Black pine from seed

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Black pine from seed

Post  Mnmbjc on Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:01 pm

I have never grown black pine from seed. All the info I can find is growing them in pots then transplanting. Has anyone ever just planted the seeds in the ground and let them just grow from there? I plan on making a growing bed and planting the seed in mid April and wanted to just grow them from that bed until I think they are big enough for a pot. If anyone has done this and found it effective please let me know. With the extremes that ideal with every season I was thinking the faster I can develop the root system the better. Thanks in advance.

Mnmbjc
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Re: Black pine from seed

Post  Marty Weiser on Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:51 am

The problem with just starting them in the ground is that they will probably not develop good root systems for bonsai. This is because they will have a strong tap root.

The best pine root systems appear to come from seedlings where they are converted to a cutting soon after they sprout so they develop a nice radial root system. Jonas Dupuich has a nice article here http://bonsaitonight.com/2011/07/01/how-to-create-seedling-cuttings-japanese-black-pine/ on the process, but there are other articles as well. You then repot at about 2 years of age.

I generally start most seeds (primarily pines, maples, and elms) in a fairly shallow (2.5", 6 cm) flat by spreading the seed and covering. I let them grow for about 2 years in a fairly fine (1 - 3 mm) soil mix. I then knock the soil off them, trim and spread the roots, and repot - often back into a similar flat on about 3" (7.5 cm) centers to give them a little room. I repeat the repotting process about every 2 years to get a decent root system.

The advantage of the cuttings approach is that you start with either a good radial root system that can be allowed to grow for a few years before repotting or a seedling that you toss in the rubish bin. My process gives slower growth, but is a bit less fussy at the start. In either case, it is a good idea to get a good radial root system started before you grow the trees in the ground.

Marty Weiser
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