Sooooo... would you undertake this pine?

Bonsai Nut

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Here's an interesting tree for discussion that is currently listed for sale at Yahoo! Auction Japan. It is a JBP that has obviously been well-cared for, but has some substantial flaws that would take years (if ever) to resolve. The tree is currently listed for $400. Would you buy the tree for that price, and if so what would your development plan look like?

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buddhamonk

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I'd probably spend twice as much for a tree like that.... rewire the small branches... set it on the bench. and enjoy the tree for years to come.

Manny
 
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Graydon

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Yes, who do I make the check out to... or can I use a credit card?

Plan of re-development is another issue. One that requires some thought. I'll be back as soon as it has bubbled around in my head. It would evolve either grafting some branches from the crown to lower areas (think compact tree) or perhaps removal of a lot and working with the movement in the trunk. Thinning would be first up. Nice ramification on this one, perhaps too much.

Is it a nishiki? The bark looks very plated and chunky for a tree of that size. The rootage looks a bit corky too. If so that is a nice layer.

One of the flaws is not the nebari is it? Cause if that's a flaw I need some of them... hey, how about a list of the flaws...

By the way - I really enjoy when you start threads based on Yahoo Japan auctions and the trees that are for sale. It's good general discussion for the group. I learn something every time.
 

BONSAI_OUTLAW

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I am with Manny....I would most likely pay twice that.

Actually this is ebay right so $801. Ha
 

Brent

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This tree shows the importance of developing a plan. It has a million dollar canopy on a ten cent trunk.

It is obvious that the tree was started many years ago by someone that had no concept of taper or movement. After the trunk was fixed, many years of meticulous branch work developed some pretty incredible foliage pads. But as a complete compostion, it just doesn't work. I guess it's worth $400 or $800 or even $1600 if you like it that much, but it will never be a 'good' tree worthy of a major show. It's now too old and too developed to consider major changes; it would be a crime to fool with all that careful grooming. Best to just enjoy it like it is, or just tweak it to improve a bit on the current design.

What's wrong with it? The first thing that hit me was that the 'flow' was wrong. It has this wonderful strong flow to the right set by the nebari and lower trunk. Then it moves to the right via a big 'C' curve and finishes to the left! Now it's ok to change direction, and even desirable to do so, but it is a mistake to have this unresolved conflict unless it is for intentional dynamic tension, which this tree doesn't have ( and which is extremely hard to pull off).

The trunk lacks taper and good movement. It has this long 'C' section without sufficient branching and is rather boring. The canopy is too large and makes the whole composition unbalanced. So, despite that fact that it is initially quite dramatic, at least to the untrained eye, it violates several good design principles and shows the hand of the untrained, or the uninspired, EXCEPT for the detail work. This is what I harp on about beginners: they want to do the last things first and first things last. Give a beginner a black pine and the first thing they want to do is cut candles and pluck needles. After many years of this, they realize that they are never going to get a trunk if they keep this up, and they literally have to start over by developing the trunk. This usually means cutting it down to the first branch. This poor tree never even got that far.

Brent
EvergreenGardenworks.com
see our blog at http://BonsaiNurseryman.typepad.com
 

rlist

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Good critique Brent. Let me ask everyone this - would you collect a yamadori with a trunk like that??? In my tromps through the woods, this soft C is a very common feature and with the finished tree thinned out and the pads brought down - it could pass as a collected & naturalistic tree.
 

Bonsai Nut

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This tree shows the importance of developing a plan. It has a million dollar canopy on a ten cent trunk.
The best advice I ever received on bonsai: think of the tree design as a pyramid. The nebari is the most important, and the most difficult to change, followed by the trunk, then the primary branches, then the secondary branches, and then the apex. When you lay out your design plan, the greatest branch ramification in the world will not save a poor nebari or a bad trunk.

In the case of this tree, I am not sure how I would try to "fix" it. The lower trunk bothers me the most. I actually like the lower trunk and nebari of the "back" better than the front, though the lack of some critical branches would be an issue (perhaps try to graft some?) At least with the photo of the back I can start to imagine how I would have to bring the primary branch around, drop the secondary branch and pull it forward, and develop the apex so it is stronger to the left. However the trunk will never really be strong no matter what you do - unless you graft sacrifice branches or something equally dramatic. And like Brent says, it is kinda like starting over; it would be years to resolve.
 

agraham

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In a heartbeat.IF I thought I could keep it alive where I live.

I disagree with Brent's assesment of the tree's styling.It may never be a great masterpiece...but it certainly is far better than he describes.Atleast,in my opinion.

There is some slight taper..though not the massive to tiny taper that has become popular.Realising that black pines are considered masculine trees....I see this one as feminine in nature.The C curve is not so terrible to my eyes if it is taken into consideration in the styling.

Just a thought.The pot would need changing too.

andy
 

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cbobgo

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Thats a good improvement andy, I also like the back better than the front.

Rick to answer your question, I'd probably collect this tree if I walked past it - but only because I don't have 3 yards full of better trees like you guys.

But I do have to agree with Brent, that this is not going to be a show stopper. But it would still be fun to play with.

- bob
 
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The best advice I ever received on bonsai: think of the tree design as a pyramid. The nebari is the most important, and the most difficult to change, followed by the trunk, then the primary branches, then the secondary branches, and then the apex.
I agree with you in all aspects but one: The most difficult to change and most important is actually the lower portion of the trunk, then the nebari. Nebari work is not difficult if done properly. Giving an established trunk character where it has none is near impossible.
 

Dale Cochoy

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Bnut,
Could you post a link to this ( and maple).
I'm wondering if you are reading pricing correctly?
D.
 

grouper52

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I've often found myself attracted and inspired by the more fluid and flexible Chinese approaches to styling, and their work with pines is often especially appealing to my eye. I don't think it would turn a sow's ear into a silk purse, but I think the lighter, softer, more sparse look of Chinese stylings might suit this tree much better than a Japanese style. I think, in fact, the appeal of agraham's virt is that it moves a wee bit in that direction. I would post a virt to show some such possibilities, but I'm really bad with virtual foliage, especially the lighter, more sparsely distributed foiliage I'm talking about, but perhaps someone with an eye for Chinese styles and good virt skills could render one.

As for the tree itself, I certainly wouldn't kick it out of bed at that price!

grouper52
 

Dwight

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Price seems correct if thats what all those squiggles mean. 50,000 yen is very close to $500. The maple at that price makes me wish I knew someone in Japan who was familiar with exporting trees , assuming it can be done.
 

Bonsai Nut

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50,000 yen is very close to $500.
Actually, I used to trade foreign currency in a prior life (it's hard to say that without sounding snobby, but trust me, it was no big deal). The Yen is trading at 121.79 per Dollar. 50,000 yen is $410.54. I checked last night before I posted the threads, but hey, even I can make mistakes :) I thought it would be better if someone checked my math :)
 

cbobgo

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It is possible to export trees, if you don't mind waiting 4 years and risk the tree crumping during quarenteen.

I think you could find similar material in this country, but maybe not at that price.

- bob
 

buddhamonk

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ok I think I fixed the taper problem since most seemed to dislike the upper, C shaped trunk.

And I possibly turned a $400 tree into a Kokufu winner :D
 

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Dale Cochoy

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Do you think perhaps the $400+ dollars is the MINIMUM bid?
I don't see this pine as a tree for sale in Japan at $400, despite our professional critiques.
I think we need someone who can actually read the entire page?
Dale
 

buddhamonk

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well I think what we need is wait until the end of the auction and see what it goes for.

Even on Ebay here we can find good trees for little money but then everybody is bidding at the last minute using ebay snipers.

I bet this tree will go for 2 to 3 times the initial bid
 
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