Several years ago I was asked to purchase a bonsai by a friend which was to be a Christmas gift for her husband who had some limited experience of bonsai.
I visited a well known bonsai nursery and looked for something which looked reasonable and came back with two pine trees, a Scots pine and a Mugo.
The Scots pine was chosen as the gift and I advised it’s new owner that coming to the local bonsai club would help him with it’s care and development.
Looking back I realise that this tree was probably not the best choice for him as the care and development of pines as bonsai use techniques unique to pines.
He did however come along to the club and was given some advice and the tree received its first styling.
A few years passed until 2013 when I next saw the tree, it had deteriorated significantly and I really thought it was not going to survive. I offered to try and help the tree to recover, the rootball was really compacted and had outgrown its pot. There was very little foliage and it was overall weak looking.
I repotted the tree in the spring of 2014 and removed over fifty percent of the root and put the tree into a very open mix of acadama and pumice.
I left the tree to recover and started to feed it after a couple of months, feeding throughout the remainder of that years growing season using a combination of Naruka and liquid seaweed.
It recovered in as far as it didn’t die which is evidenced in the image above taken in August 2015.
Over the next couple of years as the tree progressed I started the process of candle pinching in spring and needle plucking in the autumn.
I continued feeding the tree with a combination of Naruka and Seaweed fertilisers, and it grew quite vigorously. At this stage I was only interested in improving the general health of the tree, styling would be undertaken in the future.
Here it is in October of that year, at which time needle plucking was undertaken to promote new bud growth.
Wiring was undertaken after selecting a more suitable front and primary and secondary branches were positioned. In the coming spring I will again use candle reduction and bud removal to continue the development.
The tree has come a long way over the last five years or more but still has someway to go in its development.