JRP - Pinus Densiflora branch selection

LeoMame

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Hello Bonsai people,

I came across this tiny Japanese Red Pine in a local bonsai nursery, and brought it home: it's tiny and it has some very interesting movement on the trunk, so I couldn't pass.

Now the issue: I'm a bit stuck with branch selection, as the top of the tree has a cluster of 4 branches coming from the same point, and it will bulge if I don't operate soon (I guess I should leave 2 out of 4 to avoid swelling?). Also at the base I've a concern over the branch positioning.

My worry here is also from a horticultural point of view, meaning how many branches can I eleminate in such a small tree without compromising its health? And should I perform a pruning now, or in winter? And should I cut all branches in one sessione or one this season and couple more next season? The tree is shooting candles and it looks in good health, for what I can see.

I'll attach some photographs, let me know what you think! Thanks!
 

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Brian Van Fleet

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I would remove the center shoot, marked with a red X. You can do that now without weakening the tree. You could also remove more at that whorl to reduce the shoots to two.

Wire carefully in the fall, JRP are brittle.

Also consider the lower trunk has good taper and movement, so you want to continue that in the upper trunk. It is easier to add movement to smaller branches and then allow them to thicken, then become the next section of trunk.
016B7517-3671-49CF-A7DE-D42E2AF3DD82.jpeg
 

Shibui

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There's no problem removing up to half the foliage from JRP at any time.
I agree with @Brian Van Fleet about taking out the thicker central shoot. Taking a thick one means better taper when one of the thinner ones becomes the leader. I would also remove one other shoot there so there's only 2 left to reduce swelling at the whorl.
Great advice to wire and get the branches looking more like the lower trunk.

Also looks like start weed in the pot. Initially it looks cute but spreads everywhere and competes with your bonsai. I have declared war on it here and almost eliminated after 8 years of diligent work removing every one that pops up before it can spread or seed.
 

LeoMame

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Thanks @Brian Van Fleet and @Shibui , I was also thinking about the taper when choosing the branch to cut off on the top.

I'm planning to slip this pine in a just slightly bigger pond basket, this pot is just too small (not even 2 inches wide) and might make everything more complicated in summer for water management. I will leave the roots untouched but get rid of the weed, no problemo.

I will follow up on this thread when it comes to the wiring part in autumn.

Thank you again, what a wonderful place is this forum
 
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Potawatomi13

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Also looks like start weed in the pot. Initially it looks cute but spreads everywhere and competes with your bonsai. I have declared war on it here and almost eliminated after 8 years of diligent work removing every one that pops up before it can spread or seed.
Strongly seconded get rid of false moss with all enthusiasm! Insidious weed that reproduces/spreads magically like maggots on dead animal🤬!
 

Shibui

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Good idea to move to a larger pot to survive summer.
I would strongly urge you to open the roots a little when transplanting. I usually just pull the bottom of the root ball open which does not break too many roots and most root tips are intact if you are worried about damaging roots. A few years ago I slipped some JBP into the ground without doing anything to the roots. A few years later all the roots had fused into a woody mass the exact shape of the pot they had been in - not so good for nebari!
Even just teasing some of the upper and outer roots out of the root ball will help them to grow into the new soil and certainly won't put the tree at risk.
At this time of year I would think you could do a proper root prune and repot on a red pine over there. Proper root pruning is the best way to achieve good bonsai IMHO.
 

LeoMame

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Even just teasing some of the upper and outer roots out of the root ball will help them to grow into the new soil

A little root tease is an excellent idea, also to assess the state of the root mass.

Kiryu for the new soil is what I would use, how about that?
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Soil that drains freely is best. I have only lost JRP to wet soil and root rot.
 

sorce

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I was just looking at this Beech Thread 'European Beech - Airlayer Attempt' https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/european-beech-airlayer-attempt.49798/

In a pond basket and began thinking about how useless they are. In the regular square size at least.

IMO....they are impossible to manage wetness correctly with, especially with trees like this(JRP) that may be sensitive to wet roots.

Once your soil is 'loose enough" in them, drying winds become a factor due to the openness.

Also, once they are doubled up, or lined to hold proper soil, the airpruning aspect is all but lost.

I don't believe a pond basket is proper, really for anything in any situation, but certainly not here.

I have a Spruce in one, that was placed there for lack of another container, when that is out this summer, probably won't ever have another tree in a full pond basket.

Maybe "mother plants" not so sensitive to jacked up watering.
But expecting it to keep a good nebari, which also continues to work for you, is foolish.

While watering another spruce, the one in my drainless bottom basket, I can tell there is a different level of thorough wetting, just due to that ONE closed off dimension.

Sorce
 

PiñonJ

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What are you trying to accomplish with the tree? If you want a thicker trunk, you should just plant it in the ground. If you’re happy with the size, you should get it into a bonsai container with free-draining substrate. Don’t treat it like a yamadori, you already have a compact root system. The candles are a little far along, but you won’t have to do much root pruning and it’s a hardy species and a young tree. If the candles keep pushing well, you can de-candle them all and balance needle mass in June - this is a multi flush pine. You can then shoot select in the fall, if you can give it winter protection, otherwise wait until next spring.
 

LeoMame

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I was just looking at this Beech Thread 'European Beech - Airlayer Attempt' https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/european-beech-airlayer-attempt.49798/

In a pond basket and began thinking about how useless they are. In the regular square size at least.

IMO....they are impossible to manage wetness correctly with, especially with trees like this(JRP) that may be sensitive to wet roots.

Once your soil is 'loose enough" in them, drying winds become a factor due to the openness.

Also, once they are doubled up, or lined to hold proper soil, the airpruning aspect is all but lost.

I don't believe a pond basket is proper, really for anything in any situation, but certainly not here.

I have a Spruce in one, that was placed there for lack of another container, when that is out this summer, probably won't ever have another tree in a full pond basket.

Maybe "mother plants" not so sensitive to jacked up watering.
But expecting it to keep a good nebari, which also continues to work for you, is foolish.

While watering another spruce, the one in my drainless bottom basket, I can tell there is a different level of thorough wetting, just due to that ONE closed off dimension.

Sorce

I've seen more than one bonsai professional using them for plants in development. Sometimes is impossible to plant the trees in the ground (if you don't have a piece of land to do so) and I've read in multiple forums and threads that they are widely used.

Even here on Bonsai Nut I've seen a thread about pond baskets in which you contributed by writing you were about to use them as well. It was a thread from something like 2014 or 2015, so perhaps you changed your mind on em.

Anyhow, it's great to have this new perspective, I will think for about it for a little more time. All of your arguments about pond baskets here are more than convincing. Thanks!
 

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