Stone Pines (Tips for a Conifer Newbie)

bubbly193

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Growth style, tips for a newbie in conifers/pines. I'm thinking of going for a flattened hokidachi. No, I'm not crazy, and i know that style is almost unheard of in most pines, but it is the natural shape of a Stone/Italian Pine, and i put what's natural for a mature specimen in the specific species as the ultimate goal in aesthetics, not what's natural for similar species. Has anyone here had any major experience in stone pine? They seem pretty tough (up there with my favorites Morus Spp. and Toxicodendron Spp.), but i know pines are generally weak, so just how tough are they. Especially looking for tips for a primarily deciduous guy starting with a conifer.

What I know:
Subtropical/Mediterranean
Tough for a pine (but now sure if it's as tough as the average Deciduous)
Pines tend to be pretty temperamental
The shape/style I'm going for.

What I don't know:
How to shape a pine
What to do with a pine
Basically, these are my first Conifers ever
I'm not sure exactly what I don't know, so any tip helps

Location:
Tulsa, OK area.
zone 7b Northern Hemisphere.
 

Potawatomi13

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Must dispel incorrect impression from comments. Pines NOT generally weak trees. Some difficult but not generally weak. Need to see roots not kept wet and use good draining soil. Most need near to full sun. Many or most WILL become weak and languish with inadequate sun exposure. Am not personally familiar with Stone pine however there is at least one thread on BN that deals with them a bit. Believe under pines or other conifers heading.;)
 

jeanluc83

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It sounds like you need to learn the basics before you start getting into style. I would start with Japanese black pines if I were you. There is by far the most information on growing JBP than any other pine. This is a two edged sword though. It also means a lot of bad information is out there.

You are in a great area to grow conifers. Most of the pines you find in the big box stores are grown in Oregon.

You are also located within driving distance to several talented professionals.
 

aml1014

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I agree with Colin read up on the different foliage this thing has, I have 2 and I'm trying to just keep them pruned to keep the short blueish needles
 

jeanluc83

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It looks like I got your location wrong. I was looking at Potawatomi13's location and not yours. Which does bring up a good point, add you location to your profile. It will make things easier later.

I'll stand by my original advice that you need to do some homework. JBP will do well in your area but may need some winter protection. Stick with a tried and true species when you are starting out before going into uncharted waters. This will save you a lot of frustration.

Pines tend to be pretty temperamental
I wouldn't label pines as temperamental but rather unforgiving of poor / inappropriate care. Most say that once you figure pines out they are very easy to grow. Finding someone in your area that has experience with pines may be helpful.
 

Potawatomi13

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It looks like I got your location wrong. I was looking at Potawatomi13's location and not yours. Which does bring up a good point, add you location to your profile. It will make things easier later.

I'll stand by my original advice that you need to do some homework. JBP will do well in your area but may need some winter protection. Stick with a tried and true species when you are starting out before going into uncharted waters. This will save you a lot of frustration.



I wouldn't label pines as temperamental but rather unforgiving of poor / inappropriate care. Most say that once you figure pines out they are very easy to grow. Finding someone in your area that has experience with pines may be helpful.
His first post had this area with it:
Tulsa, OK area.
zone 7b Northern Hemisphere.
 

aframe

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I have a stone pine I've been reducing for the last 2 years. This pine will bud back on bare wood, and does so with a profusion of growth, say 5-8 new buds. I experimented with branch reduction in spring and fall; the fall produced more buds more rapidly than cutting branches in the spring. I did not cut the branches intending to create back-budding, but it happened. This doesn't mean that fall is necessarily the best time to hard-prune...my feeding schedule may have 'kicked in' during last fall as the tree wasn't particularly vigorous the spring prior. So based on that backbudding resulting from cutting a branch you may want to look into Scots Pine Care, then dial in a program that works for your area.

I believe the stone pine will ultimately produce needles which are to large for most bonsai applications; unless you have a large tree or you prune in a way to keep the blue juvenile foliage.
The attached picture shows shoot growth after reducing the top, I found the tree to be very apically dominant. The new top shoot growth quickly caught up and over took the strength of the sizable bottom branches which I'm trying to let run. This photo was taken last summer, I've pulled many needles at the top to try to redistribute energy to the bottom. If you want ill post a current pic when it stops raining...not sure a new pic will really help.
 

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Starfox

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These are fairly common bonsai material around here, then again the pines are absolutely everywhere so I guess that helps.
I just rescued to little seedlings from some landscaping work in our garden, I wasn't planning on it but figure why not. If they survive the transplant then I will cut the tap root and put them aside. I may never get to use them but hey ho.
 

Cypress187

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In my journey to become the best bonsai artist in the world (ghehe, yeah right), i found out conifers get killed easily when handled wrong / season, so i would recommend focus on keeping it alive (before styling it), unless you allready know it ofcourse. Welcome to the forum! :)
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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@bubbly193 - the real question is ''why grow Toxidendron?'', ''what are you thinking?''.

Which one are you growing? ,poison ivy?, poison oak? poison sumac?

Do you realize that most people who think they are ''immune'' to poison ivy discover suddenly that this immunity was only temporary. In my 20's I thought I was immune. In my 60's, I am now hyper sensative. Keep benedryl or an Epi-pen on hand for the day that suddenly proves me right. Just a suggestion.

Aframe and Starfox can lead you to how to hand Pinus pineaster - the Italian Stone pine. The techniques used to train pines are general to all pines. Which technique is used & when, varies from species to species, but the complete ''tool box'' of techniques is the same. ''When'' is the most critical variable that is species specific. Read up on Japanese black pine techniques, and Scotts pine, and JWP to build your ''tool box''. Maybe pick up a few other pines to practice on. Pines native to your area. What species grow near you? Two needle pinion?, maybe short leaf pine - Pinus echinata? Also the suggestion to try a JBP is a good one. There is a well devolped literature for JBP, you don't have to guess as much with JBP.
 

Bonsaiguy_2012

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I agree with afrane's comments. I have three monsters and grow quite well here in Hawaii. During the growing season (yes we have a growing season) I am constantly cutting back and removing growth sprouting from the trunk. I try to keep all juvenile growth while some of my friends in California go for the mature foliage
 

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