Earlier this year I spent a week working on young pines with John Eads of Left Coast Bonsai. We pruned and/or wired almost every young pine in my garden to give us a chance to review the approach for trees at different stages of development.
For some of the younger trees, the work was simple.
Exposed root pine in training
By removing some of the growth along the trunk on the tree above we can encourage small buds to appear that can be used to create the future primary branches.
After pruning – 20″
An exposed root pine that was a few years older was showing signs that the roots were bumping into the sides of the container. To give the roots more space to develop we removed the plastic cylinder protecting the roots and repotted. We also removed a few of the larger branches that were low on the trunk as they were too big to use in the future design.
Exposed root pine before pruning
After pruning and repotting – 25″
Some of the older trees had thickened enough that it was time to remove the sacrifice branches.
The black pine below ended up becoming a mini bonsai to take advantage of the lowest branches on the trunk.
The trunk has reached the desired thickness
After removing the sacrifice branch – 5.5″
We also removed the sacrifice branch on a pine wired by Hiroharu Kobayashi in 2017. It’s about seven years old.
After pruning and wiring
I’d wanted the trunk to thicken for a few more years, but if it had continued to thicken, I’d lose the detail of the tight curves at the top of the trunk.
After repotting – 6.5″
Not all of the trees John and I looked at needed work. When we found a healthy tree with a good sacrifice branch and small branches near the base of the trunk we left the tree alone and moved on the the next one.
Four year-old pine – no work needed
I’d like to send a big thanks to John for his help with all of the pines! To learn more about John’s work – he grows pre-bonsai in Northwest Oregon – check out his website, Left Coast Bonsai.
Subscribe to Bonsai Tonight
New Posts Delivered Every Tuesday and Friday