Pinus nigra (austrian black pine)

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Pinus nigra (austrian black pine)

Post  my nellie on Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:11 pm

Dear IBC friends,
I am in need of your help once more!

This time it is about a pinus nigra (Austrian black pine).
I have tried two times to cultivate pines up to now and I have failed but I have not given up. So I bought this pinus nigra (austrian pine) from a nursery.
They told me it is a sylvestris but they didn’t convinced me. Comparing photos on the internet and my photos of candles, I can say it is a pinus nigra. Don’t you think?
http://www.esveld.nl/plantdias/85/85047.jpg
http://woodyplants.wikidot.com/local--resized-images/pinus-nigra/Pinus_nigra_twig2.jpeg/small.jpg
My photo


The trunk is splitted into two and I have to choose one out of them.
I will keep the one which looks more aged. It is the one at the rear. The one at front is younger.


The bark has some good features and there is a low branching.



I have nothing done but I intend to remove yellow/dear needles, scrap some soil from the surface to reveal possible nebari.
I will not attempt to repot now but could I just remove the tree from original pot and put it into a bigger crate kind of a basket and fill the space with free draining substrate? I also intend to poke some holes into the original soil and fill the gap with appropriate mix/substrate.
I almost know which branches I want to keep and which will go, too.

What is there to be done right away in your opinion? Remove unnecessary branches? Remove the tips to promote backbudding?
I do know I have to be patient and I intend to work in a very preservative mode so that the tree remains safe and healthy and I can get experience.

Thank you in advance for reading!

my nellie
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Re: Pinus nigra (austrian black pine)

Post  leatherback on Tue Sep 30, 2014 1:00 pm

Certainly not the most experienced person on here. But if you say you want to keep the most aged branch which would be the back branch.. If I look at it, I think you might get better movement if you take the fron one. Would that not be more important than the aged look (As you get aging just by waiting).

Also, did you check the roots, to see which would make the best front?

leatherback
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Re: Pinus nigra (austrian black pine)

Post  my nellie on Tue Sep 30, 2014 1:21 pm

Hello, leatherback!
Thank you for your interest.
I do take your input in consideration for the future of this tree.
But at this exact moment I am interested exclusively in getting suggestions for the very first steps of removing whole branches, way/mode of repotting and other matters like this. I mean should I cut back branches in one go or should I do it gradually? When is it best this work to be done? And things like that....
You see in the past I have followed suggestions to do some drastic work simultaneously (roots and branches) and the tree didn't make it being in my specific location/climate.

my nellie
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Re: Pinus nigra (austrian black pine)

Post  leatherback on Tue Sep 30, 2014 1:30 pm

OK,

I always understood that unless a pine is young, and in very good health, it is best to not do rootwork and canopywork in the same year.

leatherback
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Re: Pinus nigra (austrian black pine)

Post  Marty Weiser on Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:32 pm

I bought a similar one a few years back (2009) in the fall and it has thrived. For the roots in the fall I removed the loose upper soil and loosened up the outer circling roots and potted in a larger nursery container with good bonsai substrate. I reduced all of the candles to a pair and removed nearly all of the old needles and a fair number of this year's needles along the top and bottom of the branches. I repotted in the spring with moderate root work into a grow box that was a little large and about 50% deeper than the final pot. I got the start of back budding that year and very good back budding the following year. Growth this year was great and I should have cut the shoots, but did not make the time - it turned into a solid mound of needles. This fall I cut it back a fair bit and removed all but about 20 needle pairs. I plan to repot in the spring.

Marty Weiser
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Re: Pinus nigra (austrian black pine)

Post  my nellie on Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:32 pm

Marty, thank you for your response!
Please, allow me to ask for clarifications (due to the... language barrier)  Very Happy
Marty Weiser wrote:... ... 1) For the roots in the fall I removed the loose upper soil and loosened up the outer circling roots and potted in a larger nursery container with good bonsai substrate. I reduced all of the candles to a pair and removed nearly all of the old needles and a fair number of this year's needles along the top and bottom of the branches.
Q. : The candle reducing was done also in fall at the same time along with soil and root loosening?
2) I repotted in the spring with moderate root work into a grow box that was a little large and about 50% deeper than the final pot. I got the start of back budding that year and very good back budding the following year.
Q. : Moderate root work? Have you removed any portion of the root ball? If yes, what percentage of it?  
3) Growth this year was great and I should have cut the shoots, but did not make the time - it turned into a solid mound of needles. This fall I cut it back a fair bit and removed all but about 20 needle pairs.
Q. : Do you refer to shortening existing big primary branches? Or do you refer to the new shoots?
4) I plan to repot in the spring.
Q. : How much root work are you planning to do during this second repotting?
Thank you very much for your time and patience!

my nellie
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Re: Pinus nigra (austrian black pine)

Post  Precarious on Tue Sep 30, 2014 5:29 pm

Since you have not had success in two previous tries, my suggestion is to maximize the chance for success this time around. Just leave it alone and do the basic care until next Spring.

To minimize ongoing stress to the tree, follow the previous suggestion to either work on the roots next year OR work on the branches and canopy. Then alternate in the following year.

If you are concerned about the soil, repot in Spring 2015 and begin styling in 2016.

Precarious
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Re: Pinus nigra (austrian black pine)

Post  my nellie on Tue Sep 30, 2014 9:30 pm

Precarious, thank you too.
leatherback wrote:I always understood that unless a pine is young, and in very good health, it is best to not do rootwork and canopywork in the same year.
Precarious wrote:... ... either work on the roots next year OR work on the branches and canopy. Then alternate in the following year... ...
This is what I understand, too. One insult per year.

my nellie
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Re: Pinus nigra (austrian black pine)

Post  Marty Weiser on Tue Sep 30, 2014 11:28 pm

Answering My Nellie,

1) I removed all of the excess buds in the fall at the same time as I loosened the edges of the root ball and put it in a slightly larger container with bonsai substrate. I feel it is critical to loosen the edges of a root ball when potting up with with a layer of porous substrate. Otherwise, you end up with a root ball that is not very porous surrounded by soil that drains very fast.
2) I probably removed the bottom 1/3 of the root ball and most of the roots that were circling more than 1/2 of the nursery can. I also loosened most of the rest of the root ball with a chop stick. I tend to do fairly aggressive root work on lower cost nursery stock. I may also live in a climate that better suited to growing pines - I am surrounded by pine forests.
3) I removed both bigger branches and some new growth, particularly where I had more than 2 branches from a node. There are still too many branches coming from the trunk at some points, but I left them to help regrow the roots after I repot in the spring.
4) I plan to remove as much of the nursery soil as possible without washing the roots. I will remove about 1" (2.5 cm) or a bit more of soil from all edges of the root mass which is about 5" (12.5 cm) tall, 13" (33 cm) deep, and 20" (51 cm) wide. The trunk of the formal upright to be is about 2.5" (6.3 cm) wide.

As others have said it is safer to not do too much as one time. I view removal of all all but 2 buds and the old needles as minimal work that allows the tree to focus its energy into productive growth. The root loosening in the fall will allow it to grow some new roots as the weather cools. Perhaps in your case you will want to wait a year before repotting since you have lost pines in the past.

Marty Weiser
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Re: Pinus nigra (austrian black pine)

Post  my nellie on Wed Oct 01, 2014 12:49 pm

Absolutely clear, Marty! Thanks!
Marty Weiser wrote:... ...I tend to do fairly aggressive root work on lower cost nursery stock. I may also live in a climate that better suited to growing pines - I am surrounded by pine forests... ...
No matter how low is the cost I always feel guilty loosing a tree Embarassed

my nellie
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Re: Pinus nigra (austrian black pine)

Post  Leo Schordje on Wed Oct 01, 2014 5:24 pm

Hello Nellie
You are in Greece, your weather is significantly different from most of our USA members. If I understand what I read, most of your native vegetation is dormant during the hot dry summer, and many plants do their growing during your mild, moist winters. Check with IBC members who are from similar climates, we have members from coastal Spain, France, Italy and other areas. See when they do repotting of their pines. Fall root work might be better in your climate than waiting for spring. If you repot in spring you might not have enough time for roots to recover before the heat and drought of summer set in. But I live where we get rain or snow fairly regularly all year round, so this is a suggestion that you ask this question of those with hands on experience with a climate similar to yours. I don't know the answer.

When ever we are reading about techniques that are to be done at certain times of year, one must always ask what climate the author was living in when the timetable was created, and how do you adjust that time table to the climate you actually experience. If location information is not available you have to figure it out by thinking about the physiology, in this case the growth pattern of the species you have.

If this were my tree. I would want to get the roots spread out and into a bonsai training container before doing anything else. I might also want to see it grow for a season or two without doing much at all, taking notes on when it starts new growth, when growth seems mature and any other observations that would help you develop a time table for working on the tree that will work in your climate.

If you plan on an upright tree, your training container should be maybe 10 to 15 cm in depth, with width and length double or more the diameter of your pot. I'm guessing the pot is 12 cm in diameter, so a container 25 x 25 x 10 cm or maybe 30 x 30 x 12 cm or something similar might be a good size. This should allow some room to grow without being too large.

I would do the root work at the first "ideal" time for your climate, I'm guessing about the time the rain becomes frequent in autumn, so the tree can grow roots through the relatively mild winters you have. But maybe the members in Italy, or Spain would tell you spring is better, or even late winter, January? Get their advise, not mine on the timing. I would let it grow without any further work through 2015. The first time I would do any work with the foliage would be 2016. That will give you time to get familiar with the tree, and then choosing branches to keep or eliminate will be much easier.

Hope it grows well for you. Pines are a unique experience, you will enjoy have them.

Leo Schordje
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Re: Pinus nigra (austrian black pine)

Post  my nellie on Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:13 pm

Very wise consideration.
Thank you very much, Leo!
I have followed your suggestion here.
I hope someone will read my post.

my nellie
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Re: Pinus nigra (austrian black pine)

Post  Precarious on Fri Oct 03, 2014 5:15 pm

my Nellie,
Just out of curiosity, I have read a little on weather in Athens.  Now I am an expert.  Razz  Correct me if I am wrong, your weather is northern hemisphere weather- cooler and wetter starting November-ish (even a snowfall in the odd year), then the spring warmup in March/April.  Close enough to how it is there?  If that is true, it would seem that watching your plant for starting to crack buds in March (heck maybe even February) would tell you the time to repot.

One concern that popped into my mind is your growing zone.  You are in 9, the plant's extreme is listed as 8.  I must plead a total ignorance in experience with the warmer zones- does it mean you need to 'create' conditions for this tree to hibernate?  Or does this tree fare well naturally?

Precarious
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Re: Pinus nigra (austrian black pine)

Post  my nellie on Fri Oct 03, 2014 10:45 pm

Dear Precarious, thank you for your concern!
Indeed conditions are close to your description.
P. nigra is endemic in Greece and according to forestry information this species can withstand lower temperature and it is characterized as frugal and drought resistant. It can grow in dry and infertile soil and on rocky grounds. In Athens, Attica one can see a lot of pines in parks, in alleys and they do very well.
I live in an apartment and all my trees are located on the balconies. If I move the pot with the tree to a north facing balcony I can say it is OK. I have also bonsai friends in Athens who have bonsai pine trees (ready made bonsai not trees in training) and they do fine. They do not need set up hibernation.
What concerns me is what Leo has written above  
Leo Schordje wrote:... ...If you repot in spring you might not have enough time for roots to recover before the heat and drought of summer set in... ...
which is reasonable.

my nellie
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Re: Pinus nigra (austrian black pine)

Post  Precarious on Sat Oct 04, 2014 12:25 am

I am glad to learn, thank you.

Precarious
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Re: Pinus nigra (austrian black pine)

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