About two years ago, I picked up some field-grown pines from Lone Pine Gardens in Sebastopol, California.
The next winter I repotted the trees into smaller containers and let them grow freely to encourage as much root growth as possible. This year the trees are healthy and ready to be worked on.
The process is simple: reduce or remove the largeset branches, and wire the remaining branches. Here’s what this looked like.
Field-grown black pine
After removing the front branch
After removing a branch on the left side
After removing a branch on the right side
After removing a few branches in the middle
That was it for the pruning. I then wired the remaining branches and bent them down. I didn’t bend them all the way on this first setting, but I can continue to lower them later this year.
After wiring the main branches – 25″ tall
I have yet to decide how to form the apex. There’s a chance I’ll use the large shoot growing straight up, but I’m more likely to use a small shoot on the back of the trunk or to graft a new branch two inches below the existing apex.
My goal is to create a tree that’s much smaller – about 13″ tall – and the lower I can make the apex, the more powerful the trunk will look.
I’ll let the tree grow freely through summer and will plan to prune again in fall.
Video Consultations Now Available
Have questions about your trees? Schedule an appointment to discuss strategies for improving your bonsai. Learn more about Bonsai Tonight’s Video Consulting.
English-language consultations are available worldwide.
Subscribe to Bonsai Tonight
New Posts Delivered Every Tuesday and Friday