View Full Version : White Bark Pine

dick benbow
April 8th, 2012, 02:13 AM
Well, I felt like i hit the jackpot yesterday in my discovery of this species.

It was in the ground, grown from seed and 20 years old. The pine itself was about 11 inches tall and had a base of just over an inch and a quarter.

known as Pinus albicaulis, it is generally found above 6500 feet on exposed slopes in dry rocky soil.

It has no business growing in western washington because of the dampness and it's affinity to sucumb to rust.

I couldn't imagine in my wildest dreams that someone here might have some actual hands on experience, but still i have to ask?

I dug it yesterday and potted it up in a standard "boon" type mix of two parts drainage (kiryu and pummace) and one part akadama.

dick benbow
April 8th, 2012, 05:41 PM
pruners in to give relative size. kinda get an idea of growth habit and what it looks like....:)

April 8th, 2012, 06:46 PM
Very cool pine! I've always wanted to grow western five needle pines, but they're not readily available around here. If I were you I would've potted it in colander or bonsai training pot to allow it to thicken up a little more while adjusting to life in a pot.


bonsai barry
April 8th, 2012, 08:44 PM
This is one of my favorite high elevation pines! I know that I'm in the wilderness when I see a whitebark pine. I hope it will survive at your elevation. I have always found the relationship of the whitebark pine and the nutcracker interesting.

The nutcrackers rely on whitebark pine seeds as their principal food source "for at least 9 months of the year and for raising the young. In addition to special adaptations on gathering, transporting, caching, and finding again the hoarded seeds, the whole annual cycle of the nutcracker's life (time of breeding and moulting), its mating system, and its habitat use are adjusted to the use of pine seeds" (Tomback et al. 1990). Moreover, since the whitebark pine's cones do not open, seed hoarding and caching by the nutcracker and related corvids (e.g., jays) constitute the only reproductive mechanism available to this pine (Tomback et al. 1990).

I like the shape of the trunk of your tree. Once it is established, I'm looking forward to seeing your styling of it.

bonsai barry
April 8th, 2012, 08:46 PM
Did you find it in the wild or a nursery or a yard or what?

dick benbow
April 9th, 2012, 07:41 AM
nice to get some replies, I was beginning to think it wasn't gonna happen.

Tanlu, I may have access to one more and if i do I will find a colander and lots of pummice to set it up in. Thanks for the suggestion.

Bonsai Barry, Interesting info on the place it plays with the life cycle of nutcrackers. thanks.

The trees were started from seed and planted directly into the ground where they have remained for 20 years undisturbed. I was shocked that at my low elevation they didn't bolt in size but stayed the same slow growth pattern at their normal 6500 feet level.

Just afraid if I prune them or work on them in a year or two what rate will they repair and regrow?

any other thoughts to be shared appreciated.

April 9th, 2012, 05:22 PM
I missed this the first time round... Really nice Dick, and it's not a quince!!! :) just kidding.
I'll be interested to see this progress.
I think as long as you let them recover, then they'll pick up normal growth patterns, maybe something was inhibiting them. Like soil or micro climate, or available food. Please keep us posted!

dick benbow
April 9th, 2012, 06:01 PM
I have a friend in the bonsai club that always ribs me about showing interest in something other than quince. So I take the ribbing in good nature....:)

I will keep you posted. I talked with my sensei today about the tree and he knew of it but didn't know anything about it or anyone who had ever used it or had knowledge.

I'm gonna try for one more and put it in a collander with pummace and see if it reacts better than the potted ones in boon mix soil.

dick benbow
April 12th, 2012, 09:19 AM
The first pix is of the biggest one and this was the smallest. I'm off to collect two more this weekend but will plant in different soil.

dick benbow
April 14th, 2012, 08:32 PM
Well I picked out two more today and brought them home and potted in different soil to see what they respond best to. I also found another small pine apart from the whitebark planting.Looked similar but could find no tag. So now all i have to do is settle them in this year so I can see how well they back bud next year. I'm kinda tickled to be working with a pine that no one else seems to have played with. A new challenge. LOL when I was looking thru the dozen or so available I laid right flat on the ground so I could see the tree trunk movement. I think I did better this second time than the first, with my eyes at trunk level.

April 14th, 2012, 11:00 PM
I look forward to following you progress with these trees. As has been said before, they are extremely inspiring up in the high mountains.

This is one of the many beautiful whitebark pines along the Lassen Peak Trail in northern California.

dick benbow
April 15th, 2012, 08:22 AM
Tim, the photo is inspiring. the dead wood really makes the tree doesn't it? I see similarities with my youngsters and your photo with the growth habit. Thanks for posting....