A couple of years ago I planted several young pines in deep containers with the objective of creating exposed root bonsai (see “Repotting 1 year-old black pine seedlings“). These young trees have grown and now have a single large shoot.
2 year-old seedling
The shoot is straight and the only branches are near the top and the bottom of the tree.
Straight shoot with no branches in the middle
When shoots reach this size, I typically apply the first wire to add some curves. It’s the only work that needs to happen at this point, but it’s important to set curves now while the trunk is still flexible.
I’ll let the tree grow for a year or two before cutback and further wiring is needed.
What to do when you miss this step and the trunk becomes too heavy to bend? More on that next time.