What can I do with this high graft pine?

electronfusion

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I bought this young pinus parviflora 'fukai' (dwarf variegated variety) from an online nursery and was surprised to see such a high, pronounced graft, and with the only foliage so high above the graft. I have airlayered many deciduous trees with success, but never grafted. I've read lots of how-to articles on grafting, and would be willing to buy a grafting knife if I really need to, but is there any other way to make this into an aesthetically pleasing tree? I read that pine airlayers are a slow, multi-year process, and that large ones don't often survive after airlayering due to rot. So, if this tree can only be compacted by grafting, which parts would you graft, and to what? Would it be possible to graft the entire existing foliage mass onto a new jbp rootstock? Should I only use this as a source of several smaller branches for grafting onto new rootstocks? If I trim one branch off and try grafting it close to the soil line on its existing rootstock, will that hurt the rest of the foliage mass?
 

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Potawatomi13

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" Would it be possible to graft the entire existing foliage mass onto a new jbp rootstock?" Not likely. "If I trim one branch off and try grafting it close to the soil line on its existing rootstock, will that hurt the rest of the foliage mass?" Two questions: Normally bud or small sprout is grafted, not branch. Grafting low is not much problem unless grafting on heavy bark area. Will not harm upper foliage unless killing tree in general.
 

Shibui

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Pines are much easier to layer than has been suggested. Younger material is even quicker. Not sure about this variety though. Selected forms may be more or less able to produce roots so I cannot say whether the top variety will root or not.
Are you aware what the rootstock is? Looks very smooth barked so may not be JBP????
Pine grafting is not quite as straightforward as deciduous grafts because the scion will have leaves while the graft takes and can dehydrate before the graft heals enough to supply water through the union. I've only grafted single shoots of pine and other evergreens because it is less stressful and easier to maintain hydration with a smaller scion.
It may be possible to graft the entire top but I have never heard or seen it done like that. Approach grafting would be one way to get the whole top grafted onto another rootstock but that may not make a neat graft suitable for bonsai.
For bonsai purposes I graft pines as low as possible so the graft union is lost in the expanding nebari and does not show as the tree grows. Also much less chance of the scion outgrowing the root stock or vice versa as sometimes happens with higher grafts.

Your final thought of grafting one of the shoots lower on the existing root stock should be doable and should not hurt the top if done correctly. You may find that a low graft may not grow well with the upper part still attached as apical dominance will ensure that most growth happens in the higher sections (of most plants)

FYI, in case it has not come up in your research, pines are usually grafted by side veneer grafts where the top of the stock is left intact to keep the sap flowing until the graft is well healed. It has usually taken a full year for my JWP grafts to get strong enough to remove the top of the root stock. I have found other examples where it turned out that the usual methods are not the only ones that work so it may be possible to use whip and tongue but there is usually a reason for commercial grafting to use a particular technique.
 

penumbra

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Personally, I would allow it to grow out, either in a container in the landscape or in a garden bed. Because of the graft issue alone, I don't see it as a viable bonsai subject. Also, though this is a personal thing, I love variegated plants but don't care for variegated bonsai.
 

0soyoung

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IMHO, high grafts are not necessarily a bad thing for bonsai. It is fairly easy to disguise/obscure sight of the union when it is close to the foliage. Low grafts, on the other hand, can be difficult - bury the union, scarify the trunk across the union.

I note that the most impressive Japanese white pine bonsai are grafted onto a curvy rootstock so that the union gets lost in the bends/twists --> the varietal maybe would be best grafted as 'replacement foliage' on an older/more-developed pine?
 

Paradox

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IMHO, high grafts are not necessarily a bad thing for bonsai. It is fairly easy to disguise/obscure sight of the union when it is close to the foliage. Low grafts, on the other hand, can be difficult - bury the union, scarify the trunk across the union.

I note that the most impressive Japanese white pine bonsai are grafted onto a curvy rootstock so that the union gets lost in the bends/twists --> the varietal maybe would be best grafted as 'replacement foliage' on an older/more-developed pine?

While this is true of JWP grafted onto JBP that have both been grown for a future as a bonsai, the tree pictured does not have those characteristics.

It has a long straight trunk with folliage all at the top of the tree and nothing further down., high graft that is bad for bonsai both in its height as well as how the union was made, and there is not foliage anywhere close to it to even attempt to hide it

I have to agree with Adair, plant this in your landscaping and enjoy it there. Its potential as a convincing bonsai is non existant.
When making purchases in the future, try to keep in mind the characteristics for potential bonsai before you purchase
 

electronfusion

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Thanks for all the feedback. I'll likely try grafting a shoot near the soil line, and later airlayering the top foliage. Will update the thread in a couple years if either or both of those work.
 

Adair M

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IMHO, high grafts are not necessarily a bad thing for bonsai. It is fairly easy to disguise/obscure sight of the union when it is close to the foliage. Low grafts, on the other hand, can be difficult - bury the union, scarify the trunk across the union.

I note that the most impressive Japanese white pine bonsai are grafted onto a curvy rootstock so that the union gets lost in the bends/twists --> the varietal maybe would be best grafted as 'replacement foliage' on an older/more-developed pine?
0so, the Japanese JWP on JBP with wired JBP trunks usually feature JWP scions that have a branch on the JWP scion that will be really close to the graft union. This tree has a scion that relatively long. Having a close branch allows you to hide the graft union.

I stand by my advice to plant it in the landscape.
 

0soyoung

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I stand by my advice to plant it in the landscape.
Sure. I thought it went without saying, since you and others already said so. That is why I made no comment with regard to this tree, specifically.


0so, the Japanese JWP on JBP with wired JBP trunks usually feature JWP scions that have a branch on the JWP scion that will be really close to the graft union. This tree has a scion that relatively long. Having a close branch allows you to hide the graft union.
Sure. This is a good point. Sorry I didn't make this explicit when I said
IMHO, high grafts are not necessarily a bad thing for bonsai. It is fairly easy to disguise/obscure sight of the union when it is close to the foliage.


Again, so that no one is confused, exchange your tree, if you can, @electronfusion. Otherwise, you could use it as a test bed before planting it in your landscape. I encourage you to do this as many of the esthetic concerns about the graft will exist as a landscape planting as well. But, do with it as you wish. The variegated foliage will, in all likelihood, be very yucky on a bonsai, just as several others have said in their comments here.
 

Bonsai Nut

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Thanks for all the feedback. I'll likely try grafting a shoot near the soil line, and later airlayering the top foliage. Will update the thread in a couple years if either or both of those work.

You can always just grow it out, and then you have all the scions you need to do your own grafts. Since you live in NoCal, there is no reason why you couldn't try grafting it on to JWP root stock, or else try JBP but execute a really low graft. As long as your parent material is still alive, there are always tons of options. Heck, people on another thread were even talking about pine cuttings.

FWIW I would consider taping that existing graft with grafting tape for another season. It looks a little sketchy to me.
 

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