Eastern White Pine

Yes, yes, bad tree for Bonsai, not going to argue with that, however I have been training one for 16 years, it was the tree that got me going in Bonsai along with a wisteria. Anyway, I think I have had decent success (for an EWP anyway), but am looking to get better back budding, should they be treated like single flush-long needle pines like ponderosa, where you just let it grow out o push out more resources to that branch? I’ve been treating them like JWP, but leaving one candle slightly longer than the other when pinching back.


Hey Guy, what are the tree’s dimensions? Looks like you have some nice bark at the base. I have a few of these odd balls in my collection. I will dig some pix out and post. Mirai loves the challenge of figuring how to bring the best out of the odd balls.

Thanks Dave, the tree is 36" tall by 24" wide with a 4" base, I ultimately want to tighten up the foliage, but need to generate better backbud, which they do not do reliably from my experience. The trunk actually is looking very nice for an EWP, it’s staring to bark up nicely. It was drastically trunk chopped 7 years ago and all the foliage you now see is from the lowest branch wired up into place. This is one of those sentimental trees for me.

About a metre tall. About 30" H x 27"W About 24" X 30"W. 12"H X 15" W. Guy, these are dimension estimates because the trees are still frozen in the ground.


Those are EWP. Very nice material, you hardly see them with movement like that, foliage is tight as well, tips?

Yes, they are all pinus strobus. Tips? Over about 17 years or so of work I have to admit that I must have tried every technique in the bonsai world and a few from the underworld. And I still haven’t found the holy grail. I will try Ryan’s approach to single flush, long needle pines and see the reaction.

One thing I can say for sure, that restricting growth - overtime - leads to some level of ramification which leads to needle size reduction. Keeping the trees alive, keeps you in the game and restricting techniques (whatever ones you choose) lead you to ramification and needle reduction. Some techniques maybe better than others and work with quicker results. Generally, I have used Japanese white pine techniques on pinus strobus. As I recall, using low fertilization during the growing season but amping it up after the new needles harden and in the fall, (It seems to make horticultural sense to increase fertilization after needle hardening as the tree starts producing buds for next year. That plus some pruning could be the best time to trigger back budding. What do you think?) bud selection and breaking candles. I have used large soil particle sizes 3/16-1/4" and no organics. I learned much of this from Boon. But getting bud back has been difficult. Still a work in progress but a good pay off is not a pipe dream.


Thanks Dave, I’m looking at 17 years in on this one as well and considering the approach of single flush long needle technique myself. I am still fertilizing heavy to induce better backbudding, but then break the candles back as the needles come out, so I may be defeating the purpose. I would like to see others respond to this thread so we both could start putting the pieces of the puzzle together. I do like to continue to try and figure this out, so certainly hasn’t been a waste of time.

David…Duuuude, you’re killing it. Love the EWP’s!! The literati styled tree is great, but that semi cascade is amazing!

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Motorcitybonsai as in Detroit? Are you affiliated with either of the local clubs there?

Yeah I live in Detroit (proper). I haven’t been out to the Ann Arbor Bonsai Society in over 10 years. I’ve decide to rejoin, and attend regularly starting this year. It’s been one of those nagging “I’m gonna do that this month!” things for ever, but I never make it out. Then quickly one month turns to two, two to three, and BAM the seasons’ over hahahaha. Gotta love Michigan (I really do love MI), but the season is SO fast…

What about you? Are you in or around The D?

Hey guys, glad you like the trees. But it is not without some recent die back. Cause unknown. The Literati lost a lower branch and the smaller on the Twin is struggling at the plate. I tried the Japanese white pine technique of removing buds last summer with the hope of getting smaller new ones but none appeared. They still could show up this spring but it might be a long shot. I’ll see but regardless I will try to keep this thread going with the hope getting better results we can all learn from.

I’m originally from the Downriver area, Southgate/Wyandotte area, but moved across the border about 8 years ago after I got married, the wife is from there. I’m heavily involved with the Four Seasons club and passively involved with the AA club so maybe I’ll see you around. The FourSeasons is having their annual bonsai circus this weekend, I should be demoing a large Coast Redwood repot, our events are free to check out, if you can make it.

Good luck with them, I’ve had setbacks to with mine, years back I tried the JBP methods on them of total candle removal and it worked great for a year, I got a second flush of tight short needles, but it was not happy the following year, I got very little to no growth at all. Live and learn.

I would suggest treating them like single flush long needle. If you’re still wanting to develop back budding fertilize heavy in spring and gain as much foliage as you can. Once you have the back budding you want prune to transition to finer buds. The following season pull back on the fertilizer in spring and don’t touch the tree till the new growth hardens off. More buds on the tree should equal shorter needles because the strength of the tree was distributed across a wider range. Hope this helps.

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Oh right on! Man, the way things are over here, I sure am tempted to swim across the river and start a new life over there lol. I’ll try to make it out to Bordines this weekend and I’ll be sure to say hello.

Cool. Hope Toby see you there.

Thanks fletch, I’ve been debating it, I’m concerned the heavy foliar growth will shade out the interior growth, but I should be able to thin it out in the fall. I’ll have to revisit Ryan’s stream on ponderosa pine to jog my memory on how he handled this concern.

Good advice Fletch. Been carrying out your refinement stage suggestion as greater ramification develops, more or less. What are your thoughts on pinching the new candles? I think pinching removes or slows energy and shortens internodes. Have any of considered keeping 3 buds in the spring, pinching two of them as keepers and letting the third one grow out, draw energy and then cut it off in the fall. Unfortunately, I see most of the buds for next year on this sacrificial shoot. including any back buds. Just some thoughts.

I would avoid pinching as its elongating because I feel as it would make the needles excessively long. You can let all shoots elongate and harden off then prune to the silhouette. Or the method I prefer is to allow all shoots to elongate, harden off and then come back in and completely remove the strong coarse tip transitioning back to smaller and finer interior shoots. Either method should produce good results.

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