Ponerosa Pine, collected in N. ID


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N. Idaho
Hello everyone. Thought i would come and share two of the Ponderosa i collected this season.

These were both collected from a cliff side. Spent about six hours digging on each one. they were in very rocky chunky soil so trenches were needed to be dug to follow the roots. I ended up getting a good amount of roots on each and am hopeful that collection will be successful. I didnt take pictures of the collection unfortunately. It didnt cross my mind untill i got home, since this was a solo trip i was pretty busy with just collecting anyways.

I considered leaving them in some of the soil that they were growing in, as i have read that it can be good to so so, but since there was no true rootball, and since the soil was so rocky i decided to plant them into the ground, where they will stay for several growing seasons if they make it.

This first one i have a vision for a cascade, near to the way it was growing naturally.



This second one will be styled as a literati (my favorite style of tree). This tree was actually growing with its trunk laying the full length on the rocky cliff soil. It has some beautiful natural deadwood.





Despite the intense work digging through the rocky soil, i greatly enjoyed this collecting trip. I look forward to more collecting trips like this in the future. What can be better than spending a weekend in the wilderness, and also bringing a beautiful piece of it home with you.

I do have one question, regarding watering the foliage. Should this be something i do at each watering? I have read somewhere that ponderosa like their foliage to be watered, but didnt find any details as to a regimen for this to be done.

Thanks for any advice or comments!
Hey Dr.

What elevation did you collect these? Are the buds swelling at all? Im planning a trip for early June and was curious about the stage of the trees at this point.

Good work with these trees. Ive heard pondys like dry-ish soil (100% pumice for newly collected) so I would assume only occasional watering if they are planted in the soil. You dont want them to sit in mud for sure but you dont want them to dry out completely either. Good luck with these!
DR, I would find or build a container just large enough to house the roots of these and get them in an inorganic substrate. The ground they are in looks less than ideal and could become a bog. I wouldn't eliminate any roots except for the ones you are certain are dead. They can be long and awkward but can circle around inside the container. I have mine in completely inorganic material and appear to love it (with heavy fert.). After a few days move them into as much sun as possible.
"DR, I would find or build a container just large enough to house the roots of these and get them in an inorganic substrate. The ground they are in looks less than ideal and could become a bog. I wouldn't eliminate any roots except for the ones you are certain are dead. They can be long and awkward but can circle around inside the container. I have mine in completely inorganic material and appear to love it (with heavy fert.). After a few days move them into as much sun as possible."

From my limited experience with Ponderosa, I would concur. They seem to like extremely well-drained soil (but don't really like to be bone dry). I got a ponderosa that was collected this spring from Andy Smith. I planted it out in a container with a pumice/drystall mix after it arrived from UPS in a burlap bag.The soil drains very well, but retains some moisture over the daylight hours. The soil is so free-draining it's almost impossible to overwater it. I believe if I had used a heavier soil (even regular bonsai soil) the plant wouldn't have responded.

Sun seems extremely beneficial - after an initial recovery period. My tree sulked along for a week or two in semi-shade until the buds started moving a bit. I moved it out into almost full sun last month. The candles have extended 2 inches since then. I think the sun is warming the soil and stimulating new root growth.
Thanks everyone for the responses.

Chris- elevation was about 2600 feet. Buds were just starting to extend. Some snow pack was still on the ground where these were collected. These were on a cliffside that receives pretty much full sun, so their buds were a bit further along than the majority of the pines in the area. If you decide to head up to the CDA area let me know.

I went ahead today and potted these up in some shallow well draining round containers. The substrate used was 100% Diotamaceous earth. It is what i use on all my other trees, and is very well draining soil. I sift for the removal of all small granules and seems to work real well for my area.

I am a bit worried that i had to repot again, but i feel that it is best to listen to the advice, and get them transplanted now before they start to recover and other problems arise.

Thanks everyone, for the great advice. I try to soak up and listen to all i can get since i am solo learning for the time being.
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I was also wondering about watering the foliage? is this beneficial for ponderosa? can it be overdone?
Probably a good move to get the pondy in a *tight* pot. Although, they are found in all conditions, as understory trees in very peaty soil growing in lots of shade, all the way to those trophies clinging to a rock facing in 2 cups of soil for 500 years. They're adaptable, and it's fascinating to see how they respond differently to the environment they're in.

Now that it's in a pot, be sure to wire it in well too, in order to prevent movement while the roots are getting established. The ones I collected in Andy's "back yard" last year are doing well, and they're in a bare minimum of soil. They're thirsty trees as a result; my big one is in probably 3 gallons of coarse, aggregate soil and needs water about every day and a half. I do water the foliage, but only in the daytime so it's dry by evening.

I don't agree with full sun and feeding right away; especially seeing them growing naturally in the understory. We incubated ours in nearly all shade for a year up in Iowa, and they're doing very well. This year they're in sun, plenty of organic feed, plus weekly fish emulsion, and they're really strong.

The roots you described are very concerning, however. Your best shot of survival is to get trees that have been growing in a pocket in the rocks; the best ones can be collected with a pancake spatula. Chasing a tree's roots back to get 10' worth just doesn't work out as well as collecting something that's captured within a pocket.

Collecting out there is incredible, and you're fortunate to have access to something that many will never see, or not see without begging the wife on one or both knees, cashing in vacation days and shelling out serious cash to experience.

...hoping to do it again next year....
I think it was a good choice to put them in a pot as well although I have had good success with other species by simply sticking them in the grow bed after collection and leaving them alone for a year or two.

I have to agree with Brian on the collecting areas. I know these babies get battered by the snow and wind and end up in crazy forms but finding a root pad is pretty essential. I have learned this from experience. See if you can find some rockier places where there is mostly rock. These will likely be at higher elevations in your area.

On a side note, my collecting permit is in the mail and we should be headed to central Idaho the second week of June. Thanks for the phone numbers. I had to do a little calling around but it was not a big deal. We will be closer to 7000 feet so I think we should be good with timing.
I should also say that I agree with shading them for a while and after several months slowly introducing them to the sun. If you can set up some sort of misting system that will greatly improve your odds as well.
Thanks for the aditional advice. I did get two other younger pines that were more "pads" of roots. There were some finer "feeder" roots close to the base on these older pines, but nothing i would call a rootball. The soil was a clay/rock soil with fairly large chunks of rock, but they did have some longer roots that ran up the cliff face to anchor them which was what took the majority of the digging to get to. I wanted to make sure i got as much of the roots as possible.

The good thing about these trees is that they would be killed/removed by road crews this year anyways if i didnt collect them, as they are widening and repaving the one lane old fire access road that they were on the cliffside of to make it more accessable to outdoorsman/hunters. I probally would have let them be otherwise.

Next year i am planning a trip to higher elevation, but this year i just wasnt able to get out for that long since i left my 4 year old alone with my wife who is carriing twins.

Right now they are in a spot where they get good early morning sun, then shade at about noon for the rest of the day. I think i will leave them like that untell i see good recovery.

Brian and chris, if either of you are ever in my area, please dont hesitate to drop me a line. Would love to buy either one of you a beer and talk trees.
6 hours to extract ?

Those trees took six hours? Rule of thumb in Colorado is that if you have to spend more than 10 minutes you should let the tree be. I collected 9 Ponderosa's this season and each one took no more than a simple shake and a few cuts with a Hori Hori knife. The largest was 3 1/2 feet and a trunk of 3 inches in diameter. Guess I should consider myself very lucky.:rolleyes:
yes they did. The were in very rocky soil on a cliffside, and i took alot of time trying to be delicate and chase the roots back as far as i could through the soil, trying to get as much fine roots as i could. Most of the digging was with my fingertips. I could have been quicker, but i was being very cautious, and also while chasing the roots, reburiing the roots that had been dug so that they wouldnt dry out. I did end up getting a good majority of the roots on these so only time will tell about survival.
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