is now uncharted waters for me and I am nervouse about doing it correctly as next year progresses.

Total height of tree will be around 22 to 28" with a 5-8" base diameter.

Marc
 

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Just Duane

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Marc, looks like its coming along just fine. Hope you keep this thread updated. I like the low sacrifice branch to help thicken the trunk. IMHO, though i've never grew a trunk to the size that you're hoping for. I would think that most branches chosen now will end up being way to thick by the time you achieve the thickness you want in your trunk. Hope someone will chime in on this. I have some, not as thick as Marcs though.
 
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I would think that most branches chosen now will end up being way to thick by the time you achieve the thickness you want in your trunk.
Thanks Duane, This is what makes it so challenging. The sacrafice branches grow the trunk and to a large extent keep the final branches small with short internodes. It was all to easy to ignore my 2 proposed final branches and let them grow when they needed to be candled and treated like what they are, final branches. I learned my lesson on that but the mistake gave me a better deal so win,win. It is all so very complicated but deceptively simple.

Final branches must not be more than 1/3 the diameter of the trunk area they come out of so as to look aesthetically pleasing, to me anyway. These have to be candled while not allowing them to become to weak. The sac. branches can be "tuned" or shored up as needed to adjust for this. Just the perfect amount of weakness is good.

But then, a new top bud needs to be selected for the top sacrafice as the old top sacrafice gets to big and needs to be chopped off.

I think I am understanding this correctly, just thinking out loud.

Does anyone think I should candle the branch marked "P" now or this time next year?

Marc
 
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tom tynan

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If your goal is to get a base of 5" to 8" - isn't it likely that most - if not all of the lower branches will be way to thick and without the needed movement - so you would likely then have to bud graft on to the trunk where you want the new branches to be located ? It just seems like if the purpose of the lower branches is to create a fat massive base - then it is unlikely that these very same branches will create the branch structure that you need for a tree 22" to 28" in height. So far - what you have looks promising. Tom
 
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Tom, the only purpose of those lower branches are to thicken the base and create taper. They will be cut off completely eventually. The finish branches have not even sprouted yet, and when they do, they will be candled every year to keep them recessive and small.

Marc
 

digger714

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So all of the lower branches now are sacrificial branches. My understanding is to have as many as you can as long as they arent coming out on the same elevation as others? Then when you do start your final branches, will they sprout before you remove the sacs. or after? Or will you prune the sacs to their first branch to get back budding? If before, does it matter where the sacrifice branches are in relation to the final branches. Like, should they be below, beside, or above the finals, or does it matter, as long as they are close?

Sorry for all the questions. Im just having a hard time figuring this out. I know when i do, it will seem so simple, its like when i was learning to play the guitar. When i got it, i got it. Then i just kicked myself for not getting it sooner. lol.

Thanks for any help
 

Klytus

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Certainly there are a confusing mass of branches,it's too unruly at present.

It's saying,ha,i have a long branch here and a big bulge there,long bulge,big branch and whatcha going to do with my nebari?

Too much,too many possibilities!
 
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So all of the lower branches now are sacrificial branches. My understanding is to have as many as you can as long as they arent coming out on the same elevation as others? Then when you do start your final branches, will they sprout before you remove the sacs. or after? Or will you prune the sacs to their first branch to get back budding? If before, does it matter where the sacrifice branches are in relation to the final branches. Like, should they be below, beside, or above the finals, or does it matter, as long as they are close?
The sac branches stay on until they do their job thickening the tree below where they come out off. This is how you get taper on the trunk. You should never have 2 or more sac branches comming out of the same node (elevation) or else the area will bulge (reverse taper). Unless it is right at the nebari, as you can see I am letting 2 grow right at the nebari. I am very lucky to have even one of these sac branches right at the nebari. This is really starting to dinner plate that area.

I will not prune the sacs to get back budding because they will be too thick to use as final branches. You either have a sac branch or a final branch. The sac branches get grown out with no candling and the finals get candled every year or so. you must keep them skinny and full of buds with short internodes. If you let your final branches grow out, they will become thick and bare and utterly useless.

Where should their (sacrafice branches) position be? Ideally in the internodes between final branch locations. But you can have them at the node where the other nodal branch is a final branch, this can form a bulge however and is something I am planning on trying to avoid. Sacrafice branches thicken the area of trunk below where they come out, this thickness continues down to the roots, or should.

It is apparent that there are 2 types of sacrafice branches.

Top sacrafice: The continuance of the main leader above the keeper "new leader" and side branch that you may also keep as a finish branch. This thickens the entire tree and when it is cut off it is known as the "trunk chop"

Side sacrafice: A branch at any place below the final "finished tree apex height" which will create taper in the trunk below where said branch emanates from.

With pines and most conifers the grower is in a catch 22. One must grow the massive trunk with great taper but at the same time final branches must be selected very early on and preserved as such. Otherwise you will either have a landscape tree or a big block of wood to throw in the fire place. With non-conifers usually you can grow the big block of wood, hack it all off, and then grow your final branches from the back budding that occurs. Not so with most conifers.

It is very difficult to describe, harder to understand and challenging to employ. I find that I must learn by doing and making my own mistakes. Learning the JBP growth charictaristics is something that takes time, and lots of it.

Marc
 
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nip

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Nice development Marc. I am also growing out a pine, but it is several years behind yours. How long until you clean up the stub from the removed leader?
 
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Nice development Marc. I am also growing out a pine, but it is several years behind yours. How long until you clean up the stub from the removed leader?
Thanks,

I guess when it dries out, I don't know. I left a 1 inch stub and it may just heal over that as the next extension thickens.

Marc
 
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