?s on young pine root development

GGB

Chumono
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#1
I have illustrations but no photos of my way too common dilemma. When dealing with young pines I keep running into one or two large roots coming off the Taproot then nothing for a few inches. Illustration one. And the roots below the fat unsightly one aren't exactly perfect nebari but better than one huge root.
In illustration two, I show my fear of inverse taper developing and completely ruining the tree.
So my questions are...
With low success rates ground layering pines, should I just cut the crappy roots and drop the soil level to where the next roots begin?
Will the tap root bark up exactly like the exposed trunk?
Is there anything I can do to prep tree? Perhaps damage the tap root and apply hormone before or after eliminating the trouble root(s)?
Is the tree I drew useless as bonsai?
Would a tourniquet below the useable roots do anything to benefit me?

I know it's all a little abstract but I have somewhere around 7 pines suffering from this same root placement problem so it can't be too uncommon. Thanks in advance, I'd love to show pics but it's not really the time of year for it
 

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0soyoung

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#2
Additional roots close to the root collar will develop as the tree above ground gets bigger. Just make sure that the root collar is at, or slightly below the soil/substrate surface and be patient. I haven't found that root pruning has any particular effect in this regard. I've tried a tourniquet on the tap root just below the root collar and the tree was dead within a year (no food to the roots).
Over even longer time scales, roots will bark up, but with most species it will be different - root tissue is not quite the same as the rest of the tree.
 

GGB

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#3
Thanks for weighing in @0soyoung, are you saying that if I just keep that big dorky root covered, others will grow around it? do I need to trim it back to keep it in proportion with it's potential new younger roots?
 

0soyoung

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#4
are you saying that if I just keep that big dorky root covered, others will grow around it?
Yes.
do I need to trim it back to keep it in proportion with it's potential new younger roots?
No. To my experience with lodgepole pine (p. contorta latifolia) and Douglas fir (pseudotsuga) this just makes a shorter tap root. It does not seem to induce lateral roots near the root collar.
 

Adair M

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#5
To prevent this is why the “Seedlings cuttings” method was devised. Essentially once the seedling is a couple months old ( I don’t know the exact timing) ALL the roots are cut off, right at the base of the the juvenile needles. What happens is the tree then proceeds to make a radial root system with no taproot!

See www.bonsaitonight.com for illustrations.
 

GGB

Chumono
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#6
@Adair M I am aware of the seedling cutting method, in fact I'll be doing some this winter/spring. I used to sprout a lot of seeds but kept hearing that bonsai from seed was a waste of time... I can see that some members here have done a great job disproving it. I don't ever expect to be a celebrated bonsai artist, I'm doing this on a hobby level, perhaps that puts me back in the game to grow from seed. Hard to know what to believe haha.
 

Adair M

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@Adair M I am aware of the seedling cutting method, in fact I'll be doing some this winter/spring. I used to sprout a lot of seeds but kept hearing that bonsai from seed was a waste of time... I can see that some members here have done a great job disproving it. I don't ever expect to be a celebrated bonsai artist, I'm doing this on a hobby level, perhaps that puts me back in the game to grow from seed. Hard to know what to believe haha.
Exactly. Hobbiests often will have better specimens than the commercial outfits because they spend more time with each tree!

Looking for a shortcut? Contact Mark Comstock. He is a commercial grower of bonsai stock, but he wants to develop superior stock. So, he has John Kirby as a mentor who is teaching him the advanced methods used in Japan than hardly anyone even knows about, much less actually does, here!

So, he has stuck seedling cuttings for a couple years now, and probably has some available for sale.

So does Jonas from www.bonsaitonight.com.

I have 4 or 5 JBP that Jonas started as seedling cuttings 15 years ago! And I have a JWP that used a JBP seedling cuttings as root stock.
 

GGB

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#8
Looking for a shortcut? Contact Mark Comstock. He is a commercial grower of bonsai stock, but he wants to develop superior stock. So, he has John Kirby as a mentor who is teaching him the advanced methods used in Japan than hardly anyone even knows about, much less actually does, here!
Thank you, I'm a little more excited about doing these cuttings after hearing from you.
 

Nybonsai12

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#9
Thank you, I'm a little more excited about doing these cuttings after hearing from you.

Def give it a go. It's not so difficult. In case you haven't seen it, Eric's thread is a great example of growing from seed.

https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/a-few-pine-seeds-6-years-later.7033/

I've also been trying my hand at it and although i timed things differently in regard to the season things have been progressing well so far.
https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/jbp-winter-seed-experiment.21278/
 
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#11
Starting from seed is fun and costs almost nothing. I started some pitch pine from seed 4 years ago. Some are seedling cuttings but most are regular seedlings.

I also started some JWP two years ago. I don't know if I will live to see them become bonsai but they are still fun.
 

GGB

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#12
To date I've done JWP, Chinese red, jack, pitch, jeffrey, bristlecone (aristata),ponderosa, and will be doing (table mountain,shortleaf,loblolly). I didn't do seedling cuttings on those first listed because I was worried about survival. Now that I have a few kills and years under my belt I will be ONLY doing seedling cuttings I think.
 

0soyoung

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#13
To date I've done JWP, Chinese red, jack, pitch, jeffrey, bristlecone (aristata),ponderosa, and will be doing (table mountain,shortleaf,loblolly). I didn't do seedling cuttings on those first listed because I was worried about survival. Now that I have a few kills and years under my belt I will be ONLY doing seedling cuttings I think.
I must ask if you've ever wondered about yamadori - they were never seed cuttings, they must have had tap roots, and yet there they are, in relatively shallow pots.
 

Adair M

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#14
I must ask if you've ever wondered about yamadori - they were never seed cuttings, they must have had tap roots, and yet there they are, in relatively shallow pots.
And most yamadori have poor nebari. Which we “forgive” because it is yamadori. But then, we also go to great lengths to improve the nebari on yamadori. Boon and I did root grafts on a great California Juniper to put roots on where it needed them.

So, if there is a method to pretty much guarantee good roots, why not use it?
 
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#15
And most yamadori have poor nebari. Which we “forgive” because it is yamadori. But then, we also go to great lengths to improve the nebari on yamadori. Boon and I did root grafts on a great California Juniper to put roots on where it needed them.

So, if there is a method to pretty much guarantee good roots, why not use it?
Also great yamadori are one in a million.
 
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#16
For pines, most yamadori are from rock pockets with already compact root ball. Pines growing in open ground are difficult to collect because the roots can run. Getting a compact root ball is much more difficult.
 

GGB

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#17
I would love to go collecting yamadori pines but I have yet to locate any great collecting spots. I have a mature ERC I collected from a cliff but pines don't grow immediately around me. I live in a very developed area of the mid atlantic. there are definitely spots around I just need to find out whose land it is. I am very new to bonsai, so I try not to ruin the landscape, I'm only now (this year) confident in my ability to identify native pines with 100% accuracy.
 
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#19
I live in a very developed area of the mid atlantic. there are definitely spots around I just need to find out whose land it is.
Some could argue that you live in an great spot for collecting. Not yamadori but landscape plants. Like you said the trick is getting permission.
 

GGB

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#20
@jeanluc83 you got me there. Landscape galore, almost every pine in my city is way to big aside from some mugo. I don't really have an interest in mugo (until I find the right one). I have found 2 JBP, 1 JRP, and the rest are nigra, strobus, and scots that are far to old to collect. I don't like garden varieties unfortunately, because they tend to be smaller and collectable.
Anything that volunteers from seed gets mowed, weeded, or sprayed. Every spring I notice a seedling or two but they're decimated before they're old enough to identify. I usually walk or ride my bike to work, and have for years, you can bet I'm staring at trees every second of every commute. My town is weirdly devoid of variety and pines in general