A Natural Tree for Beginning the Bonsai Art
Pine trees are one of the less difficult species to grow in a bonsai form. The natural structure of the pine tree can be used by both novice and expert bonsai artists.
Pine bonsai trees are generally more suited to classical bonsai styles than the less formal styles due to their naturally strong, straight trunk. While this aspect and the branch structure of a pine tree can be useful to less experienced bonsai practitioners, bonsai experts possibly seek the challenge and use their skill and experience to create curved trunks and intriguing shapes.
Pine Bonsai Tree Types
The Japanese black pine is suited to almost all bonsai styles, both formal and informal (LINKS). It has rough bark which is useful to the bonsai enthusiast as it can create interesting patterns. A particular technique used with this tree is to remove the first shoots to create a more dense growth of neat secondary shoots.
Japanese white pines have more dense needles than their black counterpart. The white pine takes on an almost silvery appearance because of its light-colored bark which is enhanced by the color of the leaves. The Japanese white pine can be treated in a similar way to the black pine for the most part, but can be encouraged to become even more dense by pruning new growth back in alternate years.
The Japanese black and white pine species have other slightly different characteristics when used for bonsai. While the japanese white pine benefits from freezing in winter, the black pine needs cold air but needs to be more sheltered from strong winds. The black pine is generally more difficult to work with in bonsai terms but can be made to look stunning after the extra effort.
Pine Bonsai Tree Care
Pine trees grow relatively quickly in the wild. Bonsai specimens tend to do the same, though in miniature, so that the bonsai artist adapts to the growing cycle and thins out growth more quickly than with other bonsai tree species as well as tending to reduce branches more frequently in the early years of the tree’s life. Most wiring and pruning other than new shoots, tends to be carried out in autumn.
Pines prefer drier and more well-drained soil than most popular bonsai trees. Sand can be used on some specimens if required. Even in the bonsai form, deep roots and hence deep pots are required for pine trees in order to maintain their stability. Sunny positions are much preferred for pine bonsai trees in the warmer months, and loss or browning of a few needles is not a problem unless it becomes widespread, which may indicate an unhealthy tree.