Terra Cotta Vs. Colander – A small sample root experiment.

Posted by on Feb 21, 2020 | 9 Comments
Terra Cotta Vs. Colander – A small sample root experiment.

Question: A couple years ago, I asked myself – is growing in colanders/pond baskets superior for Japanese Black Pine destined to be bonsai? Common bonsai knowledge says that the answer is yes, but I’ve seen growers get really good results from other containers. I set out to see what differences I might see between two […]

Improving Young Root Over Rock Pines

Posted by on Feb 4, 2020 | No Comments
Improving Young Root Over Rock Pines

at any time I probably have at least a half-dozen young trees in training with auxiliary soil retention mechanisms in place to ensure that the roots make it into the main container, and can eventually be exposed to enhance the value of the composition.

Case Study: Selective Decandling and Cutback of a Japanese Black Pine

Posted by on Jul 13, 2016 | 2 Comments
Case Study: Selective Decandling and Cutback of a Japanese Black Pine

Decandling Japanese Black Pines is a relatively straight forward process. If you have any questions in your mind about it you should check out the article that I published “Nine Things You Might Not Know About Decandling Japanese Black Pines. With many bonsai, uniform application of technique can cause you to spin your wheels rather […]

Nine Things you Might not Know about Decandling Japanese Black Pine

Posted by on Jun 24, 2016 | 6 Comments
Nine Things you Might not Know about Decandling Japanese Black Pine

If there’s one thing that fascinates everyone when they first start to learn about Japanese Black Pine bonsai, it’s that you cut off all the new growth in the summer. But, the technique, like many other bonsai techniques, is frequently mis-used or misunderstood. If you apply decadling technique uniformly you are asking for trouble. So, perhaps […]

A look at Black Pine strength – Spring Growth

Posted by on Apr 27, 2016 | 4 Comments
A look at Black Pine strength – Spring Growth

One of the things that I often say is: a tree must be healthy if you expect it to react to bonsai work in a predictable way. Assessing health in plants can be relatively straight forward in some cases, and more difficult in others. The more of a particular species you have the more comparison […]

Minor Spring Tasks

Posted by on Apr 17, 2016 | One Comment
Minor Spring Tasks

This time of year, it seems like there is a lot to do, but much of it is small steps. The timing in spring can be quite critical for many tasks. In the last week working on bonsai I’ve undertaken a variety of things to move along young trees and older ones alike. This spruce […]

Large Japanese Black Pine – Fall Cleanup

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015 | 6 Comments
Large Japanese Black Pine – Fall Cleanup

Sometimes I wonder how many mature trees a person can have and properly maintain as bonsai before they are a full-time practitioner, if not a professional. I took this tree off my bench a week ago convinced that if I left it any longer it would not be good for the lower and interior buds. […]

Boon’s Black Pine Baseline

Posted by on Nov 26, 2015 | 5 Comments
Boon’s Black Pine Baseline

When I was only a year or two into doing bonsai I learned of this guy named Boon who lived in the East Bay and was good at working with pines. I attended the BIB show and saw for myself that the show was filled with great trees that exhibited a level of work that […]

Good Ponderosa, Bad Ponderosa

Posted by on Nov 21, 2015 | No Comments
Good Ponderosa, Bad Ponderosa

Among American native pine species, Ponderosa pine is perhaps the most popular species to collect and train as bonsai. While I can think of numerous other species that seem more suitable to bonsai based on needle characteristics, it is Ponderosa that you will most often find. The reason for the relative plethora of Ponderosa compared […]

P. monticola Meets Matt Reel

Posted by on Nov 9, 2015 | 10 Comments
P. monticola Meets Matt Reel

Pinus monticola, or Western White Pine, is native to the Sierra Nevada mountains, Cascade Range and the Pacific Northwest. The tree has a typical slender white-pine family needle with a somewhat more muted coloration than many of the striped white-pine family members. The needles are beautifully soft and seem to end up anywhere from 1- […]