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Thread: Just picked up a mugo pre bonsai and a Small Austrian black pine. What to do

  1. #1
    Bonsai Apprentice
    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Just picked up a mugo pre bonsai and a Small Austrian black pine. What to do

    I just picked up a Dwarf Mugo form lowes cheap along with a austrian black pine. I have afew questions.
    RE the mugo can i trim it now and put in a pot or should i wait till later in spring? i live on long island

    The austrian black pine. I cant find a jap so i thought maybe i could do something with this. It is a skinny seedling with only a few branches but with long needles what should i do with it. I know it just needs to grow. Do i wire it while its trunk is supple to get a little movement in it? pot it in a bigger pot? Remove candles? which are quite long? Needles?
    Obviously i would like to do something with it similar to a jap balck pine,is this even possible?
    I wanted to upload a few pics but im computer illiterate. if anyone here can help i could email them to you to upload. I appreciate any help.

  2. #2
    Administrator SlimGenre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Durango, CO
    the longer you wait to work on a young tree, the larger it will get. It's often best to let a tree do whatever natural thing it wants to for a few years first, then come in later and do serious work on it. To achieve a great bonsai you have two options, either pay the money for an older more mature tree (which can costs hundreds), or buy a cheap young one and wait a few years. Unfortunately emphasis is on age either way.

    I don't (or should say haven't) worked with conifers, but my understanding is, if you remove the needs, they usually don't come back where they've been removed, so I'd probably leave them alone until you are ready to do so. I do think wiring makes since at the younger ages, when they are still pliable, so that's an option. I'm interested to see what more experienced gymnosperm growers have to say

    Move at the speed of the tree
    - BonsaiZombie

  3. #3
    Administrator SlimGenre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Durango, CO
    oh, and regarding uploading pics, when you click on the "reply to thread" button, it should bring up a text box to type a message in, if you scroll down you'll see an attachments section. Other options are if you have a photobucket account, you can always post the link.

    Move at the speed of the tree
    - BonsaiZombie

  4. #4
    Bonsai Apprentice
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Portland, Oregon
    if I were you I'd wait until next winter, early spring to do too much trimming. the tree would probably be fine but once the candles are growing any cuts will run with lots of sap that will be messy to deal with. Mugo's can be repotted in winter, or early spring or late summer. You can wire it anytime, mugo's are really flexible. in late summer you want to pull needles two years old or more. You should be able to see where the needles go from having a light, brown paper-like husk at the base of the needle to where they do not, further down the branch toward the trunk. The ones without this husk are the older needles and can be plucked, though care should be taken not to rip the bark too much. Where you pull these needles should be where you see back budding next year, though it won't be everywhere. The thing you have to decide is whether you like the size of the tree as it is, or whether you want it to be bigger. If you want a bigger tree you're best off planting it in the ground and letting it grow wild for the next couple years. If you like the size now, you should focus on candle pinching. On the Mugo, you want to wait until the candles are actually producing needles before you take the middle candle, (there should be three to a cluster) and reduce it by half. The one to each side should be left to grow until they are the same height as the middle one was before being reduced, and then they should be reduced as well. Candles at the apex of the tree should be reduced more than lower candles, and on weaker branches that you wish to keep you may not want to reduce the candles at all. The thing with pines is you want to get lower branches to be your longest, fattest branches but in nature the lower branches are often cast off by the tree as they push skyward. This is why you want to reduce more at the top and less at the bottom, it redistributes the plants energy and keeps the lower branches getting sunlight and remaining healthy. Also it keeps the tree short. Hope this helps, don't know about Austrian pines, and pines are a tricky subject. They are not a one size fits all rules type of tree. Doing something to one species does not mean you should to another.

  5. #5
    Hello everyone,

    The Pine trees are evergreen conifers, divided into a very large number of species, in Europe, North America, Middle East, Asia and the Caribbean.

    The pines grow in climates ranging from temperate to hot. They belong to the botanical classification follows: Class of Gymnosperms, Order of Pinales, Pinaceae family and Genus Pinus. There are then, in the genus Pinus many species of Pines, themselves subdivided into different genres.

    The Pines are all gymnosperms (Greek gymnos, naked and sperma, seed). That is to say trees "naked seed". Indeed, the seeds of Pines (like all conifers that matter) are not protected by an ovary.

    The Pine trees are monoecious (Greek monos, alone and oikos, house). On the same tree, there are male and female organs.

    Pine seeds are placed in "cones", hence their classification as conifers (trees that bear cones (from the Greek pherein, wear). These cones are generally formed in two or three years before s open to free forty seeds per cone. pine seeds are provided with a fin which allows them to spread by the wind. cones usually remain on the tree four years before falling. It is in this sense that ranks among the conifers.

    The pine needles are grouped by two, three or five in a sheath and attached together. Hence the classification of pine needles Pins to two, as the Pine Mugo Pine or five needles, as the Weymouth pine.

    Pine is a tree in nature is able to survive in difficult conditions, on poor soil and exposed to wind, cold weather and hot sun of summer.

    Some Pines have the longest longevity among the plants, and some Pinus aristata or Pinus longaeva have lifetimes in excess of 5300 years.

    However, the grows of bonsai is often difficult because of its own botanical characteristics.

    The roots of Pines can not bear to live in a waterlogged soil that is moist. Pines require a dry soil, well drained and ventilated, especially in winter. The use of a granular substrate, ventilated, quick-drying is preferable to a clay substrate or calcareous clay that retain moisture. Some pines, such as maritime pine, prefer an acidic substrate with a high proportion of sand and gravel.

    In autumn or winter, it is preferable to protect the Pines of the rain, under an awning or balcony and place a wedge under the pot, if they remain exposed to rain, to enhance drainage.

    Besides this characteristic, the pines are susceptible to many fungal diseases and multiple parasites and pests. Which combined with the slow response of pine is often critical. Thus it may happen that a tree dies during the season, for no apparent reason, when it had started growing after repotting.

    In fact, the tree was actually dead when repotting. Its roots, too rotted or badly cut in a substrate unsuitable. For some time the tree has lived on reserves.

    Similarly, a parasitic attack, or fungal root rot may take a long time to appear. Thus, on yamadoris, a tree taken from the wild can survive more than a year with green needles, while its roots are no longer functional for a long time.

    Hence the importance of good culture, in a suitable substrate and attentive care to prevent these risks. Thus, watering the substrate every month, summer and winter, with micronized sulfur is part of the necessary prophylaxis.

    However, under good growing conditions, the Pine trees are extremely powerful and particularly suitable for bonsai.

    In addition, the Pines accumulate difficulties making only a single shoot per year. Indeed, in the spring, buds begin to swell and stretch to form "candles" that can measure over 20 centimeters long. Subsequently, the needle will appear on the candles. In early July, the needles reach their mature size. Between July and September, are formed at the tips of branches and buds that will next year. From July to October, the oldest needles yellow, dry, and then fall.

    Unlike deciduous tree that is likely to sprout several times during the same year, it is impossible on a Pine.

    Especially since the majority of them have difficulty rebourgeonner on old wood. Indeed, on Pines as on nearly all conifers, lives only a branch, if its end are green needles, or even a bud at the end of the branch to ensure its survival. As a result, if a branch is cut in the middle, leaving no green needles, she dies without rebourgeonnement possible.

    In addition, Pins usually have a fairly strong apical dominance. The buds located at the top of the tree and branch tips are generally much stronger than the others, they inhibit their growth.

    In Japan, the Pines are classified according to their requirements, their reactions to pot culture, and sizes made on young shoots. A dichotomy is thus made between two types of pines, Pines "strong", and Pins "weak".

    This classification has nothing to do with the health of the tree, but seeks to distinguish its responsiveness to the pruning. Generally called "pine strong" a pine tree that is capable, after a prune, to rebud and produce new growth during the same year.

    Pins are called "weak" trees, after a pruning, can produce buds, but which hatch that during the following year.

    Three Japanese pine species are grown as bonsai:

    - Pine or Pinus thunbergi Thunberg (or Japanese black, Kuromatsu) is a coastal species, which sits pretty well in the wind, sun and a certain humidity. This is a two-needle pine that is characterized by a dark bark, very rough with age, the needles of a dark green color, very hard, very long (+ / -10 cm, but can be reduced by bonsai 3-4 cm). This pine has the distinction of being very resistant and respond vigorously to the sizes. Pin Thunberg is classified as "high pine" because of its amazing capabilities rebourgeonnement.

    - Pinus densiflora or Japanese red pine (Akamatsu) is a colonizing species, which supports harsh conditions, poor soils. It is similar to our Pinus. It is also a two-needle pine, soft green, with long needles but more flexible than those of pine Thunberg. This tree is prized for its beautiful bark, shimmering pink with age. This pine is a little less "strong" as the black pine, although some varieties are stronger than others. This tree is generally classified as "low Pins". Pinus densiflora 'Oculus Draconis' (Dragon's Eye) is a particularly sought after because varietar green stripes and yellow present all year on its hands, its trunk cracked very irregular and its port.

    - Pinus parviflora x 'pentaphylla' or Japanese white pine (Goyomatsu). Pin iconic Japanese bonsai. It is the only five-needled pine of the peninsula. The needles are short enough (3-4 cm), sometimes bluish-green, with a white stripe (stomata) on the inside. Its bark is light, and takes a long time to crack: it tends, with age, to come off in small plates, rather fine, but do not usually form deep cracks of Pines features black and red. It is a small pine, fragile implies a good knowledge of botany and culture.

    The most common European Pine bonsai are:

    - Pinus cembra, is the only European pine needles to 5, bluish green in color with a white band of stomata on the inner needles. This is a Pine Mountain that one is naturally in the Alps, and in some parts of Central Europe between 1700 and 2400 meters. This tree is adapted to cold winters, but whose growth is very slow. Its smooth bark takes a long time to crack. It is classified as low pines.

    - Pinus mugo (Mountain Pine), common in Europe up to 2700 m. It is characterized by small groups of two stout needles, slightly curved, dark green on the branches often slightly curved. A bushy a limited height. There are several varieties, some creeping, which naturally produce multiple trunks, particularly suitable for higher altitudes. This is a fairly small tree, the root system a little more delicate than the Pinus sylvestris.

    - Pinus uncinata (Pin Hook) is a variety of mugo pine can live up to high altitudes in the Alps and the Pyrenees and is characterized by a longevity of over 2000 years. The needles are grouped in pairs, slightly thicker than those of Pinus sylvestris, on branches also thicker. Its port is more massive, less slender than that of Pinus sylvestris. Its bark is gray, scaly at maturity. Once acclimatized, this tree develops a strong root system. Like Pinus mugo, it is classified as low Pins.

    - Pinus nigra austriaca (Austrian black pine). This is a straight shaft, with dark green needles, long and rigid, grouped in pairs. His dark bark cracks at maturity. Its branches are rather thick. In the wild, this is a tree that is strong shoots, twigs thick. It is found in the Italian Alps, Switzerland, Austria and Bavaria, to central Europe, at medium altitude. Its resistance to pollution makes it a topic frequently planted in cities or on the side of motorways, but there is little interest in bonsai because of the length of the needles. This pine is ranked among the pines "weak".

    - Pinus pinaster (maritime pine). 2 pine needles, bark thick, gray, turning red-gray and furrowed with age. Needles, grouped in pairs, are long 10 to 20 cm, making his inadequate training bonsai.

    - Pinus pinea (umbrella pine). Pine growing naturally throughout the Mediterranean basin. It has a beautiful pinkish-gray bark when mature, with long dark green needles, and large cones which shoots the gears. Young trees grow vertically and form after some time a circular crown. Old trees have a crown-shaped umbrella. This species has never worked in bonsai, as it emits when it is cut, new shoots are juveniles whose hands: soft, tender green, growing individually. The needles mature (dark green, rigid, two per sleeve) appear only next year. Therefore, it is difficult to obtain on this mature pine needles.

    - Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine): Tree of low and medium altitudes, the port slender, acute at the top, with thin twigs, widespread in Europe, from Siberia to Spain. This is a two-needle pine, sometimes bluish-green (especially varietar "watereri"), with a beautiful red-gray bark that flakes off at maturity. This tree is vigorous, strong root system. It is usually ranked among the pines low, although some specimens show a good ability to rebourgeonnement.

    Train a bonsai pine involves mastering a number of techniques, aimed at achieving the following objectives:
    - Balance the force of shoots on different parts of the tree;
    - Develop the buds on old wood, so as to densify the foliage ;
    - Reduce the size of the needles.

    Indeed, the Pins have growth characteristics that should be taken into account:
    - Its strong apical dominance and axillary or its natural tendency to see its summit and shoots of the branch tips to surpass in strength the lower branches and interior. This phenomenon, if not upset will cause branch dieback and internal low, less exposed to light;
    - The absence of spontaneous budding on old wood. The foliage lives in branch tip, the hands remain three to four years on the branches, then brown and fall. The old wood is left bare in the shade of the young foliage. What is the opposite of what is sought in bonsai, where vegetation is close to the trunk, compact and supplied to the heart of the branches;
    - The tendency of most of the pine needles to produce long (especially the loud parts), disproportionate to the size of a bonsai.

    The "metsumi", literally "section of the new green shoot" aims to stop the shoot. This pinching of candles will allow the candle to open gradually pinch, but less vigorous than if it had been left to grow naturally. Suddenly, the other not pinched candles will benefit from the energy pinch the candle does not consume. Here's why you pinch, in general, the stronger the stronger candles, candles before the middle. This pinching can occur at the base of the candle pinch, new buds that were dormant.

    To pinch out the candles just to break a part of the candle with your fingers, grasping the base of the candle with your thumb and forefinger of one hand, and swinging himself on the top of the candle with thumb and forefinger of the other hand, it stands for itself. It usually breaks the 2/3 strong candles, 1/3 medium candles, and candles at all weak.

    Attention, as pinching inhibits the growth and reduces its force, do not carry on a branch or a tree that wants to grow and get bigger. In general, this pinching is done on trees already trained. In particular, it is not a beneficial operation for a tree that is just repot: for it is precisely the activity of the buds that will stimulate root growth.

    The removal of needles

    Pines produces new shoots each year, with a new set of needles, which take precedence over those of previous years. These become increasingly dull, and consume energy without being really useful to the tree. They waste away gradually, leaving the inside of the tree without needles. Also the inner branches are too in the shade so that new buds appear.

    This reaction is opposite to that sought in bonsai, where the goal is to get back budding. Technique to stimulate the emergence of buds on old wood, to produce shoots that will allow a denser foliage leaf mass. To do this, remove the old needles, and more than two years, to allow sunlight to reach the inner branches and awaken the dormant buds. The energy consumed by old hands and new buds will benefit.

    Old needles can be removed manually, one by one. They can also be cut with sharp scissors, to 3 mm in their base. The base of the sheath needles will dry and fall off without damaging the dormant buds.

    This operation is performed between August and September, when the tree begins to make its reserves and where next year's buds are formed. At that time, the light is still sufficient to stimulate the development of latent buds.

    To balance the flow of sap in the branches must be removed, on a healthy tree:
    - All the old hands of the parties and a few strong year needles on particularly strong;
    - The old hands on the middle parts,
    - Do not touch not to the weaker party. As this will balance gradually.

    After a removal of needles, the tree, which has lost much of its leaf mass uses less water. Should be adapted to this new watering situation.

    When the new buds appear, you must quickly select those to keep, and eliminate others. For the buds that appear at the end of the shoot, you kept only two buds.

    On low branches, you keep the two strongest buds. If one wishes to grow and grow, we will retain a third bud, sap-like shoots, which will be cut later.

    We must try to keep the buds that grow horizontally and eliminate those that grow vertically, up or down.

    When performing a toe-ups, or metsumi, it slows the growth, but it really does not stimulate the appearance of new buds, as the young shoot has not had time to make reservations. Some may appear at the base of branch pinched, but not spectacular.

    The "mekiri" is an effective method to stimulate rebourgeonnement back. It is to cut with scissors shoot of the year when it is mature, (late June-early July). Here, the hands are open and well developed, the branch is fully operational and begins to woody. The cut at this season will mean the elimination of the apical bud, and as disinhibiting the dormant buds at the back.

    Pins on strengths (eg Japanese black pine), the right size, the scissors, the new growth as a whole, above the previous year needles, leaving a few mm of new growth, without needles, for avoid the removal of sap. This is done in two steps: we start by cutting the shoots of medium vigor.

    15 days later, approximately, is sectioned shoots strong. In this way, the average shoots have taken a small lead in their rebourgeonnement. It does not affect the weak shoots. It is possible to refine this rebalancing désaiguillant totally shoots high (without cutting them), when the shoots are cut medium: like this, these will become even more ahead of the strong shoots, which cut out 10 days later. We will see in the next few weeks new shoots appear at the point size, and also back. It will again select the buds.

    For other pines, considered weak Pins must be more careful. They respond less vigorously to the size. Size is then in the middle of the shoot of the year, leaving three or four pairs of hands as new tire-sap. We start with the strong shoots, and 10-12 days later, medium sized shoots. Again, it does not affect the weak shoots. The rebourgeonnement is not as sharp as with the Pine Thunberg. Suddenly, the buds may be fragile when winter comes. We can then expect, and be this size in autumn, early September.

    The buds appear in spring. The Japanese call this prune"mekiri", that is to say, size of mature shoots. This role is to stimulate the emergence of new shoots back, and it is most effective when it comes just after a désaiguillage, quia airy branches.

    This prune will of course have the desired effect if the tree is healthy and well fertilized. The mekiri is a procedure that forces the branch to a bud in the second year. This is a rather exhausting, should be practiced on large and medium-sized shoots of the tree, not on shoots low. Also, we avoid doing it on a freshly repotted tree, unless it shows signs of vigor.

    The shaping of the tree requires the installation of regular ligation and stays on the branches for the position, and "open", that is to say the spread of so airy, spacing them from each other so that the air and the light reaches all parts of the tree and promote rebourgeonnement.

    Can be wired in the fall or late winter is a season when the sap flows less than in spring and summer. Especially, there is no risk of damaging young buds. But we can also ligate in June: the branches are more flexible, and cracks heal faster. It is then necessary to protect the branches with raffia wet tight before placing the wire, and be very careful with the buds.

    It leaves no general ligation a year or two, according to tree vigor. But above all, should be checked regularly during the growing season, the wire does not become embedded in the bark.

    It is sometimes said that we must always tie off the ends of shoots raising them up, it's not a necessity: it helps in any case the effect of terminal buds, more exposed to the sun, but at the expense of buds back. In most cases, the candles will straighten themselves up, and ultimately provide better ripple to the branch.



    1. Tip selection:

    Cut the branches strong hands with a pair of scissors, while leaving the base intact (between 2 and 4 mm)).

    Keep only 3-5 pairs of needles arranged in star after strong branches. On low branches, perform the same work, but keeping between 5 and 7 pairs of hands.

    Cut off the pine cones and old needles that have not been cleaned in the fall.

    2. Selecting buds

    3. Structure size branches

    4. Binding of the branches

    5. No fertilizer before the size of the candles.


    1. Repotting if necessary (every 3 to 5 years, by age of the tree).


    1. Pinching of candles: cutting with scissors candles low branches first, then the candles of the strongest branches from 10 to 12 days.

    Note, it is possible to completely remove the candles of a healthy tree to branch out to do.

    2. Fertilization: contribution of conifers 20-8-8 fertilizer every month until November. Organic liquid fertilizer over organic low-dose from time to time.


    1. The second growth: birth candles due to the cut of the first candle in April-May It is they who will then give small needles.

    2. Practice at this time, a balancing size between the parties strong and weak parts. This consists in the removal of some branches with scissors too hard, and cut with scissors for hands on vigorous shoots always with 3-5 pairs of hands. This size is intended to reduce excessive force strong parties and thus of benefiting the lower branches.


    1. Cleaning of dead needles

    2. Fertilization: Contribution of organic liquid fertilizer NPK 6-6-6 Organic throughout the 15 days.

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