Pitch Pine Yamadori

tanlu

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I collected this Pitch Pine clump from a high rock face in mid August, and by myself!! It had a compact root ball, with only several long roots and a 2" thick tap root that anchored it in the rock crevice. I pruned it in mid June to ease the process of collection, but the thing was still much bigger and heavier than I had anticipated. It was hell carrying this thing all the way down the mountain myself. When I finally got it home I underestimated the size of the root ball in comparison to my largest pot, so I had to gnaw off as much of the monster tap root as possible. I also removed a bit more of the long roots I wanted to save after realizing most of the fine roots were in the mountain soil I had saved. I removed about 40% of the original soil (decomposed needles and leaf litter), placed it in the pot with turface and made sure to secure it as best I could. I'm beginning to think that securing the plant in the pot is perhaps the most important step in repotting. I placed it in dappled shade for 3 weeks and fed it superthrive (not sure what it really does) every watering.

I still think the pot is way too small for the tree, but it has survived, and a month later is showing clear signs of growth! The needles are a vibrant green and there are buds springing everywhere.
It seems the overcast rainy weather has helped it adjust nicely. I moved it into full sun today.

I made sure to study all I could about the species, and contacted several bonsaiists experienced in collecting Pitch Pine. My hunch that they could be easily collected in late summer was confirmed.

In terms of styling, which will obviously have to wait till late fall/winter of 2012, all I can think of is compacting the foliage and increasing the spaces between the central trunks.

As always, constructive comments are welcome.
 

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tanlu

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healthy signs of growth
 

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Brian Van Fleet

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Aftercare is the name of the game now and for the next year or so. Your saving grace may, in fact, be the very small pot. Keep your fingers crossed and don't be in a hurry to start training. Looks like you can have some fun with this when the time is right!
 

Bob O

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That thing is ugly! You should just trash it! If you need some help I will haul it away for you. :D

Really that is a good find, I am happy to see it recovering. You can do some good stuff with this in a couple of years. Don't try to rush it or you may lose it.

Bob O
 

tanlu

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Brian, focusing on keeping it happy and healthy is my strategy. Do you have experience with collecting pines? Would the very small pot being beneficial be like avoiding over potting? I would like to compact the foliage next year by pruning off unneccessary shoots. I had no idea pitch pines were so vigorous! They can put out 2 or sometimes 3 crops of needles a year!

Bob, the uglier the better, right? For now, I'm just enjoying keeping it healthy.
 
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rockm

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"Would the very small pot being beneficial be like avoiding over potting?"

This is true for ANY collected species. Find a pot that's JUUUST big enough to enclose the firmest root (more flexible longer roots can be wrapped around the rootmass and stuffed in). Too much pot is a very common mistake for beginner collectors. Too much soil stays waaay to wet for newly collected root masses, leading to root death.
 

tmmason10

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Very nice and I appreciate you using pitch pine which is something I feel is rarely seen around these forums. Nick Lenz writes about them in his book and I plan on tackling some of these in my future. Good to see it's nice and healthy good luck with it.
 

Attila Soos

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"Would the very small pot being beneficial be like avoiding over potting?"

This is true for ANY collected species. Find a pot that's JUUUST big enough to enclose the firmest root (more flexible longer roots can be wrapped around the rootmass and stuffed in). Too much pot is a very common mistake for beginner collectors. Too much soil stays waaay to wet for newly collected root masses, leading to root death.

Right, that's what Dan Robinson and other veterans' collecting methods suggest as well. Nice discussion relevant on this is here:

http://bonsainut.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-4813.html
 

tanlu

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Very nice and I appreciate you using pitch pine which is something I feel is rarely seen around these forums. Nick Lenz writes about them in his book and I plan on tackling some of these in my future. Good to see it's nice and healthy good luck with it.

Thanks! I see so many of them when I go hiking, and wondered why they're not more commonly used in bonsai. Colin Lewis was at our club workshop last Sat and he said he "gave up" on Pitch Pines because of their unpredictable growth habit. The way I see it, the more people try this species, the more we can learn how to work with it. The needles aren't as "yellow" as described in the literature, in fact, the needles on my tree are a brilliant green. It's responding very nicely to what's been done so far. When you get to tackling them do post photos!

@ Rockm, That was very informative! I've always seen people placing their collected trees in such huge containers, but I don't plan on growing it out anymore. Once the tree's root system is finally established, it's all about refining. Actually, come to think of it, Walter Pall's newly collected trees were all in small containers.
 

rockm

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"why they're not more commonly used in bonsai"

They were one of the pioneer native species for bonsai in the U.S. They have been used for a very long time as bonsai subjects, possibly back into the early 70's. There are a few older specimens around that show up at bonsai shows in the Eastern U.S....
 
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Brian, focusing on keeping it happy and healthy is my strategy. Do you have experience with collecting pines? Would the very small pot being beneficial be like avoiding over potting? I would like to compact the foliage next year by pruning off unneccessary shoots. I had no idea pitch pines were so vigorous! They can put out 2 or sometimes 3 crops of needles a year!.

Most pines can achieve a double flush of growth with the right management... But if you are serious about the "happy and healthy" strategy you will not prune anything next year... A year seems like a decade when you are newer to the process, but in truth I would not declare a collected tree a success for a minimum of 1-2 years... and even then it is another year or two before a tree is taken out of it's collection wrapping and put into a pot.

It's a slow process... especially if one is working with older material. Sure one can take a chance and hurry the process along, but there is an avoidable risk involved. Daniel was talking to me the other day, shaking his head that he had felt safe with putting some freshly collected trees in a pot when they got home... and they all died by the next year. The man's been collecting trees for more years than I've been alive.... and he said... "Sometimes I need to remember to take my own advice."

;)

V
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Brian, focusing on keeping it happy and healthy is my strategy. Do you have experience with collecting pines? Would the very small pot being beneficial be like avoiding over potting?

I do. About 1/2 of my trees are collected, and more than a few are pines; Virginia and Ponderosa.

Putting them in the most confined space possible not only replicates their growing conditions (in crevices), but also gives you plenty of control over moisture and nutrients, which is essential in re-establishing a collected tree. Pine roots grow slowly, and it takes a long time for them to even cultivate a small pot, let alone become root-bound. It would be surprising if this one really "needs" to be repotted in 2013.

I have become convinced that collected evergreens need go into boxes/small pots when collected. D-trees can usually benefit from a year or two in ground at home to recover when collected.
 

monza

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minimum of 1-2 years... and even then it is another year or two before a tree is taken out of it's collection wrapping and put into a pot.

It's a slow process... especially if one is working with older material. Sure one can take a chance and hurry the process along, but there is an avoidable risk involved. Daniel was talking to me the other day, shaking his head that he had felt safe with putting some freshly collected trees in a pot when they got home... and they all died by the next year. The man's been collecting trees for more years than I've been alive.... and he said... "Sometimes I need to remember to take my own advice."

;)

V

Can you please elaborate on the 'collection wrapping'. Are you saying Daniel leaves his trees in burlap for a year before placing them into a pot? Collection wrapping=maybe being a training box?
Thanks.
Dave
 
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The wrapping consists of a heavy mil garbage bag, and black electrical tape. Daniel calls it a papoos wrap because the tightness of the binding along with the criss-crossing tape makes one think of a bundled up baby. When we get them home holes are punched into the bottom of the bag, and sufficient opening at the top for water access assured, and they are left alone for at least a year or two. This method has a very high success rate... at least in the northwestern states.

V
 

rockm

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"The wrapping consists of a heavy mil garbage bag, and black electrical tape. Daniel calls it a papoos wrap because the tightness of the binding along with the criss-crossing tape makes one think of a bundled up baby. When we get them home holes are punched into the bottom of the bag, and sufficient opening at the top for water access assured, and they are left alone for at least a year or two. This method has a very high success rate... at least in the northwestern states."


If you think about it, this method makes an incredible amount of sense. The bag with drainage holes retains heat which stimulates root growth and humidity--but not necessarily liquid water in enough quantity to cause root rot as happens in a typical pot with soil. This is the ultimate "soil-less" ultra-fast draining soil...But if you don't know what you're doing, this method might also spell disaster...
 

tanlu

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The wrapping consists of a heavy mil garbage bag, and black electrical tape. Daniel calls it a papoos wrap because the tightness of the binding along with the criss-crossing tape makes one think of a bundled up baby. When we get them home holes are punched into the bottom of the bag, and sufficient opening at the top for water access assured, and they are left alone for at least a year or two. This method has a very high success rate... at least in the northwestern states.

V

I love Dan's naturally styled trees!! I'm very interested in collecting trees for their unique character, and I'm hoping I can bring that into the trees I have now. I travelled the Northwest for a year, and it's an ideal place to collect. In the Northeast, it seems like we have far less to choose from.

That's an interesting aftercare method that I would've thought to be harmful. How do you keep the trees from falling over? I assume you have some method of keeping them staked to the ground or in some heavy container so they don't budge. My Pitch Pine is so tall and in its pot, the wind blowing it over is a constant worry.
 

rockm

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"In the Northeast, it seems like we have far less to choose from."

Don't believe it. If you believe the Westerners, here in the East we don't have anything worth collecting. Hardly the truth. We have species and individual plants THEY can't hold a candle to. The thing is, direct comparisons are apples to oranges. There are more species of trees EAST of the Mississippi than there are West of it...
For instance:
http://www.knowitall.org/sclife/cf/cf.html
 
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monza

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The wrapping consists of a heavy mil garbage bag, and black electrical tape. Daniel calls it a papoos wrap because the tightness of the binding along with the criss-crossing tape makes one think of a bundled up baby. When we get them home holes are punched into the bottom of the bag, and sufficient opening at the top for water access assured, and they are left alone for at least a year or two. This method has a very high success rate... at least in the northwestern states.

V

Wow that changes my world, I've read the papoos wrap before (Gnarly Branches, Ancient Trees) and adopted the method at least short term for collecting. I had no idea Dan left them in the papoos for years. I placed them into training boxes/pots and fast draining soil ASAP. Thanks for that info. I so need to get to Elandan Gardens sooner then later.
 

tanlu

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"In the Northeast, it seems like we have far less to choose from."

Don't believe it. If you believe the Westerners, here in the East we don't have anything worth collecting. Hardly the truth. We have species and individual plants THEY can't hold a candle to. The thing is, direct comparisons are apples to oranges. There are more species of trees EAST of the Mississippi than there are West of it...
For instance:
http://www.knowitall.org/sclife/cf/cf.html

It's not that I believe "we don't have anything worth collecting" (this collected Pitch Pine proves that). I just haven't heard of that MANY east coast species that do well as bonsai. This may be due to that fact that we also don't have as many bonsai hobbyists as there are on the west coast. Your link was helpful and educational. Indeed, many of my Californian friends express admiration of the lushness of the east coast. Out of curiosity, do you know of any native maple species that do well as bonsai? If so, do you have photos of successful specimens? There is one type of maple in my area that has the most brilliant orange-red in autumn, perhaps a sugar maple?

Aside from all that, my interest lies mainly in pines and spruces.
 
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tanlu

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The wrapping consists of a heavy mil garbage bag, and black electrical tape. Daniel calls it a papoos wrap because the tightness of the binding along with the criss-crossing tape makes one think of a bundled up baby. When we get them home holes are punched into the bottom of the bag, and sufficient opening at the top for water access assured, and they are left alone for at least a year or two. This method has a very high success rate... at least in the northwestern states.

V

Victrinia,

Interesting name by the way, do you have any photos of this wrapping process? I would like very much like to learn this method, as it appears to mitigate further stressing of the tree and simplifies the collection process.

Perhaps you can post a thread on this?? =)
 

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