Torrey Pine Taproot Chop

Emanon

Seedling
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#1
Hello! I dug up two young trees that I think are Torrey Pines (Pinus torreyana) and I am attempting to grow them as bonsai. I was hoping that someone with experience with this tree could give advice on where to cut the taproot. I've never had this issue with other trees before because, usually, there are at least some branching roots closer to the surface. The first tree was younger than the other and just had a single taproot. It is a 6-8 inches tall tree. I decided to stop digging and cut the taproot at a little over 2 feet down. At this point, two feet deep, there were no other roots (i.e. no horizontal branching roots). So I scarred the single root, put a rooting hormone on it, and was able to wrap all of the single root inside of a two gallon nursery pot.

The second tree is obviously older, so bigger, and has at least some branching roots. I dug to about 4 feet when collecting it. The taproot went deeper but I cut it here. At home I cut the taproot at 2 feet down. At this point I have 8 horizontal or radial roots. I cut it here because it was right after the second "grouping" of roots and there were no more roots for another 8 inches down the taproot. The tree itself is 3 feet tall and I wanted to preserve as many roots as possible in order to increase its chances of surviving.

The attached picture is of the root after I cut it at 2 feet from the surface. Ideally I'd want to cut the taproot as close to the arrow numbered 1 in the picture as possible. This is the point at which the tree was buried. (I initially picked this tree because the first set of branches were right above the ground.) Between this point (number 1) and the arrow numbered 2 (which is the first branching root), the taproot begin to taper drastically. It looks like a carrot. If I was able to generate roots at the point numbered 2, and set this right below the surface, or attempted to turn it into nebari, the trunk would have a horrible reverse taper started a good distance from its base.

The other problem I encountered is that the few branching roots extended for multiple feet horizontally. I attempted to get as much of each of them as possible but they are very delicate and wind all about. I'm worried that each of the 8 roots were not removed in their entirety.

At this point is it best for me to bury the whole 2+ feet of taproot that I have left? Should I maybe cut between the arrows numbered 1 and 2 and hope for root branching? Or just after the grouping around the arrow numbered 2 -- there is three roots at this point. For those with experience with Torrey Pines, are the principles of collecting them/chopping the taproot different from other pines?

(I also included another closer-up picture of a part of the taproot, as it looks now.)
 

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#2
From general pine experience tree #1 likely dead, should have left there. Coat whole root rooting hormone, bury whole root, Pray. Number 2 suggest cutting below long root curving upward from below #3. Slow steps insure survival. Washing off pine roots very poor survival idea. Curiosity prevails: Where naturally growing Torrey pine protected. These came from another area:confused:? These can be bought from a couple nurseries. Less work better survival. Long needles these have but suspect can be reduced in time. Cones on trees above/near seedlings will be diagnostic for ID;).
 
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Emanon

Seedling
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#3
From general pine experience tree #1 likely dead, should have left there. Coat whole root rooting hormone, bury whole root, Pray. Number 2 suggest cutting below long root curving upward from below #3. Slow steps insure survival. Washing off pine roots very poor survival idea. Curiosity prevails: Where naturally growing Torrey pine protected. These came from another area:confused:? These can be bought from a couple nurseries. Less work better survival. Long needles these have but suspect can be reduced in time. Cones on trees above/near seedlings will be diagnostic for ID;).
Thank you so much for the response! I figured it was definitely a long shot to cut the taproot at a point where there was no other roots (between #1 and #2). Thank you for confirming this and completely putting me off the idea. I think I'll definitely go as slow as possible and bury everything (below #3). I did dig down to 4 feet for this purpose of trying to get as many roots as I could, and I cut it where I did (at 2 feet) because I feel like I have a good percentage of the overall roots but it is still enough of a cut at this point to start the process of minimizing the taproot/forcing secondary root growth out.

This tree was one of 25-35 seedlings/trees found under a large, old Torrey pine (i.e. what appears obviously to be a Torrey pine). Torrey pines are the only pines growing in this particular area, so I doubt some other pine ended up here under this tree. The only reason I prefaced my original posting with the clause "I think" (...it is a Torrey pine) is because right before I posted I noticed that there are only 4 needles in each bundle on this tree. I'll go back out in the next few days to look closer at the cones and to count the needles on the tree it was found under. I did take some pictures of a pine cone when I was there before and I've posted that here. (By the way, I was using the pine cone in this picture to show the size of the first tree that I described in my original posting, i.e. the 6-8 inch seedling that had just the single taproot extending 2 feet. I know this tree is not ideal for bonsai with a root structure like this but I really like the idea of using trees native to the areas I've lived in, especially trees that are synonymous with the region, i.e. local icons. I'll definitely check out a local nursery though. I just really love the particular tree these trees were found under.)

It would have been nice not to wash off the roots (I think you mean something like bare root it?) but, with these trees it would be near impossible to maintain the roots in the sandy loam (really just sand) that it was growing in. It took less than 5 minutes to dig down 4 feet (and at a wide circumference) through this loose sand with a hand shovel. One of the three thin roots branching off the taproot (at the point numbered 2 in the picture I posted before) stretched out horizontally for 3-4 feet. I can't imagine something like this ever being removed in situ or with soil attached. Plus none of the 8 roots that branched off the tap had any finer roots branching off of them. (All the roots seen in the pictures are one of the 8 root branches that attach to the taproot.)

To satisfy your curiosity: no. Where this tree was found it is not protected by either the U.S. federal government or local city ordinance and permission from the landowner was received.

Thank you again for helping me!
 

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Emanon

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#4
From general pine experience tree #1 likely dead, should have left there. Coat whole root rooting hormone, bury whole root, Pray. Number 2 suggest cutting below long root curving upward from below #3. Slow steps insure survival. Washing off pine roots very poor survival idea. Curiosity prevails: Where naturally growing Torrey pine protected. These came from another area:confused:? These can be bought from a couple nurseries. Less work better survival. Long needles these have but suspect can be reduced in time. Cones on trees above/near seedlings will be diagnostic for ID;).
Edit to the posting just above this: OK, I should take my time before posting...I went out this morning and looked closer at the tree before burying it. The majority of bundles on the tree have 5 needles. Just randomly the 3 or 4 bundles I looked at yesterday before posting had 4 needles but just about the rest of them on the tree have 5. So, 100% sure of the tree's ID. And, as an example of why I want to grow a Torrey pine -- i.e. my desire to have a native tree, synonymous with the region, from each area I've lived over the years -- this started years ago with my first bonsai tree...a Coast Redwood that I started while attending Stanford University. My second tree was an oak that hometown took its name from. I move around a lot so it's a nice way of staying connected the different areas.
 
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#5
From your info tree ID seems correct and good collected legally(and free);). Reasons for trees collected appreciated as well. If one of these survives(or both)please post pics. Also please add location to profile.
 

Emanon

Seedling
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#6
Just in case anyone was interested, I've attached an example of how Torrey pines propagate in neighborhood (the city wild). I just pulled into this parking lot over the weekend past, looked up and saw a good number of seedlings/little trees under an old Torrey pine. Now that I've been looking, I've been noticing this all over town -- Torrey pine trees with dozens of offspring underneath. Although this tree is all over the place in my area, I know it is relatively rare. Will a landscaper usually just cut down little trees growing like this in a parking lot, especially in a city where Torrey Pines are not protected by local ordinance? (Although this parking lot does not seem especially well maintained.) I'd have no idea the process for finding the owner of a parking lot (it is not city property) but it would nice if something was done with the great number of these trees... The third picture is a Torrey pine that I found in the same parking lot. I posted it because it shows what Torrey pines look like when they're a few blocks inland and away from the salty ocean mist and wind. They grow huge...and up! (You can see a green chair at its base for scale.) Finally, for fun, the fourth picture is one I saw over the weekend at a neighborhood park. I thought it was cool how the city framed it in something that looks like a bonsai pot!
 

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Yakima Wa
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#7
I'd have no idea the process for finding the owner of a parking lot
Just start digging, I am sure you will quickly find out who the owner is...but you also might want to arrange bale money first. I can't say first hand about Torrey Pines, but I know that not all La Jollia, Del Mar, or San Diego cops have a sense of humor. Don't ask how I know. Those records are sealed and the bodies well hidden. ;-)

Funny story: Recently while sitting in a bar with my wife and some friends I looked up at a TV that was on the golf channel and casually mentioned that it looked like Torrey Pines. My wife who knows I have never stepped foot on the Torrey Pines Golf Course started teasing me that I had no idea what I was talking about...almost as if on cue the announcer mentioned Torrey Pines. HA!!! What she does not fully comprehend is how much I love the trees and cliffs there, and that had a buddy who was obsessed with that golf course.
 
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Location
Eugene, OR
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#8
Just start digging, I am sure you will quickly find out who the owner is...but you also might want to arrange bale money first. I can't say first hand about Torrey Pines, but I know that not all La Jollia, Del Mar, or San Diego cops have a sense of humor. Don't ask how I know. Those records are sealed and the bodies well hidden. ;-)

Funny story: Recently while sitting in a bar with my wife and some friends I looked up at a TV that was on the golf channel and casually mentioned that it looked like Torrey Pines. My wife who knows I have never stepped foot on the Torrey Pines Golf Course started teasing me that I had no idea what I was talking about...almost as if on cue the announcer mentioned Torrey Pines. HA!!! What she does not fully comprehend is how much I love the trees and cliffs there, and that had a buddy who was obsessed with that golf course.
If reading earlier posts you might find he got permission first;).
 

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