Ponderosa pine back buds

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Hi all! New to posting, but been lurking for a bit.

I don't have many conifers. But one that I do have is a baby ponderosa pine that I got back in March. I'm trying to follow the method on Bonsai Mirai of driving aggressive growth. Long way from anything other than stick in pot, but aggressive growth sounds interesting ;)

Welp, I don't feel I've owned the tree long enough to take credit for this, but I have 4-5 buds growing down low that showed up on my watch! A couple are on back of the stick in the pictures below.

My question is: they don't look like candle growth as I'm used to seeing on pines. They are also growing quite slow. With winter approaching is there anything I should be doing to preserve this growth through the winter? Will there be candles for next year's growth forming at some point this season?

I don't have any particular style in mind other than grow out for a decade or more and see what happens. I would very much love to generate low branching options if I can, however!

Thanks for any advice!

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Wires_Guy_wires

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Those buds have become shoots but didn't elongate. That happens sometimes. In my pines those always seem to survive the winter but we haven't really had any super cold winters the past couple of years.
If you want to save them, a little winter protection wouldn't hurt.
Other than that, I think there's not much you can do.
They might produce some buds this winter and candles in spring, they might continue like this for another year before doing so.
It's hard to say really.
 

Potawatomi13

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Where are you? Please add to profile;). No good info without this.
 
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Where are you? Please add to profile;). No good info without this.

Doh! Added...zone 6.

I do bring plants into the garage if it looks like we're getting icy rain. I didn't one year and lost some trees so now I try to be more diligent!
 

sorce

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I do bring plants into the garage if it looks like we're getting icy rain. I didn't one year and lost some trees so now I try to be more diligent!

There is a very good chance it wasn't because of that icy rain why them trees died.

Welcome to Crazy!

Sorce
 
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There is a very good chance it wasn't because of that icy rain why them trees died.

Welcome to Crazy!

Sorce

Thanks Sorce!

Losses were more likely drying in the winter winds.

By "icy rain" I mean "1/4 inch ice sheath around every branch, can't get into your car because chipping off the ice sheet might break a window" kind of ice. Our landscape maple lost several large branches to the weight/wind. Ice storms here can coat everything. Safer to bring things inside for a few days.
 

sorce

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Maybe the LittleDingus ate your baby!

To keep it lighthearted....

Losses were more likely drying in the winter winds.

I believe this less than I believe the ice story!

If you really look into the science behind it all, very little of what we believe is actually true.

Losing branches isn't death!

My problem is that people can go for years cutting too much shit off their trees to late, and blaming it on Ice, which you aren't Really fixing by moving them indoors, just confusing them into thinking spring is coming, so though they may skate through it a couple years....the real problem lies elsewhere, but we keep believing BS!

Ice is nice.

Sorce
 
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Maybe the LittleDingus ate your baby!

To keep it lighthearted....



I believe this less than I believe the ice story!

If you really look into the science behind it all, very little of what we believe is actually true.

Losing branches isn't death!

My problem is that people can go for years cutting too much shit off their trees to late, and blaming it on Ice, which you aren't Really fixing by moving them indoors, just confusing them into thinking spring is coming, so though they may skate through it a couple years....the real problem lies elsewhere, but we keep believing BS!

Ice is nice.

Sorce

It's all good.

Dessication from wind, especially in winter when sap isn't flowing to replenish moisture, is hell on trees though. In a forest, this can lead to some "spring pruning" = snapped branches that can be good for the forest as a whole. In my area where there are tons of wild juniper, they all brown. Not all green back up in the spring either. I don't practice avoidance so much as prudence.

The day or three my trees are in the garage around an ice storm isn't going to wake them. The garage is cold. And then I don't need to fix any damage afterward ;)
 

Potawatomi13

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It's all good.

Dessication from wind, especially in winter when sap isn't flowing to replenish moisture, is hell on trees though. In a forest, this can lead to some "spring pruning" = snapped branches that can be good for the forest as a whole. In my area where there are tons of wild juniper, they all brown. Not all green back up in the spring either. I don't practice avoidance so much as prudence.

The day or three my trees are in the garage around an ice storm isn't going to wake them. The garage is cold. And then I don't need to fix any damage afterward ;)

Wise🧐. On rare occasion same ice happens here as well. No place to bring inside but so far so good. Pine generally very flexible and if needed can add prop where danger threatens. Temperature wise tree is safe your zone. If ice bends tree over will just be more interesting tree🤩. Being most careful of back buds/new buds after advent of Fall cool weather(Novemberish)wire presently thin trunk to make more interesting. No repetitive S curves please and bend in 3 dimensions.
 
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You seem like a good person to have thoughts with!

Sorce

Hehe! I feel like I passed a test. Where
Wise🧐. On rare occasion same ice happens here as well. No place to bring inside but so far so good. Pine generally very flexible and if needed can add prop where danger threatens. Temperature wise tree is safe your zone. If ice bends tree over will just be more interesting tree🤩. Being most careful of back buds/new buds after advent of Fall cool weather(Novemberish)wire presently thin trunk to make more interesting. No repetitive S curves please and bend in 3 dimensions.

Thanks potawatomi!

I'm new here so people don't know me. I kinda mentioned in passing in the OP but I don't have many conifers. I have many more deciduous so me default is to think in their terms. Need to remember to adjust that thinking when I post to a conifer thread!

I got this one as a tube this year. I wanted to see if it can take my normal abuse before attacking it with wire. I usually clip-n-grow my deciduous trees so me trying to wire will be good for a laugh!
 

Potawatomi13

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Check threads on wiring first and might not be so bad. Wrap proper size wire snug not tight and when starts to cut into bark after 1-2 years approx remove. If tree starts growing OVER wire has been left too long. Tree will fill in where wire was;).
 

sorce

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You know .....

We accept the fact that Ponderosa Pine has long needles because of their bitchin' yamadori nature...

I don't think there is much of a bonsai future on growing them from seed.

Unless they grow mad fast and you can then graft something else to them.

Meh. I'm just not a fan.

Sorce
 

roberthu

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I have a JBP seedling doing the exact same thing this year. It’s budding out from less than 1” from the soil and all the way to the top. I think it is due to a combination of heavy fertilizer, good sun light, bigger pot and no wiring. The other seedling on the other hand started the year stronger actually so I wired it to get some movement in and it hasn’t shown any back budding at all.
 
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You know .....

We accept the fact that Ponderosa Pine has long needles because of their bitchin' yamadori nature...

I don't think there is much of a bonsai future on growing them from seed.

Unless they grow mad fast and you can then graft something else to them.

Meh. I'm just not a fan.

Sorce

Alright. I'll throw mine out and grow something else.
 

sorce

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Alright. I'll throw mine out and grow something else.

Lol!

Not a terrible idea, but you can use it to learn while keeping an eye out for a good one.

Keeping realistic ideas about what we will do with something helps us be free. Allows us to learn more and create better trees.

Every piece of real estate in our gardens is precious. The way I look at it, a better tree is always knocking at the door to replace a shitty one. If we are too focused on any one thing, we may not here the knock.

So while I believe your comment was sarcastic, it will serve your collection well to be ok with it.

Sorce
 
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So while I believe your comment was sarcastic, it will serve your collection well to be ok with it.

Sorce

Yeah, definitely sarcasm ;)

I grow most of what I do for either the memories associated with that species or the adventure of doing something a little odd. It's about the journey for me...not the destination.

This ponderosa is for the adventure :) I would like to put it in a bonsai pot some day...perhaps in a decade or so. But for now I like to watch it grow.

Which is the point of this post.

I now have 4 back buds that are showing some extension and possible 2-3 more just starting. Is that normal on a pine? I thought pine didn't back bud readily and I've done nothing but lots of fertilizer and water to try and trigger these. Certainly I'm not complaining...but I've got basically no experience with pines in general. Is this just something that young-uns can do but it'll grow out of?

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Also, I thought ponderosa was a single flush pine. In this picture

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it looks to me like the candles are active? I don't have a good picture from before, but the candles are definitely longer than they were just a week ago.

I bought this pine as a tube back in March. The top candle the buds are coming off was the little bit of spring growth I got this year since I've had this tree. So this would definitely be a second flush if it is growing. Maybe this isn't a ponderosa as advertised??

Anyway, I know it's a stupid little tree. I'm just trying to understand what it's doing!
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Yeah, definitely sarcasm ;)

I grow most of what I do for either the memories associated with that species or the adventure of doing something a little odd. It's about the journey for me...not the destination.

This ponderosa is for the adventure :) I would like to put it in a bonsai pot some day...perhaps in a decade or so. But for now I like to watch it grow.

Which is the point of this post.

I now have 4 back buds that are showing some extension and possible 2-3 more just starting. Is that normal on a pine? I thought pine didn't back bud readily and I've done nothing but lots of fertilizer and water to try and trigger these. Certainly I'm not complaining...but I've got basically no experience with pines in general. Is this just something that young-uns can do but it'll grow out of?

View attachment 328532

Also, I thought ponderosa was a single flush pine. In this picture

View attachment 328531

it looks to me like the candles are active? I don't have a good picture from before, but the candles are definitely longer than they were just a week ago.

I bought this pine as a tube back in March. The top candle the buds are coming off was the little bit of spring growth I got this year since I've had this tree. So this would definitely be a second flush if it is growing. Maybe this isn't a ponderosa as advertised??

Anyway, I know it's a stupid little tree. I'm just trying to understand what it's doing!

FIrst it is a Ponderosa pine, it looks like a Ponderosa. Don't need to doubt identity unnecessarily

Second, most of what is written about Ponderosa growth patterns has been written about old collected trees. Ponderosa do not develop attractive bark until well over 30 years old. Most of the Ponderosa used for bonsai are collected trees, real Yamadori, from real mountains, and generally are from 75 to 150 years old. Trees around 100 years old are not that expensive, usually under $500, I got one that was about 100 years old for $90 at a show, just before the vendor was packing up to drive home. Some of the vendors are Andy Smith of Golden Arrow Bonsai, Todd Schlafer of First Branch, there also is Cho bonsai - I'm blanking on his name. And then you have the Pacific Northwest suppliers. I'm rambling. Older trees have a different, a slower, more predictable growth pattern than young seedlings.

Trees do not read the books, articles or internet, they don't know what we think they are supposed to do. They do what they do based on health, nutrition, and microclimate effects. The growth you are seeing is typical of a healthy vigorous seedling. Bud extension late in summer is common, and indicates which buds are most likely to grow the following spring. The buds will be fully winter hardy. Don't worry.

THis late summer spurt of growth should NOT be considered SECOND FLUSH. Ponderosa are strictly a single flush pine. Even if they do have some late season growth, it will not be over the whole tree (in an older tree) and it will not be reliable or predictable. If you remove all the new growth from a Ponderosa in June or July, a young seedling will simply sit there, make new buds that will not grow until the following spring. A mature Ponderosa will be severely weakened by candle removal in June or July, and will decline or die on you.

For winter don't "baby" the tree. Setting the tree on the ground, in the shade from winter sun, possibly with a little windbreak and mulch only as deep as the top rim of the pot will be fine for the winter. Ponderosa do poorly if they are treated with too much winter "kindness". That new growth will be fine.

I would begin wiring some bends and curves into the young trunk, if not this year next autumn or winter. THey stay flexible for a very long time, so no rush.

Ponderosa are usually purchased, as yamadori for their incredible bark on gnarly trunks. If you are going raise one from seed, be certain to wire or prune or both to create a gnarly trunk. Then when it does begin forming rough bark at 25+ years, you will have the gnarly already there. They might start bark as young as 10 years, but I've not seen that many Ponderosa from seed yet.

As your confidence with Ponderosa goes up, save up for a Yamadori Ponderosa. They are pretty easy to grow, and mostly involve leaving them alone. You only prune or repot an old Ponderosa very infrequently, say once every 5 years. Otherwise all you need to do is wire - adjust wire and re-wire, keep it watered and fertilized. They will back bud with vigorous growth. Once every 5 years you can prune back to interior shoots that are 3 years old or older. Younger branches or shoots are not always able to support a branch if they are cut back to, while still too young. For example your little buds down low on your seedling, if you were to behead your Ponderosa to their level this year, it probably won't survive, but in 2022 you could cut back to those then older branches.
 
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As your confidence with Ponderosa goes up, save up for a Yamadori Ponderosa.

Thank you for your time and patience Leo! You are a treasure on this site that I've appreciated from way back. I've lurked here for years before finally deciding to join. I've spent literal hours reading and re-reading your posts in particular :)

Don't take this the wrong way, and I'm not looking to start a war with anyone! I'm not saying this with vitriol or spite or any negativity towards others. If people have different opinions, that's their right and I won't attempt to sway them one way or another. But, I will never own a 100 year old tree that has been taken out of some natural habitat and in a pot for my enjoyment. I have pictures of the great trees I've seen in person. Many of the baby trees I grow (and not all my trees are babies) I grow to remind me of those great trees and/or the special moments around them. They will never compare or be show worthy or measure up to the masters, but seeing and caring for them daily triggers memories and that's good enough for me. I do have some landscape trees that were destined for the mulcher, but I won't be an active party to removing old trees from natural spaces. That's just not part of who I am.

I'll grow my baby ponderosa as best I can. I'll begin wiring it next year and thinking about a pot in 5 years if it is still alive then...I'll perform bonsai techniques on it to keep it alive and shape it so it's pleasing to me. If that's not good enough to participate on this site, I'm fine with that.
 

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