Potential Pinus radiata forest?

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I germinated some Pinus radiata seed a few years ago knowing very little about about them. Still know very little apart from that they seem to shoot from just about anywhere with very little encouragement. Two pond baskets of seedlings have remained semi neglected, watered but nothing more and this year having rooted through the bottoms they are between 3 and 4 foot tall. What do you think my chances of turning these into a pine forest are and has anyone any tips for radiatas?
 

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sorce

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What do you think my chances of turning these into a pine forest

Excellent if you stop questioning it!

I'd try to seperate individuals (your main 2-3) and a couple groupings, into their own baskets for further development before assembling the forest.

Sorce
 
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Excellent if you stop questioning it!

I'd try to seperate individuals (your main 2-3) and a couple groupings, into their own baskets for further development before assembling the forest.

Sorce
I suppose I should shorten them all (when I separate them) to lower shoots so they can support themselves and to encourage backbudding? I think they are only upright at the moment because of the close planting and the low wall behind them although some of the trunks are getting quite sturdy.
 
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Should I be looking at similar care to our native Pinus sylvestris or treat them like the JBP and JRP? They seem to have more vigour than the Scots pines I have but our climate here is hardly Californian.
 

sorce

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I suppose I should shorten them all (when I separate them) to lower shoots so they can support themselves and to encourage backbudding? I think they are only upright at the moment because of the close planting and the low wall behind them although some of the trunks are getting quite sturdy.

I wouldn't chop them at Repot for a couple reasons.
I think all conifers transplant better with full foilage.
Giving them extra to do while trying to repair roots isn't the best.
The closeness hasn't allowed much light to penetrate, so any backbudding would probably prove leggy if anything, and without new buds you're on a short lifeline till them needles fall.

I don't know anything about radiata except they have one of the coolest names.

Also....of designing a proper forest......

I don't think you have enough prior information on these particular trees yet to begin making pruning moves to a forest.

I'd want to know the exact height of buds likely to emerge, which will relate to thickness, which will relate to chop height, which will relate to placement, probably a few more values I forgot, then ALL of this has to be in proportion to one another.

In short, it is impossible to make good decisions yet.

As an Idea to further understand....

You have a lot of trees.

I would guess you could seperate or otherwise pick through the outer more lit ones, and the interior less lit ones, and see they have values so different, they would each make their own good Forest, but would absolutely never work together, just do to properortions. (Will that pass as one word for proper proportions?)

It should because it needs a lot more emphasis on the whole.

It is difficult to properly proportionalize a single tree, more difficult when many of them must also be in proportion to each other.

If bonsai is a slow freight train....
Forests are slow freight trains where you know they will be robbed half way through the journey then all the product remade and reloaded and delivered still slow. No rush.

Sorce
 

Shibui

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P. radiata is the most common species for forestry down here. They grow fast. They respond very well to pruning and will often grow new buds on bare wood. Radiata revert to juvenile growth very easily after pruning so we often see them as a mass of hairy juvenile needles.
You can make a group planting from almost any species. P. radiata is no problem.
Take note of @sorce advice to separate and grow some of these for another couple of years to get a range of trunk thickness for your forest. Diversity of height, spacing and trunk thickness is vital for a good group planting. Good groups can be achieved by planting similar trees together but takes much more care and work than accelerating growth of your main trees in separate pots.

In early stages you won't be decandling or using maintenance techniques so it doesn't matter whether Radiata is single or double flush. There is still debate about where this species fits in the pine maintenance schedule which probably indicates it is neither clearly single or double flush as we have come to know it. You have plenty of time to observe how these react to pruning during the development phase before you need to use maintenance techniques.
There are a few threads with info on growing P. radiata as bonsai on Ausbonsai.com.au that may help you with this species.
 
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Thanks @sorce and @Shibui for your help. I’ve been digesting the recommended threads on Ausbonsai and trying to decide how best to divide the trees as suggested. There is already quite a range of trunk girths. Some of the fatter ones were surprisingly at the back where their increased height fighting for the light had resulted in much thicker trunks. How tall would you allow them to go before reducing the height? Won’t letting them get too tall and strong at the apex weaken and potentially kill off lower weaker shoots?
 

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How tall would you allow them to go before reducing the height? Won’t letting them get too tall and strong at the apex weaken and potentially kill off lower weaker shoots?
Strong apical growth does tend to reduce vigour in lowest branches. I find that growing pines is about balance - allow top growth to increase size but prune it back if the important lower section loses vigour. You can always allow another leader to extend to further increase trunk diameter. Pines develop quite well using a series of grow and chop cycles just like other species.
I don't have any experience growing these from seed or seedlings. If I want a P. radiata I just go out in the pine plantation and find some older trunks that have suffered from other trees falling or browsing by wildlife and collect them.
You could try the approach Teleperion farms used for developing JBP trunks - allow a strong leader as sacrifice and a couple of lower branches for the bonsai but prune off all competing branches on the sacrifice trunk. That reduces shading of the important lower branches but also seems to reduce competition for food and sap so the lower branches seem to stay healthier for longer.
 

sorce

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The predicament you've found is a useful one, as you want your thickest trees to have the highest first branches.

I think the largest "difference" in creation, or growing out, at this point, is the difference between chopping trunks (movement), and just building branches and apices on what you have.

Again you may find your options fit into these 2 categories, hopefully a couple solo specimen too, and should be divided out (mostly mentally, physically when safe) as well.

I would be looking mostly for exit direction of buds, but then height, number, and vigour of buds as well to determine these categories.

Uniformity of proportions and movement should take precedence over the time it takes to create the forest.
I reckon you'll end up dividing an entire "slow build" forest and an entire "quick build" forest anyway.

Sorce
 

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