Japanese White Pine Bonsai

The Japanese white pine is a type of bonsai that goes by the scientific name of Pinus Praviflora. This type of tree that grows up to 50 feet tall, described as having a graceful form that tapers to a flattened canopy. The needle can grow to a length of 1 to 2.5 inches. What are the proper ways to look after this particular tree? Here are some tips that will hopefully give you an idea of how to do so.

Where to locate your Japanese White Pine Bonsai.

If you are opting to go for this type of tree, make sure that you have adequate space in your backyard as this tree prefers the outdoors. If the tree is experiencing a lack of sunlight, there is a probability for the needles to grow too long so this is something worth taking a note on. Japanese White Pine is one of the most popular outdoor, evergreen conifers for bonsai and has been used for centuries in both China and Japan. It is an elegant, upright tree with deeply fissured, greyish bark. This species of tree is best grown outdoors in a sunny area.  This is a primarily outdoor bonsai tree due to its need for a dormant season. If the temperature falls below -3°C protect in an unheated greenhouse. Place in full sun during the growing season.

How to water your Japanese White Pine Bonsai?

Water requirements for a Japanese white pine bonsai are going to be a task that must be done with great care, bonsais do not do well with regular watering schedules. Likewise, over-watering is going to do just as much damage. In fact, overwatering can lead to death for the plant. At this point, sticking with a watering schedule is not the ideal approach, it is best to get a feel of the soil by physical inspection. If it still feels moist, don’t water. If the surface of the soil feels dry, then water it thoroughly and check back again after a few days. Of course, the regularity will depend on the pot design and how well it keeps or drains water and the weather in the area. Places, where the air is dry, could cause water to dry faster than in humid environments.

They must be watered generously as soon as the soil gets dry. However, drought should be avoided as well as constant wetness. Be careful not to over-water, as Bonsai pines dislike permanent moisture. Good drainage is required. 

When to use fertilizer for your Japanese White Pine Bonsai?

The adequate amount to feed your Japanese white pine is once a month from April to September. You shouldn’t need to feed it fertilizer in the dormant months. There’s a lot of things to say when it comes to using fertilizers, you can approach it the natural way or with the use of commercial fertilizers. Whichever approach you take, it is important to know how often and how much fertilizer to apply. If you are going to use commercial fertilizers, always read the instructions and follow them accordingly. If this is your first-time using fertilizers, the NPK ratio is the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the fertilizer. Make sure to use it as instructed or do a thorough research into how to properly fertilize your tree, in this case, a Japanese White Pine. If this is not done properly, you can cause serious damage to your plant that may be irreversible. The problem that comes with fertilization is applying too much to the soil that it can burn the plant. If you see the leaves start to turn yellow, there’s a probability you overdid it. Make sure to use the right amount and ratio. If you just repotted your tree, do not apply fertilizer for at least a month.

Use the appropriate ratio for your plant. Miyagi Bonsai offer a Bonsai Feed with the ratio of Nutrient makeup is N:4 P:6 K:6 giving a balanced feed for all bonsais. We also provide a very nice foliar fertilizer called Bloom Seaweed which is fully organic, we suggest you mix 0.5ml per liter of water in your spray can and apply when sunlight is down to avoid burning of the needles. This will also allow the bonsai to uptake the food through the leafs stomata’s properly as the sun will not dry it up quickly. This will help all bonsais if the leaves are yellowing and will result into nice green leafs and needles.

How to go about pruning your Japanese White Pine Bonsai.

The act of pruning is an art but is still a very functional part of the growth process. But when looking at the bonsai tree, what should be your criteria? How should you decide which branch or shoot to cut off? You must decide on a shape of your desire for the tree’s canopy like a barber giving a haircut but instead you are becoming a Bonsai Tree Surgeon. But, don’t just cut any twig randomly as this can ruin the shape and look of your Bonsai.

Look at a branches and examine closely where the segment of different shoots are coming from. If you have four or five branches joining at a branch segment, cut off the segment holding two or three outermost branches. Leave some of the greens behind. Do not cut off all the greens at a given branch as that particular segment will die out. It will not look good on your tree if you do so. As for the candles, wait for them to grow a bit longer before cutting them out. Old needles tend to yellow up and can be de needled just by brushing the area gently. The pruning process is time-consuming so you may need to get someone to assist you. You should also take care to use the proper safety gloves and use proper pruning tools. A pair of scissors may be good but it will go dull after some time. Miyagi Bonsai offers all the correct tools from Chinese to Japanese to standard tools to assist you with more ease when pruning your Japanese White Pine Bonsai.

Wiring your Japanese White Pine.

Wiring the tree is a delicate process. Use a wire that is appropriate for the thickness of the branch. The Japanese came up with aluminum wires made specifically for wiring bonsais. Use this instead of other alternatives. The process of wiring begins at the base of the tree then going up to a specific part of the plant such as a branch. Since your objective is to direct the tree to bend in a desired manner, you have to be gentle and apply just enough tension without the risk of breaking the bark. When trying to find the desired angle you would like to point the branch in, firstly wrap the wire around the main trunk to gain a firm grip and then begin to wrap the wire around the chosen branch tightly. Once the whole branch has been twined with the wire, angle the branch in chosen direction but don’t over bend the branch as you can cause damage. Over time the branch will naturally adjust to its new position and stay there without the wire. If you feel you want to adjust it further you can redo the process with a thicker wire or the same wire depending on how firm the branch is to adjust the branches angle further to meet your desired position.

Some advice on specifics on repotting your Japanese White Pine Bonsai.

The opportunity to repot your bonsai has to be done at specific times only, depending on the age of the tree. Old bonsai trees that have been growing for more than 10 years can be repotted every 3 to 5 years and younger trees for 2 to 3 years. The process of repotting should only be done during the spring season when the candles have not yet opened or between summer to early autumn. The times are the best since the heat of the summer is long gone and heat can put a lot of pressure on the plant. This is not ideal when you are trying to get a plant to recover and readjust after being transplanted.

The shape of the pot is also important, don’t just transfer it to any pot. The Japanese white pine grows deep roots and you need to make sure the new pot can address the required volume. The tree is also known to have dense foliage so it is only natural that it would grow this many roots this deep. The choice of growth medium should be a potting mixture that can retain moisture. If the medium is bad add draining or keeps water too well then it’s not good.

Preventing and removing insects and pests from your bonsai.

Look at your trees and if you see what looks like small honeycombs, then your tree could be infested by 1 of 8000 species of scales. The scale is not a pest that is exclusive just to this plant but it can cause a lot of harm if left untreated. Speaking of treatment, timing is important especially if you live in a place with a winter climate. Do not spray during winter but if you do it after the eggs would have hatched by June. The best way to prevent an infestation is by coating the bark and foliage with neem oil or the other organic pesticides which Miyagi Bonsai offers in the Bonsai Care category.

Another way to prevent this is by making some changes to the location where you have placed your bonsai tree. Your backyard could be surrounded by other plants that could also serve as hosts to the pests. If you can find a way to quarantine your trees, then do so. Make sure to clear the surrounding area of other plants. This will prevent the nasty buggers from transferring from one host to another.

Propagation

The process of propagation starts by scarification then stratification. The former is needed for water to get into the seed coat to trigger it for germination. To do scarification, simply get fine sandpaper and sand the outer shell gently. You can also line the inner walls of a cylindrical container with sandpaper, place the seeds inside and “stir” the seeds by shaking the container in a circular motion. The seeds wall impacts the walls and bits of the outer shell will be damaged then soak the seeds in water for 1 to 2 days. This method allows you to scarify multiple seeds at once. This is a handy technique for propagating other plants, not just trees.

After scarification comes the process of stratification. After soaking the seeds, place them in bags with a small amount of damp sand or vermiculite. Keep the bags at room temperature for 60 days with occasional spraying if the interior dries out. After the 60-day period, place them inside the refrigerator (not the freezer) for another 90 days. Once the 90 days are up, you can now sow them a quarter of an inch in pots.

You have the option to either buy a tree that is already grown or order seeds online and grow them from scratch. You can even take a cutting to clone an existing Bonsai tree that you love as it is an amazing strong species which you want another off. Buying an already grown tree is an easier option as you can choose your desired bonsai for your home as a feature as you know what your purchasing as growing via seeds has the risk of failing and can take years and years before getting to a decent height and may not be the desired shape you are looking for. Growing a bonsai tree is a very tedious and time-consuming job but it can be very rewarding in the end. For anyone trying to get into this growing Japanese white pine either as a hobby, you better have the patience and perseverance to commit. These trees grow slowly for many years; you must be willing to learn from experience because one wrong move is all it takes to destroy a tree that took years to grow.

Conclusion

Bonsais that you can purchase from Miyagi Bonsai have been well looked after for years and have been trained and wired professionally which is why the outcome of the shaping of the bonsai trees are unique and we can say picture perfect for a beautiful feature in your homes and gardens.