Nursery pine to bonsai - what first?

chansen

Shohin
Messages
349
Reaction score
312
Location
Salt Lake City, UT
USDA Zone
6a
I did something I haven't done in a long time. Crawled a nursery. I've been in grad school for two years after working for 3. Now that I'm back in the workforce I thought it was time to add something to the benches. I found two dwarf variety JBP with pretty decent trunks. One has a very easy to use trunk line. I believe my first order of business will be to get the tree out of the nursery soil and into bonsai soil (I use Boon's mix, but sometimes substitute turface for akadama based on availability). I plan on bare rooting 1/2 of the root ball next spring, and then the other half the next year. The trouble is, the trees are rather bushy at the moment, and I don't want to lose what interior growth there is. Since I'm still pretty new to pines, can I remove some un-wanted branches this fall and still repot in the spring? Would fall be the best time, or should I do it sooner? What's the best plan of attack for a nursery pine? I would attach a pic, but they look like any other 5 gallon nursery pine right now.

Thanks,
 

Brian Van Fleet

Pretty Fly for a Bonsai Guy
Messages
11,800
Reaction score
32,189
Location
B’ham, AL
USDA Zone
8A
You can remove unwanted branches now and still repot in the spring, just be prepared for it to bleed a little; sealing the cuts will reduce that.

Don't stick too closely to bare-rooting one half this time and the other half next year (you shouldn't repot every year). Once you get into it, just try to get most of the soil out from the bottom, work your way up, and leave some soil attached to the remaining "skirt" of feeder roots. When you repot, screen some of the old nursery soil and add a little back in to your new soil to inoculate the pot with the beneficial mycorrhizal fungi.
 

biglou13

Mame
Messages
105
Reaction score
2
Location
ne florida
rule 1 . keep it alive.

rule 2. work on feet/nebari

3. keep it alive.

4. maintain and or encourage low branching. including pruning to facilitate low branching. which may mean waiting untill fall to trim back this years growth to facilitate back back budding.

5. feed it feed it feed it. give it plenty of sun.

i'd loosen root ball a little and slip pot it into a "grow mix" not finished tree and in a smart pot.

it will most likely have large tap root. IN EARLY SPRING! This must be dealt with during repot. i havent done it yet but if any of my trees have taps left, when i repot this spring have any tap left will get the "hose clamp" treatment..

what is caliper? how high is first branch? are healthy? where do you live.? can you give lots of sun?
any taper? pics are always welcome. how quicky does soil go from wet to dry? approx how old?

welcome to the JBP brotherhood.!

jason has mas JBP skills. (pictures dont lie)
 

chansen

Shohin
Messages
349
Reaction score
312
Location
Salt Lake City, UT
USDA Zone
6a
You can remove unwanted branches now and still repot in the spring, just be prepared for it to bleed a little; sealing the cuts will reduce that.

Don't stick too closely to bare-rooting one half this time and the other half next year (you shouldn't repot every year). Once you get into it, just try to get most of the soil out from the bottom, work your way up, and leave some soil attached to the remaining "skirt" of feeder roots. When you repot, screen some of the old nursery soil and add a little back in to your new soil to inoculate the pot with the beneficial mycorrhizal fungi.

Brian -

Thanks for the advice. I'll move forward with that plan.
 

Jason_mazzy

Chumono
Messages
693
Reaction score
3
Location
Hickory NC
Describe the hoseclamp technique for taproot (other than what i assume as putting on a hoseclamp). Why that over concave cutter?
 

pwk5017

Shohin
Messages
366
Reaction score
10
Location
Pittsburgh
USDA Zone
6/7
I assume its a much more mild form of "root pruning" The root eventually ground layers itself over the season, but you have the advantage of SLOWLY killing it off, instead of whacking it off and shocking the heck out of the tree in one shot. I have never had a taproot that large that it required clamping it.
 

Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
Messages
13,678
Reaction score
15,931
Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
5-6
I did something I haven't done in a long time. Crawled a nursery. I've been in grad school for two years after working for 3. Now that I'm back in the workforce I thought it was time to add something to the benches. I found two dwarf variety JBP with pretty decent trunks. One has a very easy to use trunk line. I believe my first order of business will be to get the tree out of the nursery soil and into bonsai soil (I use Boon's mix, but sometimes substitute turface for akadama based on availability). I plan on bare rooting 1/2 of the root ball next spring, and then the other half the next year. The trouble is, the trees are rather bushy at the moment, and I don't want to lose what interior growth there is. Since I'm still pretty new to pines, can I remove some un-wanted branches this fall and still repot in the spring? Would fall be the best time, or should I do it sooner? What's the best plan of attack for a nursery pine? I would attach a pic, but they look like any other 5 gallon nursery pine right now.

Thanks,

What species of Pine are we dealing with here?
 

Adair M

Pinus Envy
Messages
13,321
Reaction score
30,358
Location
NEGeorgia
USDA Zone
7a
I would take a saw and cut half the rootball off flat. Then bare root half. Pot in an oversized pot. In a year or two, do it again, and bareroot the other half.
 

Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
Messages
13,678
Reaction score
15,931
Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
5-6
I would take a saw and cut half the rootball off flat. Then bare root half. Pot in an oversized pot. In a year or two, do it again, and bareroot the other half.

I don't disagree with this just as to when to do it, thus the question as to species.
 

chansen

Shohin
Messages
349
Reaction score
312
Location
Salt Lake City, UT
USDA Zone
6a
What species of Pine are we dealing with here?

Pinus deadus. I lost all my trees (maples, pines, junipers, elm, etc.) the winter/spring after these were purchased. I moved late fall of that year, and I believe I didn't adjust my overwintering/winter time watering enough for the change in micro climate. Even though I only moved about 10 miles, I moved from a heavily snowed on mountain bench area, to the middle of the valley. Add to that we had a very dry and unusually mild winter. I think a combination of drying out, and probably a few freeze/thaw cycles that we tend to get did them in. When I repotted them that spring, roots were white and fleshy. They looked good then, so I thought I was in the clear. I kept them in my unheated garage after the root work. I still rack my brain, trying to retrace every step, to see what I may have missed. It was a very, very depressing spring.

I've been saving for a trip up to Telperion Farms next month, but even with what I'll be able to bring back, I'll still be at about half of where I was.
 

Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
Messages
13,678
Reaction score
15,931
Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
5-6
Pinus deadus. I lost all my trees (maples, pines, junipers, elm, etc.) the winter/spring after these were purchased. I moved late fall of that year, and I believe I didn't adjust my overwintering/winter time watering enough for the change in micro climate. Even though I only moved about 10 miles, I moved from a heavily snowed on mountain bench area, to the middle of the valley. Add to that we had a very dry and unusually mild winter. I think a combination of drying out, and probably a few freeze/thaw cycles that we tend to get did them in. When I repotted them that spring, roots were white and fleshy. They looked good then, so I thought I was in the clear. I kept them in my unheated garage after the root work. I still rack my brain, trying to retrace every step, to see what I may have missed. It was a very, very depressing spring.

I've been saving for a trip up to Telperion Farms next month, but even with what I'll be able to bring back, I'll still be at about half of where I was.

That's a major bummer, sorry to hear it.
 

fourteener

Omono
Messages
1,476
Reaction score
1,591
Location
Duluth MN
USDA Zone
3
I've brought several trees home from nurseries where the roots girdled the tree and was choking it to death. I always repot things the first year before styling. I had a fir tree I was styling and it kept getting more and more weak. Spring 2011 I started digging around the rootball and two roots were were choking it to death.

Root health is the first issue. Healthy roots, healthy shoots.
 

october

Masterpiece
Messages
3,444
Reaction score
298
Location
Massachusetts
Pinus deadus. I lost all my trees (maples, pines, junipers, elm, etc.) the winter/spring after these were purchased. I moved late fall of that year, and I believe I didn't adjust my overwintering/winter time watering enough for the change in micro climate. Even though I only moved about 10 miles, I moved from a heavily snowed on mountain bench area, to the middle of the valley. Add to that we had a very dry and unusually mild winter. I think a combination of drying out, and probably a few freeze/thaw cycles that we tend to get did them in. When I repotted them that spring, roots were white and fleshy. They looked good then, so I thought I was in the clear. I kept them in my unheated garage after the root work. I still rack my brain, trying to retrace every step, to see what I may have missed. It was a very, very depressing spring.

I've been saving for a trip up to Telperion Farms next month, but even with what I'll be able to bring back, I'll still be at about half of where I was.

Sorry about this chasen. You mentioned you kept them in an unheated garage after repotting. Were there freezes? Usually trees need protection from cold after they are root pruned and repotted.

Rob
 

chansen

Shohin
Messages
349
Reaction score
312
Location
Salt Lake City, UT
USDA Zone
6a
Sorry about this chasen. You mentioned you kept them in an unheated garage after repotting. Were there freezes? Usually trees need protection from cold after they are root pruned and repotted.

Rob

We had a really warm winter that year, so I really doubt that they had any freezing temps in the garage. I didn't have my greenhouse/coldhouse set up yet, so that was the best I had at the time. The other wild card... not all trees were repotted. I had a couple trees that were in a more organic soil, but most were in a typical in-organic mix (Boon's mix). I dissected the trees post-mortem and found no signs of bugs or disease. I know I have pretty hard water, but there are others that get water from the same source that use the same soil mix that successfully keep their trees alive.
 

tmmason10

Omono
Messages
1,836
Reaction score
78
Location
North Attleboro, MA
USDA Zone
6b
Yeah I've actually noticed that I have had much less success when I haven't repotted trees as soon as I've purchased them. I agree with fourteener that that should be top priority when buying new stock.
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom