Picking Pine Seeds

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Picking Pine Seeds

Post  chadley999 on Fri May 23, 2014 3:08 pm

I would like to order some seeds to start next winter and I would like to get peoples opinion on what i should choose. I will be doing some mugos and red pines for sure, but i wanted to choose between JBP, JRP, and JWP. Im leaning towards picking JWP because they are a bit hardier. I have a short growing season and a moderate winter, with an occasional cold winter such as the winter past. Lots and lots of rain.

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Re: Picking Pine Seeds

Post  Leo Schordje on Mon May 26, 2014 4:46 pm

Look at what species of pines are native to your area. If you have Pinus strobus in the landscape, Pinus parvifolia should do well. JWP is hardy in zone 4, a mountain pine, it should do well in your climate with minimal winter protection. In other words, should pull through fine in an unheated shelter. JBP and JRP are both pines that really are long summer, temperate to sub-tropical pines. They do not flourish north of zone 6. They need winter protection. After many failures, I am convinced in zone 5 to have reliable winter success they need winter shelter with supplemental heat.

Mugo is a mountain pine, should tolerate short summers quite well.

Consider trying Pinus banksiana, Jack pine, it is native to areas west of you, is it a local pine in your landscape? Most likely on sand or gravel soils as it is a tree of "sand barrens" here. It is the most northern growing pine in north america, zone 3 hardy or possibly colder. Jack pine is known to resent root disturbance, I would use mugo pine techniques on it. In other words, don't repot in spring, wait until middle of summer. One work day on the tree once every 12 months, leave long undisturbed periods for the the tree to recover. Read Vance Wood's posts here and other blogs on how to grow mugo. By work I mean repotting, or wiring, or any major disturbance. Jack Pine is a single flush growth pattern pine, like the mugo.

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Re: Picking Pine Seeds

Post  Leo Schordje on Mon May 26, 2014 4:52 pm

Pinus sylvestris Scott's pine is a good stand in for JBP and JRP where winters are colder and growing seasons are shorter. It is a one flush of growth per growing season pine like the mugo. There is a lot of literature on how to use them for bonsai.

another to consider, Pinus resinosa, the North American red pine. Likely native to your area, quite winter hardy. It's big fault is long needles. If you try it, consider it for larger size bonsai, say over 24 inches tall.

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Re: Picking Pine Seeds

Post  chadley999 on Mon May 26, 2014 5:09 pm

Thanks Leo, Japanese white pine is it than. I picked up a few American red pine yesterday from a nursery. As you said red pine is native to my area, and is the most common. There are jack pine and white pine around, but they're much rarer. The few jack pine I've seen around are growing on a dryer barren area, and by few i mean 4 mature trees. Their a pretty hard to come by in the nurseries, if at all, so maybe i'll start some jack pine seeds on top of all the others Very Happy 

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Re: Picking Pine Seeds

Post  William Feldman on Mon May 26, 2014 10:02 pm

It would be worthwhile to try to find JWP seeds specifically intended for Bonsai.  I ordered some JWP seeds that were NOT specifically intended for Bonsai and the needles turned out to be very long.  They are almost indistinguishable from Pinus strobus.

Since you're not in a hurry for quick results, you might plant a bunch of Japanese black pine or scots pine seeds to use as rootstock, and then find one JWP Bonsai with excellent characteristics to propagate by grafting.  You'd have a couple of years to learn how.  This short video from Brent Walston shows how it's done:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3PVlqQHZHM

Also, with black pine seedlings you can get better roots for Bonsai by making "seedling cuttings".  If you want to use the black pines as rootstock, you can leave longer stems on your seedling cuttings.
http://bonsaitonight.com/2011/07/01/how-to-create-seedling-cuttings-japanese-black-pine/

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Re: Picking Pine Seeds

Post  chadley999 on Tue May 27, 2014 3:17 pm

Thanks for the advice Will. I am familiar with the seedling cutting technique, I try it on everything I've started from seed before. Hard to find Japanese pines here, only ever seen a red pine. I wouldn't be opposed to ordering pre bonsai white pine though. I would also be afraid to use black pine root stock as it may not be as hardy as i would like. But scots pine is a good alternative. Just wondering if Austrian pine, jack pine, or american red pine would also produce good results. Jack and Red pine are native here which of course means that they should be able to stand up to our winters no problem.

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Re: Picking Pine Seeds

Post  Leo Schordje on Tue May 27, 2014 6:19 pm

Just a thought for when you try to propagate JWP by grafting. If you want to be able to use unheated winter storage, choose only species fully hardy in your area for the understock. JBP would be a poor choice for understock in your northern climate. JWP will take on most species of pine. In Japan they use JBP because it is available and grows well most areas of Japan. JWP will take when grafted to North American White pine. I believe there is no reason to not try other North American pines as understock. P. resinosa (American Red Pine) is fairly closely related to JBP, so it could work as understock for JWP. Bark isn't as well developed on young trees, so low grafts into the root zone would be appropriate.


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Re: Picking Pine Seeds

Post  chadley999 on Tue May 27, 2014 6:34 pm

Awesome thanks Leo for the info. I originally though strobus for root stock, the one I have grows roots like crazy the only draw back is the young looking bark, as you said. If the graft is low it shouldn't be a big deal though. Im just curious on why the draw to grafting everyone has for JWP. Do their roots not grow well or are they resentful of disturbance or what?

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Re: Picking Pine Seeds

Post  Leo Schordje on Tue May 27, 2014 7:10 pm

chadley999 wrote:Awesome thanks Leo for the info. I originally though strobus for root stock, the one I have grows roots like crazy the only draw back is the young looking bark, as you said. If the graft is low it shouldn't be a big deal though. Im just curious on why the draw to grafting everyone has for JWP. Do their roots not grow well or are they resentful of disturbance or what?

There have been a fair number of discussions as to why on this forum, the main reason is that pines in general are problematic when trying to air layer or root cuttings. The majority of JWP from seed have green to yellow green foliage, some have longer needles, up to 4 inches or even a little longer. Certain cultivars have been selected over the years with better "bonsai" traits then others, mainly short needles, blue needle color, better back budding characteristics (yatsubusa types), cork bark types and so on. Since they can't be easily propagated by cuttings, and these traits usually don't come true from seed, the easiest way to propagate is by grafting. (there are only a couple exceptions that can be cutting grown, Zuisho for example, but its foliage is plain green to yellow green) So grafting is mainly done to propagate a specific cultivar, and secondarily to get a slightly quicker growth rate. No reason to not grow JWP on its own roots if you have seedlings that have good bonsai traits.

In Japan JBP is used as rootstock because it is available, Japan only has a few species of pine that are native. And JBP is often used for the first segment of trunk because JBP forms bark at a much earlier age than JWP. The roots of JBP tolerate repotting and growing in pots well. JWP resents root disturbance and JWP roots can be touchy if not grown properly. An additional reason JBP is used is that the root stock does impart vigor, faster growth of the scion is often seen when JWP is grafted onto JBP. JBP grows well throughout most of Japan.

In the USA we simply followed the precedent set by the Japanese. That is why JBP is usually used as understock in the USA. For the middle and southern half of North America, JBP is a horticulturally good choice. Only in the zone 5a and north thru zone 3 is JBP a less than ideal choice for rootstock.

Question to those who work in the landscape nursery industry, what species of pine to you use for understock for trees being propagated for landscape purposes? My guess is Pinus nigra and Pinus sylvestris. Am I guessing right?

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Re: Picking Pine Seeds

Post  chadley999 on Tue May 27, 2014 8:32 pm

You really know your stuff Leo. What would be the best way to find a tree with favorable characteristics that's not already on JBP roots? Also would a mugo work as root stock in your opinion. I've heard they can be picky on re-potting, much discussion on summer re-potting.

http://www.bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/ATMugo%20Pines%20Indepth.htm

Other than that i think a mugo could be great, very hardy and good bark with age.

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