Bonsai Blog

Japanese Black Pine: A Few Progressions (Part 2)

In Part One I discussed and showed pictures of JBP that were raised from seed by a friend for a year or two and then I took over with the basic and future styling of these seedlings. I mentioned three basic things that JBP require at their designated times on the calendar throughout the year. As long as these three basic things are done, you should have a JBP with a good future and enjoy watching your work come to fruition.

These next few trees are either at finished stage or close to it. I’ll start off with my first JBP that I purchased back in 2003, without a clue as to what to do with it. I more or less just kept it alive until I decided to take serious the care and maintenance of this species of tree. That finally happened in 2007 when I bought my first and most expensive tree, a finished Japanese Black Pine. Because of that I decided I would need to take a few classes on the care of this tree to make sure I wouldn’t lose the work that someone else had put into it for so many years and gave it the beauty that it had.

So here is my first JBP. Not much to it is there.

Black Pine 1

Well that was ten years ago and as I learned on the big trees I transferred my knowledge to the small ones just the same. This pic shows the tree this fall before doing the needle plucking.

Black Pine 2

Notice now in this next pic how the tree is cleaned up after doing the fall work. The extensive branching is showing making it look like a tree as it should rather than a bush. Notice how small the needles are and how compact also.

Japanese Black Pine 3

This next tree is also one that the same friend who gave me the others from the last article. This one was the largest of the few that he gave me. As with the others, I really had no plan as to what to do with this one either. As you can see from this first pic, it too didn’t have much going for it.


Feeding it good and giving it plenty of water which these trees like, kept it very healthy and gave me much potential with the many new buds it produced after the summer decandeling.

Black Pine Bonsai

The following year finaly gave me some insight as to what direction I should take this tree. I was happy to see what I finally produced.


And this year after the fall work I’m even more happier as the tree is producing a nice branching system. One thing I will have to be careful of though with this tree is that I don’t let it get too full of foliage for the thin trunk that it has. Being kept in a pot now will restrict the size of the trunk and pretty much keep it as it is now. Too much foliage for this size trunk will make it look off balance and not pleasing to the eye.

Black Pine 7

These last two trees are what I would consider my finished JBP trees. When I say finished I mean they are where I would like them to be style wise, but certainly not finished with the normal care and periodic maintenance as with all JBPs. The first pic shows the tree at purchase and You would probably have to agree that even though it looks nice and manicured, it does look a bit weak though. That’s why it is so important to keep JBP fertilized good during the time when it is right to ferilize.

Black Pine Bonsai 8

A few years later with much diligent care and my gosh look at that foliage. A testament of proper care and feeding.

Black Pine Bonsai 9

And then finally the fall work is done and the results are stunning. After doing the needle plucking and giving the tree some good wiring, you should have something that will motivate you to love the world of Japanese Black Pine. Just don’t forget the part about time and patience though. (LOL)

Black Pine 10

This last tree is one of my favorites because I am somewhat partial to cascade bonsai. This first pic shows the tree at purchase. It too looked somewhat weak back then.

Japanese Black Pine 11

But as with the last tree, I gave it my best and it repaid me by showing what it could do for me.

Windswept Black Pine Bonsai

It was a somewhat slow process but I could see that it was a very healthy tree and would have no problem reaching its potential.

Windswept JBP

This years decandeling produced many new buds also and it was finally time to do the fall work.

Alternate View Windswept Black Pine
And here it is now five years after purchase and it’s pretty much gone from being a semi cascade tree to a cascade tree. The foliage and the branching are very healthy and strong, and with that I must again be careful not to let it over take the size of the trunk. I will probably have to thin it out a lot to keep it in proportion with the trunk or I will end up having a JBP bush instead of a tree.

Beautiful Black Pine

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