Spring is typically a season for letting bonsai grow freely. For black pines, some of the main tasks include fertilizing and removing young pine cones.
Tea bag with cottonseed meal fertilizer
Removing young pine cones
Spring is also a good time for catching up on needle plucking and cutback.
I generally don’t recommend working on pines after the new shoots start elongating as it’s easy to damage tender foliage. The alternative is to wait until decandling time.
For the black pine below, I thought the foliage was fairly dense and that the tree would benefit from additional light in the tree’s interior. Here’s the tree before cutback and needle plucking.
Black pine – 16″ tall
And here’s the tree after this work.
After cutback and needle pulling
The tree goes right back into the sun and will receive lots of fertilizer between now and decandling at the end of May.
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Michael Eberle says
Very Nice tree and great and simple advice thankyou
Ciao Jonas! Please may you tell us which kind of soil is in the first picture?
Thank you, Alessandro
Jonas Dupuich says
Thanks, Alessandro! It looks like a mix of 2 parts pumice and 1 part akadama – a common mix I use when I don’t have scoria in the garden.
These JBP posts have motivated me to get a few black pines to work on. Between reading the blog and the forum I am now feeling more confident on working on a pine.
Thanks for sharing.
John Richie says
Jonas, how much cottonseed meal goes into the teabags, and how many bags per tree?
Jonas Dupuich says
Good question John – I aim to fill up the bags no more than halfway as the meal can expand a bit when wet and I want to maintain good percolation through the bag.
The number of bags per tree is determined by the variety, the time of year, and the development goals. Here are some basic tips on the topic: