Hoping to get some help with the structural design of this black pine I got from nursery stock. I am new to black pines but decided to get one since they seem like such a great tree to shape over time. This one seems to have quite a strong apex, that really dominates the rest of the tree. In trying to train this tree as a bonsai, I wonder if it would make sense to remove that section of the tree just above the next top two branches. I’ve been reading a lot about how to shape these trees and it seems like that section might be causing a bit of imbalance. However, I don’t have much actual experience with black pines, so any advice would help.
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I don't intend to cause too much confusion with differing approaches, but I wouldn't go 'too large' on the grow container. Even commercial nurseries pot growing trees for landscape purposes incrementally up the size of a container as the tree fills the one it's in. Too large of a container can hold too much moisture and actually slow down development.
As for pruning that upper portion, the best JBP growers I've seen leave a long running apex (sacrifice branch) to speed development.
These are the guys I would check out for exceptional black pine development.
Jonas Dupuich at Bonsai Tonight:
and Eric Schrader. His old site below is Phutu, but his new site is bonsaify.com
Josh, Candle cutting is a technique to refine foliage pads and create additional ramification. This tree is likely years away from needing to concentrate on candle cutting technique. As Mike suggests, larger grow pot in the future will develop the tree over a shorter timeline. Focus on trunk line, bulk and strength right now rather than refinement.
Best to move this young tree into a much bigger grow pot to grow it out faster. You can learn about Japanese Black Pines here:
Hey Stew, I would assume that you just potted that tree? The soil looks correct. If that is the case, I would let this tree grow and build roots until next year prior to any heavy work. This tree looks young. I'd focus on trunk line and building health / strength and ramification. I'd put a bit of wire on the trunk to create a little movement (avoid "s" curve). Let this tree grow like crazy, resist urge to prune for the next couple years and focus on trunk movement. This tree is in development
Is this Japanese Black pine? Or other species