Design Help, Scotts Pine, Nursery stock

I acquired this nursery Scotts Pine (35$) and need help in moving forward. Hopefully I haven’t totally screwed it up. At any rate, I need some advice on a couple of areas. First, How doI manage the transition from the large trunk to the smaller one at the top. Second, thoughts and suggestions on the branch that is wired at the bottom to form a new up-right element.

Any advice is appreciated.

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Maybe grow it out? See if you can get some back budding.

Since you asked MAnderson, I like your idea of taking advantage of using the twin when it presents itself. At the first internode on the larger trunk, you only need one branch. Perhaps you planned to remove it later. I would keep the one at the back - seems more developed and it is not coming forward as much as the back one.

Then I see a problem with the next two internodes on the trunk which are almost the same size diameter. Would consider removing the upper large internode and making a new apex with the first branch on the right? You would end up with a shorter tree but having better taper and movement as the line between the 2nd and 3rd internodes is almost straight. Letting the branches grow out with lots of fertilizer and no pinching should stimulate more back budding AndyK referred to.

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I do like your idea for a twin trunk design and I think the movement you wired into the smaller trunk is very pleasent. However there are two major issues that need to be addressed that I see in this tree at this moment.

The first is, your main trunk and your sub trunk and moving in opposite directions. This creates a scattered unharmonius image, the viewer’s eye will be confused because it will be pulled in two opposite directions. Look up some photos of twin trunk style bonsai, you will see that having both trunks move in the same direction is paramount to making the composition work well. You can still accomplish this.

The second issue, as @DavidJ mentions is that once you get above the first set of branches the trunk remains quite straight and taperless and boring.

You didn’t screw it up, there’s still a lot of potential for a great design with this tree. Here are my suggestions:

Yes… I would draw colorful lines all over your tree! :joy::joy::joy:. No, let me explain… I would chop the trunk at the red line and then use the first branch on the left (underlined in green) as the new leader. The green arrow denotes the direction I would bend this branch to become the new leader and trunk line. Bend it up and to the right so that it mirrors the movement and direction of your sub trunk.

Circled in blue I see at least two branches were cut off here, one of these could have made for a better leader, possibly. You can’t glue them back on, but I am always very hesitant to remove any of the lower branches on a tree like this until I know exactly what my design plan is. A learning moment perhaps.

The other branch coming out the back below the red line could serve as the first branch for the tree.

Now, in terms of the work that would need to be done and the time frame of when to do it… I would not do any of this right now. The only thing I suggest you do is to wire that “new leader” branch upwards instead of to the side so that it gains more viguor over the next year.

Since it looks like you’ve done a fair amount of pruning, don’t make the chop until next fall probably. In the spring, pinch all of the candles above the red line quite hard and do not pinch the candles below the red line at all. This will help transfer more vigour to those lower branches and get them ready to support the tree for when you do make the chop.

Anyways, just my 2 cents! :rofl:

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Mike: WOW, what great advice. I think i get to impatient, I should have posted this way long ago before I did anything. I think I know, but not really:(:frowning: At any rate your advice is well received and very much appreciated. I will keep you posted when I make the changes next year. Which leads to one last question, I was thinking of putting it in a pot next spring, your thoughts?

Thanks again for your great advice……Mike

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Did you just recently prune and wire? If you just pruned a lot off, I would wait longer to repot it. I’m not a pine expert by any means just been digging into pines more the last year or two. But if it were my tree and I just pruned a lot off in the initial styling I would either:

  1. Let it grow next season and then repot spring 2020. And then perform the suggested chop in fall 2020 or fall 2021, depending on how vigorously it grows after repotting.


  1. Make the suggested chop in fall 2019, wire branches. Let it grow for 2020, then repot in spring 2021.

This may be overly cautious. I’m taking it easy with my conifers in terms of how much I try to do within a year because I killed too many the first couple years into bonsai. You may very well accomplish what you want to on a faster time frame, but I guess the take away advice should be you need to choose between major styling work first or repotting first. Not both in the same year.

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