JBP trunk chop timing.....conflicting info when researching

headive24

Yamadori
Messages
51
Reaction score
5
Location
Bakersfield California
USDA Zone
9
Hey all. I have two JBP that I bought at a local nursery. On the bigger one, I already removed everything above a certain point, because a side "branch" had develeoped into almost a second trunk, with many branches on it. So i chopped the leader, and this side "branch" or branches have developed into the new leader. This was done sometime in mid spring, and the tree showed no noticeable bad reaction. Now, my plan is to once again make a side branch as the new leader in order to reduce height, make a better scaled tree with taper, and because the top just looks funny. In one post on this website, i read that someone suggested to another person that they do their chop then (mid-summer) or wait until autumnal equinox . Others have said right before spring growth. And on the greater google searches ive read other conflicting info. If the Autumnal equinox is a good time, that would be ideal, becasue its in a few weeks. I've been holding off on wiring it, and been letting it gain strength. In my opinion it is a very healthy tree. I'm including pics. The red lines are planned cut locations. Yellow outlines follow new trunk line. on one the blue-green lines are branches i would possibly use later.

There are also some pics of the smaller tree. On this one, my plan is eventually to cut it back to the bottom 3 branches, using the one in the back as a new leader. Should i do this all in one, or should i do it in stages. I have included a pic of the first chop im thinking of if i do it in stages too.

But first, I would like someone to tell me if the autumnal equinox is a good time, or not.

Also, i know the nebari needs work, and the soil looks suspect on the bigger one. That is just on top of the soil. Please don't comment telling me not to worry about chopping and to change the soil first or work the nebari. Not everyone does things the same way. I value your opinions, but ive already thought this through and its what i want to do. So again, please dont comment telling me "before you do that you need to do this this and this." If you have a better design idea than me, id love to hear it. Or if you think it will kill the tree to do what i want to do, please tell. Just no lectures about nebari or soil; i have plans for those.

Thank to anyone wit helpful info to follow
 

Attachments

0soyoung

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
5,707
Reaction score
8,816
Location
Anacortes, WA (AHS heat zone 1)
USDA Zone
8b
There two reasons why it could possibly matter.
  1. you want to do all pruning when it is warm enough for compartmentalizing growth to happen --> well above 40F/5C.
  2. you want (back-)budding also
For budding the core issue is the cytokinin level must be greater than the local auxin level to release buds. Cytokinin levels tend to be highest before the summer solstice. Auxin levels are highest when new foliage has just hardened, which also happens about the time of the summer solstice. Auxin production declines with temperature and with age of the needles.

So, if you want budding, summer pruning (e.g., Aug/Sep) can be good in both respects. Likewise, spring could be good as well - auxin levels are not quite so high, but cytokinin is much higher. I choose Aug/Sep for JBP, but just opted to wait until next spring with a p. nigra. I've previously tried to air-layer both, cutting girdles in spring, which is effectively the same as pruning, in terms of hormonal signals to the rest of the tree. I've also done heavy pruning of both in Aug/Sep. The only difference I have noted is that it seems that the new apical bud will turn into a much longer internode with Aug/Sep pruning than spring pruning. I attribute this to growing pines being like helming a big boat - put the rudder hard alee and you must wait a (seemingly interminably) long time for the ship to actually bear off down wind.

Until the end of development, I don't think it matters much - use the years of development to observe if it will matter when you move the tree into refinement.
 

headive24

Yamadori
Messages
51
Reaction score
5
Location
Bakersfield California
USDA Zone
9
Thanks for reply, the explanation was helpful.

I was also wondering what effect it has when you cut, say, the top 1/3 off vs the top 2/3. With the bigger tree my attitude is to err on the side of caution. The smaller tree, I am interested reducing it to mame size. I assume that proportion of the tree that is lost factors in to its survival; but I just don't know.

Also, if I do this later this month; is there any special aftercare. Should I give it protection from direct sunlight at all? Or is it better to give it full light for more photosynthesis after? I've heard to protect a tree from direct light soon after drastic pruning.

I try to understand it from a physiological perspective; but it complicates matters that the sun which gives plants all of their life sustaining energy also contains harmful rays. I guess its kind of the too much of a good thing concept. But how does this play in to the tree after an operation such as we're discussing.

Probably wouldn't be good to deprive it of all sunlight, but should I put it where it is protected from afternoon sun for a time after?
 

leatherback

Masterpiece
Messages
2,946
Reaction score
4,467
Location
Northern Germany
USDA Zone
7
I think both your designs aim at way to tall trees. These trunks are fairly thin making the ideal trees.much shorter then what you drew there.

So options are to cut back further. Or let it grow for a few years, which would give you also time to work the roots.
 

Shibui

Chumono
Messages
885
Reaction score
1,609
Location
Yackandandah, Australia
USDA Zone
9?
I would normally cut the smaller one right down in one go. I've never had any black pine object to heavy pruning as long as there are healthy branches left to grow.

You may have seen some post with pictures of pines with excessive long apical sacrifice branches. Sacrifice branches can really help thicken the trunk and i think even your larger tree needs thickening quite a lot to make an impressive tree. maybe you don't want to hear it but I would probably train a nice shaped bonsai with the lower branches while leaving the current apex as a sacrifice branch for a couple of years or until the lower branches look weak.
Smaller tree I would prune soon because the low branches are already weakened by the strong apex and need it removed so they can gain strength to produce better buds and growth.

Over here winters are not so severe and I have not found any issues with cutting any time of year. There may be some times when bud production is more intense but none have ever suffered from pruning. When I cut in autumn or winter the tree just rests until spring then produces new buds. If pruned in spring or summer buds appear much quicker but result is much the same.
 

headive24

Yamadori
Messages
51
Reaction score
5
Location
Bakersfield California
USDA Zone
9
I think both your designs aim at way to tall trees. These trunks are fairly thin making the ideal trees.much shorter then what you drew there.

So options are to cut back further. Or let it grow for a few years, which would give you also time to work the roots.
The thicker tree I bought for my dad originally who is skeptical about any cutting off of the top and took convincing to do this second cut. The skinny one I was afraid of cutting back too small for fear of killing it. I would prefer them to be shorter as well. The pic where I showed it going up to the second whorl was a plan b if ppl said not to cut back to first branches in one cut. These trees were $30 and $20 at a nursery and my main goal was to gain some experience with jbp but not to say I don't want to end up with nice trees. These are my first 2 jbps
 

leatherback

Masterpiece
Messages
2,946
Reaction score
4,467
Location
Northern Germany
USDA Zone
7
These are my first 2 jbps
So why are you so fierce about not wanting to hear opinions on how to go about turnig this into bonsai?
To be honest, reading your post I was first not going to reply at all considering the amount of effort you went hrough trying to tell everyone what they could or could not do.
 

headive24

Yamadori
Messages
51
Reaction score
5
Location
Bakersfield California
USDA Zone
9
So why are you so fierce about not wanting to hear opinions on how to go about turnig this into bonsai?
To be honest, reading your post I was first not going to reply at all considering the amount of effort you went hrough trying to tell everyone what they could or could not do.
Because i read this forum alot; and there are many times when someone asks a simple question such as "what time of year is best to do this" and rather than answer their question; people want to tell them why need to not worry about that but rather do things exactly how they would do them. Like they are a gate keeper for the information and they won't give it to you until first you comply with their demands. My amount of effort i went through telling "everyone what they could or could not do" was a couple sentences where I explained that i know there are other approaches people would recommend; but that I am simply asking what time of year to do this.

And I Frankly don't care that you almost didn't respond; because guess what you did respond and you did exactly what I was asking nicely for people not to do. So i would have rather you didn't respond. The other responses have been helpful and informative. Yours told me my ideas suck and you didnt give any information on the topic of the post or the specific question i asked. There are many positive points to this forum; but the way you act like everyone has to do things your way so there's no need for you to answer their straightforward qusetion because its not exactly what you would do is the reason why this forum is frustrating. But internet know it alls are part of the internet. You're the one telling ppl what to do or not to do. I specified what info i was or was not looking for in this thread.

And i did say design ideas are welcome and advice is welcome; but I simply wanted clarification on what time of year is best to chop the trunk and why.

did you think i was going to say "whew, he almost didnt respond. Thank god he did?" Go away

But Osoyoung and shibui...thank you guys for your replies and helpful information.
 

leatherback

Masterpiece
Messages
2,946
Reaction score
4,467
Location
Northern Germany
USDA Zone
7
If you have a better design idea than me, id love to hear it.
I think both your designs aim at way to tall trees. These trunks are fairly thin making the ideal trees.much shorter then what you drew there.
And I Frankly don't care that you almost didn't respond; because guess what you did respond and you did exactly what I was asking nicely for people not to do.
o_O

man, lighten up. Life is too short.
Maybe read what people write with a bit more intent to understand that people are trying to help.
 

BrianBay9

Omono
Messages
1,119
Reaction score
1,424
Location
Marina, CA
USDA Zone
10a
I' m sure everyone here has the best intent, and are presenting advice that works for them. I have no response to your specific question, other than to recommend you look to a local expert or club for your timing. Bakersfield CA is a world away from the conditions in Washington state or Northern Germany.
 

HardBall

Seedling
Messages
5
Reaction score
2
Location
MO River Mile 385
USDA Zone
6a
I too have looked high and low for information on the best timing for a pine trunk chop. There doesn't seem to be a "clear cut" answer.
 

leatherback

Masterpiece
Messages
2,946
Reaction score
4,467
Location
Northern Germany
USDA Zone
7
I too have looked high and low for information on the best timing for a pine trunk chop. There doesn't seem to be a "clear cut" answer.
Of course not. One pine species is not the same as another species and it depends on what you want to acheave. Just like broadleaves do not have a uniform answer as to when is best. Besides the effect you aim for, you have the circumstances that you can offer and the type of local climate you have. I would expect that people who do bonsai realize this basic constant: All depends on species, local climate and what you want to acheave. Without that, you can just not answer a generic question as to when one should cut back. But then again .. We are not allowed to discuss this in this thread because the OP only want a straightforward "Chopping on the first of april is best" answer. Let alone an answer from someone on the internet, I suppose?
 

Shibui

Chumono
Messages
885
Reaction score
1,609
Location
Yackandandah, Australia
USDA Zone
9?
I too have looked high and low for information on the best timing for a pine trunk chop. There doesn't seem to be a "clear cut" answer.
There is much partial information available on all aspects of bonsai. Often from well meaning, enthusiastic but relatively new growers who have not yet had time to properly road test the procedure. Much is also just regurgitated 'what I was taught'. Many are just plain frightened to try new things so we are stuck with people telling us you can't do that - not because it is not possible, just because they have never tried any other times or methods. Then there are those who have tried it once and generalised a hard and fast rule from a single bad experience. Multiple tries are needed to prove or disprove a theory.
As already pointed out, bonsai uses living plants which can react differently in different climates, soil types, water, etc. makes it much harder to really come up with valid clear cut answers.

Over many years I have found that plants are far more resilient than most people realize so you are probably wasting time and confusing the issue by looking for 'clear cut' answers.
 

garywood

Chumono
Messages
928
Reaction score
636
Location
N. Alabama
USDA Zone
7
There is much partial information available on all aspects of bonsai. Often from well meaning, enthusiastic but relatively new growers who have not yet had time to properly road test the procedure. Much is also just regurgitated 'what I was taught'. Many are just plain frightened to try new things so we are stuck with people telling us you can't do that - not because it is not possible, just because they have never tried any other times or methods. Then there are those who have tried it once and generalised a hard and fast rule from a single bad experience. Multiple tries are needed to prove or disprove a theory.
As already pointed out, bonsai uses living plants which can react differently in different climates, soil types, water, etc. makes it much harder to really come up with valid clear cut answers.

Over many years I have found that plants are far more resilient than most people realize so you are probably wasting time and confusing the issue by looking for 'clear cut' answers.
As Shibui said, it depends a lot more as to where you chop. How much is cut and how much is left. I personally "chop", prune 4 times a year (not the same tree) early spring before movement, June-July, mid-September and November. Are any of these times better than the others? You Bet! It depends on what you expect to happen. A young tree, only in fall. They need all the growth during the growing to make them as strong as possible to ensure maximum response. A sacrifice, whenever it's done its job, be it caliper, vigor, bud stimulation or causing a problem. The most important thing is only cut strong trees.
 

headive24

Yamadori
Messages
51
Reaction score
5
Location
Bakersfield California
USDA Zone
9
o_O

man, lighten up. Life is too short.
Maybe read what people write with a bit more intent to understand that people are trying to help.
The reason I posted this question is because I had been reading through this forum using the search bar and people have tried to ask the same or similar question many times and all the results lead you to responses where people say "before I answer ur straightforward question post a picture" then instead of helpfully answering they usually get off topic and tell them everything except the info they were looking for. And often in an arrogant, internet-know-it-all kind of way. That's why I got frustrated when I took s little extra time to explain that I know there are some things that could have been done differently. but I've already put alot of thought into it and this is what I want to do is cut down to this level and specifically wanted to know how seasonality played into it. Or else there's just gonna be another search result that doesn't answer anyones question.
And since I've already decided on that its just a waste of ur and my time(and anyone trying to search the forum) to tell me my design sucks to do it ur way instead.

If you didn't know the answer or didn't want to tell me then you could have just not commented instead of basically rewording exactly what I expected some smartass to say and asked people please not to say .

Ok now that that's behind us. Thanks to the people who did comment related to timing on chopping/pruning. I didn't expect there to be a 100% clear cut answer cuz there rarely ever is a possible one, but you guys did provide helpful info about the subject. In addition to internet research I have 4 bonsai books and 2 of them are older ones I've found luckily at antique and thrift stores and alot of the info I'd conflicting. One book says you will kill a pine anytime you cut off the top. One book said you have to immediately repot after drastic pruning. That's just 2 examples off the top of my head of info from seemingly reputable sources that goes completely against other sources.

And I never saidn"only post if u have a clear cut easy answe".

No my main point was please give me info on this specific topic. Will it kill the tree to "top " this jbp. Is one time a year better than others. What is the difference between doing it at different times in your experiences. You act like I'm some dictator because I knew someone would say "ur design isnt ideal. First you need to do this this and this, then maybe I'll answer your question."
I thought I would save those ppl their time, cuz this is what I'm going g to do. So if you have no vested interest in the tree, why does it bother you so much that I've made a decision about my own tree. If someone told me they were for sure going to buy an electric vehicle but they want to know about battery life between models; i wouldn't say no u need a diesel vehicle.
 

headive24

Yamadori
Messages
51
Reaction score
5
Location
Bakersfield California
USDA Zone
9
Of course not. One pine species is not the same as another species and it depends on what you want to acheave. Just like broadleaves do not have a uniform answer as to when is best. Besides the effect you aim for, you have the circumstances that you can offer and the type of local climate you have. I would expect that people who do bonsai realize this basic constant: All depends on species, local climate and what you want to acheave. Without that, you can just not answer a generic question as to when one should cut back. But then again .. We are not allowed to discuss this in this thread because the OP only want a straightforward "Chopping on the first of april is best" answer. Let alone an answer from someone on the internet, I suppose?
Any helpful info would have been appreciated. But you offer none. You just give smart ass replies that are helpful in no way to anyone. And I can't control what ppl say obviously. Since I was the original poster who started this with a question, all I did was try to steer the topic to remain on topic. Search this question for yourself and you'll see that anytime someone asks it; the thread goes off topic immediately talk g about what the poster didn't do right in the past with the tree. I don't know about you but when I search for info, I don't like it when all the results get off topic immediately. Your not trying to be helpful, you are just trying to act like your some know it all expert.
 

headive24

Yamadori
Messages
51
Reaction score
5
Location
Bakersfield California
USDA Zone
9
Of course not. One pine species is not the same as another species and it depends on what you want to acheave. Just like broadleaves do not have a uniform answer as to when is best. Besides the effect you aim for, you have the circumstances that you can offer and the type of local climate you have. I would expect that people who do bonsai realize this basic constant: All depends on species, local climate and what you want to acheave. Without that, you can just not answer a generic question as to when one should cut back. But then again .. We are not allowed to discuss this in this thread because the OP only want a straightforward "Chopping on the first of april is best" answer. Let alone an answer from someone on the internet, I suppose?
Look at other people's responses. They might not have a "perfect answer" but they provided alot of useful info that one would need to make a decision on timing. The only helpful info u provided was what everyone knows that it varies on location, species, what accomplish. Everything else u said was just noise that ppl have to sort thru to find info. The exact reason why this whole website has become very close to too annoying to be worth using as a resource. If someone just said something to the effect of leatherback you know your shit. Praise be to leatherback" would you finaly shut up. I don't understand your reason for even commenting other than to be a troll
 

headive24

Yamadori
Messages
51
Reaction score
5
Location
Bakersfield California
USDA Zone
9
o_O

man, lighten up. Life is too short.
Maybe read what people write with a bit more intent to understand that people are trying to help.
Read what osoyoung replied. Read what shibui said. They rear the same post u did, and they gave helpful info and great responses. They might not have said "always chop it on this date" but their answers were incredibly helpful none the less. Because they're intention was to provide helpful answers to my questions. Your intention was to ???? Start conflict and say nothing? To frustrate more people that are relatively new to bonsai looking for info? You are what they call a troll
 

headive24

Yamadori
Messages
51
Reaction score
5
Location
Bakersfield California
USDA Zone
9
So why are you so fierce about not wanting to hear opinions on how to go about turnig this into bonsai?
To be honest, reading your post I was first not going to reply at all considering the amount of effort you went hrough trying to tell everyone what they could or could not do.
If only you hadnt....🤫🙄
 

Similar threads


Top Bottom