My Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) Experiment

Antony82

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Just thought this be a good thread to document my journey over the long haul with others also trying to grow and care for one of these ancient mountain pines in conditions not found in nature. I'm sure if we work together and share ideas we stand a better chance at defying the odds. If worse comes to worst future prospects will learn from our mistakes.

Jan 31, 2022, Day 1 Got and Soaked 6 seeds
Day 2, 3 sunk to the bottom and were planted
Jan 16, 2022: 1 Seed Sprouted! I'm a proud Papa!
Feb 20, 2022, Discovered Air pruning Benefits
Feb 22, 2022, They mature so quickly!

More to come! Not sure If I can continue to edit the original post or not so newcomers can get the full story...
 

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Deep Sea Diver

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Good job. Hoping this little guy makes it!

You usually have about 15 minutes to edit a post and about 5 min to edit a PM.

Cheers
DSD sends
 

Antony82

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Bristlecones favorite personal trees🤗. Personally would plant them all. Curious how tree sprouted 13 days before planted😁? Please add location to profile for best advice.
crap date mix-up to late to fox it now maybe a admin can.
 

Arnold

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They are extremely slow growing right? I would assume also extremely prone to dumping off to excess humidity, so good luck
 
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Just thought this be a good thread to document my journey over the long haul with others also trying to grow and care for one of these ancient mountain pines in conditions not found in nature. I'm sure if we work together and share ideas we stand a better chance at defying the odds. If worse comes to worst future prospects will learn from our mistakes.

Jan 31, 2022, Day 1 Got and Soaked 6 seeds
Day 2, 3 sunk to the bottom and were planted
Jan 16, 2022: 1 Seed Sprouted! I'm a proud Papa!
Feb 20, 2022, Discovered Air pruning Benefits
Feb 22, 2022, They mature so quickly!

More to come! Not sure If I can continue to edit the original post or not so newcomers can get the full story...
I to plan on growing this year . I’m Canadian so had trouble finding a seed source that will import here (covid) but there coming did you cold stratify the seeds . My understanding is they are not easy at lower elevations extreme slow growing and hard to work with long internodes . Easily dies from root rot . My plan is very free draining aggregate for soil full sun ( on the house roof which I can access 40 feet in the air and breezy ) which they suffer without and long repots from the research I’ve done the required cold will be easy here in Canada. At latter date may attempt grafting it to Pinus strobus. For more stable roots and faster growth most give up trying to bonsai. But the oldest tree in the world and the shortest pine needles keeps calling got to try
 

Colorado

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I have a little nursery stock bristlecone. Seems to be a vigorous species so far. Good luck!
 

Arnold

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Honestly the best way would be a grafted tree, it will grow faster and you dont have to be so careful about water
 

MaciekA

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They are extremely slow growing right?

They're adapted to environments where they can grow slowly and outcompete other species, but if brought down to normal elevations and placed in a human horticultural context, nice soil, regular watering, fertilizer, they grow pretty darn fast. There are quite a few in the Oregon burbs that grow at a decent pace. I have one in a nursery can that puts on a decent amount of growth annually and wouldn't say it's much slower (if slower at all) than any other strobus-like pine species. Good budding behavior too.
 

MaciekA

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Slower growing doesn't mean glacial and it doesn't mean it grows as slow as the ones at super high elevation. Look at the shoots on the one in this video:


And that's in Wyoming. In Oregon they can rev up quite nicely. Underappreciated species. Density/budding is excellent, bark is awesome-looking.
 

Wulfskaar

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I've been growing some Pinus aristata (Rocky Mtn Bristlecone) from seeds at 900 ft elevation and they seem to be doing great. They are growing about as fast as my JBP.
 

Ohmy222

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dont they keep their needles for years? wonder how you would work around that in bonsai.
 
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Slower growing doesn't mean glacial and it doesn't mean it grows as slow as the ones at super high elevation. Look at the shoots on the one in this video:


And that's in Wyoming. In Oregon they can rev up quite nicely. Underappreciated species. Density/budding is excellent, bark is awesome-looking.
If they grow as fast as JBP that’s encouraging . Still thunk will end up with a grafted tree to be really successful but have to grow something to graft with first . . Seed seems only thing I can find to purchase that will ship here I think my biggest struggle will be the short growing season and high humidity of where I live near Ottawa ont Canada
 

Antony82

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I to plan on growing this year . I’m Canadian so had trouble finding a seed source that will import here (covid) but there coming did you cold stratify the seeds . My understanding is they are not easy at lower elevations extreme slow growing and hard to work with long internodes . Easily dies from root rot . My plan is very free draining aggregate for soil full sun ( on the house roof which I can access 40 feet in the air and breezy ) which they suffer without and long repots from the research I’ve done the required cold will be easy here in Canada. At latter date may attempt grafting it to Pinus strobus. For more stable roots and faster growth most give up trying to bonsai. But the oldest tree in the world and the shortest pine needles keeps calling got to try
Thanks for your suggestions. I been reading a lot about how these trees suffer from root rot, fungal problems, and weak roots too. I’m currently planning just to keep mine in air rooted pots and a high lava rock soil mixture or something that doesn’t break down very easily so I don’t have to disturb the roots very often. But as you can tell currently I’m just using a conifer bonsai soil mix I was just kinda anxious to get started. I know in their native environment it’s mostly just shale which I can get Expanded shale soil conditioners, but idk still researching what would be best soil to avoid root issues, I’m not overly concerned about mimicking all their crappy environmental conditions unless it is absolutely necessary for survival. I don’t know if the elevation matters all that much I’m sure it does help to avoid pest, but I can’t see how it’s essential for tree’s survival whatsoever. From what I can tell these plants are a pioneer species and don’t complete well against others and I think that is main reason they are usually found in such crap locations. Any advice is totally welcome for consideration.
 

Antony82

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Honestly the best way would be a grafted tree, it will grow faster and you dont have to be so careful about water
I thought about this too, but I have had a hard time finding one. Perhaps I could graft my Bristlecone to a species of pine closely related to it with less root issues. I think it’s kind of hard to find these trees in cuttings I did look online for some with zero luck. I don’t mind growing my own tree though then I have complete control over it and nice to have step-fathered it. But to be honest I’d probably fear risking killing it in a tree graft. Maybe I’ll grow more before I put my first born at risk
 
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The high elevation plants not just these trees suffer at lower elevations . My understanding is you have very high light and radiation levels often cold air temp often windy and dry most plants from such conditions suffer at lower levels I believe . Mostly because of these 3 So you need all the light you can get ambient humidity most alpine experts think is the biggest problem . Wind lots of air movement should help ( pure sun and breeze away from moist earth is reason I’m going with my roof) large pot for development and root cooling they survive on little water and nutrients look at there small resin covered water saving foliage but they should respond to heavy nutrition as long as there roots are not wet I’ll go with 75 percent sifted granite lava hard to get here rest pine or hemlock bark probable larger pieces than I normally use For longevity but like I said should respond to heavy feeding that’s my plan winter froze solid un heated garage no light zone 4
 
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Reason for grafting is once you have bristle cone growing. Scion young shoot from BC very low graft ( so nebori will eventually hide the graft ) root stock something that will thrive and grow vigorously in more nutrient Rich soil this is why the Japanese graft white pine to black pine root stock increase vigor from black roots and stronger green colour foliage JWP on native roots Foliage is not as dark green and turns somewhat yellow in winter and grows slower I do not know what exactly you can graft to what but am thinking Pinus strobes North American pine rootstock ( 5 needle pine and one of the fastest growing pines
 

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