Pondy Literati for Ms. Vic

grouper52

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Here you go, Vic - You know how hard the more subtle literatis are to do justice to in photos, and there was a storm (!!! - in this heat?!) kicking up yesterday here as I was filming, so I'm only posting this one, and an old photo at that. Not that it's changed much, but at least there are some small buds this year.

Collected this guy last spring - '08 - from a hard sandstone cliff in Wyoming, but except for the collecting and keeping it alive so far, I can't take any real credit: Mother Nature has done all the styling. Even the collecting was done with Dan Robinson's coaching, and the use of Larry Jackel's hammer and rock chisel. It was growing out of a shear slab of dense/hard sandstone in a small pocket literally the size of it's base. About three inches down there was a slight fault plane in the rock, along which the root pad, such as it was, fanned out like a paper thin lace doily. That was it! No roots at all any thicker than about 1/8"! And nothing at all resembling soil - the roots were just sandwiched in between the planes of the rock, which, being slightly porous, were a little moist. By very careful work with the chisel over the course of a morning I was able to extract a flat gossamer "root ball" about 4" in radius from the surrounding and constricting rock. Yeow! I thought it had little chance of survival, but it was such a beauty I was hoping for the best.

It stands about 3' tall. By counting the number of terminal bud scar rings per linear inch out on the growing tips where they have not been obscured yet, I estimate the age to be about 400 years old. (It produces one ring each year, shows about eight per inch, and it's about 4 1/2 feet of curvy trunk long. It's possible it may have grown more quickly early in its life when it wasn't yet so confined in the little niche it occupied, but I think it's still a fairly ancient fellow.)

There are twelve little whorls of foliage in groups of four. Only 10 have put out new growth this year - we'll see about the other two. The new growth is not very robust, but it's better than last year, so I'm thinking this guy will make it.

Enjoy, Ms. Vic, and everyone else as well. And yes, Vic - I meant it when I said you can have this tree when I pass, but DON'T go planning anything to speed the process along! :D
 

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irene_b

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Will this tree is fantastic!!!!
Any before shots of it before it was collected?
There is something about a Literati that just makes my soul grin...
Irene
 

Dwight

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Cool tree Will. Seems ponderosa lend themselves well to litarati
 
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Girl jumps up and down for joy....

:D:D:D I love this tree. You have no idea how much good karma you get from the joy you create in me every time I see it...lol

And you are right... seeing it in person is critical. It's perfection of movement is hard to grasp in a photo. This tree is wonderful. And no worries... while I am very grateful to know this tree will some day be mine :rolleyes:;)... I would MUCH rather have you, my dear friend.:)

Can't wait to see you style it... maybe next year?

V
 

grouper52

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Thanks, all.

Irene, I'm sorry to say I don't have a before shot with it in the rock. Would have made a great progression series - quite an adventure exploring the delicate root structure through three inches of solid rock!

Hey, Dwight. They will grow down where you live won't they? They are often seen as literati all over the West. I have some old photos of them gracing some of the national parks - Zion and Bryce in southern Utah come clearly to mind. Great trees.

Vic: :) You know me - I'm not quick to mess with trees until they're well established, AND I'm not quick to do much of anything to a yamadori that already looks pretty good just as nature made it. Like that Murayana Lodgepole literati, I'll probably just enjoy this one the way it is for at least a few years before I feel compelled to "improve" it into a bonsai. Makes me hesitant to post that one, though, the Murayana, since it lacks the immediate appeal of this one, its virtues being far more subtle. No one will believe I actually love it just the way it is. :)

I believe the hobby in China started with collected trees brought home from the hills and stuck in a pot to enjoy, to evoke memories and the inspiration of the wilderness, and there are certain trees where that still seems the best way. At this point this Pondy still looks very much the way I found it, and that's a great memory - if it grows in an unattractive way over the years, spoiled by its new plush surroundings, it will need some training then, but for now I'm more than happy just to enjoy it the way it is, the way I found it, happy to be eking out a living where nothing else could. Stripping and jinning the small dead branches and keeping the new growth controlled are about all I can see doing at this time. :)

Glad to hear friendship trumps desire! I'll sleep better at night now. :D:D:D

Will
 

irene_b

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Will I agree with you. Sometimes they are perfect just as we collect them.
Irene
 

treebeard55

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Fantastic tree, Will! And so serendipitous that the root system was collectible. That was a serious stroke of good fortune.
 

grouper52

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Fantastic tree, Will! And so serendipitous that the root system was collectible. That was a serious stroke of good fortune.

Thanks, Steve. Posting this here inspired me to go out and dig around ever so gently to see if I could get any sense of what the roots are doing, especially since there has been almost no vegetative growth these first 15 months. I was hoping it was because the tree was using the vegetation to manufacture materials and energy to focus on root production first, now that the roots have somewhere to grow, which is the strategy I would be following it I were a tree, especially a dry climate variety like a Ponderosa that's used to putting out fine feeder roots at a moment's notice at the first sign of moisture. Lo and behold! I didn't even have to go out far or in deep - just beneath the surface at the base there are two areas in easy view where 1/4-3/8" roots head off into the soil, roots of a size I'm fairly certain were not present even in close when collected. I'm real optimistic now, and it may start pushing serious new vegetative growth next season.

Ponderosas have the ability to push new feeder roots very quickly even when collected bare-rooted, I've been told, so that little insurance policy may have been responsible. But whatever the reason, it is a happy thing to see those sizable new roots!

Will
 

ericN

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This is one beautiful yamadori literarti tree, nature did style this tree but Will with his experience and devotion to the art will make us enjoy it more.

lucky mrs.vic;)

eric
 

JTGJr25

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I've been admiring this tree for the couple days the pic has been up and I've been thinking of how i'd style it. Would you care to share what your plans are?


Tom
 

Vance Wood

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Thanks, Steve. Posting this here inspired me to go out and dig around ever so gently to see if I could get any sense of what the roots are doing, especially since there has been almost no vegetative growth these first 15 months. I was hoping it was because the tree was using the vegetation to manufacture materials and energy to focus on root production first, now that the roots have somewhere to grow, which is the strategy I would be following it I were a tree, especially a dry climate variety like a Ponderosa that's used to putting out fine feeder roots at a moment's notice at the first sign of moisture. Lo and behold! I didn't even have to go out far or in deep - just beneath the surface at the base there are two areas in easy view where 1/4-3/8" roots head off into the soil, roots of a size I'm fairly certain were not present even in close when collected. I'm real optimistic now, and it may start pushing serious new vegetative growth next season.

Ponderosas have the ability to push new feeder roots very quickly even when collected bare-rooted, I've been told, so that little insurance policy may have been responsible. But whatever the reason, it is a happy thing to see those sizable new roots!

Will

I hope I am not posting this too late to be of use but maybe someone else may find it helpful. Quite a few years ago I repotted a Mugo Pine in early spring. This was before I started to change my thinking about when the proper time to repot them may not be spring (fifteen-twenty years ago). Any way; the poor thing did not like it at all. It sat there and looked sad like it couldn't decide whether to grow or die. The needles started to look dull and barely hanging on and in any other circumstance I may have been tempted to toss it out. However it just did not look quite dead so I kept the tree. It looked like this all that growing season and all of the next growing season. Not quite dead there was some life in there. The third growing season it started to push new growth. So the the moral of this story is: sometimes a tree can look really bad for a lot longer than you think is possible. Don't be too hasty about tossing it out they can fool you.
 

grouper52

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I hope I am not posting this too late to be of use but maybe someone else may find it helpful. Quite a few years ago I repotted a Mugo Pine in early spring. This was before I started to change my thinking about when the proper time to repot them may not be spring (fifteen-twenty years ago). Any way; the poor thing did not like it at all. It sat there and looked sad like it couldn't decide whether to grow or die. The needles started to look dull and barely hanging on and in any other circumstance I may have been tempted to toss it out. However it just did not look quite dead so I kept the tree. It looked like this all that growing season and all of the next growing season. Not quite dead there was some life in there. The third growing season it started to push new growth. So the the moral of this story is: sometimes a tree can look really bad for a lot longer than you think is possible. Don't be too hasty about tossing it out they can fool you.

I hope you didn't get the idea I was ready to throw this guy out! :eek: He would have to be quite, quite dead before I would give up on him. Besides, I mentioned that he IS pushing new terminal buds this year, just not with much vigor at all.

Your advice is sound, Vance, yet it also plays counterpoint in my mind with another, different truism that is attributed to Walter, I understand: "The last thing to die on a tree is hope." :)

Will
 

rockm

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Very nice tree. Got confused as to what I was looking at at first :eek::D "Pondy" is also used for pond cypress...
 

Dwight

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Hey, Dwight. They will grow down where you live won't they? They are often seen as literati all over the West. I have some old photos of them gracing some of the national parks - Zion and Bryce in southern Utah come clearly to mind. Great trees.
Will

If the air wasn't so bad I could take a telescope up on the roof and actually look at some growing 40 mi away. The thing I worry about when buying these is getting a tree that grew under VERY different conditions than the local trees. Andy at Golden Arrow tells me thay adapt well but I suspect a local tree would adapt much better soooooo.....I guess I need to bite the bullet and go find some for myself. Maybe in the fall.
 

irene_b

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If the air wasn't so bad I could take a telescope up on the roof and actually look at some growing 40 mi away. The thing I worry about when buying these is getting a tree that grew under VERY different conditions than the local trees. Andy at Golden Arrow tells me thay adapt well but I suspect a local tree would adapt much better soooooo.....I guess I need to bite the bullet and go find some for myself. Maybe in the fall.


Dwight I have one from Andy and it is doing great.:D
Irene
 

ghues

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A great looking tree Will, very nice just the way it is and would probably look nice on a rock slab to bring that memory you have "alive".
Would you be so kind as to expand on your tree age estimation theory?
Cheers G
 

grouper52

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Would you be so kind as to expand on your tree age estimation theory?
Cheers G

Hi Graham,

The use of terminal bud scars is as follows:

This is useful only in pines, because they grow in yearly whorls. The large terminal bud at the center of each whorl is surrounded farther back on the candle each year by numerous small buds that will result in the needle bundles of 2, 3 or 5. These small buds leave little irregularity on the growing branch, but the larger terminal bud each year leaves a large circumferential scar.

If the growth is robust, it will be a long distance between these internodal scars, and they will hardly be noticed. But if the tree grows in very harsh conditions that stunt its growth - the best situation to produce yamadori - then the scars will be relatively close together, noticable as parallel structures. After a few years the bark will thicken and obscure them, but on recent growth where this has not yet happened they will appear as prominent ridged rings close together just behind the oldest needles. Since each ridge represents a year’s growth, if you count the number per inch, and then count the number of inches back to the tree’s base, it will tell you roughly how many years the tree has been alive.

While it is possible that there are significant variations in growth rates over many decades or several centuries, and while there are occasionally two growth spurts in a season, and while a bud from lower down on the tree will give an inaccurately young age, the determination turned out to be very accurate overall when Dan Robinson and Larry Jackel compared the results to core samples, or a severed branches or trunks, that were sent off to have their growth rings counted with an electron microscope at the University of Colorado.

Below are two ancient, small, stunted pines that demonstrate this. First is a Shore pine - the rings are slightly difficult to see, so I have pointed to each one. There are 7 in about 3/4", or about ten per inch. The Ponderosa literati featured in this thread is the source of the second photo photo, where the rings on multiple branches are extremely obvious. There are about 8 per inch.

Hope that helps.

Will
 

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irene_b

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Will, Thank You for that information on the age of Ponderosa Pines...
I did not know that about the rings on the branches (I did save it :D) I have tried very hard to not look to hard at the one I got from Andy since I won't be touching it for the 3 years.
Again Thank You for sharing that with us..
Irene
 

ghues

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Second the motion

Hi Will,
In your initial post I thought you were referring to the terminal growth patterns (yearly whorls) for estimating tree age of determinant growing species (such as pines, douglas fir, balsam etc) but I wanted to confirm your use of the term “terminal bud scars” on the branches. The photos really helped.
Makes a lot of sense but like you pointed out this is only an estimate…… due to:
- the trees growth at the beginning of its life may have been a lot more robust than its later years (same for us lol) and
- that “secondary rings” (bud scars) can exist due to the two growth spurts (lammas growth) like this year in some parts of the PNW.
No doubt that the tree has centuries under its belt.
Like Irenes previous post........I second the motion
Thanks again as I'm sure this helped others as well.
Cheers
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Hi Graham,



Below are two ancient, small, stunted pines that demonstrate this. First is a Shore pine - the rings are slightly difficult to see, so I have pointed to each one. There are 7 in about 3/4", or about ten per inch. The Ponderosa literati featured in this thread is the source of the second photo photo, where the rings on multiple branches are extremely obvious. There are about 8 per inch.


Will


Will, looking at the shore pine in the left photo, specifically, at the current needles, is it safe to assume that it was collected in the last few years, and is putting out significantly longer candles in cultivation than in the wild?
 

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