In the mid-1990s, I created a cork bark black pine by grafting foliage on a young pine I’d started from seed. The foliage was yatsabusa cork bark – cork bark that produces very dense foliage and lots of buds.
Every year or two I thin the tree out, and on occasion I wire the youngest branches.
Having neglected to do either for the past couple of years, the tree had grown very dense.
Cork bark black pine – 24 years old
I’m not overly concerned with the form the tree takes as it’s primarily used for scion material. That said, if I don’t thin the tree regularly, the interior shoots will quickly die.
I got to work by removing the longest shoots, thinning crowded areas and pulling excess needles.
By the time I finished, I’d removed over half of the foliage.
The tree, however, is still full of needles.
By cutting back to small branches I can keep the growth in check, however, the needles remain long. Depending on how the tree does this spring, I’ll consider decandling near the end of May.
American Bonsai Association Sacramento Show this Weekend!
ABAS is hosting their Spring Show at McKinley park in Sacramento, California, this Saturday and Sunday. Come for a great exhibit, vendor and consignment sales, and demonstrations both days at 1:30 p.m. I’ll be demonstrating on a California live oak Saturday and a procumbens juniper Sunday. The demo trees will be raffled after the demos.
For location information and event details, visit the ABAS website.
I hope to see you there!
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Charles Orr says
Jonas, you mentioned grafting on this pine. Is there any difference between grafting pine and the grafting we did on the junipers last weekend? I have a pitch pine (2 needle) that I collected a year ago and thinking I might try my new grafting skills on it this spring?
Jonas Dupuich says
Hi Charles! The grafting on this pine was a bit different as I did a single graft when the tree was young along these lines:
Other than that, the basic approach was exactly the same.
Pitch pine can bud back well so it may be that you’ll get new buds where you need them. If not, grafting is a good option.