Black Pine Development

Hey everyone I am new to bonsai and Mirai and I need some direction. I have 2 young black pines (2-3 years old) between 12-18 inches tall and roughly slightly smaller than a dime around. The are both planted in a large colander with organic material. I want to develop the trunks and wire them but I am not sure where to start. Any suggestions?

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Hi @CPVS85,
Do you have any pictures? Sounds like you may be able to give them some movement but will probably need to grow them on to develop.

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Here are some photos. I would like to make the smaller one on the left a cascading.

You should be able to bend these into just about any shape you want.

For the cascading one I would put a fairly severe bend in it so that the small branch(es) on the left at the top of the bend. Then put in some back and forth/up and down motion so that one of the branches in each of the whorls is on the outside of a curve. Finally cut off the branch from each whorl on the inside of the curve to avoid swelling.

The taller one is a bit more problematic since there not many low branches. You could wire in some curves so the small branch is on the outside of a curve as well as one of the 3 at the next whorl. I would then wire another of the 3 somewhat up to become the new leader and cut off the 3rd. This still leaves 3 at the junction including the current main trunk, but I leaving it for 1 year as a sacrifice before cutting it off.

Thank you for your suggestions. Would you recommend keeping it in the soil or transfer them to bonsai soil? And when would you suggest wiring?

Also what would you suggest doing with these extra needles?

I suggest planting them in what I think of as a cross between bonsai soil and nursery mix - about 50% pumice/lava and 50% screened bark. The goal in my opinion is to get fast growth (organic) and a roots system that can be worked. I would put the one for a cascade in about a 1 gallon (really about 3 liters) nursery pot that is about twice as tall as it is wide. I would pot the other in a bulb pan (twice as wide as tall) of about 1 - 1.5 gallon volume. Figure on about 2-3 years before repotting.

Keep all of the low needles!! They are the best possible source for some lower branches.


Seconded - keep the low needles. There is a good possibility that you will get buds from some of the pairs if they are kept on the tree. Once you remove them it’s less likely that new buds will form in that general area.

Thanks guys for all the suggestions. When do you think I should wire and repot?

let it grow! let it grow!

I’ve always got some youngins hanging around that are slowly developing over time. It can be hard when you start where you dont have much to work with so lots of us tend to over work what we have. When I first started I wish I could have appreciated that you can almost never make a bombastic tree in one styling. Its good to appreciate the time it takes for the tree to evolve.

I think its sage advice to let young trees go wild for at least 5 years. The best work you can do to them is to manage the roots (look into planting on top of a tile technique) and to only cut back structural flaws. The more crazy growth you get, the fast the tree develops. You’ll get more back, more branching and more opportunity!