Shohin Mugo Pines

buffrider

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Had these two for about two years now. Dont know where to take these now, plsss help with any suggestions. Also i have no clue how to make these pics on my computer the size so that i can put them on here correctly so here they are the only way i know how.


By buffrider at 2011-07-06

By buffrider at 2011-07-06
 

pwk5017

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Im surprised no one has responded to this yet. Ok, heres my attempt. This is for the first tree, cause the second one is a pot with some pine foliage on top. Perhaps take a pic of a trunk line or some interior shots to give us a better idea of the potential. Back to the first one. The branch spacing is off. As I wrote on the image, the distance from 1 or 2 to 3 or 4 is far too great. Also, trunk tape and movement become boring and nonexistent after the second branch. However, the nebari is surprisingly good and the trunk base is pretty good too. I would be pretty pleased if I found this tree at my local big box store. So, my virtual compresses the tree to what will most likely be a finished height of 6-7" in the style of a semi cascade. This makes sense by the rules, because the trunk should be 1/6 the height of the tree. I am guessing your trunk is 1.5"? It also works, because you have that big branch on the right that is young enough to be trained however you want it. If you decide to go this route, you need buds, buds, and more buds. Best to get it in some nice soil and a wider container to let it gain some strength.
 

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bonsai barry

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I think that if you want a bonsai with a thick impressive trunk, then you need to let this tree grow in the ground. If you read the attached article you will find that it will be necessary to use one of the lower branches as the upper portion on the trunk in order to acheive enough taper to make the trunk interesting.

Good luck!

http://www.evergreengardenworks.com/trunks.htm

(This link to Evergreen Gardenwork's site. There is a wealth of information to be found there.)
 

buffrider

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Im surprised no one has responded to this yet. Ok, heres my attempt. This is for the first tree, cause the second one is a pot with some pine foliage on top. Perhaps take a pic of a trunk line or some interior shots to give us a better idea of the potential. Back to the first one. The branch spacing is off. As I wrote on the image, the distance from 1 or 2 to 3 or 4 is far too great. Also, trunk tape and movement become boring and nonexistent after the second branch. However, the nebari is surprisingly good and the trunk base is pretty good too. I would be pretty pleased if I found this tree at my local big box store. So, my virtual compresses the tree to what will most likely be a finished height of 6-7" in the style of a semi cascade. This makes sense by the rules, because the trunk should be 1/6 the height of the tree. I am guessing your trunk is 1.5"? It also works, because you have that big branch on the right that is young enough to be trained however you want it. If you decide to go this route, you need buds, buds, and more buds. Best to get it in some nice soil and a wider container to let it gain some strength.

I really like what you have shown here. I was feeling the same about the taper. Now where should I start to get it to look like what you have verted up for this tree? Also I forgot to mention there is a big long branch that I left as a sacrifice branch in the back. It looks like it's part of the 1st left branch but it's a different one.
Also I'll try to get some better pics of the second mugo. There is so much on this tree that I don't know whatto take off.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Barry said it...unfortunately, this tree really doesn't (presently) exhibit characteristics that a tree should to become a bonsai, and some time in the ground can improve this. A tree really needs to have a good base, pleasing taper, branches that compliment the movement of the trunk, and growth proximal to the trunk, not distal.

I will say that your wiring technique is good, even, and the upper branch shows some movement on the horizontal as well as vertical planes.

Now...go look at some pine trees outside/online and compare them to this tree. A common mistake people make is when they try to make their tree look like a bonsai, when the goal is to make their bonsai look like a tree. The trunk ratios discussed here are a perfect example of this practice. At some point, people decided while looking at aesthetically pleasing bonsai trees, that most of them had a 6:1 (or whatever) Height:trunk ratio, it looked "right", and it became a "rule". People new to bonsai use these "rules" to determine the "right" way to create bonsai trees. This type of reverse-engineering is extremely limiting and will lead to trees that look like bonsai.

Spend time determining what characteristics drew you to a tree in the first place...then decide how to accentuate those characteristics in a convincing, natural way.
 

buffrider

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ok so here is some better pictures of the second tree..... hope these help.... I see a cascade or a semi.

By buffrider at 2011-07-09

By buffrider at 2011-07-09

By buffrider at 2011-07-09
 

pwk5017

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Hmm, I am not sure if I agree with the "put it in the ground" sentiments. That statement is used alot(and rightfully so when someone posts a 1/4" maple twig", but I think this tree can make a pleasing shohin with the base and trunk that it has now. The branches suck, but thats to be expected with nursery stock-- especially mugos. The young ones backbud pretty well, so buffrider should be able to almost regrow all the branches to achieve the movement, taper, ramification etc. that is fitting for a "finished" tree. I assume buffrider is pretty new to the game, so I encourage him to make the best of this tree so he has some results. Yeah, it wont be show worthy, but it will be a piece for him to practice detail wiring, decandling, needle plucking etc. I dont mean to put it down either, because I see a nice 6" shohin in 3 years.

The rules are nice to follow when you begin bonsai, that is why I referenced them. When you find yourself asking, "is my tree high enough? is my trunk thick enough?" the standby ratios can help keep you on track. The point about styles is a matter of preference and opinion. I dont think alot of japanese bonsai look like trees per se; they look like bonsai. I love japanese trees and I love them for their power, control and all things that can be attributed to bonsai, not because they look like the 100 year oak that I fly fish next to every sunday. Walter Pall certainly does things differently and I think this is what Brian was advocating. I also love walter's trees because they do remind me of the 100 year oak that I fly fish next to every sunday. Bottom line on styles and taste: a serious conversation with your tree will tell you if it should be a bonsai or a tree. From the pictures, the first mugo tells me it should be a bonsai.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Hmm, I am not sure if I agree with the "put it in the ground" sentiments. That statement is used alot(and rightfully so when someone posts a 1/4" maple twig", but I think this tree can make a pleasing shohin with the base and trunk that it has now. The branches suck, but thats to be expected with nursery stock-- especially mugos. The young ones backbud pretty well, so buffrider should be able to almost regrow all the branches to achieve the movement, taper, ramification etc. that is fitting for a "finished" tree. I assume buffrider is pretty new to the game, so I encourage him to make the best of this tree so he has some results. Yeah, it wont be show worthy, but it will be a piece for him to practice detail wiring, decandling, needle plucking etc. I dont mean to put it down either, because I see a nice 6" shohin in 3 years.

The rules are nice to follow when you begin bonsai, that is why I referenced them. When you find yourself asking, "is my tree high enough? is my trunk thick enough?" the standby ratios can help keep you on track. The point about styles is a matter of preference and opinion. I dont think alot of japanese bonsai look like trees per se; they look like bonsai. I love japanese trees and I love them for their power, control and all things that can be attributed to bonsai, not because they look like the 100 year oak that I fly fish next to every sunday. Walter Pall certainly does things differently and I think this is what Brian was advocating. I also love walter's trees because they do remind me of the 100 year oak that I fly fish next to every sunday. Bottom line on styles and taste: a serious conversation with your tree will tell you if it should be a bonsai or a tree. From the pictures, the first mugo tells me it should be a bonsai.

The problem lies in reconciling the statement, "the branches suck" with "it should be a bonsai". To do that will require some time in the ground or some grafting, and honestly, the material isn't worth that much effort. BUT...like I said, figure out what you like in a tree and find a way to accentuate it.
 

pwk5017

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haha ok, let me rephrase with, "the branches suck RIGHT NOW". They have no taper, no ramification, no movement, but that can all be fixed. Was that stump of a tree you collected many years ago below a powerline an awesome specimen when you collected it? I just dont see why you are putting down this guy's material, which is most likely one of his very first picks, when it really is not that bad.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Let's be clear: I didn't put down the guy's material; I only said it wasn't worth the effort of grafting to get closer branches. I don't know if he's new or not, but grafting is an acquired skill. There are only so many hours one can put into bonsai, and SO much more can be learned with quality material than trying to overcome or work around characteristics that don't lend themselves to bonsai.

Perspective changes a lot when one graduates from nursery crawls at Home Depot to the real McCoy grown for bonsai or collected in the wild. If you're there, you know what I mean...
 

buffrider

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ok well ive only been doing bonsai for close to 3 years now but have never worked with pines and have never grafted before. Now knowing this where should i take this tree? i got it for $9 only because the trunk looks pretty mature. Im down for taking this lil guy any way so im down for using it for learning new skills. If you could help me with a step by step and maybe a vert that would be awesome. Thanks for yalls help
 

Brian Van Fleet

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My recommended steps would be as follows:

1. Place this tree in the ground.
2. Go to George Muranaka's eBay website and find a nice black pine that was developed for bonsai.
3. Read up on grafting, it should only be done in late winter, and ideally when the stock is active and the scion is still dormant; which can be tricky if you're using the same tree for both.

I'll try to post a series on approach grafting I did on a red pine this winter at some point...
 

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