Pinus Nigra Hornibrookianna

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So the difficulty with visiting a nursery comes when one finds a dwarf cultivar compact bushy pine with slender taper from 3 inch base to top within 30 inches. The trunk is very suited to a formal upright style with enough branch choices to start with. It is a black pine variety that is rated to zone 4 according to the nursery. Austrian Black Pine, red/gray plated bark with a normally globus habit. Time to experiment. The candles are just beginning to move so i will repot to Bonsai soil as the first step on the journey. The extent will depend on what i find below. The tree is very healthy so likely 1/2 HBR. Hoping to be able to transition to an Andersen flat. I have never worked with this variety and i think it is good to explore new options. The needles are shorter than the normal black pine. And it is not grafted. The nursery owner slip potted it 2 weeks ago into a larger container.
The last thing i needed was another black pine. My excuse is that>>>>>>>>>>>>. Sorry cannot think of one.
 

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Step One
I repotted the tree today to an Anderson Flat. It was in a fifteen gallon nursery pot. Found lots of dead roots on the bottom. Removed all the nursery soil from center bottom and combed out the sides. Will not work the tree or remove any foliage until it is clearly recovered from repotting. Likely this fall. Pleased with the flare and root system found when repotted. This will be my experimental tree for seeing how this variety responds.
 

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Step One
I repotted the tree today to an Anderson Flat. It was in a fifteen gallon nursery pot. Found lots of dead roots on the bottom. Removed all the nursery soil from center bottom and combed out the sides. Will not work the tree or remove any foliage until it is clearly recovered from repotting. Likely this fall. Pleased with the flare and root system found when repotted. This will be my experimental tree for seeing how this variety responds.
First Observations on this species.
1. Takes longer to bark up than JBP. This tree is 15 plus years, still smooth bark.
2. Produces finer roots below soil line on the trunk quite easily. There was numerous fine roots all round the base below the soil line.
3. Definitely a dwarf conifer variety, base is 3 inches overall height of trunk is 30 inches with gradual taper to top. No sign of damage or reduction in height.
4. Compact foliage, needle length shorter than JBP and JRP. Also this specimen appears to have shorter needles than standard Pinus Nigra.
5. Back budding is apparent on branches that were previously cut back.
Things i would like to find out.
Will the variety multi-flush? ( implications for speed of refinement)
How readily will the variety back bud? ( implications for needle size and styling options)
When the tree is vigorous, try candle pinching on some branches and decandling on others! As i still whish to work on a formal upright style, the branches chosen for eventual removal will be decandled and the ones selected for styling will be either cut back or have candle pinching ( partial cutting of candle ). After studying the response the ones chosen for removal can be removed but in the meantime there size will not continue to have adverse affects on the trunk. This process will be the safest in case the tree will not multi-flush.
 

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Under development. Have reduced and eliminated some branches. Selected primary branches and wired for direction, not movement. Selected new apical branch and wired in position. Will take a picture and post when i get the chance. I am using a staged removal process with stumps left behind and some smaller sacrificial branches left to help heal scars of bigger branches removed. Top wil require further reduction to final shape but i wish to strengthen the apical leader first before cutting back that area. Tree is healthy and responding well to the work so far.
 

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Thanks, I bought one recently that is a real leaner but heavy with foliage and branches. I did the usual cleanup and initial removal of excess branches at whorls then mulched it for the winter (we hit 23 last night). Now I have until March to figure out how to develop this one. Looking at your posts for inspiration.
 

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Thanks, I bought one recently that is a real leaner but heavy with foliage and branches. I did the usual cleanup and initial removal of excess branches at whorls then mulched it for the winter (we hit 23 last night). Now I have until March to figure out how to develop this one. Looking at your posts for inspiration.
LOL not sure if mine will look like much for about five years. Mine has some of the same whorl issues and i am looking to improve the taper near the top considerably. Suspect the whorl issues will be present in all of this species unless raised for Bonsai from a very young age. I can tell you that i was able to bend the branches down directly close to the trunk using chopsticks anchored with electrical ties to the branch. Then lowering the whole branch to the desired angle and wiring in place. The small fissures that opened on the top edge of some branches i sealed with cut paste. The anderson flat was useful for anchoring the wire. Simple to drill a hole in the lip where needed. As i stated before i kept extra branches to help heal in spots where i removed the thickest branches as not suitable for final design. The extras were also kept at this point for more foliage to aid in recovery and strength for dormancy.
 

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So i found a couple of pictures to illustrate the beginning steps. The first two pictures show the Pinus Nigra Hornibrookiana after initial branch selection, new apex selection. The tree responded with some new buds this summer and i expect it will be fairly easy to reduce the branches and fill in the interior over time. Wiring for some movement and downward direction will occur this winter!
The last picture illustrates the method that i use for creating a change of direction on the branch close to the trunk, rather than a looping downward effect caused by just wire on the branch. The tree in the last picture is a spruce that i am training for formal upright as well. Late last night i mixed up which was the last step i took with which tree.;)
 

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These trees really do have a tendency to push out a lot of branches at interndes and create major whorls. I am trying to cut mine back to no more that 2 horizontal branches and 1 extension but it is difficult. So far mine has no gross bulges created by the excessive branching. Fortunatlely I have enough to do what is necessary without overthinning. I just watched all of Nigel Saunders Youtube videos on his Austrian pine and he showed lots of back budding so there is hope that once the sun hits the branches they will produce as well. That and some judicious and timely candle pinching/cuttnig. Gotta watch Ryan Neil’s pine videos again.
 

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My take is that reduction to two will be too much. Not sure that Ryan Neil actually has any experience with this species. But then i have to admit i have never watched any of his productions. Just rely on the information and training of my teachers.
 

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I was referring to his discussion of developing two flush vs single flush pines, I haven’t seen anytning from him on Austrian pine either. I still have one whorl with at least 4 lateral branches that I was planning to cut down to only three but may keep the fourth one a while as a scrificial branch. Mine is a P. nigra “Helga” variety grown at Iseli in Orgegon. The trunk is 3-4” across and the needles are a besutiful dark green with lots of very vigorus looking buds ready for the spring. Some branches have as many as 8 terminal buds on them. I would shoot some photos but I would have to dig it out of the mulch bed to get to it. I’ll make sure to shoot photos next spring when I pull it out for the season. I had planned to do that but the cold front threatened and I placed a higher priority on getting them into winter quarters. As many have suggested I plan to treat it like a single flush pine and see what kind of back budding I get. If it disappoints it may end up in as part of the landscape.
 

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I was referring to his discussion of developing two flush vs single flush pines, I haven’t seen anytning from him on Austrian pine either. I still have one whorl with at least 4 lateral branches that I was planning to cut down to only three but may keep the fourth one a while as a scrificial branch. Mine is a P. nigra “Helga” variety grown at Iseli in Orgegon. The trunk is 3-4” across and the needles are a besutiful dark green with lots of very vigorus looking buds ready for the spring. Some branches have as many as 8 terminal buds on them. I would shoot some photos but I would have to dig it out of the mulch bed to get to it. I’ll make sure to shoot photos next spring when I pull it out for the season. I had planned to do that but the cold front threatened and I placed a higher priority on getting them into winter quarters. As many have suggested I plan to treat it like a single flush pine and see what kind of back budding I get. If it disappoints it may end up in as part of the landscape.
My approach will be to treat the species as single flush. The only dissapointment will be if my skills fail to develop the tree to its potential as i selected one with the basic foundation for excellence. Waiting for the appropriate timing is always a wise decision in bonsai. I often forget to photograph a particular stage and only realise it was important when someone asks for clarification. The journey is the real thing,
 

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When I got mnie about a month ago I did the initial cleanup and selective prining to remove excess branches, then left it alone. However upon reading a lot on the internet and watching various videos I get the impression that I should also remove terminal buds down to two per branch tip. This begs the question is it too late now to do that? Also would it be OK to leave them until spring then choose from those that made it through the winter instead of assuming the two I keep will actually survive the winter? I would think as long as the tree is dormant it wouldn’t matter when they are removed jsut as long as I do it before they start to expand next spring.
 

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When I got mnie about a month ago I did the initial cleanup and selective prining to remove excess branches, then left it alone. However upon reading a lot on the internet and watching various videos I get the impression that I should also remove terminal buds down to two per branch tip. This begs the question is it too late now to do that? Also would it be OK to leave them until spring then choose from those that made it through the winter instead of assuming the two I keep will actually survive the winter? I would think as long as the tree is dormant it wouldn’t matter when they are removed jsut as long as I do it before they start to expand next spring.
It Depends! LOL i love that line.
First off, of course you can wait till spring, not a bad idea.
Second, depending on the branch and the condition of the tree you will likely choose different buds as in side to side or apical plus one side.
Third, it would be great for me to see what you are working with as there are a lot of other situations to consider. IE: Is the branch thick enough? how much foliage has already been removed? Will any of the current foliage be kept in the final design? How much room is left for progressive cutback? Do some areas need to grow out?
It is fun asking questions!
On a serious note many of the techniques that involve reduction of needles, candles etc. Are often staged to maintain more vigour for the tree over the winter and then the remaining amounts removed in the spring. For example it is common practice to leave more needles on fall cleanup and then finish balancing with more needle removal in the spring.
 

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Thanks for those tips. I’ll try to dog it out on e it stops raining out here. It looks like it will clear up here by Friday or Saturday. Maybe I can also dig out the Col. blue spruce I got about the same time. It has even more foliage than the pine and I haven’t touched it yet. This year I binged on conifers, two Norway spruce, Col. Blue spruce, C. obtusa Kosteri, tamarack seedlings, and several bald cypress. I have a lot of work to do next spring!
 

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Well it stopped raining after 3” and warmed up above freezing so I dug out the pine and shot some photos.

This first one shows the overall structure as it sits now. I was really drawn bunthe movement if the upward curving trunk. A40AAEB1-4B37-4A83-9791-F2CCB7CB360F.jpeg88B3667D-B17B-4F08-ADB0-4327A7211D98.jpeg
This is the big whorl that worries me. All those long lanky branches with foliage on the ends is another concern. How much back budding can be produced to fill in the negative spaces? That is the $60,000 question.
B564AD26-8D48-45E7-8522-22C1060CEFE5.jpeg
Here is another whorl to deal with. Lots of branches originating in one place.
F5E2A61C-7D35-414E-8E73-46A29CFA407E.jpeg
Now for some terminal buds. Way too many to leave but I think I will wait until spring and choose from the ones that survive.
617C1B08-4E56-451A-8B81-E54436D7791A.jpeg0E4C6A62-2F62-468E-A958-EBC6B6A6209B.jpeg
 

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Well it stopped raining after 3” and warmed up above freezing so I dug out the pine and shot some photos.

This first one shows the overall structure as it sits now. I was really drawn bunthe movement if the upward curving trunk. View attachment 217651View attachment 217653
This is the big whorl that worries me. All those long lanky branches with foliage on the ends is another concern. How much back budding can be produced to fill in the negative spaces? That is the $60,000 question.
View attachment 217652
Here is another whorl to deal with. Lots of branches originating in one place.
View attachment 217654
Now for some terminal buds. Way too many to leave but I think I will wait until spring and choose from the ones that survive.
View attachment 217655View attachment 217656
Thanks for the pictures! I think you have identified the areas of concern pretty well. Working from pictures is difficult when the scale is unknown. For example How tall is the tree? At what points do the whorls come off in proportion to the overall height? Also indentifying the perspective considered to be the front would be helpful.
To start with, if you intend to use any branches on the lower whorl you may wish to consider grafting. They are pretty thick and straight in appearance. Working foliage in to the interior and rebuilding the branch structure will take time. I think it is important to step back and determine if their is enough suitable branching in reasonable locations. When choosing suitable branches i would consider their size and shape in relation to the trunk. The trunk has some movement and taper so the branches should as well in the final design,
I agree that it is probably best at this point to do bud selection in the spring as they current growth appears uneven or uncertain as to condition.
 

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As shown in the first photo it is about 18-24” wide and tall above the soil. They obviously really pushed the growth in the nursery as the internodes are 4-6” on those branches. However on most remaining branches there is only about 3 years growth back to the primary. Consequently only the 3 year old sections are completely woody at this point. The 1 and 2 year old sections still have needle scars and green between the scales/plates. So I hope that after some good fertilization next spring along with cutting the candles back mid to late May I can induce some good back budding on those two 1 and 2 year old branch sections. I have seen photos of these actually pushing buds on the trunk so anything seems possible. Iseli grows some very healthy nursery stock and I have been very happly with all theirs that we have put in the lanscape.
 
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Ali Raza

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Well it stopped raining after 3” and warmed up above freezing so I dug out the pine and shot some photos.

This first one shows the overall structure as it sits now. I was really drawn bunthe movement if the upward curving trunk. View attachment 217651View attachment 217653
This is the big whorl that worries me. All those long lanky branches with foliage on the ends is another concern. How much back budding can be produced to fill in the negative spaces? That is the $60,000 question.
View attachment 217652
Here is another whorl to deal with. Lots of branches originating in one place.
View attachment 217654
Now for some terminal buds. Way too many to leave but I think I will wait until spring and choose from the ones that survive.
View attachment 217655View attachment 217656
you will get lot of buddings on these empty area in the spring season just have some patience and let the nature do its work.
 

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you will get lot of buddings on these empty area in the spring season just have some patience and let the nature do its work.
Thanks for your observation. When I purchased the tree it was a big bush with heavy foliage everywhere as a result of the nursery production methods—it was a beautiful shrub. However I am hoping that removing a lot of that extra foliage will allow a lot of light to reach the bare areas of the branches and help the dormant buds there to pop—at least that’s the plan.
 
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