Twin-trunk Ponderosa

Kanorin

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Purchased this Ponderosa pine off of a club member this week. Starting up a thread mainly for progression/documentation purposes, but I'm sure I'll have some questions along the way.

It was originally collected from South Dakota in either 2018 or 2019. And then potted into this production pot in spring 2020.
IMG-5436.jpg
Probably the front:
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The plan right now is just to fertilize well to see if I can get some back-budding in the next few years, put some wire on it in the fall, and then repot into a more fitting pot this coming spring.
 

Shogun610

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Nice find, I would shoot select this fall and fertilize now through fall, and reduce fertilization in spring in order to not get huge candles, and candle pinch in order to start reducing needle length, and to promote back budding. Next fall I’d wire it up, removing needles on the underside of where you’re developing pads. I wouldn’t repot until year 3 of you having this.
 

Colorado

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Awesome trunks! Certainly not an “easy” tree to design but great material.

I’d fertilize the hell out of it from now until October. You already have long needles anyway and it does not look very vigorous.

I wouldn’t go any larger with the pot. I think - and Ryan Neil has also discussed this - that it is perhaps more important for Ponderosa than any other species to utilize the container to really restrict the tree. You will have a very hard time getting acceptable needle length with a large container. That said, you still have at least 3-4 years before you start to see shorter needles.

You may already know this, but Ponderosa need to be in the hottest and sunniest part of your garden. This is critical, especially in Missouri where it is overcast half the time anyway.

I am not aware of any credible school of thought that advocates for spring candle pinching on Ponderosa…I only perform foliage work in August on Ponderosas.

This is one of the things I like most about pondys - they require a lot of discipline and restraint to wait ALL GROWING SEASON to work on them. But worth it in the long run.

Good luck! Interested to see where you take this tree’s design.
 

Shogun610

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Your august is prob our September, October early fall in 6b. I agree with what you said along with basic pruning principles that create ramification etc, but regarding the candle pinching since it’s a single flush pine , why wouldn’t that reduce needle size ? You redistribute growth besides pruning in the off season. So along with redistribution of growth along with driving robust fertilization pushing the back budding and keeping a confined pot size, what about Ponderosas make them exceptions to pinching
Awesome trunks! Certainly not an “easy” tree to design but great material.

I’d fertilize the hell out of it from now until October. You already have long needles anyway and it does not look very vigorous.

I wouldn’t go any larger with the pot. I think - and Ryan Neil has also discussed this - that it is perhaps more important for Ponderosa than any other species to utilize the container to really restrict the tree. You will have a very hard time getting acceptable needle length with a large container. That said, you still have at least 3-4 years before you start to see shorter needles.

You may already know this, but Ponderosa need to be in the hottest and sunniest part of your garden. This is critical, especially in Missouri where it is overcast half the time anyway.

I am not aware of any credible school of thought that advocates for spring candle pinching on Ponderosa…I only perform foliage work in August on Ponderosas.

This is one of the things I like most about pondys - they require a lot of discipline and restraint to wait ALL GROWING SEASON to work on them. But worth it in the long run.

Good luck! Interested to see where you take this tree’s design.
 

Colorado

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Your august is prob our September, October early fall in 6b. I agree with what you said along with basic pruning principles that create ramification etc, but regarding the candle pinching since it’s a single flush pine , why wouldn’t that reduce needle size , besides with driving robust fertilization pushing the back budding
,and keeping a confined pot size?

Good question! I don’t want to derail the thread, but since we’re talking Ponderosas, hopefully this isn’t too far off base.

The reason is because Ponderosa needles continue elongating all summer, until August typically. Contrast this to other single flush pines, like a mugo or a sylvestris, which have needles that stop elongating much earlier in the growing season.

This is why we differentiate between “short needle single flush pines” and “long needle single flush pines.”

My teachers (Mirai and long time Rocky Mountain Bonsai Society members) have found that pinching Ponderosa candles results in the REMAINING needles becoming even longer than they would otherwise since the finite amount of energy is then distributed to a lesser needle count. Backbudding is achieved by vigorous growth and fall pruning.

Hope this helps!
 

Shogun610

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Good question! I don’t want to derail the thread, but since we’re talking Ponderosas, hopefully this isn’t too far off base.

The reason is because Ponderosa needles continue elongating all summer, until August typically. Contrast this to other single flush pines, like a mugo or a sylvestris, which have needles that stop elongating much earlier in the growing season.

This is why we differentiate between “short needle single flush pines” and “long needle single flush pines.”

My teachers (Mirai and long time Rocky Mountain Bonsai Society members) have found that pinching Ponderosa candles results in the REMAINING needles becoming even longer than they would otherwise since the finite amount of energy is then distributed to a lesser needle count. Backbudding is achieved by vigorous growth and fall pruning.

Hope this helps!
Ah hmm ok I never differentiated the two into short or long needles well don’t I feel like an idiot for my first advice post regarding pinching. I redact that part of my advice. I pinch all my single flush perhaps I’ll change that up for ponderosa, luckily the two I have the needles aren’t terribly long.
 

Potawatomi13

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The reason is because Ponderosa needles continue elongating all summer, until August typically.
Fantastic tree/WONDERFUL trunks😍! Personally do not see any difficulty to design future tree and wouldn't disagree with changing pots if tree has been potted already for 3 years or so. Some disagreement with comment above. Having 12 Ponderosas here seems needles are hardened off earlier than August. Perhaps 1st week of July here. Much admiration and envy for your tree☺️.
 

Kanorin

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Thanks for the comments all. I've been watching some of Ryan Neil's videos on Ponderosas and @Colorado 's advice seems pretty spot on with those videos. Basically fertilize and water well for 2-3 years to promote backbudding and then start withholding spring fertilizer after that (no candle pinching or needle plucking except for spent needles).

Regarding the the needles hardening off and elongating - it might be possible that you are both right. I think the needles are hardened off now, but I also think this year's needles are still elongating. Maybe it also depends a lot on local climate too.

Regarding the repot - yeah I'm sure it could go another year or two in this pot, but there are three reasons for the spring 2022 repot: 1)I know that I'm going to enjoy this tree a lot more when I put it into something more fitting. 2) I think it will help me wire it better in Fall 2022. 3) It's not super stable (lot of weight leaning left and back) - in fact I need to anchor this thing to the bench before the next storm rolls in.

I'm trying to envision what type of container would be good for it...I'm thinking something non-traditional and rugged. It would probably look good on a slanted slab, but I'm not confident in my ability to keep trees alive on slabs just yet (I'll need to do some guinea pigs first).
 

Colorado

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Sounds like a good plan! Looking forward to seeing what container you choose. My mind keeps going to a semi cascade round, but that’s just me :)
 

Kanorin

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Sounds like a good plan! Looking forward to seeing what container you choose. My mind keeps going to a semi cascade round, but that’s just me :)
That's where my mind initially goes - tilt it just slightly so that left branch (semi)cascades down a little bit more. It might look cool in one of @penumbra 's stone age pots...hmm.
 

NaoTK

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I also just got a ponderosa so it is on my mind this week. I read that the watering regimen depends a lot on how much field soil is still in that pot of yours. If it is 100% well draining bonsai soil you can water every day basically, but if the field soil is still in there its better to water every 2-3 days depending on how wet it stays in the core. Keeping it evenly moist will be a challenge.
 

Potawatomi13

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Regarding the repot - yeah I'm sure it could go another year or two in this pot, but there are three reasons for the spring 2022 repot: 1)I know that I'm going to enjoy this tree a lot more when I put it into something more fitting. 2) I think it will help me wire it better in Fall 2022. 3) It's not super stable (lot of weight leaning left and back) - in fact I need to anchor this thing to the bench before the next storm rolls in.
Remember one insult per year for pines. Repot AND wiring not such a hot idea same year. Recovery from repot is first high priority and wiring is stressful on recovering tree😣. You will enjoy much more if still alive AND healthy;). Strong suspicion with small root mass and much larger weight of upper tree securing well in pot will be difficult. Exercise much care here.
 
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