Shore Pine Cascade Progression

grouper52

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I will start a progression on this tree, and add to it as it progresses.

The tree is a Shore Pine (P. contorta contorta) I found and collected a year and a half ago from a bog on northern Vancouver Island when I was there with Dan Robinson. Only the foliage could be seen sticking above the overburden. I dug down to see if the foliage was connected to anything worth collecting, and found this fascinating trunk, mostly buried under centuries of detritus and sphagnum moss.

Many of the main roots ran down deep into surrounding water, but there seemed to be enough small feeder roots coming off close into in the soil, giving it a chance at survival if collected. I wrapped up the root ball, brought it home, and threw it over in the side yard untouched for a year. It survived collection well, and was pushing new growth the next season, so in the fall I transfered it to a pot.

Things are pushing new growth already in this warm winter here, so I decided to start styling a few weeks ago, stripping bark from naturally occurring jins, drawing the branches in a bit to bring the leggy foliage closer to the base, and studying where to go with it. The photos below show it from front, right and left at that stage.
 

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roelex14

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wow, looks like ya got your work cut out for yourself. i'm looking forward to see where you take this...
 

grouper52

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Then, the last week I've decided to proceed with the tree as follows.

To bring the distant foliage in reasonably close to the base, I used a die grinder to partially hollow out the heart wood at a natural slight bend, and then muscled it into a 90 degree angle that accomplished my goal.

The large tall branch was then hanging down, and although I initially thought to leave it for an even lower sweeping cascade, I decided it was too much and not really shaped in a good eay for such a styling, so I removed it.

What remained was three branches that are in the initial stages of three cascading foliage "pads" or areas, which will need further development over time. The initially exposed jins and such will of course need refinement as well.

The soil in the bog where this tree grew is so poor and so acidic that the wood grows extremely slowly and is very weak. A branch's thickness consists mostly of bark, such that the thin little stick of wood, and the inherent weakness of the wood, make for easy bending, even of fairly thick branches. That, coupled with the inherently robust nature of these tough little guys, growing in such poor conditions and crushed under snow into such contorted things, gives me hope that it will survive my strong-arm tactics. We'll see.
 

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mcpesq817

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Really cool - thanks very much for sharing.
 

Yamadori

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That is a very nice yamadori. I love the trunk. Nothing common about it. I do not have many developed pines, and certainly no shore pines, so I am still learning how to handle them. My first reaction to all the work you have done was :eek:. Will such a newly collected pine withstand potting and grinding and serious bending so soon? I always heard - "one insult per year" for pines and "let collected trees rest two years". Dan is a good teacher so if he says it is fine for shore pine then i'm sure it is ok. Keep us posted on the progression. Maybe I'll see this one when I come up for your convention as Victrinia's helper.:)
 

Si Nguyen

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That's great styling! I like it. Maybe a flat rock slab for it? A more conventional cascade style might look pretty good for this tree too, but that would be too conventional.
Si
 

grouper52

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Thanks, everyone.

Yamadori, you raise a good question about the "no more than one insult per year" rule on pines. I do follow that with JBPs, and have paid the price a few times when I did not. I'm now very cautious with them. Certain other pines seem far less fragile, (but some even MORE so!) and these little Shore pines are pretty robust once they survive the first transplant, from what I have gathered. It may indeed be true that the work was premature, but the transfer from the collected root ball bundle to the pot did not entail any root pruning, nor even really any root disturbance at all - I largely just plunked the intact mass of soil and roots into a larger pot in early fall, but what examination I did of the roots around the edges showed robust root growth.

The early response from the tree to the much improved new soil showed promising signs of good health since then, especially the last month. One small and one large branch were removed in the styling. The branches are so limber that even such severe bends as I imposed here are well tolerated in these particular trees.

The one severe bend after hollowing out the heartwood, which always looks worse than it is on pines in my experience, and the removal of the larger branch, are the most severe stressors since collection, but I think it will be fine. Time will tell. :)
 
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