P. Strobus 'minima' - it has all the elements, but is there any hope?

0soyoung

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I really like Eastern white pine foliage, but the common opinion is that they are not worth the effort. Maybe so, but I found one of the miniature variety, 'Minima', that has needle lengths about half the norm for the species. This is the earliest photo I have of it

minima_2014-11-19.jpg

though I've been fiddling with it for a couple of years at this point. I was pondering ...
The tree contains all the requirements needed to make a beautiful bonsai, it just needs time and technique. So the real question is ....
"is there any hope of me getting it there"? But, this is the same question I have about every one of my trees.

So, having done my best to set a structure in 2014, I re-oriented it into another pot in 2015. After a couple of sessions wiring and trimming, here is how it looks now.

minimaA_2016-10-19.jpg

Turned a little bit counter clockwise better shows the beginnings of a foliage pad on the left and, I think, helps take attention away from the right side's present puff ball chaos. But, from this view

minimaB_2016-10-19.jpg

I see a pencil straight trunk up to a point where it abruptly curves left (and forward) whereas there's some curvature seen from the potted front - this may not matter.

Regardless of the front, the chaotic silouette of the branches that I've produced is 'grating' .:mad:

More time. More technique.
I still don't know. :confused:

But I've got lots of other trees posing the same question.
This is my idea fun these days. :p
 

Nybonsai12

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Coming along very nicely. Great needle color. How long are the needles in this variety?
 

Adair M

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Oso,

There's a couple things you could do:

1). Take it out of the bonsai pot and put it in a grow box and let a sacrifice branch to run to build a trunk.

2). When you plant it in the grow box, plant it deeper so that it's not mounded up. Your surface roots will develop side branches if they're covered up.

3). The trunk is pretty thin. But there are a bunch of heavy branches. In the long run, this is really going to be a problem. Eliminate some of those heavy branches. It appears there are some on the inside of the curves. Those should go first.

4). Bring order to the chaos. I see a bunch of branches that cross in front of the trunk. In fact I see a lot of branches with wire that are just going EVERY which way! Use the wire to bring order to the chaos. I suspect there are a lot of "chicken foot" branch structures. That is, a main branch, then two side branches with the main line continuing. The side branches should alternate, left, right, left, right.

5). The "puff ball" effect: generally speaking, you don't want needles growing downwards. Or hanging below the woody structure of the branch. Proper wiring helps a lot. See my post in the "Resources" section about using "fishhooks" to support the lower needles so that they don't hang.

Create layers of pads.

Here's my JBP:

IMG_0396.JPG

See how below the pad, it's flat? You can see a bit of the supporting branch, but all the green is above? That's what you want. All the pads have that.

6). Movement in the trunk. If you want to impart movement, now is the time. Using rebar and blocks, or a jack and guy wires... if you ever want to bend the trunk, it will never be easier than right now.

The foliage of your tree could make a nice tree. It will take a while, but it's got great potential!
 

Djtommy

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Does this tree backbud?
I think you have 2 ways to go.
Grow it out with sacrifebranches and build up trunk or accept the fact its a skinny trunk (which is what i would do) and design it as such, meaning get rid of this thick branches.
With a thin trunk you want skinny branches but foliage should be close to the trunk. Is there a possibility for that?
 

Wilson

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I am seeing a nice future for this pine, even with the straight trunk. It actually has a great natural shape to it, much like the old growth white pine around here. The trunks often are straight in the bottom 1/2 or 2/3 and bent at the crown. the lower branches usually die off and give a beautiful weathered look to the tree, Like @sorce said, stick with it, and keep workin it!
 

0soyoung

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Does this tree backbud?
I think you have 2 ways to go.
Grow it out with sacrifebranches and build up trunk or accept the fact its a skinny trunk (which is what i would do) and design it as such, meaning get rid of this thick branches.
With a thin trunk you want skinny branches but foliage should be close to the trunk. Is there a possibility for that?
That is the core of the problem with this tree and virtually all strobus I've seen: skinny trunk, thick branches with foliage only at the ends. It does not back bud at all (I exaggerate as this tree popped one last spring). The ends of a few branches bifurcate into two thin branches (with foliage at their ends), but there are very few thin branches coming off the trunk (the situation, I think, is fairly clear in the first photo).

I agree with you about the options. Since it doesn't back bud, thickening the trunk is about the only option possible for this particular tree. In 2014, I could not see to what possible end, so I timed out for this 'exploration' and (now) a little discussion. ;) When I started, I was enthralled with the idea of making the foliage into a thin veil over the branches and trunk, mimicking what I like so much about the foliage of arboreal specimens. Now that is out of my system (pfew! I don't think it would work out even with an outstanding trunk and branch structure underneath).


Thick branches on a skinny trunk = poor material.
More time and more technique can change that, but the real question remains ...

EDIT ADD: I haven't yet thought about 'laying it down' in the fashion of many JWP: making the foliage everything and only showing a branch or two - a mound of foliage with a semi-cascading branch.
 
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0soyoung

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I am seeing a nice future for this pine, even with the straight trunk. It actually has a great natural shape to it, much like the old growth white pine around here. The trunks often are straight in the bottom 1/2 or 2/3 and bent at the crown. the lower branches usually die off and give a beautiful weathered look to the tree, Like @sorce said, stick with it, and keep workin it!
Would you happen to have a pic to share, by chance?
Regardless, a thicker trunk than I have now would be a good thing in your opinion - right?
 

Potawatomi13

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Considering what seems to be just visible graft union all trunk size possible would be great to help hide;).
 

Giga

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Hey another person that has venture into this species - I have a 'Blue globe' one that has done pretty well for me
 

Giga

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Here's a spring picture - haven't done any fall work yet
IMG_3326.JPG
 

0soyoung

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Here's a spring picture - haven't done any fall work yet
View attachment 120741
I see that you've been successful in keeping the foliage from running away from the trunk. You must have been focused on that from the get-go :D; I fiddly farted around for too long and am now paying the piper (if I'd only known then what I know now) :(.
 

Adair M

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The other issue with White pines is they are just so slow to produce mature bark. They keep that smooth grey bark 20 to 30 years!
 

Giga

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I see that you've been successful in keeping the foliage from running away from the trunk. You must have been focused on that from the get-go :D; I fiddly farted around for too long and am now paying the piper (if I'd only known then what I know now) :(.
That and I'm religious in my fertilizer regime in fall and in spring I cut candles back to just two pair of needles on the outside of the silhouette. I have back budding but it nothing like other pines or even my JWP- they are a moody pine
 

Diolated

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I'm hoping to get some back-budding on a Strobus I collected this fall. It's got great natural taper (though not a ton of movement) that the photos just don't do justice. It'll be a really cool tree in a five or ten years if/when I can get some back budding to shorten the branches, but it'll be a long and slow process based on my experience with other ewp, and might involve some grafting. The bark at the base of the trunk is just starting to get flaky, so I peg this tree around 20-30 years old.
 

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GGB

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I'm hoping to get some back-budding on a Strobus I collected this fall. It's got great natural taper (though not a ton of movement) that the photos just don't do justice. It'll be a really cool tree in a five or ten years if/when I can get some back budding to shorten the branches, but it'll be a long and slow process based on my experience with other ewp, and might involve some grafting. The bark at the base of the trunk is just starting to get flaky, so I peg this tree around 20-30 years old.
I find the branches on these things are so flexible they can be grafted to themselves.
 

augustine

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If you like the look and foliage of p. strobus you can always use p. strobiformis or Southwestern white pine. I have one, it's not much to look at yet but it does backbud like crazy and a strong grower. I got it from Brent at Evergreen Gardenworks but it is no longer listed in his catalog. However it's easy to find in other online nurseries. (Brent's description mentioned something like he believed it had good potential for a larger bonsai.) Needles will reduce to about 1-3/4". For a pine it is a fast grower. Nice plant to grow.
 

aml1014

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If you like the look and foliage of p. strobus you can always use p. strobiformis or Southwestern white pine. I have one, it's not much to look at yet but it does backbud like crazy and a strong grower. I got it from Brent at Evergreen Gardenworks but it is no longer listed in his catalog. However it's easy to find in other online nurseries. (Brent's description mentioned something like he believed it had good potential for a larger bonsai.) Needles will reduce to about 1-3/4". For a pine it is a fast grower. Nice plant to grow.
Strobiformis are sweet, I plan to collect a few next spring. Have you see the big cascade that has been in the nationals show?
Badass tree!

Aaron
 
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