White Pine

A real challange.

Original tree

When I bought this tree in Holland in 2001 it already showed signs of scarring due to previous training wire being left on too long. It has got worse over the years and will always be ugly.I have never really done any work on it before.   To add to the problems about two years ago a branch died leaving an empty space half way up the tree. I am considering options to try and improve the tree. It has good initial trunk taper and I just don’t want to bin it. Tree is approx 12 inches tall

Root Growth

 The tree is quite healthy in spite of recent neglect. There is new autumn root growth and lots of vermicillium present.

Ugly Scar

Here is the main problem. An ugly scar and swelling where the training wire was left on far too long. This will never repair itself and will always be a major distraction. The options are to lop off the top growth just above the second branch and train a new leader. I can try a repair which still leaves the first option available if it is unsuccessful.

I have decided an attempt at repair. I know it’s very ambitious but there’s nothing to lose and it doesn’t involve a lot of work, just a lot of waiting.

Excavated Trunk

I have removed the bark at the swelling and excavated the trunk quite radically. However I don’t want to be too ambitious and increase the risk of killing the top portion of the tree. In any case most of the problem was on the inside of the trunk bend which has been carved out.

I figure that the tree will form new bark gradually and tend to seal the wound. The result will hardly be much worse than the new bark that would have grown had I lopped the tree as per option one.

The wound has been sealed with cut paste and  I have potted up to an oversized container, without disturbing the root mass, to promote quicker top gowth and root production in the spring and next year. I may even get some late root production this year. If the tree survives the winter I will probably transplant it into an even bigger pot and feed very heavily.

Potted ON

I decided that the sharp bend in the trunk needed to be straightened somewhat as it was just too drastic. The trunk was well set in place and needed a little encouragement to move so I decided to risk taking a wedge out of it to facilitate the bending.

Wedge Out

The next move was to protect the trunk with rafia, wire it, bend into its new position and seal the wound with cut paste.

Rafia in Place

Rafia in place.

Wired Bent and Sealed

Trunk bent and sealed.

It has been difficult on settling on a front for this tree. Two options are currently being considered but the tree just doesn’t look good.

 Dan Barton in his book, The Bonsai Book page 105, has a Scots Pine which he had been working on for years and he asks the question ‘Is a silk purse possibe’. I ask the same question of this tree with great doubt.

I’m sure if any of the professionals saw this effort they would shake their heads in disbelief.


2 Responses to White Pine

  1. bonsai eejit says:

    Good to see you getting stuck in Michael 🙂 I will watch with interest to see how this tree copes with the carving. Even if it fails, you still have the option of a little shohin tree at the bottom.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.