Bonsai trees take much care and maintenance to achieve that perfect state of physical beauty. While there are several varieties of trees that can be planted and pruned in a bonsai form, one of the most difficult, yet equally lovely trees to grow bonsai are of the pine family. Why are they so difficult? Read below for more information on how the pine bonsai trees grow naturally as well as some helpful hints on how to prune the perfect pine.
How the Pine Bonsai Tree Grows Naturally
Pine trees tend to grow opposite to the bonsai image. While pine bonsai trees are often the most bold and classic bonsai tree available, they are also the most time consuming and delicate to train. Pines, such as the Black Japanese Pine, tend to be very apically dominant. This means that the great majority of the energy used by the tree goes into growing the upper branches of the tree. This leaves little energy that the plant can devote to strengthening and broadening the trunk of the tree and the branches lower on the trunk itself.
In addition to the top-heavy nature of the pine bonsai tree, pines have other characteristics that can make them aesthetically unsuitable for bonsai. One such characteristic is the bud whorls that occur at the branch ends of branches that have not been pruned properly. These can sprout out smaller branches that tend to point in random directions, from pointing to the ground, to pointing inwardly to the trunk.
The Different Pruning Techniques Involved
So what should you do if you have your heart set on pruning the perfect pine? The first thing to remember is to start early when the plant is young. The best time to prune your pine bonsai tree is during the season of slowest growth, which is typically late fall through early spring. In addition to pruning, it is also important to remove excess buds from the end of branches so as to reduce the whorl effect mentioned above. The best way to do this is to select two buds that you wish to keep; preferably ones that seem to be going in the direction you wish you plant to grow in.
In addition to bud removal, you must also pinch of the candles, which have grown from the buds left on the tree and pluck needles. The amount of each is going to vary according to how you want your bonsai tree to look.