Aussy Pine Update

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Aussy Pine Update

Post  Rob Kempinski on Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:51 am

Taking a break from Japanese Black Pine I worked on this Australian Pine this evening.
The process is significantly different than a Japanese black pine sequence though as the Aussy Pine is not really a pine tree - but rather a very fast growing tropical tree. The idea is to grow out the branches needed and to keep pruning and pinching like crazy as this is a very fast growing tree. In fact if you like to prune - get an Aussy Pine.

Here is a hasty before shot taken with my iphone on a bench. This tree was collected from South FLorida a couple of years ago.



After pruning and some rewiring, the tree is taking shape. Note the lower left branch is left rather shaggy as I am encouraging that branch to get thicker. However, I am wondering if I even need that branch??? Neutral All the branches you see were grown from buds and did not exist when I got the tree.


Tonight I performed a root canal on the dead branch to the right. I totally hollowed out the branch and then impregnated the wood with polyurethane glue. This in effect sealed the wood - as the Aussy Pine wood does have a tendency to rot. I had previously sealed the outside of wood with Elmer's wood hardener and it seems to work fairly well. It was like a massive dental job - appropriate since I went to the dentist in the morning. Polyurethane glue and its foaming properties comes in very handy.


An even closer view of the deadwood - the hollow spiral was totally carved as originally it was a solid log of the secondary dead tree trunk. Kinda has an ethereal feel.


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Aussy Pine Virtual

Post  Rob Kempinski on Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:23 am

A virtual rendition of the future - maybe when cars fly as in the background. I might put it in this pot this week though. There is quite a chunk of wood below the surface so the pot needs to be fairly deep.
The lower left branch may be history.


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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  cbobgo on Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:49 am

Very interesting tree.

I would agree that you probably don't need that lower left branch. The movement is pretty strong to the right, with the deadwood and the upper trunk moving that way. The branch to the left seems to pull too much in the opposite direction.

The smaller needles in your second picture - are they just not full grown yet, or did you cut them, or do you actually get that much needle reduction?

- bob

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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  Hawaiian77 on Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:00 am

Howzit Rob,

Question, your Australian Pine looks similar to a Casuarina/Ironwood tree that we have in Hawaii. Are they the same?

A Hui Hou,
-Tim Cool

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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  Rob Kempinski on Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:43 pm

cbobgo wrote:Very interesting tree.

I would agree that you probably don't need that lower left branch. The movement is pretty strong to the right, with the deadwood and the upper trunk moving that way. The branch to the left seems to pull too much in the opposite direction.

The smaller needles in your second picture - are they just not full grown yet, or did you cut them, or do you actually get that much needle reduction?

- bob
Thanks Bob. I'll leave the lower left branch for now as it will be simple to cut it off.

Australian Pine (Casaurina Equistifolia) are not pine trees at all. The things that look like needles are actually fine green twigs. The leaves themselves are nearly microscopic little appendages that grow like a crown at the segments of the twigs. Hence needle reduction is simple (compared to a Japanese Black Pine) - one either pulls apart the segments or cuts them, the cut segment will dry up and fall off to the next green segment. (Wouldn't it be nice if JBP did that?) As the twigs mature they turn from green to brown and lignify. One of the few trees that I know that has bark does some of the photosynthesis.

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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  Rob Kempinski on Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:52 pm

Hawaiian77 wrote:Howzit Rob,

Question, your Australian Pine looks similar to a Casuarina/Ironwood tree that we have in Hawaii. Are they the same?

A Hui Hou,
-Tim Cool

Top of the morning to you Tim.

The Species is the same but the variety may not be. Hopefully for you, you have the same variety that grows in SE Asia that has the finer twigs (or needles if you want to call them that). The two varieties in Florida have coarser twigs. I'd like to get my hands on one of those big ones from Taiwan with the finer twigs.

I did an article on Australian Pine for Bill Valvanis' magazine last year.
Here is a photo of another one of mine.



Do you have any? If so, let's see. I'd be curious about the twigs.

There was an Aussy Pine for auction at the US National Exhibition this spring. It had a nice trunk and I was tempted to bid on it (but no room in the mini-van.) Later I found out it was from Hawaii and it seemed too have finer branches but not as fine as those in Taiwan.

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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  krazykangaroo on Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:12 am

Hi all,

I live in Australia and I must correct a statement made in the first posters post. Casuarinas are not tropical and few of them will survive in tropical environments. There are a huge number of casuarina species that are all very easy to work with as bonsai, especially for beginners who want a 'pine' look but with a much tougher tree that can handle the worst of mistakes. They grow all over Australia from the deserts to the snowy mountains. There are large growing types to small shrubby ones.

In Australia we call these 'sheoaks', what we call native pines (or native cypress) are our callitris which are also conifer-like trees.

I'm glad to see people working with sheoaks as they are much under-rated even here in Australia. Very Happy

Cheers,
Rowan

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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  Rob Kempinski on Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:35 am

krazykangaroo wrote:Hi all,

I live in Australia and I must correct a statement made in the first posters post. Casuarinas are not tropical and few of them will survive in tropical environments. There are a huge number of casuarina species that are all very easy to work with as bonsai, especially for beginners who want a 'pine' look but with a much tougher tree that can handle the worst of mistakes. They grow all over Australia from the deserts to the snowy mountains. There are large growing types to small shrubby ones.

In Australia we call these 'sheoaks', what we call native pines (or native cypress) are our callitris which are also conifer-like trees.

I'm glad to see people working with sheoaks as they are much under-rated even here in Australia. Very Happy

Cheers,
Rowan

Thanks for the information Rowan. I did not know about the cold hardy varieties as they are not available here in the USA.

The Casuarina equisetifolia that grows in Florida can not tolerate freezing weather for very long. According to the University of Florida extension service it is "hardy in zones 9B to 10 (Southern Florida)" which make the Casuarina equisetifolia at least semitropical if not tropical. "It loves hot weather! It dislikes long cold periods, suffers from frost and dies when the temperature drops to between 18 to 26ºF (-7.7 - -3.9ºC). " We use the non-suckering kind as bonsai which thrives in south Florida and is definitely tropical. The suckering kind that grows near where I live can take a bit more cold weather but still not what we call a hard freeze and it is not good for bonsai and very hard to collect.

Do you have photos of the other varieties as bonsai? I'd like to see what they look like.

I was told by an Australian friend that the Casaurina growing by her in Queensland was very difficult to collect successfully. Can you confirm that? It would be ironic that the Aussy Pine is tough to collect in Australia.

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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  krazykangaroo on Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:54 am

Well I suppose that we don't get the kind of winters that you do over there. I don't know how I could cope with them. The worst we get in most of Australia is a frost of around -3 celcius for a few mornings in the year, except for the mountains of course. OUr climate is very mild except for the heat of the deserts.

I have never had a casuarina die from being hacked out of the ground, even with hardly any roots so I am surprised that the ones in Queensland do. They would have different species there though. Most are as tough as old boots and seem to sprout even if you leave them lying on the ground. I dig mostly suckering types though.

Just Googling C equisetifolia and I can see that it does seem to be a tropical sort. If you can ever find it over there, try to get a hold of C. torulosa ( Rose sheoak) it has amazing thick corky bark and redish/purple drooping foliage (sometimes green). It grows well here in Southern Australia right up to Queensland but you will have to protect it in freezing areas. It is a great small tree.

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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  Guest on Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:23 am

Rob,
Hi.
this is my casuarina or iron wood, this photo was taken more than 3 months ago, the tree is ready for styling. hope this is the one you are refering to with fine twigs. il post it again after the styling, with much clearer wiew of the twigs.

Rowan,
Hi.

all my casuarina/iron wood are tropical.




regards,
jun





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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  craigw on Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:32 am

Casuarina equisetifolia is very much a tropical species, its range extends north beyond Australia into Melanesia and parts of South East Asia. In southern parts of australia we grow torulosa and in my opinion the best species which is litoralis or black sheoak.
Your trees are great Rob I hope you keep posting their progression for us.
With thanks from Craig

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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  krazykangaroo on Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:35 am

Great tree Rob. I agree with litoralis it is a pleasure to work with, but I think most of them make wonderful bonsai.

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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  Rob Kempinski on Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:41 pm

jun wrote:Rob,
Hi.
this is my casuarina or iron wood, this photo was taken more than 3 months ago, the tree is ready for styling. hope this is the one you are refering to with fine twigs. il post it again after the styling, with much clearer wiew of the twigs.



regards,
jun


Jun - it looks like the foliage on this is finer than the C. equisetifolia we have in Florida. Good luck with it.

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Update

Post  Rob Kempinski on Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:04 pm

I have been home for a bit so took advantage of great weather to work on my Aussy Pine.



When repotting the tree earlier in the year, I broke (almost totally off) the major bottom right jin as the wood is very punky. To fix it I used a piece of mesh metal screen and two part epoxy and made a composite structure inside the hollow part (not visible to the front or back). I also impregnated the remaining wood with a high tech penetrating chemical so hopefully it will last. With the lime sulfur scraped off you can see the splated wood from the fungus that causes decay. Aussy pine deadwood can be fairly short lived but that adds to the ethereal quality of it


I also eliminated the lower branches and the first back branch to create more negative space.


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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  Hawaiian77 on Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:56 pm

Howzit Rob,

Nice job mate, looking good.!! Very Happy Very Happy

A Hui Hou,
-Tim Cool

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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  Russell Coker on Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:17 pm



This really is a great looking Casuarina. Really nice nebari and a great trunk. But since the trunk is SO nice and heavy, I really liked it better with a fuller canopy before you removed the lower branches. I'm also sorry you decided to keep the dead wood sticking out of the pot on the right. It's really distracting, and imho doesn't do anything for what's becoming a great tree.

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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  Rob Kempinski on Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:33 pm

Russell Coker wrote:

This really is a great looking Casuarina. Really nice nebari and a great trunk. But since the trunk is SO nice and heavy, I really liked it better with a fuller canopy before you removed the lower branches. I'm also sorry you decided to keep the dead wood sticking out of the pot on the right. It's really distracting, and imho doesn't do anything for what's becoming a great tree.

Thanks Russell, keeping the canopy under control on a Aussy is a job. It will be back.

Since the jin is rotted it may not be there forever. No Nature will take its course.


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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  coh on Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:49 pm

Great thread, I learned a lot about casuarinas. They look like really interesting trees to work with.

As for this one - I think the main tree looks really nice. Agree with Russell about the jinned trunk, to me it just doesn't seem to belong and leads the eye away from the main tree. But as you say, mother nature may take care of that herself!

Chris

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aussy ' PINE

Post  moyogijohn on Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:37 pm

ROB,,,Nice work on this one.. how long really befor it looks like the virtual ??? TAKE CARE JOHN

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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  Andrei Darusenkov on Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:17 pm

Already love this tree! Lot of character and excellent design!

Thanks,

Andrei

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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  Guest on Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:59 pm

Hi Rob.

Your casuarina is coming along nicely. Here it will be refined in half year time at the stage it is in now.
As Robert Seven have said in one of the casaurina thread, Man made jin and shari won't last very long on this specie, so making it as a full time design feature won't work I think (if it is man made). Some of my previously made Jin's becomes soft from within, I think water were absorbed from underneath the soil line and absorbed upwards, slowly consuming the deadwood from within. Only the thin outer layer protected by waterproofing emulsion were not affected.
This is the same reason why I keep developing my cascade casuarina's back, as back up for front just in case the shari deteriorates someday.


regards,
jun Smile

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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  Rob Kempinski on Tue Oct 25, 2011 3:44 pm

jun wrote:Hi Rob.

Man made jin and shari won't last very long on this specie, so making it as a full time design feature won't work I think (if it is man made). Some of my previously made Jin's becomes soft from within, I think water were absorbed from underneath the soil line and absorbed upwards, slowly consuming the deadwood from within. Only the thin outer layer protected by waterproofing emulsion were not affected.

Jun that is exactly what is happening. In this case the dead trunk was made by nature but was still rotting. My latest preservative techniques may delay the onset or a couple of years, we'll see.

As a factoid, The Elmers Wood preservative I applied a while ago didn't really work. It made a polymer type covering on the surface but the rot continued underneath. I have another chemical, a two part Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES) by The Rot Doctor.

http://www.rotdoctor.com/

This is nasty stuff but extremely deep penetrating - replaces the wood cellulouse with epoxy resin. Combined with the epoxy metal laminate placed in the center of the root canal hole I probably extended the life of the jin for several years. Which to me is good, as I like it as part of the design - makes the tree a bit different.

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Re: Aussy Pine Update

Post  Pavel Slovák on Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:51 pm

Hi Rob
Very nice tree, very nice development!!! ThumbsUp
Congratulations.
Gretings Pavel

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