First real styling on yamadori Ponderosa Pine

I have a Ponderosa yamadori collected by Andy Smith out of South Dakota. I acquired the tree at a Columbus Bonsai Society workshop about 3 years ago. Following the advice from Ryan about fertilize, fertilize, fertilize I’ve been able to see significant improvement from when it was first potted. The tree is healthy enough to style it but I have some issues to work through and thought I’d seek some help from the people here at Mirai. Shoutout to @Sam for pointing me to the forums.

Proposed Front

After getting it into a pot I moved some branches around to better position them for sunlight but I wouldn’t say it has been styled. There’s some old raffia on the tree which I’m going to remove in the next week or so. It was an incorrect application of raffia which I have so far neglected to remove.

Side shot
You can see the 3rd year needles are getting ready to drop. The tree has to be potted back pretty far in the pot as all the roots come forward under the main canopy. There’s also some inverse taper when viewed from this angle.

This might actually work as a front but the placement in the pot bothers me when looking at it from this vantage point.

From the top
Clusters of branches are visible here. A large number of branches are originating from this one point. Pruning to 2 here would take a large amount of the foliar mass off the tree.

Cluster detail
I count 7 branches coming from this one spot. I worry about swelling over the long term but up to now there isn’t much to speak of.

More from the Top
You can see clearly from here the way the branches alternate off the main trunk heading up towards the apex of the tree.

On a bench
So you can get a feel for the full size scale of the tree

So what do you all think? Any suggestions would be appreciated. I’m thinking to try to compress the tree somewhat by adding movement to the long leggy branches. I’m also thinking about trying to bring the horizontal main trunk down using the trunk bending techniques displayed in some of the streams. My main conundrum is the cluster that appears at the top of the vertical line of the main trunk. I’m going to have to prune it back some but not sure how much or how may need to go.

Thanks everyone!


My opinion/s:

I would keep what looks like the first branch, pointing to 8 o’clock, with the nice bud close in. The rest of the branches in that area, including the strong upright one, I would personally remove. I wouldn’t want that beautiful graceful line spoiled by inverse taper.

I’m not sure I’d use the 8 o’clock branch, but all of the others in that area leave the trunk at unfavourable angles to be used in the design - in my opinion. Except maybe the branch pointing toward the viewer as seen from the front (but I still wouldn’t keep that one either).

Nice material, good luck :slight_smile:

What do you think about getting some movement in the big branch to the right and some creating pads ?

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Also, does the area in RED bother you at all ?

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Thanks @TomDeffet and @darren. You’ve both given me things to think about. I’ll post an update after the styling is done.

For your questions @TomDeffet my first instinct was to try to bring that main branch down like you show in the picture. I didn’t have any wire that would hold it at first so I tried a guy wire but it didn’t work and looked bad so I removed it. I’ll try again with thicker copper wire. I think I have some now that will hold it. For the red marked line. I think that will improve after some additional movement is put into the design.

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Since this is a rather slender and feminine tree I suggest that rather than try to compact it, you stretch it out instead. The main trunk (with the raffia) could be wired and brought up, then create some feminine branches with all the small branches. As you get back-budding you should be able to shorten those overly long branches to keep them in scale.

Welcome to the forums. Ponderosa are my favorite species. I will be interested in seeing what you do with it.

Nice starting material. Another option would be to wire that large branch on the right upwards with some nice movement to extend the trunk line and create many more points of primary branching. It’s always going to be a slender tree anyway. I’ve done something along those lines with a similar tree, will post pics later

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for my view, i ll cut the thick branch in the upper portion of the trunk, bend the right side branch and try to create a bunjyn naturalistic style.

OK. Eleven Yamadori Ponderosas here. Three from Andy, 4 from Randy, one from Back Country, 2 from Wee Tree one from Alvaro.
One suggestion please: use bigger pot to move trunk farther from side of pot. Choose front that will show best base of trunk and best movement(if possible)develop tree according to this perspective of view. Yes red area bothers some. Suggest bringing left branch down noticeable amount and then outward and add movement. As to many emerging branches one place do as Ryan suggests: better to remove what’s unneeded now and not delay development later. What is really needed and will fill in later on? I am finding that with great care the added budding/ramification I am getting way more branches than can be used in these long needled trees. Also suggest shortening long sideways trunk line to at least the one hanging branch to help center weight and visual balance of tree. Now for big questions: Why is tree in Bonsai pot already? Do you want a bigger trunk? Is the tree big enough for the size of needles you’ll have? Is this tree really ready for refining or is more development time needed? Not to discourage…they’re worth it.:smiling_face_with_three_hearts: