Pinus Sylvestris Nursery Stock

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Hey everyone, I picked up this giant Sylvestris at my local nursery for a steal a month or so ago. I couldn't pass it up with a trunk that size. I'm super happy with how vigorous it is, but I need some advice. Once the needles harden off I need to do some significant branch reduction. Where the trunk starts to split, there's 2 thicker branches and 2 thinner pieces. They're kind of in pairs so I must choose a thicker leader and thinner branch to go with it. I must admit I've stared at the tree for a while and both pairs have their merits and flaws and I have no idea which I want to choose yet 😅. My thought was to cut off whichever pair I dont plan on using, and doing a somewhat minimal structural setting once the needles harden off. I was thinking about reducing any whorls on the trunk that I want to keep as well. Do you think this plan is too severe or would this be a good first step?
 

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penumbra

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Wow! That's a beauty. I have never seen a Scots pine that looked as full and lush. It might be a dwarf or compact variety except I see no graft. I can't say where I would start from your pictures, but you have a great plant there.
Looking again I see it may indeed be a graft. If it is, it was very well done.
 

sorce

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I think this is a great plant too.

Do you know what finished look you will be going for?

I love the natural growth of a Scott's pine and always wonder why we don't see them.
I think it's because we don't think about it at this step.

Sorce
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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It looks like the watereri cultivar.
Those are known for their fat branches; my regular scots produce shoots relative to the size and state of the tree. Watereri produces shoots as thick as pencils and in two years time I never found a way to get thinner ones. That, and they're always grafted, but because of their fat nature they hide those scars easily.
They have a nice shade blue and they back bud like crazy. Awesome qualities. But I'm starting to think they require a larger size bonsai.
 
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It did say it was a dwarf variety. I absolutely love the growth habit. I also couldn't find any graft site. I guess as far as aesthetic I'm going for something in the traditional realm. I wish I could keep more of the tree, or keep it as more of a twin trunk. The issue is that no matter how you view it, the main trunks would form an unnatural looking obtuse angle. My concern for this year is leaving the 4 trunks and branches originating from the main junction. If I remove 2, it will effectively be removing half of the tree though.
 
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I see what you mean about the thicker branches. I do plan on it being a somewhat larger bonsai. Probably in the 18-24" height range. It does have finer branches on the interior so I'm confident with a somewhat restrictive container, mild fertilization and proper pruning times I can keep the secondary and tertiary branches to scale. But we'll see.
 
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I agree with you. At the same time my concern is if I dont start making some decisions this year, that inverse taper may start to take over because of the trees vigour. I could take off 1 of the four main branches. But next year I would have to take off another. Is it better to lose the foliage in 2 stages and have 2 wounds? Or take off 2 main trunks in one cut and have a slightly larger wound?
 

penumbra

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I agree with you. At the same time my concern is if I dont start making some decisions this year, that inverse taper may start to take over because of the trees vigour. I could take off 1 of the four main branches. But next year I would have to take off another. Is it better to lose the foliage in 2 stages and have 2 wounds? Or take off 2 main trunks in one cut and have a slightly larger wound?
I don't think you would have a problem with a larger cut as the tree seems vigorous enough. As to your concern about an inverse taper, I would be more concerned that the root stock would outgrow the top. I see this all the time in grafted plants after a number of years.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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It did say it was a dwarf variety. I absolutely love the growth habit. I also couldn't find any graft site. I guess as far as aesthetic I'm going for something in the traditional realm. I wish I could keep more of the tree, or keep it as more of a twin trunk. The issue is that no matter how you view it, the main trunks would form an unnatural looking obtuse angle. My concern for this year is leaving the 4 trunks and branches originating from the main junction. If I remove 2, it will effectively be removing half of the tree though.
If it is in fact a watereri - which in the books is a dwarf, go ahead and remove all you need to. It'll bud with relative ease on 1-3 year old wood.
Mine produced a bud at every single needle on the trunk.
In two years time, it'll be at a point where it looks like nothing happened.
 

sorce

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I have been contemplating this idea of "desperation Growth" that you get when you go Ham. Removing
all you need to.
(And I don't mean to argue, since it seems I have been going against my friend WGW a lot recently)
Can lead to this growth, and this Growth may not be the growth you want to have your "next section" made of.
A "we can" but "should we?" Situation if you will.

The first wiry needles that are the result of drastic pruning tend to be shed easier than good healthy growth. The bud between those needles, if one exists, also sheds easy.
My thing, desperation growth isn't producing buds, it's producing needles to stay alive.
Then they shed them cuz they are inefficient.

I would probably take everything back equally.
Let the regrowth speak to you.

But not till after it's repotted. Repot first with full folaige IMO.

If that kills one trunk. Bingo! Decision made!

Sorce
 

Mayank

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I think this is a great plant too.

Do you know what finished look you will be going for?

I love the natural growth of a Scott's pine and always wonder why we don't see them.
I think it's because we don't think about it at this step.

Sorce
What is the natural growth form of a Scotch pine? Do you have pics? I have one that you may remember commenting on (half of it died from my garage winter storage debacle from two years ago and you'd said it was a blessing in disguise which I agree with because I can make a much more interesting style now). I want to see if I can try to emulate this natural form. @William N. Valavanis has a blog that had some lovely examples.
 

sorce

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have pics?

I tried to screen save these I see regularly from maps, but I have no Storage.

Google em.

It seems the natural growth is better to display that beautiful red bark. If these are even Scotches! Lol! I think they are.

Sorce
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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I have been contemplating this idea of "desperation Growth" that you get when you go Ham. Removing

(And I don't mean to argue, since it seems I have been going against my friend WGW a lot recently)
Can lead to this growth, and this Growth may not be the growth you want to have your "next section" made of.
A "we can" but "should we?" Situation if you will.

The first wiry needles that are the result of drastic pruning tend to be shed easier than good healthy growth. The bud between those needles, if one exists, also sheds easy.
My thing, desperation growth isn't producing buds, it's producing needles to stay alive.
Then they shed them cuz they are inefficient.

I would probably take everything back equally.
Let the regrowth speak to you.

But not till after it's repotted. Repot first with full folaige IMO.

If that kills one trunk. Bingo! Decision made!

Sorce

This cultivar doesn't do that, at all.
Mugo does, regular sylvestris too. But this one really doesn't. I butchered one watereri and it didn't flinch.

In a sense, all growth is desperation growth. It prevents a plant from dying. Even parasitic plants need growth.

I don't see a lot of arguing, I see you're aiming for discussions and I always like those. But that's not going to happen in this case because I agree, juvenile growth is a sign of stress. We shouldn't try to produce it.

But I do disagree on the budding, a tree investing in hundred buds while we just need two is not a huge loss if we remove those buds in time. One bud needs as little resources as a single needle. Maybe even less. As long as it doesn't turn into a candle, the loss is minimal.
 

sorce

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ut I do disagree on the budding, a tree investing in hundred buds while we just need two is not a huge loss if we remove those buds in time. One bud needs as little resources as a single needle. Maybe even less. As long as it doesn't turn into a candle, the loss is minimal.

This is another thread? That's exactly what I was trying to get across...the difference between removing them in time, before they become wasted.

I still think we have an opportunity to not even produce those buds, which is best.
Next, removing them before they "cost".
Next, letting them "cost".
Worst, letting them cost and destroy design.

Losing you to bounce information off of would suck!

Sorce
 
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Thanks for the insight everyone. If I was ready to go right into refinement I would probably wait and repot next year before doing work. But with this drastic reduction coming, and I'm sure a few more drastic reductions over a few seasons I'm wondering if it would be better to leave it in its pot for now so it can recover with greater vigor? Or perhaps slip it into a larger container/training pot for a couple years?
 

sorce

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Having a top in order means nothing of it dies before bonsai pot stage.

We need vigor to succeed in getting it into a small pot.

And lack of vigor for bonsai training.

Sorce
 
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I've been staring at it some more and still don't have a super clear picture of what to save and what to cut. Luckily I still have plenty of time to stare at it until the needles harden off lol. I understand that mindset sorce, but my question is, does this order/methodology you mentiom still apply to a tree that you still need serious development. In my mind im almost looking at this like its still being field grown, and what I'm about to cut off is only the first of a few big reductions. In instances where you have big developmental goals is it still smart to put it into a bonsai pot right away and begin reducing its growth rate? What if you want this vigor to continue for 2-3 years before you start restricting its growth for refinement. I don't mean to argue, just trying to wrap my head around the best options.
 

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I see what you mean about the thicker branches. I do plan on it being a somewhat larger bonsai. Probably in the 18-24" height range. It does have finer branches on the interior so I'm confident with a somewhat restrictive container, mild fertilization and proper pruning times I can keep the secondary and tertiary branches to scale. But we'll see.


If it does have a lot of finer branches starting on the inside, you might want to thin out the canopy above it some so that sun gets down into those finer branches in the interior. If those remain shaded, they could die. THose are your future tree so you want to preserve them. So look carefully at the tree and see where you might be able to reduce some of the foliage without going too far. One way is to remove needles that are on the tops and the bottoms of the branches above to let sun into the interior of the tree. You dont want the needles on the tops or bottoms of those branches anyway. Removing them leaves the needles on the sides where you prefer back budding to occur rather than on the tops and bottoms of the branches where you dont
 

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