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Old Japanese White Pine thats seen better days!
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Author:  Brendan [ 24 Aug 2018, 12:19 ]
Post subject:  Re: Old Japanese White Pine thats seen better days!

Compact soil on a mature tree is not to be taken lightly. Especially where the foliage is sparse.

The tree doesn't have the benefit of being young and vigorous to overcome any problems you create or exacerbate while you fix others.

It will undergo a change in environment from the old to your new garden. This is often a bigger stress than people recognise.

The safest course is the slowest course.

Also, you don't yet know this tree.

I'd certainly poke about 10 - 20 holes carefully into the soil to let air in. I use a chopstick as learned here, and it does the job nicely. That will get air down into the root ball.

Arihato made the point about slip potting sometimes being counter productive as the transition from old hard soil into new soil causes the drainage to rapidly remove water from the old soil into the new soil, thereby worsening the effects of it being pot bound. Basically you can't water it enough if the water simply runs off the old soil into the new soil and out. That may harm the existing roots and the foliage that relies on it. A full repot in that situation may be the better option.

So me, I'd poke some holes. I'd go with a low nitrogen food. I'd make sure it gets plenty of sun. At most lightly wire any shading branches out of the way.

I would neither remove any branches nor repot it.

I'd watch it like a hawk over winter. Protect it from frost and avoid it being frozen solid.

If it puts on new growth this late season and comes out of the winter looking OK I'd consider doing a partial repot in spring. Try to keep all of the roots but free them from the substrate. Re-use some of the old soil if it looks like it has good mycorrhizae.

Then spend next season getting a load of foliage.

Author:  John M [ 25 Aug 2018, 11:53 ]
Post subject:  Re: Old Japanese White Pine thats seen better days!

Dustmonkey wrote:
5:1 water and peroxide (3% kind) water your tree as usual with this. It will bubble real good for a bit. It will not hurt your trees if you only do it occasionally but it will kill any soil dwelling beasties like fungus gnat larvae and other pathogens that might be there and it will oxidize and remove the algae. It will also give your roots a nice boost of oxygen which they need in the summer. This is also a good trick if your soil is really compact and you need to quickly get some oxygen to your roots.


I would be careful. If the H2O2 "kills any soil dwelling beasties...." then you risk destroying
micorrhizal fungi, which are extremely beneficial to pines (and most other trees too) in one form or another.

The more I think about it the less I can see any function for H2O2 in bonsai. But thank you for raising a
very interestng point.

J.

Author:  Dustmonkey [ 25 Sep 2019, 20:52 ]
Post subject:  Re: Old Japanese White Pine thats seen better days!

end of summer update on this....
I decided against the slip pot last year after acquiring everything to do it... i didn’t have the bottle in the end!
I also didn't use hydrogen peroxide directly on the soil to try and get oxygen to the roots but did poke holes with a chop stick.

Instead i made a soil cover for the winter from an Ikea dinner tray to keep it dry for the next few months.In October 2018 it dropped all its old needles apart from 2018's new growth which was alarming and i started to doubt my decision not to slip pot! So to maximise the light the needles i had left would receive i gently wired just the foliage/lions tails into 3 rough pads so they all received direct sunlight if i tipped the back of the pot forward.This was a little ambitious material for my first wiring job but felt it had to be done..took bloody hours!

I removed the rot from the lower branch and lime sulphured it to stem the rot in the trunk, the rot has gone about half an inch behind the bark and into the trunk and looks a bit weird... but in a strange way i kind of like it, its been dead a long time and the swirling patrerns in the wood look relly cool where it meets the main trunk,I’ve recently wrapped the end of the dead branch in wet moss an bagged it up to accelerate the decay. It will be carved/shaped in the future i guess.
I did the scratch test on the rest of the dead branches and sadly all crispy brown bark.

When it came to the dreaded re pot in march i took the tree to a friend of mine id made from purchasing a tree in November , he had kindly offered to help me with the re pot so i took him up on it! i was expecting a solid block of roots but i was amazed to find the opposite and that the tree had hardly any root at all and not a great deal of mycrozie either , we teased out and removed all the old soil we could and with out cutting any roots at all bedded it into its new pot in nice free draining soil . i then wrapped the edge of the pot in bubble wrap to retain as much heat as i could until the weather warmed up, i then placed the pot in a heated propagator base out doors for about 2/3 weeks to try an encourage some root growth.

around the end of March the buds started to candle so that was a massive relief , although its far from vigorous growth the needles they’ve now produced are longer than the previous year by about 5-10mm and there is more of them across the tree so its encouraging that its on the mend .

Im hoping it won’t dump last years needles in October so they can carry on working for the tree another year…

around the end of July the new needles hardened and it started sending out individual needle clusters here and there which are still elongating now and have there sheaths on.I was punching well above my weight with this tree so im glad to see it green again from its yellow hue and a lot of the terminals have set 2 or more buds which is encouraging.
Apologies for the wall of text and Thank you to everyone that provided input / advice on this tree! Here's a few pics from the end of June.

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Author:  richardb [ 26 Sep 2019, 08:17 ]
Post subject:  Re: Old Japanese White Pine thats seen better days!

To me this looks like a good result so far as the tree appears to have been stabilised. I do think that with pines you need to see 2 successive years of good growth to feel safe. I also have a few jwp of which one would benefit from a couple of grafted branches. Is feb or late year the best time for grafting or who would be your go to person for this action ?

Author:  Keith Hansell [ 26 Sep 2019, 20:08 ]
Post subject:  Re: Old Japanese White Pine thats seen better days!

I have a JWP which is a fraction the size of yours and I too never feel over confident in working it. You have made a great improvement with your, well done, and I particularly like the fourth photo. :Big Thumb:

Author:  Dustmonkey [ 28 Sep 2019, 22:07 ]
Post subject:  Re: Old Japanese White Pine thats seen better days!

Thank you Gents! Its not out the woods yet but after seeing the roots i thought id left it to late so it was a great releif to see the new needles and then some extra late ones extending after the main needles had hardend , not sure if all the later ones will harden before winter but im curious to see what happens with them as i wasnt aware white pine behaved like this. Im guessing they will just remain but stunted?

richardb wrote:
To me this looks like a good result so far as the tree appears to have been stabilised. I do think that with pines you need to see 2 successive years of good growth to feel safe. I also have a few jwp of which one would benefit from a couple of grafted branches. Is feb or late year the best time for grafting or who would be your go to person for this action ?


Thanks Richard, id agree with that! im not planning on doing anything with this untill after 2020 season apart from feed it. If it responds well then ill start moving branches i think, there is one on the top left that could be bent down loads to fill in the left hand side a bit, ill raise the apex and lower a back branch to give it some depth.there is definatly scope for manipulation in the form of the tree apart from the right lowest branch witch is to thick for the likes of me to bend! So at some point ill shorten it.

Im a bit in the dark on the timing of grafting white pines and i dont know of anyone who could do it,i have 2 other smaller white pines so i might try and learn grafting on these next season and if sucessful give it a go on this tree?

Keith Hansell wrote:
I have a JWP which is a fraction the size of yours and I too never feel over confident in working it. You have made a great improvement with your, well done, and I particularly like the fourth photo. :Big Thumb:


Thanks Keith, thats the right hand side of the current front, just below the jined branch it has a massive bulge with inverse tapper. at next re pot i may recline the angle of the tree backwards and call this tree' Buddahs belly' :lol:

Author:  Dustmonkey [ 28 Jun 2020, 22:21 ]
Post subject:  Re: Old Japanese White Pine thats seen better days!

2020 update on this tree...

Mid march I re potted this tree back into its original pot as it was staying a bit on the wet side for to long in the larger pot I bought for it in 2019 and watering appropriately was a challenge.
Far from ideal disturbing it twice in 2 years but I felt it had to be done and it was basically a slip pot/ no root pruning, it also gave me a chance to peek the roots
witch had more than doubled in mass and looked in good shape with plenty of white tips so its now staying in this smaller pot until at least 2025.
I placed the tree on a heat bed for 3/4 weeks after the re pot.

Late April the buds started to candle, well not really candle just a cluster of needles emanate from the bud still so its not really vigorous but defiantly re gaining strength (no need for candle cutting yet!) Also produced a few male pollen cones.

As of today (end of June) the needles have elongated and most of the clusters are starting to separate into individual needles and hardening off,Same as last year the needles are longer again by 5-10mm.
The old needles have held there colour well and it now has 3 years worth of them so its looking the fullest I've ever seen it, i guess it might drop 2018s in October? I love the fresh blue green of the new ones tho :smallthumb:

Plan now....I think another year left alone then wire it up properly/branch placement ect and reduce shoots to pairs and some selective pruning here and there. Might try some scion grafting with the off cuts?
It still has the wire on from 2018 which hasn't dug in so ill keep an eye on that but its not a great job and most of the branches have been pigtailed to make the pads and get the needles in the light so ill defiantly address some of those problems. I think im always going to have the bare section of trunk in the middle as the bark is old an flakey so not sure of the success a graft would have on such old wood?
I cant move the right hand branch as its to thick and ill ruin the bark but the left one can be manipulated back a bit and the apex can be moved and separated to make a new side branch and back branch i recon then a better apex with whats left over.

Despite its flaws I do love this tree and its very satisfying seeing it re gain its strength and moving in the right direction... with out the initial help and guidance i received
on this forum it could be a very different story! So thank you all again I'm very grateful!!
Heres a few Pics from this evening, thanks for reading!....


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Author:  Keith Hansell [ 28 Jun 2020, 22:47 ]
Post subject:  Re: Old Japanese White Pine thats seen better days!

Looking nice and healthy, well done.

Like you I too slip potted mine at the end of last year as it wasn't happy in its pot. The growth on my pine has mirrored what you have said regarding yours.

Author:  Gary Jones [ 29 Jun 2020, 00:44 ]
Post subject:  Re: Old Japanese White Pine thats seen better days!

Well done. Good work. Patience with JWP seems to be the order of the day. I have one in development and like you I love them. There's something really beautiful about their foliage.

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