Eric Schrader and the team behind Bonsaify.com released an online course this week titled, “Mastering Shohin Japanese Black Pine Bonsai: A Complete Guide from Seedling to Show Tree.”
I reviewed a pre-release version of the course and am happy to report that it’s a great starting point for anyone looking for support in their journey to create attractive shohin pine bonsai.
The course consists of three and a half hours of video instruction. The 29 lessons fit into five units:
- Japanese Black Pine Care
- From Seed to Two Years Old
- Years 3+ Early Development
- Middle Development
- Late Development and Maturity
Each unit answers the question, “What do I do with the tree now?” for a given stage of development. Topics covered include planning, pruning, wiring, repotting, and decandling.
Managing Growth in Year 3
Refinement Decandling and Summer Thinning
If you haven’t been through the process of growing bonsai from scratch before, it can be hard to know which takeaways are the most meaningful. I can imagine, for example, that a lesson about the later stages of development may not resonate until you’ve faced those challenges with your trees. (This is true for the early lessons too!) My recommendation is to absorb what you can on a first pass and revisit any lessons when the time comes to do the work at that stage.
Eric’s approach to pines is similar to mine so the technical bits line up with how I’ve gone about the process. This is no surprise since we both learned from the same teacher for many years (thanks, Boon!).
Since those days, Eric has developed great knowledge as a commercial producer of pines as he now experiments with hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of pines per batch. The results of these experiments inform the course and form a solid base for starting pines from scratch.
To get a sense of what the lessons are like, you can sample them at:
And if you have any questions about the course, feel free to let me know in the comments below.
News and Updates
- Eric and I sat down to talk about teaching pine techniques for a new episode of the Bonsai Wire Podcast this week. You can check out the episode at bonsaiwirepodcast.com.
- If you have questions about decandling your pines, I’ve scheduled a black pine-focused bring-your-own-tree workshop on Monday, June 19th, from 10am to 4pm. Space is limited, call or email me to reserve a spot.
Subscribe to Bonsai Tonight
New Posts Delivered Every Tuesday and Friday