Although I’ve been growing shohin pines for years, last year I decided to try making mini-size trees around 4″-5″ tall. As most of these pines were over 12″ at decandling time, I did a lot of cutback when I decandled. Here’s an example.
Black pine – about seven years old
The tree above has a curve low in the trunk so I thought it would be a good candidate for making a mini-size bonsai, but I couldn’t see what the trunk looked like as the foliage was dense. Before making a plan, I started decandling the shoots I could get to so I could better see what was going on.
After decandling some of the lower branches
This didn’t help much, so I kept decandling and pruning until I could see what the trunk looked like.
After cutback and decandling
From here, I thinned shoots in dense areas and removed some old needles. I also pulled the top of the trunk down to the right to make sure there were no straight sections. This resulted in an “S”-shaped trunk, but the top inch or two of the trunk will be removed once the new curve sets.
After thinning – 6″ tall
I expect the future tree will be no more than 5″. If it stays healthy, the basic outline should be in place two years. In the meantime, I’ll repot the tree this winter and decandle annually to maintain a compact silhouette.
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