Learning about Japanese Red Pine Bonsai

tanlu

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Hi everyone,

I just wired a 4y/o JRP into literati style. The lower trunk is about 1/2". I know I'm a long ways away from anything spectacular, but I'm enjoying the creating and learning process. I'm aware that this species is rarely used in this country, and cannot understand why. It's just as vigorous as JBP, has softer rich green needles, and is more winter hardy. An in-depth JRP article in International Bonsai magazine on says that it can even be left out during the winter without significant winter protection. I'm going to repot it this spring in pure montmorillonite (high-fired clay particals similar to turface) in a 7" colander, which all my pines seem to love.

I'll post some pictures of what I've done so far, but in the mean time I was wondering if anyone who has experience growing JRP can volunteer to post progression photos of their work?

Thanks!!

T
 
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Brian Van Fleet

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I have 2 in the ground, and 2 in pots that are in VERY early stages of training. In fact, I bought them 4-5 years ago for their trunks and have since grafted new branches into both of them to just begin training. JRP are fantastic trees, very hardy for up north, and they should be used more for northern bonsai practitioners, as a good replacement for black pines. My only complaint is that mine are brittle, and where I can tie a pencil-sized jbp branch into a knot, the jrp will snap like a pencil at the thought.

This one has great bark, and with the grafts doing well, I'll repot it next spring into a more upright position and in 2013 really begin to compact the design:
Red Pine Grafts.jpg

This one has a sweet trunk, but needs a lot of years to become something decent. The cleft graft in the first left branch is now very strong. I did a little work on this one last month...documented, but not ready to share yet. Hint...it's MUCH SHORTER...
Red Pine 11 (3).jpg
 
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woodguy

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Brian,

That first tree has great bark. Are you grafting branches from the same tree?
 

tmmason10

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Nice looking material bvf. Dave, saw a nice jrp at ne bonsai I was thinking about going Jrp route instead of jbp. Maybe I'll wait for the summer selldown ha
 
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Ang3lfir3

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got to agree JRP are great for bonsai.... they haven't caught on as heavily in this country for a lot of reasons I am sure... but I can bet that the most common one is the proliferation of statements like "Japenese Black Pine are the kings of bonsai" which is silly and ridiculous ... unless by "kings of bonsai" you mean "most overly used, common place and often boring trees in bonsai" ...... with that being said.... I have about 20 of them that need to go in the ground and one expensive cascade on my bench so what does that tell you...

I also believe that access to JRP suitable for bonsai has been a bit of an issue until recently .... I believe CapnK has a bunch read from Telperion Farms...

It's great that you are working with them..... and I find it interesting that you chose literati as this is the most common design with JRP
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Brian,

That first tree has great bark. Are you grafting branches from the same tree?

Thanks, it does have great bark...and so far, along with a little potential, that's about it. They're approach grafts from the same tree, still attached. You can see an upper branch bent down to the first left branch. The first right branch has one grafted in from the back side. The second tree has a cleft graft into the first branch.
 
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tanlu

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Thanks for posting these photos Brian. That bark on the first photo is already starting to look ancient. I agree, they can be brittle, but I think it was said in another post that it depends on the seedling. I snapped a 3y/o seedling without even making any radical bends. Luckily it has several branches down low, one of which will become the new leader. I'm glad you pointed out that they are good trees for those of us living up north, which I consider anywhere north and west of New Jersey. My JWPs and JRPs seem to thrive here, while my JBP is a little slower this year than I expected.

Ang3lfir3, I couldn't agree more with everything that you said. I'm glad people on this thread are seeing things the way I do! JBP are overused. It's a combo of an obsession with monster trunks, wanting something that grows fast, and that is given the title "the King of bonsai". I was surprised when Colin Lewis at a club meeting/demo said that he couldn't understand why so many people liked JBP, due to the amount of work they require and the length of their needles. I chose literati for my JRP because not only is it the easiest style to achieve with this species, but I wanted to recreate what I saw in classical Chinese paintings. In fact, before the practice of bonsai even arrived in Japan, it was those mountain dwelling, windswept, weathered pines that not only inspired paintings, but also the original bonsai/penjing from the Tang and Song dynasties.

T
 
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Here is a Red pine dating from around 1966. I am in the process of restyling it and it is now a lot smaller.RIMG1822.JPG

I am also working on another two large red pines of a similar age and they are responding very well to fertilizing and candle pruning.

Grant
 

tanlu

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Grant,

This pine looks great! Did you have it imported? Do you treat it the same as JBP? Mine is just a sapling, but I'll post pics of it soon.

T
 
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Hi,

No this tree was grown from seed. It was a skinny tree that was bent over and bound to give it the semi cascade start in the early 70s and I aquired it 3 years ago.

Grant
 

tanlu

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DSCF1266.jpgDSCF1267.jpgDSCF1269.jpgDSCF1271.jpgDSCF1272.jpg

It's pretty far from anything, but I like the design. JRP can be brittle, so a gradual approach to bending is my strategy for getting the shape I want.

T
 
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