Now is the time of year for a brief excursion to see what potential material if any, is available and low and behold a 64cm 4 needle eastern white pine was on offer for under 15€ a bargain considering that most members of the white pine family usually have needles in bundles of 5, rarely in 3 or 4; hence these command a higher price.
Originally from eastern North America white pines can now be found world-wide mainly as a timber source due to their rapid growth. The white pine family subgenus Strobus has several varieties including the Nana, Aurea and Macopin groups. It prefers well-drained or sandy soils and humid climates, but can also grow in boggy areas and rocky highlands. It is said to be a hardy tree (zone 3) withstanding temperature around -30c, but this for mature trees young trees need to be protected against frost damage.
On young trees the bark is relatively smooth and grey in colour with branches spaced approximately every 10 to 15cm on the trunk with 5-6 branches appearing like spokes on a wagon wheel. And because of this branch configuration, the Monterey pine according to some purists is not a suitable candidate for bonsai.
But nothing ventured nothing gained, this ‘ugly duckling’ has been transferred to a wooden box to allow for root expansion, fertilised and the heavier branches were removed to encourage development of the thinner branches.
For some styling, pruning and wiring in one session can be done on some species, but applying the same directive to a 4 needle white pine can be deemed an act of ebullience as opposed to patience, because of the amount of stress the tree has to endure, requiring a longer period to recover. This white pine will have no further work done until the candles have developed however, in the meantime a potential design is suggested.
If we look at the tree we denote movement in the main trunk from soil level upwards, which can be enhanced by bending it down from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’. Then from point ‘B’ to point ‘C’ a second and third bend can be applied sending the trunk slightly to the back then forward and right bringing the apex back over the centre to avoid the ubiquitous ‘S’ shape. To achieve this directive the main trunk has to be wrapped in raffia with supporting wires added to the proposed bend’s outside radius, (red lines) then taped and the bending wires attached.
The last part of the exercise will be to prune in necessary and wire into position the side branches, as for the right hand secondary trunk’s position and styling this will be determined once the left side has been styled into position.
Further updates on this tree’s progress will be posted, until next time BW, N.