Scots Pine development in 4.5 years

Hi Guys,
just wanted to post my result from not only three years of Mirai Membership but also a tree soley developed and designed with Mirai techniques and design concepts.

I decided to collect conifers when I saw a older YouTube Video from Ryan wherehe explained a “5year from field to exhibition” plan. I collected this scots pine in a sand pit with only few roots and put it in a mixture of broken baked clay and peat moss (Walter Pall mix) in March 2016.
I fixed the plastic pot with a rebar directly through the bottom of the pot and tied the tree to the rebar.
2016 was almost the perfect Bonsai year with no late frost, long mild spring with relatively warm nights and a lot of sun. I done nothing but carefully watering and heavy feeding. Already in Autum 2016 the tree responded with backbutting,
I didn´t touched the tree until August 2017 were I performed the first bend with raffia (wouldn´t do this again; after a year the raffia girted parts of the branch which resulted in inverse swelling at some parts) and set primaries.
I didn´t done any further until June 18 were I prunded the shots after summer hardening and reduced pairs of three to two. In late August 18 I cut off the top of the tree and layed the secondary branches out. In June 19 further post flush hardening pruning were performened and further heavy feeding happened. In March 20 I potted the tree in the only available pot, which I found acceptable for the tree (Akadama:Pumis:Kyiru 1:1:1).
In June 20 I further layed secondaries out and pruned only a little. Finally in August 20 I performed detail wirering and gave the tree a harmonies design with a long defining branch to the left creating a large asymetry. I left on the right side a jin only because the movement was great and wanted to ask the community what you think about the jin the tree and the development at all.
The tree already takes shape and I wonder if it would be too ambitious to belive an local exhibition could be theoretically possible in 2021? Theoretically, since I have to change the front view in the pot which couldn´t be achieved in 2021 without risk the trees health.
Critic is wellcome :wink:


Very nice progress. I wonder about cutting back the long apex branch to the left so the apex is more over the top of the trunk. Maybe even converting the whole thing to jin after a bit of shortening. The later would make bring out some literati type aspects although it is rather thick to be a literati.

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Great job! Not everyone has the foresight to take on a challenge like this project and actually follow through. You followed a time line and let things take a natural progression. I can see you will want to adjust the front in the pot, but by the time to repot you will have a much clearer idea of the tree. Your design, wiring, spacing all look great. I would let you make any design advancements you want. You are on the right track and an example for us all.
Thanks for sharing. MM


Hi Marty,
Interesting view on the tree but I think this doesn‘t fly. :wink:
Thank you for the comment👍

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Hi Michael,
Thank you for the encouraging post. Timing was key here since the tree looks leggy and had long needles all the time and one was tempting to change it to early. I learned through the livestreams so much about patient when you‘re in a hurry that blow my mind.
Apex is a little to the back side and will change with time. What do you think about the jin?

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Very nice work! Can you please post some additional photos of the current/recent tree from a different angle? I am curious about the apex branch and where it originates.

Thank you,


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Just chiming in to say that this is really awesome and thank you for providing progression notes like this! A lot of stuff about bonsai doesn’t make sense until you see the way it pays off the following year or at least a season or two later. So it’s helpful to see this break down.

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Bravo! Very nice work.

Colin Lewis always said that if the Japanese had had Scots Pine they would never have messed with Black Pine. He was half kidding, but I think it’s true it would have been the more dominant species because it’s so well-behaved.

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Hi Balatus,
About the jin. As you know pines in nature, and in bonsai, normally don’t have big jin. The dead limb tends to dry out and drop off leaving a squared off broken stub. Right now the jin gives some visual balance (if that is what you want). In the future you may grow more foliage to the right and reduce the length of the jin (more asymmetry).This is your design. It will mature. You are on the right track.

I am glad you removed the corkscrew top jin a while back. MM

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Great progression in such a short timeframe. I acquired my first Scots Pine November of last year and now that I have gone through an entire season of Pinching, Post Hardened Flush Pruning and Styling this fall, I can say that I really love this species. What a great specimen that you found and are working on and I’d love to see more progression down the road. In our local fall club show, we have trees in all stages of development and would think people would love to see this tree.

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good eye Gary, the apex ist the end of the coil shape branch. I will see with the picture :wink:

hi Farley, we are so temped to be quick while wasting time. I found it helpful to follow a new species for a whole season to understand how it behave in my garden. Make a picture every season, it is so satisfaying to see how a tree evolve even we think nothing happens.

can you imagine how a scots pine would see after several of generating working on them, wow.

people in my club proposed to steam it and bend it over the apex like a juniper. You’re right with deadwood on trees so we will see whats happens in future…

thank you TerryBryan for the compliments :hugs:, it is for sure far to early to call it finished but Im curious to see how the tree will look in two additional seasons.

One thing noticed was at least 3 branches all on the same whorl before covered by foliage in latter pic. Seems a mistake to me. Left branch with apex looks great and good foliage cultivation. Also would remove jin as well as is part of that branch whorl and leave only single main branch with apex. Descending branch could be developed as what John Naka called an upright Cascade :wink:.

the pitfall of the apex is that even the first bend was in the dirction of the viewer the next part is one circle which bears the apex. the think is there are no 3’s of branches elsewere in the whole tree but to cover the coil and prevent a horizontal line ist looks like 3’s