TOPIC: Rebuilding a white pine 3 year progression

Rebuilding a white pine 3 year progression 2 years 2 months ago #21955

I purchased this tree via an auction site in 2013. The previous owner got it as a present but didn't know how to care for it. The tree was never pruned or repotted, so it was completely out of shape and therefore, not very expensive. While I had no experience with pines, I decided to buy it.

Looking at the picture I think I can see what the original tree must have looked like. As the owner had left it to grow freely, the branches in the top grew more than the lower branches (pines are apically dominant), reducing the original taper.The tree was in front of a wall and was never moved, which did not help the lower two branches, that declined and one died off. This was the tree when I purchased it:


The other side of the tree:


The base of the tree seemed nice though:

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  • Auk
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Rebuilding a white pine 3 year progression 2 years 2 months ago #21957

As the tree did not seem unhealthy, I did not to repot it yet. No doubt the tree needed to be repotted, but I decided to wait for the right time, beginning of the next year. First thing I did was remove / shorten the branches that were far too long and I shortened the top. There were two possibilities for a new top, I decided to take the highest one - reasoning, as usual: If I take the lowest one, I can do it only once. If I take the highest one, I can still change my mind and take the lower one.

The top/branches I removed:


The tree did start to look a little bit more like a bonsai after the cut:


But... it obviously needed work:


Wiring the lowest branch, trying to bend it to the right, I noticed the branches were unexpectedly fragile - so it snapped.
I glued it (not lying).

The tree is developing nicely. More photos to follow later (once I made them :) ).

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Rebuilding a white pine 3 year progression 2 years 2 months ago #21959

Auk wrote: Wiring the lowest branch, trying to bend it to the right, I noticed the branches were unexpectedly fragile - so it snapped.
I glued it (not lying).


That made me actually laugh! I did the same thing to branch on a tree. Glued it and wrapped it in green tape. I didn't know that was a thing we could do!

I think eventually you may want to go shorter on the tree . It's looking nice now, but I feel like the trunk may look better with a few more inches off. Or maybe cut and let it grow back to help the taper up top. It does has nice movement. The needle size is really good, too.
  • el_cheezer
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Rebuilding a white pine 3 year progression 2 years 2 months ago #21963

take half the height off!
and see bonsai europe 73
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Rebuilding a white pine 3 year progression 2 years 2 months ago #21964

leatherback wrote: take half the height off!


Like I said, this was 3 years ago :)
Recent photos will follow.
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Rebuilding a white pine 3 year progression 2 years 2 months ago #21967

el_cheezer wrote: That made me actually laugh! I did the same thing to branch on a tree. Glued it and wrapped it in green tape. I didn't know that was a thing we could do!


Yes we can. I actually looked it up, trying to find what others would do, and found this:
www.bonsai4me.com/Basics/BasicsRepairingSnappedBranches.htm

I think eventually you may want to go shorter on the tree . It's looking nice now


That was 3 years ago - and I think it didn't look nice yet, but it did show possibilities.

but I feel like the trunk may look better with a few more inches off


Just wait for the update :)
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Rebuilding a white pine 3 year progression 2 years 2 months ago #21968

now.. Don't you go running into the garden lopping sections off, wiring overnight and claim it was like that tomorrow!
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Rebuilding a white pine 3 year progression 2 years 2 months ago #21979

leatherback wrote: now.. Don't you go running into the garden lopping sections off, wiring overnight and claim it was like that tomorrow!


Hahah! :cheer:
Quit teasing, Auk - let's see it! We love a good progression
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Rebuilding a white pine 3 year progression 2 years 2 months ago #22023

Sorry for making you wait. I wasn't teasing. After gathering all kinds of ideas from you guys, as LB expected, I ran of into the garden, chopped the tree, wired it, made it grow, repotted it, and made a photo. Next, I had to make up a story about the progression:

The tree was repotted the spring after I acquired it. I said I had two options, but that were actually two options AFTER the initial pruning. I mean - two options I considered. The bonsai master that regularly visits our club, proposed to cut above the first trunk and make it an unusual cascade. A bit too drastic for me, and I did not like the idea, as the trunk would move in the same directton as the foliage.

So, the trunk was chopped for the second time, above the first (highest) branch that I could use for a new top. A month or so later, I decided the remaining trunk was still too long. So, I did the final chop - above a branch that was growing straight from the trunk - so it did not follow the movement of the trunk and was not an ideal choice for a new leader. Still, it was the only option.

The tree was left to grow, then wired, needle selection and plucking, more growth, more wiring... and this is where it is now. Much better than the original tree -but not quite there yet. It needs further development, but I think its on the right track.

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Rebuilding a white pine 3 year progression 2 years 2 months ago #22024

Auk wrote: Sorry for making you wait. I wasn't teasing. After gathering all kinds of ideas from you guys, as LB expected, I ran of into the garden, chopped the tree, wired it, made it grow, repotted it, and made a photo. Next, I had to make up a story about the progression:

The tree was repotted the spring after I acquired it. I said I had two options, but that were actually two options AFTER the initial pruning. I mean - two options I considered.

So, the trunk was chopped for the second time, above the first (highest) branch that I could use for a new top. A month or so later, I decided the remaining trunk was still too long. So, I did the final chop - above a branch that was growing straight from the trunk - so it did not follow the movement of the trunk and was not an ideal choice for a new leader. Still, it was the only option.

The tree was left to grow, then wired, needle selection and plucking, more growth, more wiring... and this is where it is now. Much better than the original tree -but not quite there yet. It needs further development, but I think its on the right track.


Keeps the natural shape the tree wants to take, I agree the cascade option seems unnatural and too drastic. Good taper, great trunk base. Second branch from bottom to top seems a bit too thick, but nature is imperfect I guess. Looks like there's too much foliage on the right side, probably mainly cause main branch from bottom up on the right side is a bit long. Second branch from bottom up is a bit too thin, and it is too close to the third one, almost growing from the same point., but if you remove it, then the tree would be too symmetric, I see why you are trying to bring it down.

I like the pot selection as well, depth agrees with the trunk, and length goes well with the width of the tree.

The tree changed so much from your first post, it looks 100 times better. I wish a had a tree like this. Some day :)
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