Making Simple Bonsai from Pine Seedlings


at our nursery we have a lot of starter plants and by starter plants i mean plants that have been grown quite strong and you can use them for making into bonsai i’ve always told people that bonsai need not be expensive i don’t know why people get the impression that all bonsai is expensive there are expensive bonsai some very very expensive bonsai but a lot of the fun in bonsai is from actually making it so i’ve always encouraged people to buy from nurseries and garden centers or buy from us we sell starter plants and you can make your own bonsai very cheaply and you would get a lot of enjoyment from doing it so i’m not doing myself any favors because i’m asking you to buy from other nurseries and other people but we sell them as well my purpose in life through youtube is just give you the knowledge for free now we recently started stocking these pines now for those of you who know your pines if you come close you will see that this is what we call a mugo pine how do you tell a muger pine from other pines a mugo pine is a two needle pine and for those of you who do not know the difference between two needle and five needle why are they called two needle pins because every needle is in bunches of two so mugo is a two needle pin not only that a mugo has this waxy covering on the tips of the buds these are called the um candles for next year and they’re always covered with that waxy coating so muco pines are like this so these are mugos they’re about two going on three years maybe a little more and what can you do with it i will show you what you can do with it i’ve always said there’s no such thing as impossible material now these are the scot spines these again like maybe two going on three-year-old uh seedlings ugly aren’t they so ugly what can you do with that all right i can show you what you can do with it okay let’s start with a fairly simple one i’m going to show you what you can do with these almost impossible pints so with this cut spine now talking of score spine and yoga pine if you come close you will see the difference the squat spines the tips of the candles are not coated with the waxy substance the mugos are always covered with that waxy substance and the scot spine again is a two needle pine if you pull each needle off they are found in in pairs you know each bunch of needles let’s pull one and you will see they come in twos like this one you see it’s two needles so that’s what we call a two needle point right let’s work on this one so look at that beautiful white mycelium i don’t tire of telling people what mycelium is because so many people think that it is a fungus or a disease but no pines and beech trees have this wonderful substance called micro riser or mycelium which is a beneficial fungus so the beneficial fungus in turn feeds the roots and feeds the trees and of course it helps the trees and it holds on the trees so it is a symbolic symbiotic absolutely right symbolic one helps the other so my cerium is this white surface and it’s a sign of good points if i open this pot this is a mugopine i should be able to find my sebum i am cheated i’m looked look at the mycelium on that full of mycelium beautiful stuff okay i’m now going to just see what is below till i come to the root and with most of these trees the famous proverbial s shape is the best shape you can make with these trees and let me find the right grid of wire i hate using new wire i have such a lot of recycled water lying around i hate waste so let’s use some old water now you’ve got to judge what gauge wire will work with what type of tree so this trunk is in old money about quarter inch and i’m using this is three and a half mil wire because i want to bend it quite severely so to do that i need a fairly thick piece of wire again judging the thickness of wire comes with experience i keep repeating these things there’s no magic formula because different species have different flexibility pliability and the age of the tree also plays a part so there’s no one-size-fits-all you just got to play it by use common sense everyone has common sense my colleague is laughing it’s famous last words okay i’ll put that wire on okay now let’s do the magic trick it apart it may look like sleight of hand but this is what we do in fact i will keep that option in case i want to make it a sweeping branch i’m now just going to put it in one of these temporary japanese training pots just to position the tree and then i will wire the branches wire is such a wonderful thing without wire you can’t really do much with bonsai i pity what the old bonsai creators used to do before wire was invented or used for bonsai it must have been very hard cut and go you got to wait whole grain season before you can cut again but with wire you get instant bonsai many of these trees i reckon these are what we call i are three minute trees if i didn’t talk i would be able to do this in three minutes i always teach people to literally wire everything in sight don’t bother about the shape or anything at this stage of the creation of your bonsai if you want every single branch and then arrange the branches in the way you think would fit the design you will end up with a fairly credible bonsai i’m not removing the needles from these branches because they’re only one year needles some people remove all the needles and just leave a little tuft at the end i leave the needles to drop off in the following year the structure is the most important thing at this stage you notice i haven’t cut anything at all yet i’ve just wired the tree okay now i will cut again although i sell a lot of bonsai tools i’m not using any bonsai tool i’m just using the humble sectors falco secretaries number two now let’s see what we can get out of this there you are three pieces of wire so far let’s cut this off this is too low and shorten this that top leader has become a long trailing branch if i wanted to make it a cascade in time i can make it a cascade going on that way but i don’t think i will by cutting the tips off you’re going to encourage budding it will burden you will get more shoots now how is that that didn’t even take treatment dividing talk and i can put it in a little small bonsai pot and you’ll get a very credible bonsai so that is that one done okay let’s move to this one you must be saying oh that’s a challenge he’s going to end up doing nothing with this let’s see what we can do nothing is impossible okay these are the old needles which have gone brown so they’re ready to come off again these are i think two-year-old going on three year old scot spine seedlings so again look at all that mycelium look at that beautiful mycelium by the way i’m not going to throw this myself away i’m going to mix it with a compost because it is like using yeast when you make bread that my serum will multiply in the soil so when you pot pines you can put some of this mycelium in the soil and it will benefit the plant that you are potting it in now let’s again wire this trunk and see what shape emerges if i was going to grow this tree on i would keep all these low branches just to thicken the trunk so the concept of the sacrificial branch you should learn because the sacrificial helps to thicken the trunk much faster than if you didn’t use any branches at the bottom but let’s see how this design goes i may take it off because it may spoil the design at this point in time but if you were looking to the very long term then i would keep those branches too thick in the trunk okay so let’s just give the trunk a shape you notice that i’m not taking the wire right to the top because there’s a change in thickness of the trunk so this one is thicker than this bit so i wouldn’t have needed to use a thick wire to go all the way to the top i will use another piece of wire to do those branches at the top so let’s terminate this you notice that i always use this gin plus it’s such a useful tool for handling wire so if i may just repeat my most useful tools are the secateurs gin pliers little twig shears the rake is useful and sometimes i use the branch cutter so these are the essential bedside tools okay now that you put the wire on i always teach people about stirring the pot the concept of stirring the pond this sort of action this action is what you want go around so one straight ugly trunk becomes a more compact looking tree now i thought i would use that’s a sacrificial i could use this as an actual branch so there you go let’s see what we can do with that one now this is a long branch at the base and i have nothing to anchor so peter chan is breaking his rule he’s not using the two branch principle but i’m anchoring the wire into the soil like i would wire the trunk and then i would take it off to the box so that is acceptable remember the two branch principle is only a method for anchoring once you get an anchor it doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you can get the anchor now that long branch may be a bit too long but do i cut it here no i shouldn’t cut it here because if you cut it here no there’s no green to pull this up that branch will die so if you want to trim it you need to leave some green so i can cut it there i can cut it there because still some green but if i cut it here that branch will die so always remember that you need what we call sap pullers to pull the sap through now these two i will wire again i will remove the minimum amount of branches because i want to use virtually everything so again here now i have very conveniently found two branches so these two branches can be wired with one piece of water many people ask me do you wire the branches clockwise or anti-clockwise and my answer is it doesn’t matter now i’ve just done this bit clockwise and i’ve done the main trunk anti-clockwise whatever is convenient that’s all that matters there are no hardened phosphates i’ve often wondered whether left-handed people do it one way and right-handed people do it another way but i frankly think that there is no difference now again there’s a very long branch here i can cut it here to shorten it and it will burn back but i’m always leaving a bit of green okay now let’s keep wiring literally everything if you just wire everything you can’t go wrong all pines especially the score spine thicken very quickly so by this time next year this tree will be at least twice the thickness in the trunk and because they’ve thickened quickly the wire does bite if you want to leave the wire on permanently you can but usually branches we remove the water in case it bites too much but you can leave the wire inside the trunk okay i’ve done that i haven’t cut any branches yet let’s see what the next one to change is grid i was using one and a half and i’m going to use a bit of two so these two there i will push on needles off because i have enough at the end so i’m going to wire these two so always remember to branch principle if i have ever taught you anything useful it is the two branch principle so i’m going to continue this session so that whole thing has just gone to the top like that now i can even wire these i still haven’t removed any branches i might just wire two of them because i don’t need too many remember if you have too many branches at one point like this is like a cartwheel it will cause swelling and cause inverse taper so in fact if i’m honest i should take it off because i will get inverse taper the three branches there is more than sufficient so there you are again another almost like a three minute tree i can cut this off if i wanted to that’s coming from inside the bend it doesn’t matter you know and i don’t always just leave the top going like that if you bring it down you’ll get a nice crown effect that means it won’t look like a feather sticking out of your head like high waters feather headdress so there you are and if you pot it and go it on it will branch more and next year you will get a very credible bonsai so these were the two lengthy scotch pines that we started off with so they were not impossible now these are the muger pines i’m going to work on most of you might think that this is one plant i think it could be let’s see we don’t know so let’s do this i have one which i have already pulled out of the pot and if you’ve had this plant what could you do there’s so many things you could do let’s start from scratch in case you think i’m cheating again lovely pot with all that mycelium i always take away some soil from around the trunk not from the whole wood bowl just from around the trunk and i want to see what the trunk looks like because there are so many like branches coming out from one point it is such an interesting tree but a lot of people will get confused they don’t know what to do with it but because it is so full of trunks there are lots of options if you just had one trunk like in the pine you’re stuck with it you got no other choice but to just wire that trunk but because you have so many trunks let’s see what we can do so for a start if we were to just wire everything in sight leaving it like that we’d get a very nice comp style let me just do that for you i will just show you what i tell you although they’re all going together like this they do need some wiring to just define the shape a little more by the way the mugo pines these wild mugos i have seen some in italy and in the alps and they’re such magnificent trees with huge twisty curly trunks they have this habit of twisting and turning and they grow to a ripe old age easily a couple of hundred years for some of these pines in the mountains is nothing now let’s do something very simple i’m going to make like a clump style with this because they’re grown in a plum now those of you who are more clever or smart will have figured out is it one tree or several trees this goes through my mind right at the very start and we will find out in a minute i’m not jumping to conclusions straight away because i know that mugo pines have this habit of growing in a clump so i don’t want to assume that it is a clump of several trees it could be one tree so i’m just wiring all the trunks and then parting it a little bit to give space i can see here one two three four five six seven eight or nine separate trunks there are nine trunks in there nine trunks so if you wanted to make a clump style this would be perfect i will pop them all up so that you can see the finished particle so i’m going to water them all there are many different varieties and species within the mugopine it’s not just a single species this wild one is called mugo mugus and then there is mugo mops which is with a more definite trunk [Music] and we have one creeping mugo pine on the nursery which is a hybrid and that one is very interesting i did do a demonstration after you will see it in some of my old videos and i showed how to work on that creeping mugo point i forget the exact name of that okay after wiring this i’m now going to find some bonsai pots and pot them up and then i will show you what they look like after potting up okay this doesn’t look anything because it’s not in a pot but i can assure you it will look a very nice clump style if you simply did that now let me explore further i’ve got so many of these by the way we sell these on the nursery now this one i started teasing and lo and behold if you come close i think these are all separate trees there’s one two three four five six seven eight lucky eight chinese lovely eight and uh so i think what has been done just eight seeds were put in a pot and then they were allowed to germinate together to form this clump i’ve often done this with maples as well they make beautiful clumps if you just do that now if you want it to be parsimonious that means stingy you can separate all these trees [Music] take it out carefully without killing it i think they’re sort entangled i may have cut one or two but i’m trying to get as much root out as possible i’m just inquisitive i want to prove a point i want to see if it is in fact separate trees so i’m going to tease away i don’t want to take up valuable video time i’m just going to tease away and see if i can separate them but because they have been grown and sewn together for so long i am convinced they are separate trees must have put eight seeds together to get these eight seedlings to sprout and then we can use each of these trees to make separate bonsai you may want to do that i’m doing it just for this challenge but some of you who want to just make it into a clung style you can do that as well so i’m just trying to prove the point that these are separate trees planted in this fashion usually seedlings when they germinate they’re separated when they’re one year old or a few months old sorry not even one year old maybe when they’re about three months old you separate the seedlings and then you put them into individual pots but in this case these mugs are grown in this way so that they look bushy but there are in fact separate plants now the secret will be revealed there you are they are separate plants they are absolutely separate ones so i can separate all these eight plants and then let’s see now we got to the stage of like that scotch pine let me just put a piece of wire and see what happens as i say wire is a wonderful thing without why how can you create bonsai you can’t and if you snip the growing tips you will get butt back so you will get a very pushy plant with lots of branches now this one i can just do a little more [Music] so these are such simple projects that you can all do there’s no excuse for not doing it now that doesn’t look anything but give it a twist and it should look more interesting i will put these up when they’re potted up you’ll see a big difference okay so that’s just one i’m going to put and wire some more and i’m going to wire them all up and when they’re wired you will see what delightful little trees these can turn out to be [Music] why is bonsai so fascinating it’s fascinating because you use your imagination and you use your creative creative talent and the rest will take care of itself and of course it’s not expensive that’s that ones i’ll just put another piece of water so if you bought one of these starters can you imagine you will have eight or ten trees to play around with not just one and that is excellent value there you are that’s a classic in formula bright pine and there are six more to do so you’ll have eight little bonsai okay i’m now going to put them up i don’t want to bore you with it i’ll put them up i’m now going to show you the entire process which means potting these little trees up this is only a little plastic bonsai pot we sell a lot of these especially for young trees in training they are ideal now when you come to potting even potting there’s an art to it if you put it too far to that side it doesn’t look right so it has to be more to this side so the position in the pot is always important it might seem obvious to those who are more experienced but for those who are less experienced every little tip helps and the angle of planting always uh makes a difference i always tie the tree in just for safety you don’t have to but always safer to do that more pushing to this side and you can dress this tree up with more so that one is done now this one is the bigger one where we literally took nothing off and again this is a plastic ground training pot these are not just floppers they’re proper bonsai training pots again the planting angle makes a difference so you plumb this one like that it’s almost like a semi cascade i haven’t got any soil to fill it up but that is what that one looks like now when it comes to those mugs that i separated remember there are still one two three four six i can separate them all if i wanted to so when you’re buying these little pots remember you’re going to get 8 to 10 plants what excellent value if you bought these seeds which some people are selling they’ll sell you five five seeds for 10 pounds it’s better to buy these small plants for that look at it there’s two trees there so they’re all potential bonsai and they’re all well branched so you’ll get 10 trees from just one pot 8 to 10 trees now this one i decided to put in a proper ceramic pot unfortunately that pot is more expensive than the entire bunch of trees but then that’s what you pray for but as i say you don’t have to use good ceramic pots it’s just that i wanted to show you the range of pots that you can use you see i’m using the old soil the original soil from the flowerpot from which i took the trees out the soil is perfectly fine i didn’t want to leave the roots bare okay so that is the first shaping as the tree grows you can shape it some more so that is the size of what you would use for that tree some of these little excess roots you can cut off so that’s what that looks like now what about that clump ah there’s the other one okay the other one i’ve already done so i’ve used a bigger pot so i’ve used a bigger pot for that one and this one for this one so this is what you can get when you split all these up from that so you can make eight to ten trees from that now how about this this was a lovely clump if you didn’t want to separate it i still think it looks very nice and i could put it in that pot now when you get congested groups like this you may have seen me do it before i’ve been doing this for 40 years everyone laughs at me but i have the last laugh i call it cutting cake look at that i’ve cut off that root that’s perfectly okay perfectly okay use a few more roots [Music] the mugo and the scotch pine are very very tough trees unlike the japanese white pine which is a very tricky tree to grow in europe i’ve always said that the white pine a lot of people like them because they are exotic but ever such difficult trees to handle they don’t like the european climate it’s too cold too wet so just putting them in a pot like that that looks very nice as a clump i will just show you i came across a mugo this is an old mugo that i did a year ago it was a much older plant same as these exactly the same you must be wondering why it’s yellow because the frost has got it this is called the frost blush and this was wired a year ago and i’m sure if i took the wire off it just shows how quickly they set look at it it’s already set in just one year i’m not sure if i did it for a youtube project i could have done the only trouble with a lot of these demonstration plants that i do people come on the nursery asking oh where’s that tree that you worked on i want to buy it and uh i feel so you know rude if i say no i can’t sell it to you that because i’m a kind person i relent and they buy it so you don’t often see the end result of a lot of these projects i’m taking the wire off just to show you how quickly these spines can set and this i’m sure was no more than a year because the wire hasn’t really bitten in it’s starting to bite a little bit but there you are in just one year this spine has completely set in position the branches set from wiring so i would say by next year these will all have set they will all have set this is scott’s spine that’s immugal pine and that’s a lovely clump style so there’s no excuse for not using material like this for making your bonsai so i hope you enjoyed that little video today so how could i not end this video by showing you some beautiful sights that are still on the nursery today is the 18th of december can you imagine we are just one week from christmas and i still have some maple leaves on a tree that i defoliated back in i think it was september or early october i defoliated this tree because it was scorched by the sun so i did a little experiment to see what would happen so it produced a huge new crop of leaves which were green until only about two weeks ago and only in the last week it started turning color and i thought i’d show you these most unusual leaf coloration look at it the center of the leaf is deep green and the outer edges is that beautiful pinky orange and that is a side but on the same tree i have some other leaves which have got this blotching on it and even the blotching looks so beautiful so nature is really wonderful when you see the variety of color and texture and this is what gives me endless enjoyment and pleasure from growing plants so i thought i would show you this because it’s something that you don’t often come across so this is a bleak winter’s day gray skies damp air but it’s not freezing cold so we have something to be grateful about but amidst all the gloom we always can find something beautiful and what could be more beautiful than this lovely accent planting which is just going to go into dormancy these are the red ornamental strawberries and look at it one flower still struggling to bloom and the color of the foliage so on that note i will end this video and i hope to do more over the christmas holidays [Music] you

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