Yamadori (Urbandori) Pine

fucious70

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I live in Southern California. I was fortunate to come across an add of a person asking if anyone wanted the pine in the picture for free. I jumped on the opportunity to practice.

First, does anyone know what type of pine this is?
Second, please any direction on how to do this properly is greatly appreciated. A couple of questions along each phase below

Harvesting the tree
  • I've seen a couple of videos and read posts on how to harvest. Be gentle with the root system. I'll make sure to take my time.
  • Can I cut some of the branches and foliage off? I know I can take off the dead parts. If so, % wise, how much is ok? 25% 50%?
  • After pulling it out, I do plan to moisten the soil and wrap it. Will take me just a little over an hour to get home.

Taking care of the tree
  • How long should I keep it shaded this time of the year?
  • Should I keep it inside if it's below 60F?
  • I don't plan on fertilizing it until summer
  • When should I move it to outside?

Potting the tree
  • How do I know when is a good time to repot the tree? I'm guessing at least a year, next spring when I can do some styling.
  • How long should I expect to wait before repotting?
 

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plant_dr

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When you say "inside", do you mean a greenhouse or cold-frame type structure? Conditions inside your home will kill it for sure. Good luck loading that monster!

Welcome to crazy!
 

fucious70

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"Good luck loading that monster!"

It looks pretty massive. The owner says it's about 5ft by 5ft. Not sure how big of a container I will need.
 

fucious70

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When you say "inside", do you mean a greenhouse or cold-frame type structure? Conditions inside your home will kill it for sure. Good luck loading that monster!

Welcome to crazy!
I won't be moving it inside then.
 

Woocash

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Nice bit of fortune there. Not much advice to give except don’t get frustrated and start yanking the tree around too much for leverage. A certain amount is inevitable. Take a variety of tools. For example, a sharp spade, loppers, secateurs, folding saw/pruning saw, reciprocating saw, crowbar. I also have an L-shaped weeder for getting in between paving stones which is great if the inside of the blade is sharp. I can’t help with pines as I‘ve only collected deciduous so far, but you may find that once the dead stuff is off that the foliage is thin enough for the time being anyway. Be wary of removing too much of the bigger dead stuff too, because you may want to make a feature somewhere down the line. Have fun and good luck! :)
 

plant_dr

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Actually the best advice might be to find the local bonsai club in your area and see if someone there can help you. This link has a list of clubs throughout the state. I'm not sure how up to date the contact info is, but at least it will point you in the right direction.


They'd be crazy to not send a half dozen members to come help dig a tree like that. They'll know the best ways to handle aftercare for it in your specific area, when to repot, etc.

Heres a google photo of a JBP Thunderhead. Looks nearly identical to yours.H219-21.jpg
 

fucious70

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Nice bit of fortune there. Not much advice to give except don’t get frustrated and start yanking the tree around too much for leverage. A certain amount is inevitable. Take a variety of tools. For example, a sharp spade, loppers, secateurs, folding saw/pruning saw, reciprocating saw, crowbar. I also have an L-shaped weeder for getting in between paving stones which is great if the inside of the blade is sharp. I can’t help with pines as I‘ve only collected deciduous so far, but you may find that once the dead stuff is off that the foliage is thin enough for the time being anyway. Be wary of removing too much of the bigger dead stuff too, because you may want to make a feature somewhere down the line. Have fun and good luck! :)
Thanks for the advice and tool list. I’ll grab those. Will also contact the two clubs I go to see if anyone is willing to help.
 

bonsaichile

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For what it's worth, thunderhead are really bad material for bonsai. For all the effort this tree woyld take to dig out and carry around, I would pass
 

fucious70

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For what it's worth, thunderhead are really bad material for bonsai. For all the effort this tree woyld take to dig out and carry around, I would pass
I was consulting a bonsai club member, and he expressed the same thing. The cost to rent a truck and likelihood of survival may not be worth the risk money wise. I'm trying to see if there's a bonsai club member who will help me if I do decide to try it.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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I admire youth, strength and optimism.

If you can get this tree without laying out cash for truck rental, or help, then it might be worth the try. It is a pretty ambitious project. The larger the tree in the ground, the lower the probability of getting enough of the roots to have it survive.

As to which species, it definitely looks like Japanese black pine, which is good, they are well adapted to the Los Angeles climate. It could also be Pinus radiata - the Monterey Pine. Care for both species is similar, so identity is not too important. The owner might know, ask when you go to dig.

Pinus thunbergia 'Thunderhead' is a cultivar of Japanese black pine (JBP) noted for heavy, thick new growth, long needles and being difficult to get to ramify into fine branch patterns. It tends to always look coarse. It has a bad track record for those trying to make bonsai with it. But if you go for a large scale bonsai, it possibly can be made to work. Think finished size of 4 feet by 4 feet. I have never seen a "good" bonsai using 'Thunderhead', the best were long needled and coarse branching. But never say never, it could work, at least you have a fully developed trunk heading into the project.

When to dig - in cool weather before the heat of summer kicks in.

Roots - get as large a root ball as possible. Have lumber on hand at home, to build a grow box of sufficient size to hold the roots. Build props or trellis structures to hold the tree upright, or "in position", (not necessarily upright, this is bonsai) so that there is zero wiggle in the trunk when the wind blows. The tree needs to be stable to build a new root system. Try not to bare root the tree. Near to the trunk, finer roots are the most important. Any root going straight down more than 6 or 8 inches will need to be cut don't keep longer downward roots. Long horizontal roots are a matter for practical consideration. Get them if you can get the fine roots at the end. A long horizontal root with no fine feeder roots might just as well be pruned short to the trunk. Wrap the root ball, with as much native soil as practical, do not bare root the tree. If you can get 50% of the roots, you have done well.

Have your potting media on hand in sufficient quantity before you head out to pick up the tree. One of the good media to use is 100% pumice, sifted to retain right around 3/16th through 5/16th inch size, Basically 1/4 inch particles. No fines, no real coarse particles. The more uniform the particle size the better root development. Of course, perfection is the enemy of good enough, but seriously, do sift your media. I would use 100% pumice, but there are a dozen other media components you can use.

Foliage - definitely prune no more than 50% of the foliage, less would be better. Leave long, even foot long or longer stubs to become deadwood features. Do not trim off branches flush to the trunk until you have time (a year or more) to contemplate styles and see what survives.

Do not worry about temperatures as long as you don't have hard freezes, the tree will be fine. It is good to maybe 29 F with the damaged, newly transplanted root system. Best to avoid freezing if you can move it around, if you do plant it in the ground, drape it with burlap or a tarp when frost threatens.

It will need at least morning sun, and for the first year, it will need afternoon shade during the heat of the day. Site the tree on the east side of the house or east side of a fence or garage or other structure to provide afternoon shade.

Mist foliage daily, even several times a day, with a light spray to just get the needles wet. Thoroughly water the potting media when needed, initially media might not need water daily, then as roots begin to develop, the need to water more frequently will increase.

Hope that helps.
 

henrykiser

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Not sure how much thunderhead would run from nursery or such but maybe it would be worth it for your landscape? Like if you have a zen garden area or where your bonsai are kept this could add some nice structure...you could transplant and start to shape...just an idea!
Still doesn't undo the burden of moving such a large tree.
Good luck!
Henry
 

Joe Dupre'

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All great advice. All I can add is this: If you DON'T dig this tree, you'll always wonder what it could have become. A big part of my bonsai is the hunt, the find , the dig and the anticipation of what the tree will be one day. If a tree dies on me, it has already given me great pleasure.
 

sorce

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Amen. Dish no cash and get er did!

Even if it dies you'll have learnt, and bettered your next opportunity.

That said.

I'd first remove all the brown shit cuz you're going to want to later, when you can't, without jostling the roots. So clean that out in the ground.

Don't cut any green off.

When I dug a big monster pine, there were long surface roots stretching 6-8 feet that, I should have kept and wound up in the pot.

The moon is good now. You have a couple days left.

Sorce
 

plant_dr

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Not sure if the question is for me, but nothing seems to be wrong. The owner was planning on cutting it down for construction purposes.
Im sorry I wasn't very clear. I was just asking what was wrong with the Thunderhead cultivar for bonsai but that question has been answered already. Thank you
 
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