Next Pine Purchase

Hawke84

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Hi all,
So I am looking to purchase a larger pine to add to my collection, this will be the most ive spent on a single tree so im slightly nervous. I've narrowed it down to 2 trees and would love to hear your feedback.
I'm leaning towards Pine 2 more as it looks more striking and the trunk line is clearer but i'd be interested if anyone has spotted anything i havent.
thanks :)

Pine 1
Pine 1.jpg

Pine 2
Pine 2.jpg
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I’d go for the second one.

The first one could be a better tree by reducing the height, but the first branch emerges from the front of the trunk and that will never be good.

The second tree has decent movement and better branch placement. The grafts on both are pretty high, but the first 2 branches give you opportunities to conceal the transition.
 

Hawke84

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thank you this was my thoughts. i want one that is grafted, they have some on their own root stock but for my skill level i want to vigor of having them on JBP roots. I didnt consider the first branch on Pine 1 but that is a really good point
 

penumbra

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I’d go for the second one.

The first one could be a better tree by reducing the height, but the first branch emerges from the front of the trunk and that will never be good.

The second tree has decent movement and better branch placement. The grafts on both are pretty high, but the first 2 branches give you opportunities to conceal the transition.
Good call.
 

Nybonsai12

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I'd go for the one on it's own roots without a doubt. Less common on their own roots, no graft union to hide, no difference in bark between upper and lower trunk, nice subtle movement on that one, not the manufactured bends that are so common on JWP grafted onto JBP. Go big or go home.
 

Zach2

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I vote for #3 of you are willing to pay for it. Wouldn't consider #1 for the reason Brian identified.
 

Adair M

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double the price but its on its own root stock and looks much more established. i guess you do get what you pay for
The third one looks like it’s a Kokonoe. I would FAR rather have a Kokonoe on its own roots. The other trees are nice, but are not near the quality of the third!
 

leatherback

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@Adair M do you have any insight in the climatic requirements for the third one? I do not know the term kokonoe; Is is a JWP variety?

I have just a few weeks ago compared JWP on their own roots to those grafted on black pine. The grafted ones are healthier by miles, and this was in a professional nursery, someone who has been growing bonsai for decades at serious level. So I wonder whether non-grafted is a risk, and whether a kokonoe (?) is easier in this regards? Also considering the OP is in the UK, which is not the driest place in terms of precipitation. (Good air humidity, which would be a positive, I suppose?)
 
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Hawke84

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@Adair M do you have any insight in the climatic requirements for the third one? I do not know the term kokonoe; Is is a JWP variety?

I have just a few weeks ago compares JWP on their own roots to those grafted on black pine. They grafted ones are healthier by miles, and this was in a professional nursery, someone who has been growing bonsai for decades at serious level. So I wonder whether non-grafted it a risk, and whether a kokonoe (?) is easier in this regards? Also considering the OP is in the UK, which is not the driest place in terms of precipitation. (Good air humidity, which would be a positive, I suppose?)
this is my biggest worry. I know non-grafted are less hardy but is this going to be to a point where i really struggle to look after it and its health declines. I have only ever dealt with grafts before and the graft union always puts me off so this 3rd one is tempting but i dont want to kill it.

it will be by far the most expensive tree in my collection
 

Adair M

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@Adair M do you have any insight in the climatic requirements for the third one? I do not know the term kokonoe; Is is a JWP variety?

I have just a few weeks ago compared JWP on their own roots to those grafted on black pine. The grafted ones are healthier by miles, and this was in a professional nursery, someone who has been growing bonsai for decades at serious level. So I wonder whether non-grafted is a risk, and whether a kokonoe (?) is easier in this regards? Also considering the OP is in the UK, which is not the driest place in terms of precipitation. (Good air humidity, which would be a positive, I suppose?)
Yes, Kokonoe is a particular cultivar of Japanese Five Needle Pine, also known as Japanese White Pine. There are two cultivars if JWP that can easily be propagated by airlayering: Kokonoe, and Zuisho. They are both considered to be dwarf varieties. Zuisho has slightly shorter needles. They both have shorter needles than most JWP. They can also be propagated by cuttings, but the “take rate” is very low, around 5%. They were discovered in Japan by Mr Suzuki in the 1930’s, I believe. Initially, they were propagated by grafting, but later, it was discovered they could be layered so they can grow on their own roots.

I have no idea if the third tree is a Kokonoe. It looks like one. I have one, and the foliage looks similiar.

As for grafts vs “on their own” roots....

Most JWP seedlings have poor foliage. Compared to the grafted JWP trees we see as bonsai, their foliage is longer, coarser, longer internodes, needles can be curly, or twisted or droopy. The grafted JWP were selected because of their superior foliage: short, tight tufts, blue, short internodes, straight fat needles, etc.

Therefore, when you compare a JWP “on its own roots” (I.e. a seedling) to a grafted JWP, the seedling looks really inferior. If the expectation is it would look like the grafted tree, it looks “weak” in comparison.

There are many grafted cultivars of JWP. I have a friend who have over 30 different grafted cultivars. I have 6 different cultivars, including Kokonoe and Zuisho.

The key to being successful with JWP is good draining soil, regardless of whether they are grafted or not. I give mine full sun. They don’t mind summer heat as long as they get a good winter chill. I don’t fertilize in the spring or early summer, but I do fertilize in the fall. If I were to fertilize in the growing season, I would get long needles and long internodes. I don’t want that. I wait until the sheaths have completely vanished, and the needles hardened off before I fertilize. I do give them some of Julian Adams “micronutrients” in the early spring. Here is one of my grafted JWP:

DE3D68FC-3A64-49F8-8802-634F8DBB4476.jpeg

The tree on the left is a Zuisho, by the way. You can see that it has shorter needles than the tall tree in the center.
 

Hawke84

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@Adair M thank you, great post which I've read 3 time to digest. I always trust your advice.
So are you saying it's more perception and on younger trees that the graft Vs on roots that grafts appear stronger?

I'm ok caring for bonsai but my most expensive tree is a few hundred £ so less of a big deal to loose it. I've handled JWP and grafted JWP before but never JWP on own roots which is my anxiety.

Are the care requirements pretty much the same for graft and non graft then?
 

Adair M

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Yes, Kokonoe is a particular cultivar of Japanese Five Needle Pine, also known as Japanese White Pine. There are two cultivars if JWP that can easily be propagated by airlayering: Kokonoe, and Zuisho. They are both considered to be dwarf varieties. Zuisho has slightly shorter needles. They both have shorter needles than most JWP. They can also be propagated by cuttings, but the “take rate” is very low, around 5%. They were discovered in Japan by Mr Suzuki in the 1930’s, I believe. Initially, they were propagated by grafting, but later, it was discovered they could be layered so they can grow on their own roots.

I have no idea if the third tree is a Kokonoe. It looks like one. I have one, and the foliage looks similiar.

As for grafts vs “on their own” roots....

Most JWP seedlings have poor foliage. Compared to the grafted JWP trees we see as bonsai, their foliage is longer, coarser, longer internodes, needles can be curly, or twisted or droopy. The grafted JWP were selected because of their superior foliage: short, tight tufts, blue, short internodes, straight fat needles, etc.

Therefore, when you compare a JWP “on its own roots” (I.e. a seedling) to a grafted JWP, the seedling looks really inferior. If the expectation is it would look like the grafted tree, it looks “weak” in comparison.

There are many grafted cultivars of JWP. I have a friend who have over 30 different grafted cultivars. I have 6 different cultivars, including Kokonoe and Zuisho.

The key to being successful with JWP is good draining soil, regardless of whether they are grafted or not. I give mine full sun. They don’t mind summer heat as long as they get a good winter chill. I don’t fertilize in the spring or early summer, but I do fertilize in the fall. If I were to fertilize in the growing season, I would get long needles and long internodes. I don’t want that. I wait until the sheaths have completely vanished, and the needles hardened off before I fertilize. I do give them some of Julian Adams “micronutrients” in the early spring. Here is one of my grafted JWP:

View attachment 245970

The tree on the left is a Zuisho, by the way. You can see that it has shorter needles than the tall tree in the center.
Actually, I have 7 different JWP. I forgot about this one, my “semi-cascade exposed root” JWP. It appears to be a seedling.

32D3E0E9-DDD5-4020-9271-FA8555EF44B2.jpeg

Look at the needles. They’re longish, thin, not fat, a bit droopy, not as tight clustered as some others I’ve seen. They’re rather pale green in color.

I’m hoping that everything will “tighten up”. I purchased this one last year at the Nationals. I wanted a “semicascade exposed root JWP”, and this was available. Hopefully, after a couple years in my care it will produce a good image. (Or maybe not!)
 

Adair M

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@Adair M thank you, great post which I've read 3 time to digest. I always trust your advice.
So are you saying it's more perception and on younger trees that the graft Vs on roots that grafts appear stronger?

I'm ok caring for bonsai but my most expensive tree is a few hundred £ so less of a big deal to loose it. I've handled JWP and grafted JWP before but never JWP on own roots which is my anxiety.

Are the care requirements pretty much the same for graft and non graft then?
Yes, the basic care is the same. One mistake people with young grafted trees make is to pump the fertilizer into them. This only makes the difference between the stock and scion MORE apparent as the stock fattens up faster than the scion. (Assuming JBP stock and JWP scion).

JWP juvenile bark is persistent for 20+ years. There’s just nothing you can do but wait. And at 20, that’s when the tree BEGINS to flake off the juvenile bark. It takes a decade for it to transition from smooth to flaky. At that point, it BEGINS to transition from flaky to plated. Again, it takes another decade before it looks plated. So, at a minimum, a JWP has to get to be around 40 years old to have the bark that a 10 year old JBP will have! And, actually, it’s really more like 50 years!

So, going back and looking at the third tree, we see it has flaky, but almost but not quite plated bark. That puts it at around 40 to 50 years old!

Trees 1 and 2 are probably in their late teens, I’d say.

Again, soil is key. Well draining soil.
 

Hawke84

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Yes, the basic care is the same. One mistake people with young grafted trees make is to pump the fertilizer into them. This only makes the difference between the stock and scion MORE apparent as the stock fattens up faster than the scion. (Assuming JBP stock and JWP scion).

JWP juvenile bark is persistent for 20+ years. There’s just nothing you can do but wait. And at 20, that’s when the tree BEGINS to flake off the juvenile bark. It takes a decade for it to transition from smooth to flaky. At that point, it BEGINS to transition from flaky to plated. Again, it takes another decade before it looks plated. So, at a minimum, a JWP has to get to be around 40 years old to have the bark that a 10 year old JBP will have! And, actually, it’s really more like 50 years!

So, going back and looking at the third tree, we see it has flaky, but almost but not quite plated bark. That puts it at around 40 to 50 years old!

Trees 1 and 2 are probably in their late teens, I’d say.

Again, soil is key. Well draining soil.
Thank you for your great advice.
Next question - how do I get my Mrs to let me buy this....
 
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