Multi-trunk black pine

Bonsai Nut

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An interesting tree currently for sale at Bonsai Hokaen. Can't say that I really like it - the trunks feel too straight and lack taper (for me). At any rate, it is an uncommon style for black pines.



 
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The real problem with the tree may not be the straightness of the trunks, some of which can be remedied, or even left that way since they all seem to agree. The problem is that the left hand trunk, which is the shortest, is also the largest diameter, something which may be unfixable in one career.
 

John Hill

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Chris depends which is the front ;-)
Those two outside trunks just may be to fatten the trunk and will be removed later? A Little late IMHO though.
 

Graydon

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Well... I love this tree. Would certainly make room on my bench anytime. Flawed or not - it's all good.

As far as the (L) trunk being larger than the main trunk - could one not allow some unchecked growth on the center trunk to get some girth increase going? Perhaps turning up a top branch and letting it go for several years and then cutting it off if and when the desired increase has happened?

Perhaps turn the larger trunk in to a jin of sorts... I don't know. I would love to hear some ideas as I do love multi trunked pines.

I agree the strait trunks could benefit from a little movement, nothing severe.
 
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Chris you mean the right,, right?

A Friend in bonsai
John
John, Of course! I was referring to the top photo in my post. Yes, it's way too late to start removing trunks, I think. This tree can be improved but I don't think I would spend the money it would take to buy it.
 

Vance Wood

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If someone was really interested and had the money to buy the tree as it is now there is a possibility. If you look at the tree and you have followed Pine techniques in the major publications you have probably come to the conclusion that this tree was created from an air layering at the top of a larger tree that was being chopped down to make a quality bonsai. It would be possible to air layer off one or two of the existing trunks and jin the remaining stubs. I know---When in wonder, when in doubt, air layer. But if anyone has a better idea I would like to hear it.

As the tree exists now the choices are not real good and will take decades to bear fruit.
 
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There are always options, in the virt below the option of a "ground layer" is shown.

Anyone care to work on the foliage, jin, and branches now?

Will
 

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Tachigi

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Will, Looks good thanks for taking the initiative. I am still not convinced even with it air layered that the trunk on the left is still acceptable part of this composition.
 

Graydon

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Super job Will! Now I really want it on my bench.

I keep staring at that "pesky trunk on the left" and I'm not convinced it's as large as we are perceiving it. If I look close and I think I see a branch coming off that trunk that in this photo near the bottom of that trunk. It appears that there may be a swelling at that node that is giving the illusion of girth that does not exist. At least in my mind.

If that is the worst part of this tree I would gladly experiment on trying to fix that trunk. That and Will's layer virtual. I bet one could do some careful carving to reduce this area and have it heal fairly soon in the scheme of things. I would first attempt to cut an area of bark and peel it back as a patch (cut on three sides but still attached by one side), remove some wood and replace the bark patch. Wrapping it in a grafting tape or raffia and keeping it moist would be the best chance for healing. If done well (and not by me) I bet it would be nearly undetectable.

I enjoy discussing issues like the problems with this tree. In the real world my trees have more flaws than good points so this thing would be a piece of... cake?
 

John Hill

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Will,
nice job indeed!
But think if this was your tree and in 10 to 20 years from now all those trunks at the bottom was to grow as one? The trunk on the left is a bit bigger now but will it be in the future? The middle trunk is now the main trunk and dominating one, now it is getting all the strength and will dominate. So in the future it will be a complete and different tree. The owner may be thinking along these lines thinking that his son or daughter will keep it going on. So just to look at a photo now may not mean that it will be the photo later?

A Friend in bonsai
John
 
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If someone was really interested and had the money to buy the tree as it is now there is a possibility. If you look at the tree and you have followed Pine techniques in the major publications you have probably come to the conclusion that this tree was created from an air layering at the top of a larger tree that was being chopped down to make a quality bonsai. It would be possible to air layer off one or two of the existing trunks and jin the remaining stubs. I know---When in wonder, when in doubt, air layer. But if anyone has a better idea I would like to hear it.

As the tree exists now the choices are not real good and will take decades to bear fruit.
What leads you to the conclusion that this is an air layer? The nebari alone would seem to me to be evidence to the contrary. And if we air layer two trunks, or even chop two, which two and how would you fix the strange swelling at the base?

So suppose you air or ground layer, as Will has shown. That would be an obvious jump in the quality and value of this tree. I suppose the middle trunk could be encouraged and the too-large one held back. Perhaps in a few years it would be a great tree. How long for the whole process? Ten years? More? Might be worth it.

And how much money would it take to buy this tree? Is there a price on the website? Would it be worth importing from Japan?
 
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Vance Wood

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What leads you to the conclusion that this is an air layer? The nebari alone would seem to me to be evidence to the contrary. And if we air layer two trunks, or even chop two, which two and how would you fix the strange swelling at the base?

So suppose you air or ground layer, as Will has shown. That would be an obvious jump in the quality and value of this tree. I suppose the middle trunk could be encouraged and the too-large one held back. Perhaps in a few years it would be a great tree. How long for the whole process? Ten years? More? Might be worth it.

And how much money would it take to buy this tree? Is there a price on the website? Would it be worth importing from Japan?
I don't know for sure that this tree is the product of an air layer but I remember quite a few years ago when an abundance of articles circled around concerning the Zuisho Japanese White Pine. There were several references and photos of trees that were to be reduced. Rather than simply cut the top out, the tops were air layered. It was this type of configuration that was the by product of that procedure. The oddly swollen base seems to add credence to this probability. Do I think the tree is worth the probable asking price to import from Japan. No, personally I have no interest in this particular tree. That does not mean that it may be of great value to someone else.
 
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Thanks for all the kind words on the virt!

Will,
nice job indeed!
But think if this was your tree and in 10 to 20 years from now all those trunks at the bottom was to grow as one? The trunk on the left is a bit bigger now but will it be in the future? The middle trunk is now the main trunk and dominating one, now it is getting all the strength and will dominate. So in the future it will be a complete and different tree. The owner may be thinking along these lines thinking that his son or daughter will keep it going on. So just to look at a photo now may not mean that it will be the photo later?
Hi John,

If this tree was kept in a proper sized bonsai pot and regularly pruned and trimmed, I don't think the problem of the trunks growing together would be a serious concern for a few lifetimes. The same would apply for the left trunk as I have never seen real significant trunk thickening occur in a bonsai pot, especially with pines. I think adding Shari and possibly a jin or three to the left trunk would greatly reduce the visual thickness now.

However, your words that "So just to look at a photo now may not mean that it will be the photo later?" could and does apply to any bonsai. Root restriction, root pruning, and constant trimming helps greatly to prolong the image we create, eventually trees must be reworked, but on well maintained trees, this usually means cutting back the branches whose tips have become too thick and regrowing the finer structure of ramification.

The quick virt I did above was focused on what to make of this tree now, just one of many options, I am sure. Another viable option would be to plant this into the ground after layering it and then bring the trunks into a closer relationship as far as thickness goes and to develop the new Nebari. Maybe remove one of the trunks and then after five or more years the tree could be reevaluated.

Am I correct in this?



Will
 

John Hill

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Hi Will,
Yes, you are right. I was just thinking out loud to see what came up? Maybe one to many wines ;-) I, like Chris would not spend the money for it either. But it is interesting.

A Friend in bonsai
John
 
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Oh, I wouldn't turn it down if offered, by no means, but 250 bucks could buy that new pot I have been eye balling lately. ;)



Will
 

John Hill

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I wonder if you was to remove that small branch that runs below the fat trunk on the right (if you was to use the second photo) then slightly shave the bark down that trunk then turn the tree so that right trunk is slightly towards the back. Just a thought? Then maybe pull it down just a bit? Boy I see this is going to take a whole bottle ;)

A Friend in bonsai
John
 

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Tachigi

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LOL John....could you do it with Will's virt now? :)
 
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I don't know for sure that this tree is the product of an air layer but I remember quite a few years ago when an abundance of articles circled around concerning the Zuisho Japanese White Pine. There were several references and photos of trees that were to be reduced. Rather than simply cut the top out, the tops were air layered. It was this type of configuration that was the by product of that procedure. The oddly swollen base seems to add credence to this probability. Do I think the tree is worth the probable asking price to import from Japan. No, personally I have no interest in this particular tree. That does not mean that it may be of great value to someone else.
But this is obviously no zuisho Japanese white pine, looks more like arakawa to me, but it's certainly Japanese black pine, which is not so forgiving to airl layering, although it can be done.
 

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