Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Care

Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Care –

How to grow Japanese Black Pine Bonsai. Join us on this Crash Course as we take you through

When talking about needle plucking in this video the amount of needles i drew on the tree is not the amount of needles your tree should have. this was just for illustration purposes and i only drew what i could fit on the branches. When it comes to black pine try to aim for no less then 10 pairs on any branch to keep it strong. i should have mentioned that in the video at the time but it didn’t come to mind.

Video Transcript

We’re going to be talking about all the care aspects of japanese black pine so stick around all right so japanese black pine seems to be one of those species where there’s a lot of confusion around pruning and styling and a lot of the horticulture aspects of the the species so today we’re just going to go through all these points and make sure you stick around and watch all of them because a lot of this stuff actually mixes in with each other so sunlight and soils and watering and soils fertilizing all that kind of stuff it all melts in with each other so make sure you learn every aspect of this species for the best success now let’s jump into it the first thing we’ve got up here is the two laws of japanese black pine and if you understand these two wars you’re going to have better success straight out of the gate so what are they the first law of japanese black pine is the energy is in the root system not like our junipers where the energy is actually in the foliage but with japanese black pine all that energy is in the root system so before we perform any major work on a japanese black pine we need to make sure that that root system is happy and healthy okay and that should be our number one goal and priority when cultivating japanese black pine is making sure that we’ve got a happy and healthy root system now the second law of japanese black pine is energy distribution is in the needle mass okay so wherever we’ve got more needles on a japanese black pine that’s where we’re going to have more energy we want to be able to evenly distribute that energy so we need to do needle plucking to do that but we’ll talk about that a little later on so let’s move on to our next segment here which is sunlight okay so like most other bonsai outside direct sunlight japanese black pine will absolutely love it now we can’t have them inside behind the glass window because we we know that glass blocks out uv light also too glass can heat up causing problems for your japanese black pine and in very very rare circumstances you can actually cause heat spots on your tree so not behind a window not behind glass on a balcony none of that kind of stuff direct sunlight for japanese black pines no ifs and or butts the more sunlight you can give this tree the better the needles basically act like solar panels and the more solar panels you have out in the sun the more energy that you’re going to have in your tree okay winter care when it comes to winter for japanese black pine anything below freezing we need to protect the tree these are coastal trees so they’re used to that warmer more humid environment so if you live in an area that gets below freezing during the winter times you need to protect your japanese black pine if you’ve got a red pine which is very similar to black pine they’re a little bit more heartier against frost they can get down to about minus six degrees celsius but with your japanese black pine in particular anything under freezing okay and then when we protect the tree i’m not telling you to take your tree inside the house especially if you’ve got the heater on fireplace something like that over winter you’re going to confuse the tree it still needs a cold dormancy period so how do we protect the tree we put it in an unheated garage or we put it in a greenhouse okay just to protect it from that frost so anything below freezing protect the tree but don’t put it inside where you’ve got a heater running it’s pretty simple in terms of that so when it comes to your sunlight once again just to recap as much unfiltered sunlight as you can give the tree and in winter anything below freezing we need to protect the tree all right let’s move on to our next section all right watering our japanese black pine now this is a species that can tolerate a little bit of drought it’s a pretty hearty tree but we want to keep in mind that we still don’t want to let that soil system completely dry out that is not good for any bonsai because what happens if we take away that balance of water and oxygen which we know is so important in the bonsai environment if we take away that balance of water and oxygen and we have just oxygen in our soil substrate what’s going to happen is those root tips are going to dry out and they’re not going to take up any water and if the tree’s not taking up any water it’s dead okay so we need to always keep some level of moisture in the soil system so during the growing season spring through summer it’ll slow down in autumn but during those mainly spring and summer seasons water mobility in that tree is going to be very high so you may have to water two to three times a day depending depending on your circumstances okay so this can come down to your soil substrates and this this can come down to your environment there’s some places where it rains most of the time in the year so you’re not going to be watering a lot but you’re going to need a very well draining soil system so this is where i was saying at the start of the video that a lot of these things like soils can affect how much you water so really make sure you stick around and take notes and learn everything here because it’s going to be so valuable to this success of your japanese black wide now when we talk about over watering it’s very hard to actually over water a bonsai by giving it uh water too frequently okay when we talk about over watering usually it’s more of a problem of the soil substrate than it actually is of the person giving the tree water too frequently now what i mean by that is if we’re using inorganic materials pumice lava rock akadama things like that it’s very well draining so you put water in it’s going to drain straight out the bottom of the pot and those substrates will actually hold a little bit of moisture and the tree will take what it needs but any excess water is just going to come straight out the bottom of the pot now if you put your japanese black pine up into a bonsai pot in organic materials such as river sand coco keon or peat moss some people call it pine bark those kinds of things what can actually happen is as those materials break down or even freshly potted if you’ve got the wrong kind of gauze in the bottom of your drainage holes they can get clogged up that very dense organic material can become cloggy and muddy and what will actually happen is it’ll clog up those drainage holes and every time you water not all the water is going to drain out of the pot and you’re going to have a little column of water in the bottom of the pot that’s just going to stay in there indefinitely and your root system is going to be sitting in that little column of water indefinitely and that’s how you get root rot those roots have to stay in there for a few weeks before they get root rot but if they continually sit in that column of water that’s how your tree will suffer ill health due to over watering so there’s a little bit of a misconception there of over watering is people giving their tree water too frequently when it’s actually not it’s actually really a problem with the substrate it’s much much harder to kill your tree by giving it not enough water than it is to give it too much water okay now in saying that if your tree is receiving too much water it’s sitting in a column the soil substrate’s not really draining that much the japanese black ply will actually give you an indicator that that is happening and that is going to be in the form of a yellowing needle okay now there are a few other things that can cause a yellowing needle one of those can be cold winter temperatures and the other thing can be not enough fertilizer now it’s going to come down to you as the grower to assess the situation to assess your care of that tree and think to yourself well are we coming into winter maybe the needles are going yellow because of the cold weather or maybe you’re in the middle of summer so cold weather is not even not even a factor here but your needles are going yellow so now you need to look have you been fertilizing that tree properly maybe that’s the issue or have a look at your soil substrate have you got organic materials in a bonsai pot and that water column is building up and the tree’s suffering ill health so that that’s how we look at that but i’m just giving you a basic rundown of watering for the japanese black pine because most of it’s going to come down to your soil and your environment whether you have lots of rain whether you don’t have rain at all well okay everybody has rain but you know what i mean if you don’t have a lot of rain um i know some people that only have 300 ml of rain a year where where i live we had 300 mils of rain in a week okay so that’s what i mean by that difference there um some places are like very human some places are arid so it just comes down to your environment and another thing that can actually affect how much you water your bonsai and this is any bonsai not just japanese black pine is how windy it is the more wind and airflow that’s moving through the tree the more that tree is transpiring losing water out through the needles or out through the leaves depending on what species you’ve got so the windier it is the more often you’re going to have to check your tree for watering and then also again that comes down to your substrate how much moisture your substrate holds if you’ve got a substrate that doesn’t hold a lot of moisture and it’s very windy outside you may be watering two to three times in that day okay so we’ll keep going through these things and hopefully it’ll all start making sense to you so let’s move on to our next one which is fertilization all right when we talk about fertilization of a japanese black line it’s actually very simple but we need to break it down into two separate stages and we do this with most bonsai anyway but these two stages are development and refinement and the fertilization process on both of these are actually opposite okay so let’s start off with development let’s say you’ve got a little starter japanese black pine okay what your goals are for that tree is to grow it really fast get it really thick unless you’re going to have a different style of tree but most japanese black pines we want those big girthy bases so we’re going to just want to grow that tree as quick as possible now to achieve this we’re going to want to have a high nitrogen content fertilizer year round so don’t take it off just all year round high nitrogen fertilizer anything over the value of 10 in the mpk the n in npk b nitrogen so when you go out and buy your fertilizer most fertilizer bags have your n your p in uk and then you’ll have a ratio of three numbers unless you say 10 10 10 for example if you can get something that’s higher than 10 in nitrogen value then that is good for development okay because that’s gonna we know that nitrogen is the fertilizer component that gives us elongation and growing so basically what the that high nitrogen content is going to do for us is it’s going to give us more elongated branches and it’s going to give us elongated needles now when we get elongated needles on a japanese black pine we’re getting more surface area on that needle for photosynthesis and the more photosynthesis we get from the sun the more energy we get in the tree the more energy we get in the tree the quicker it grows you see how that works so the bigger the needles we can get in the development process the more energy we’re going to give that tree so more nitrogen more more growth more longer needles longer branches and the longer the branches are the more needles we’re going to have on them so you can see how that all kind of works now when we go into refinement we want the opposite effect now we want really small needles we want really small inner nodes on our branching so how do we get that you got it less nitrogen so in the refinement stage we want an n value in our npk we want an n value of below 10 okay and the lower you can get the kind of the better so if you can get around an 8 the better so we still need nitrogen in the system though we don’t want to completely take it away because nitrogen helps with the coloring of the tree so it’s going to look a lot healthier along with some other stuff but we want to keep it in there but here’s the trick four weeks before we hit the summer period so in australia here our summer starts in december okay first of the summer that’s the first day of summer so first of november i’m taking my fertilizer off the trees okay this is in refinement because we want the fertilizer to have run out of the system by the summer period because in summer we de-candle our trees and at the time of de-candling we don’t want any nitrogen at all in the system and i’ll explain that during the pruning segment okay that’s why i’m doing this in this order so for me i do it just on a schedule okay start in november which is four weeks before summer i take my fertilizer off my japanese black blinds some people will do this differently okay you’ve got to understand that when we do candle and i’ll quickly go into this here just so we can have an understanding of what i’m talking about our bigger trees we do first we de-candle first okay our medium trees we de-candle halfway through summer in our shohin trees we de-candle at the end of summer so as those weeks roll over some people you know if you’re gonna do your large trees okay you’ll take it off four weeks before summer starts okay with your medium-sized tree so here in australia instead of me taking the fertilizer off the first week in november i might wait halfway through november to take off the fertilizer you see what i mean and then so on and so forth but for me i just don’t worry about it start in november four weeks before summer i take my fertilizer off because it takes four weeks for that nitrogen to leave the system and then that way we’re ready to de-candle our trees so with that in mind let’s move on to the next section which is pruning all right so pruning our japanese black pine once again we’re going to have to break this up into two sections being development and refinement so we’ll start off with development and i mean this is pretty simple okay so like i said before we in the fertilization section the more needles we have on the tree the more branches the more growth we’re going to have and quicker okay but we do have to keep an eye out for floors in the tree or where we’re going to create floors now the trick with japanese black pine is is we have a growth pattern that we call world growth okay now we know on some trees that we have an opposite leaf pattern in this is looking straight down the branch okay straight down the tip of the branch so we’ll get two buds that pop on side of each other okay the opposite side of each other that is an opposite growth pattern okay and then with some trees we also know if we’re looking at the top of the branch we have an alternating leaf pattern which is like that where the buds alternate from each other okay but with the japanese black pine what we have is what we call a world growth pattern which is where we literally get buds the whole way around the branch okay in a circular pattern like so which is our world growth now what can actually happen here with the world growth pattern is because we’ve got all these branches around like this if we draw a trunk on a japanese black pie and say we’re developing right and i’m just going to draw a straight trunk here just for illustration purposes now on a regular tree we might get a bud here and then we go up here then we get a bud here so we’ve got an opposite you know leaf pattern tree and so on and so forth we can let these grow and we’re not really going to have an issue okay but with the japanese black pine what we get is we get that that world growth pattern okay so we get bar branching like that and not only do we get bar branching but we’ll get another branch here we’ll get a branch here we get another branch here and these are all in the one section in the tree now what’s going to happen is if we allow all these branches to grow out really long and strong okay we’re going to have a lot of energy focused on this one section of the tree and then what we’re going to end up having if we have our trunk that keeps growing up like this we’re going to have a big ball of growth on our tree like that now let me show you what that’s going to look like if i take all that stuff away now before i show you what that’s going to look like i’ll show you what we want we want taper okay in any bonsai tree we want taper thicker at the bottom thinner at the top what’s going to happen if we let that world growth just go that’s what we’re going to end up with we’re going to end up with a golf ball or a knuckle whatever you want to call it in the middle of the train it’s going to be really ugly so this is where it’s going to come down to you as the grower you’ve got to watch that tree like a hawk okay so while ever you can leave as much growth on that tree as possible because that’s going to give you the most surface area on your needles and it’s going to give you the most energy like we talked about before but with that energy all in that one spot you’re going to eventually get swelling so once you start to see that swelling happening you’re going to have to take away branches okay now you might be able to get away with just taking one of those branches off to begin with just to slow that growth down or it might be two okay but eventually you’re going to have to go back to the rule of twos okay two branches in any one spot now you’ve got to remember when we’ve got a trunk and we’ve got a first branch the trunk counts as one okay and your branch is two so that’s our rule of two and then obviously once we get out to here we can have two there okay so we’ve got two in this section and then we have two in this section two in this section okay that’s our rules of two at any junction any junction we only want one two any junction one two a junction one two one two okay that’s going to stop your swelling from happening so that’s how in development we need to keep an eye on our growth and make sure that we’re not letting that swelling happening but at the same time we’re trying to keep as much on the tree as possible i know it sounds confusing but it’s not like these things are just growing rapidly overnight you’ll see you’ll see the tree starting to swell and you think to yourself oh i need to take some energy away from that particular section so i’m going to remove one of the branches from there okay so that brings us next to our next thing which is big cuts okay when do we perform these big cuts on a japanese black pine well we perform these big cuts ideally at the end of summer early autumn okay and the reason why i say end of summer early autumn is because the tree sap flow is beginning to slow down during early spring through spring early summer that’s when the sap flow in that tree and the growth production right our vegetative growth season that’s when the sap is moving the most rapidly and what’s going to happen is if you’ve got your tree say you’ve got a big branch here right you’ve got lots of sap flow up into that branch you cut that branch off that sat flow just leaks out of the tree right and that’s just basically leaking energy so what we want to do is we want to make sure that we’re cutting that tree end of summer early autumn to prevent as much sat flow as possible now in saying that i’m not saying that you cannot cut the tree during spring you absolutely can but you need to take some precautionary measures you don’t want to be cutting five six big branches off a tree during spring okay because you’ve got five six big wounds where you’re gonna have sap just flowing out everywhere all over your tree and you’re just gonna rid that tree of all of its energy okay the other thing that if we’re going to cut in spring okay we’ve got this big branch just here we’ve cut it what we can do is the tourniquet method okay when we come in we get a bit of bonsai wire we wrap it around our cut site just here and we tighten it off really tight okay to try and limit the amount of sap flow that can get past that point okay and then also at the end of the cut site put some cut putty over it to try and seal it in but as i said you don’t want to be in spring cutting off a lot of big branches say for example you’ve noticed some swelling in this area because you’ve got a branch here and you’ve got a branch here and a branch here because of your wall pattern maybe you can come through and maybe cut this branch in this branch off okay but you don’t want to be cutting that off that off that off and a branch up here and a branch up here and a branch up here because now you’ve just got places everywhere where that seat that sap’s gonna seep out all right now that we’ve talked about pruning in the developmental stage let’s have a little chat about pruning in the refinement stage of japanese black pine this is where things start to get fun and you start to see a lot of the results so in your development remember you’re just trying to thicken the tree you’re trying to you know create those first branches get them nice and thick get everything wired up while it’s young you know get your trunk movement and all that stuff but now that we’re into refinement we need to start refining our branches so getting our branch structure and we need to work on getting that knee getting those needles a lot smaller which part of that is the fertilizer remember that we talked about earlier and the part that i’m about to talk about now okay so in refinement we really only need to touch the tree two times during the year you might say there’s a third time which is our needle plucking but you can do that at any time of the year but there’s two major times in the year when we’re going to touch our black pine now one is in summer when we’re going to perform our de-candling work and two is in autumn when we’re going to do our bud selection work so what are they now what will happen with the branch if you let a japanese black pine branch grow unhindered it’s going to look something like this you’re going to get some growth then you’re going to get some needle mass okay and say that’s our first year growth okay next spring you’re going to see a candle elongate this is what we call our candle and all up the length of that candle you’re going to have needles right like that needles and then you’re going to have needles on the end of it that’s our second year growth just there if we let this grow again same thing is going to happen we’re going to get an elongated candle and we’re going to get needles all up that candle right and we’re going to get that growth now between every year of growth you’re going to have this little gap okay so first year growth second year growth third year growth right you’ll always see this little gap in between the needle growth and depending on how healthy that branch or tree is that gap will be bigger if you’ve got really weak candles you’re going to have a really small gap if you’ve got really strong candles you’re going to have a bigger gap okay now one other thing i will say about this growth too is you’re not going to just get straight growth like this you’re also going to get little buds on the side that’ll pop out okay so these will be secondary branches and they’ll do the same thing right but they’re not going to grow as strong as this main section they’re going to be weaker all right so you’ll get you get that kind of thing happening all about the tree now once this is what we’re going to have on the tree after we’ve developed all right so what we usually do is from the stage of development the first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to leave the growth on the tree we’re going to put it in a bonsai pot okay we’re going to cut the roots put it in a bonsai pot and we’re going to talk about that a little bit further down repotting but we’re going to cut the roots put it in a bonsai pot and then knowing our first law of japanese black lines is the strengths in the roots we’re going to let it sit in that bonsai pot with all this growth on for a year okay all this growth is going to mean energy which means it’s going to repair that root system and then the next year around we’re going to have a really healthy root system which means we can now start our work on our japanese black pine okay so just remember that when we go out of development don’t cut your tree all down we want to put that tree in a bonsai plot because we’re likely going to cut 50 of the roots off to get it in the bonsai plot so we’re going to cut the roots off leave all the needles on the tree leave it in that bonsai pot for a full season let that root system get healthy okay because that’s where our energy is in our pine and then the next season around we can start our refinement work which we’ll talk about now okay so now we’re in our bonsai pot we’ve got all our crazy growth all over the tree summer we want to de-candle okay so what is de-candling say we’ve got this growth on the tree here in summer we’re going to come through and say we want to come back here and depends on how long you want your branch you can do it here you can do it here but remember with the japanese black pine and i’m going to just quickly segue off here because i think this is important we never want to cut a branch so say we’ve got needles here right needles here we never want to cut a branch here where there’s no needles no needles behind the cut side okay that’s now a dead branch there’s also a situation where you might have a branch right and you’ve got a little tiny bug here maybe you’ve got a little tiny bud just here but you’ve got lots of growth growth here okay um lots of growth up here again your second year now you might say to yourself well i can cut here okay because i’ve got growth just here and i’ve got growth just there but you don’t want to do that either because this growth here and this growth here is not strong enough yet to take over the power of that branch it’s not going to have enough energy to pull sap flow up into this branch so if you do want to use these buds these little buds that you had growing here you need to wait until those needles become nice and long and nice and strong and nice and photosynthetic before you cut back to them okay you don’t want to do that too early all right now that i’ve segued off into that we can get back to our candle pruning so we’ve got our first year’s growth here which at this point we would be calling these three-year-old needles okay so if you only want your branch this short you can candle prune back to here but if you want your branch to be out here you can candle print back to here that’s up to you okay but one little tip i’ll give you too is you don’t want to kind of let the branch get too far away with growth okay because by the time you get back to candle pruning back to these needles these needles are quite old and spent okay they’re not quite as photosynthetic as they used to be but we can come in and we can cancel them back to there okay so now we’ve got ridden all rid of all this growth and we want to leave a little bit of a stub okay so if we say we zoom in let’s pretend this is our zoomed in [Music] view we’ve got our needles here our needles here and this would have been our elongating growth and we’ve got our gap and we’ve got our second set of needles there if we’re going to come through in candleproof and we don’t want to candle prune right back to this set of these first needles here okay we don’t want to come back and do that flush because what we’re likely going to see is a little bit of die back okay so then we’re going to end up losing losing that what we want to do is we want to come through and we want to cut back here leaving a bit of a stub that way this dies back and this section is still fine okay so we’ve candle pruned we’ve left our little bit of a stub now what’s going to happen is the tree is going to throw buns all around that cut side it might be four five six seven eight buds they can throw a lot of buds remember they grow in that wall pattern so when you’ve got your cut you’re just going to have little bugs all over it everywhere okay even even out here just buds everywhere and that’s our de-candling okay that’s why we do it we’re deep handling to get those bugs now before i move on as i mentioned earlier and i’ll go into it a little bit more in depth here we do have different times during the summer that we de-candle some trees and we even can de-candle them at the same tree at different times now why would we do that and this all comes down to the energy of the tree okay and also the size of the tree so if we’ve got a big you know sumo size tree right we want to do that tree right at the start of summer we want to de-candle because it has all summer to grow those new needles and new buds and it’ll grow longer needles okay and those longer needles will be more in proportion to a big tree but imagine if you had needles that were this long on a little showing tree it wouldn’t look right so what you need to do is your smaller trees your little show your trees you need to do them at the end of summer that way they only have a little bit of time to get those needles and buds out and you’re going to have really tiny noodles along with the fertilization like i explained earlier not having nitrogen okay so we do our biggest trees the start of summer we do our medium-sized trees in the middle of summer and we do our smaller trees at the end of summer that that tells us how much growth we’re going to get on each one bigger trees we want bigger needles more in proportion than the size of the tree little trees we want littler needles more in proportion than the size of the tree okay so that one’s pretty basic but why would we do candle pruning at different times on the same tree some people call this the 10 day technique okay so what we want to do is we want to um we want to de-candle our weaker branches first okay and we want to do our stronger ones last now what does this do once again if we do our weaker ones first this gives them more time to grow and catch up to the stronger ones which we do last okay so it kind of gives your weaker ones a head start ahead of your strong ones if we do you know say we’ve got a a weak branch and a strong branch we do them both at the same time once again the strong branch is going to take off the little branch isn’t okay so if we do the little branch first it’s got time to grow and we do the stronger one last and by the time we finish our candle pruning season they’ve kind of grown at the same pace right so that’s why we would do what we call the 10 day technique we do our weaker ones first wait 10 days do our medium ones wait 10 days and then do our strongest candles after the 10 days and then that kind of just evens everything out on the tree all right now we’re going to have a quick chat about needle plucking on japanese black line and as i mentioned this can be done any time of the year okay and we need to refer back to our two laws of japanese black pine and the second law being that energy distribution is done through needle mass on the tree okay so if you’ve got one branch that’s got a ton of needles on it and you’ve got another branch that’s not got a lot of needles on it that other branch is going to stay weak okay while the tree feeds that other branch with all the needles on it all the energy okay and this usually happens at the top of the tree very apically dominant okay so what we want to do is if i draw another really basic tree again we’ve got a lower branch here let’s just say is really skinny and weak it wasn’t developed properly okay we got the top of the tree and then we start getting you know bigger branches and stuff like that which we don’t want okay now this little guy down here we know a japanese black pine they have pairs and needles okay so two pairs of needles okay so that’s one pair of needle then you’ll have another set of needles here okay so what i’ve drawn there is eight sets of needles right so there’s 16 individual needles there but we talk about them in sets okay so there’s eight sets of needles on that branch but let’s just say up here now i’m only going to do 14 sets of needles there just for illustration purposes okay but you can see up here there’s more needles here than there is here so this branch here when the tree sends energy up it’s going to send it mostly to this branch a little bit to this branch okay so this is going to get favored and as you can see this is really going to mess up our taper because this branch up here is just going to get all the energy it’s going to thicken up well this little guy down here just stays weak and thin so what we need to do is we need to do needle plucking okay we need to do this over the whole entire tree and generally what we do is we find our weakest significant branch okay we don’t find our weakest branch we find our weakest significant branch and what do i mean by that we find the weakest branch on the tree that is actually important to the design so let’s just say this was going to be our first branch that’s going to be our weakest significant branch and we look at it and we say okay it’s got eight pairs of needles or roughly there about you’re not going to sit there and count every single needle or pairs of needles on your tree but you’re going to say okay that’s roughly about eight sets of needles okay so what we need to do is we need to come up to the top of the tree and we need to needle pluck this guy and every other branch down to eight sets of needles to match this one so when the tree gives out energy it’s giving this branch just as much energy as it’s giving this branch but let’s say you need to rectify something maybe you want to keep an extra set of needles on this branch just to give it that little bit extra energy okay so this is how we distribute energy on a japanese black pine and a lot of the time we want to keep even energy over the whole entire tree so that’s why we will find our weakest significant branch and we’ll needle pluck all the other branches down to the same amount of needles that’s on our weakest significant branch and that is how we distribute the energy over the tree now a little tip when we’re needle plucking a common thing that i see people do okay say we’ve got a branch okay very basic branch and we’ve just got needles the whole way up the branch right very strong branch okay something i’ll always see people do is come through and needle pluck all the way to the end like that okay so now i might just get rid of that okay so now you’ve got this branch where all your needle mass is on the very tip of the branch and then back here we’ve got nothing okay and we’ve got to remember that in development we should be needle plucking as well because we don’t want the top of the tree growing more rapidly than the bottom in the tree so even in development please needle pluck your trees keep that energy distribution even across the whole entire tree now the reason why this is important what i’m just about to talk about in development is say you’ve needle plucked all your needles out onto the tip of the tree now you’ve really got nothing in back here okay what we want to do is we want to try and keep maybe center needles there center needles here center needles here further back on the branch we want to keep a little bit of energy in here but what we want to do is if you’re going to get back budding on a japanese black pine and the way to get back budding on a black black line by the way is to feed it full of energy the more energy this branch has the more likely it is the back bud okay if it’s a very weak branch not much chance that it’s going to back bud so if you want back biting full of fertilizer full of energy let the branch grow you’ll get back budding okay and what we want to do is we want to keep old sets of needles back down the back end of the branch because if we want back buds in there we are more likely to get back buds at the point of these needles that we kept on than we are anywhere else okay that’s our most likely chance of getting a back button so what you want to do is keep in mind while you’re doing this needle plucking if you’re knowing that you’re growing this branch out to develop it but later on you’re going to come back in now is the time for you to say well in my final design i’d really like a branch here and i’d really like a branch here so keep those needles there because the chances of you getting a back bud here and here are much higher okay so what you can do is if we’re looking at this branch side on okay this is a side on look at the branch you’ve got needles all over okay all your needles on the top here you can pluck them off all your needles on the bottom you can pluck them off your needles on the side of your branch they’re your lateral needles that’s where you want the buds to pop out if this is an overhead view of the branch you want your buds to pop out on the side of the branch so keep some lateral old needles on the side of your branch here and you’re likely going to get backbiting in a very optimal position all right so let’s have a chat about soils substrates okay japanese black pine it does get pretty thirsty during the spring and the summer period and it also likes a lot of oxygen that balance of water and oxygen so normally a lot of the time you’ll hear when we go into refinement we use one part akadama one part pumice and one part lava rock okay now depending on where you are you might not be able to get your hands on these substrates so you’re gonna have to come up with something different okay and that all just comes down to what you can get your hands on and what you can’t now personally me here we don’t really get much lava rock around here so rather than lava rock we replace that with zeolite which is something that we can get a hold of so i’ll use one part akadama one part pumice and one part lava rock that’s in refinement if we’re developing our black pine we want organics and when it comes to black pine pine nuggets are really really good for a japanese black pine in your organic mix okay you’ll get mycorrhizae in your pot which is your beneficial fungi and that’s really going to communicate with your root system and you’re going to just get a much healthier tree and you’ll know mycorrhizae when you see it because it’s like a a whitey color but it’s like spiderwebs almost on the surface of your root system so when you pull it out of the pot you’ll see all like this white colored webby kind of fungi on the on the outside of your root system so that’s mycorrhizae really healthy for your tree okay rude aphids they look much the same but a lot of the time of root aphids they’re a lot more concentrated and they’re in dots okay mycorrhizae is spread out it’s kind of translucent and webby where root aphids are concentrated in clumps and really white dots and you’ll see them actually clinging to the roots and they’ll leave like a white substance on the outside of the pot as well okay so when it comes to our soils we need to determine our environment our availability to water and what’s available to us okay but the most important is okay so the simple way to put it when we’re developing organic materials okay the tree is going to grow much quicker in those organic materials once we move into a bonsai pot into refinement we go into inorganic materials okay so like our akadama our pumice our lava rock all those kind of things now how do we work out the mix for those as i said usually it’s just a basic mix one to one to one ratio of those substrates that i’ve pointed out before but how do we come to that conclusion okay this is a this is the part of learning bonsai where we need to learn why are we doing that we don’t just learn the one to one to one ratio because then we know nothing really okay so why and how do we choose our substrate now this will go for pretty much most of your bonsai okay it comes down to the species on how much it does or doesn’t like water and it comes down to your availability to water and it also comes down to your environment all of these things are going to play and factor into what mix that you use now if you live somewhere where it rains a lot throughout the year obviously your tree is going to cop a lot of water which means you’re going to need substrate that’s heavier on the drainage side of your mix than it is water retention capacity okay so if you live somewhere where it rains a lot you’re not going to have a mix that’s two parts akadama one part pumice and one part lava rock because we know that akadama holds a lot of moisture and if you’ve got a lot of rain you don’t want to hold a lot of moisture because you’re getting a lot of moisture passing through the pot okay so you know if you live in an area that really rains a lot you might have one part acadama to two parts pumice okay makes sense so you’ve got less water holding more drainage okay now if you live in a really arid area that’s really hot you might go two parts akadama one part promise okay because now you’ve got that water holding retention and you’ve got less drainage okay so the tree’s going to have moisture in it for longer now in this part of the video right now the people who already know what they’re doing are screaming at me okay because we don’t use two parts academia in a pine and they’re absolutely 100 right okay and why don’t we do that it all comes down to the repotting frequency okay but you might have a situation where you’ve got no choice okay and you want to practice bonsai and i’m not going to tell you that you can’t have two parts akadama in your pine meaning that you now cannot have a black pine because of this reason okay and i’ll explain it now akadama breaks down okay and it takes about 18 months for academia to break down and what happens say we’ve got these big particles of academia right in our soil mix and in between these parts of academia we’ve got all these holes where oxygen can occupy and even inside the akadama we’ve got little crevices and stuff that the the oxygen can actually occupy now what happens as this akadama begins to to break down over time and it becomes smaller and smaller and smaller okay these gaps begin to get filled in okay and there’s no more room for oxygen in that mix okay so what happens then we lose our balance of water and oxygen and also the other thing that will happen is the the tree won’t percolate properly so the water won’t get through properly so after about 18 months you need to replace that akadama which means repotting now japanese black pines junipers most of our conifers really we don’t want to re-pot them before five years okay we want to keep that tree in the pot for five years before we repot it this gives our root system enough chance to bifurcate and become really tight and compact which once again gives us those smaller needles on our tree okay if we don’t have that really fine tight root system that we get in that mix once again we end up with those long needles so the wrong soil along with the wrong fertilizing process we end up with those big needles that we don’t want okay so we really want to try and keep our japanese black pine in the bonsai pot for a minimum of five years and if we’ve got two parts akadama one part pumice not possible okay but this is where you as the bonsai artist needs to understand that hey i’ve got a choice to make here if i live in a really arid area and i can only water once a day i can’t have that mix of one to one to one because by the time i water in the morning go out to work all day come home that black pine is going to be very dry by the time you get home you’ve missed your second watering so to make up for that you may need to put two parts akadama to one part pumice to make up for that moisture retention just to make your tree live but what that’s going to mean is you’re going to have to repot that tree every two years to replace that akadama which means you’re probably getting not going to get as nice of growth on top of the tree in terms of small needles and stuff like that but this is the trade-offs that we’ve got to make you know in the perfect world 1-1-1 mix we’re home to water two to three times during the summer beautiful but unfortunately not all of us have that you know have the ability to water three times a day so that’s why when it comes down to our substrates we need to know all these different things you know humidity versus an arid environment an environment that has lots of rain versus an environment that doesn’t an environment that has a lot of wind coastal areas okay versus inland areas that don’t have as much wind all these things factor in how often that we need to water our tree okay and when it comes down to our substrates the best mix for a pine definitely one to one to one ratio okay but if you’re not home to water a lot you might have to have an extra part akadama to keep that moisture in it to just keep the tree alive okay but that’s how we choose our soils i hope that made a lot of sense i know there was a lot of running around in that but you nee you need to sit down calculate what kind of environment you’ve got how often you can water and what’s available to you but at least you know now that more parts akadama you have to repot every two years to stop the tree from choking but ideally we don’t want to be repotting every two years but if that’s your only choice that’s what you’ve got to do if you want a japanese black pine and that’s your only choice then go for it but if you’re home you can water a lot during winter during winter during summer then go for the one to one to one mix it’s going to get you the best results you’re going to be able to repot in that five year period because you’re going to have more pumice in there that doesn’t break down which is going to keep that oxygen in the soil right and yeah you’re just going to have better results so let’s move on to our next segment which is black pine design all right this will be a very quick segment when it comes down to japanese black pine design we’re just going to talk about the common designs you as the artist can make the choice whatever you want to do whatever makes you happy you design the tree your way okay but if you’re learning and you want the most common way to style a japanese black pine you want to follow those japanese aesthetics you want a japanese looking tree here’s how you get it okay so number one most of the branches on japanese black pines we style them down and out okay that’s our coniferous design on bonsai material that’s how they do it in japan and that’s the most common style you’re gonna see now when it comes to the actual styles you know there’s some trees that lend themselves to one style over another but when it comes to japanese black pine the beautiful thing about them is the five basic styles of bonsai and if you don’t know what they are you can sign up for our premium blog subscription where we go through all of those five styles i’ll leave a link in the description below but the five styles of bonzo japanese black pie lend themselves to it perfectly whether that’s formal upright informal upright slanting semi cascade or cascade japanese black pine does fine in all those styles and looks absolutely fantastic so it just comes down to when your trees in development and you’re starting to see different characteristics of the tree and what they’ll lend themselves to keep those five styles in mind and you’ll be well on the way to designing a good looking japanese black pine all right now last but not least repotting japanese black pine okay so we’ll just simply start off with when okay early spring is when we want to be repotting japanese black pine now this is going to come down to your area because some early springs are different to other early springs and what i mean by that is i know some people get four weeks in the spring and then just suddenly overnight they’ll have a frost they’ll drop below zero okay i know some places the minute spring starts it’s hot it’s warm moving forward okay so you need to kind of know your spring i would suggest keeping an eye on the tree too as soon as those candle buds start to swell a bit you know that the tree’s starting to grow and starting to get that that sap flow and that movement going so that’s the time that we want to be kind of repotting our japanese black wine okay so keep in mind the timing is early spring but just keep in mind what kind of spring you have if you’re somewhere where you have really cold winters and there’s a chance of another cold snap within the first four weeks of spring maybe hold out until you’ll get you’ve got two three weeks of nice warm weather and you know you’re not going to get that cold snap because if you get that cold snap right after you repot that japanese black pine there’s a chance you’re going to lose it or you’re going to get die back okay so when it comes to repotting japanese black pine how much okay 30 to 50 percent of the root mass you can take off all right now when i say that keep in mind you need to be looking at your tree and understanding how healthy that tree is now if we’re talking about a tree that’s going into a bonsai pot 100 you’re probably going to be cutting 50 percent of that root system off but if that tree that’s in development is looking really sickly the needles don’t look nice and vibrant and green you haven’t got real strong candles and growth and you come through and you cut off 50 of that tree’s energy you could be doing detriment to that tree so at that point i’ve been looking at that tree and saying hmm i’m going to keep it in development for another year in that year i’m going to fertilize i’m going to give it plenty of sun nice amount of water really try and get that tree healthy and get that root system nice and healthy the laura pine the health and energy is in the root system make sure that root system is healthy if the tree’s not looking good pull it out of the black plastic pot give it a quick inspection is there a problem in the root system get that rectified get the tree nice and healthy before you come through and you cut off 50 of its energy okay now if you have got a really healthy tree and development you know you’ve got that nice strong candle growth you’ve got those nice vibrant needles come through you can cut 50 of those roots off into a bonsai pot like we spoke about before you keep all that growth on it’s going to work for the tree it’s going to rebuild that root system in the bonsai plot the next year you can start your refinement work okay let’s just say we’ve got an old tree in refinement okay we need to repot that tree it’s been in their pot for more than five years in the right substrate remember if you’re in heavier parts akadama then you are pumice you may have to do this in two years okay but let’s say perfect scenario we’re in the right substrate it’s been more than five years in the bonsai pot that tree’s starting to get really root bound now same timing doesn’t matter whether you’re in development refinement same timing we pull it out but this time what we’re going to do is we’re not going to cut 50 percent of the root mass off a mature refined tree we’re going to come through we’re going to take the bottom mat of roots off okay across the bottom and we’re going to take you know maybe an inch off each side of the tree and we just give it that little bit of room to grow back again we don’t want to come through and really cut cut back hard like we would a tree going into a bonsai pot that’s where we need to we need to kind of separate the two terms you know some people say when can i repot my train they’re talking about taking a tree out of a black plastic nursery pot out of development into a bonsai pot into refinement that really isn’t repotting when we talk about repotting we’re talking about taking a tree out of a bonsai pot cutting a little bit of the root system back as i said just that bottom mat of roots and about an inch off each side just to give that tree to to grow again because we know that if the root system stops growing the tree stops growing and if the tree’s not growing it’s dying okay so we always need to make sure we’ve got room in the bonsai pot for the roots to grow that’s why we repot we come through take that bottom mat off inch off each side now the tree’s got room to grow a little bit more until next time we come in ring ring pot we do the same process over and over again if we’re coming out of a nursery pot we’re cutting like 50 percent of the root system off to go into the bonsai pot then we’re giving it room to grow and then that repotting cycle starts okay now when we talk about our aftercare once we’ve either potted a tree up or repotted a tree either one of them what we need to do is we need to take that tree and we need to put it in partial shade out of the wind for at least two weeks okay we need to let that tree recover get its bearings back this is the good thing about spring too it’s not overly hot it’s not overly cold the tree’s not going to suffer a lot of shock but as i said before if you get sudden frost early spring you want to try and avoid that okay but our aftercare we want to keep it out of the wind because we’ve got um we’ve got a compromised root system here that’s not taking up water if you’ve got a lot of wind passing through that tree and it’s transpiring rapidly it can’t take up enough water to replace all that transpiring water okay so we want to keep it out of the wind for at least two weeks until it can get some root system established we want to keep it out of the direct sunlight for two weeks the hotter that tree is once again the more it’s transpiring the the water out of its needles and it’s got a compromised root system then he can’t take up water quick enough to replace the water that’s leaving and once again we’re going to have an ill tree so we need to protect the tree from wind and we need to protect the tree from direct sunlight okay for two weeks and then after that we can slowly just start moving the tree back out into full sun again but our aftercare we need to have that aftercare we don’t want to just chop a tree’s root system have it compromised and put it back out in direct sunlight okay all right and just remember that when we’re taking a a tree out of a nursery pot and we’re going into a bonsai pot we’re taking more of that root system off and it’s more compromised than a tree that’s been in a bonsai pot and we’ve only just taken the bottom mat and the side mats off okay so you may need to just watch the tree once it starts growing a bit more then you can you know be safe to kind of put it out but remember don’t just chuck it straight out into that sunlight because you can do detriment to the tree so i know this has been a long one but that’s basically it hopefully you understand japanese black pine a little bit now hopefully you understand the development process versus the refinement process and you understand how each of these change for each of those and how they all melt in with each other and talk to each other the soils and the watering and the fertilizing and the sunlight and all those kinds of different things hopefully you have a really good understanding of it let me know in the comments below if this video was helpful for you if it was easier to understand and if you want to see more stuff like this we will definitely do it we do have an article on japanese black pine on our premium blog at the moment which is five years from nursery stock to show okay so that’s five years from after the tree is developed into a bonsai pot to a show if you’d like to learn that process then you can go over and join up for our premium blog subscription which is four articles a month you get educational articles and you can check them out wherever you are whether you’re waiting in the doctor’s office you’re on the train on the way to work no matter where you can bring up those articles and you can learn something it’s only five bucks a month for those of you that are in american dollars usd it’ll be even cheaper for you guys because that’s australian dollars so five bucks a month four articles you can continue your learning no matter where you are and i suggest going and checking it out because as i said we’ve got um we’ve got the rules of bonsai listed there we’ve got the five basic styles of bonsai we’ve got five years from nursery stock to show black pine so go and check it out also leave a link down in the description below for our merchandise store if you’d like to support us you can grab some merchandise and keep an eye out for all the other links that we’ve got down there to our facebook instagram all those kinds of things so don’t forget to like share and subscribe as well as that helps the channel grow but until next time enjoy your bonsai journey

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