Hi friends - hope you are all doing OK during this crazy time wherever you are in the world! (I’m in the UK here) I was wondering whether anyone can give me some advice with a pine I’m struggling with…
I bought a young Miwaka Japanese black pine in January that I want to develop into a neagari (exposed root) style tree. I’ve been doing bonsai for a while but this is the first pine I’ve had, and I have no idea how to treat them. So I bare-rooted it (probably a massive error), planted it in a tall tube filled with pumice and large gravel, and then planted the whole thing in an akadama colander. I also put some of the original compost in the colander to try to keep some beneficial fungi in the mix.
Well, sadly, the tree still hasn’t shown any signs of growth this year. I think it’s still alive (I scratched a branch and the cambium is vivid green under the bark) but the tips of the short needles from last year are yellowish and the tips of older needles are brown. I was wondering whether this could be because the plant is really stressed after bare-rooting and planting in pumice; maybe it’s using all its energy trying to grow them into better soil. Or maybe it’s something totally different, like a nutrient deficiency.
Has anyone had any experience with pines (or other conifers) being mistreated in a similar way and failing to bud out/displaying similar symptoms? Is there anything I can do to help the tree recover? I guess I’m just looking for some reassurance that I haven’t just completely killed it, though I guess it’s all part of the process…
To give some idea about the tree’s environment:
- Based in the UK
- I’ve been feeding the tree quite heavily (a mix of naruko and organic ericaceous food, as well as seaweed extract).
- It is kept in a spot getting a lot of sun. Until recently the weather in the UK has been quite warm and sunny, which I understand is good for healthy pines, but maybe this cooked this poor tree’s roots?
- I’m keeping it damp but not totally soaked. But maybe I really need to let pines get a bit more dry? The water where I live is slightly hard, hence the addition of ericaceous food.
I’ve added a pic showing the terminal buds still looking pretty dormant, and the needle colour. I can’t add more pictures unfortunately as I’m a new user.
Thanks so much for any advice you can give!!!