Pine trees possess peculiar qualities that make them suitable to be grown into bonsai. Thus, it is no surprising that these trees are now gaining popularity as one of the most in demand variety in the market. If you are planning to start caring for one or interested about the proper ways of taking care of pine bonsai, here some important pointers for you.
Pines, or pinus, are monoecious, evergreen and coniferous trees. Being monoecious means that every single tree has the capability of bearing both male and female cones essential for propagation. As evergreen trees, they can actually live for a very long time and can reach hundreds of years. Being a coniferous tree suggests that they are growing upright and are triangular in shape, with the exception of some specie, with needle like thin leaves. They thrive on mountainous areas and dry conditions. To date, there are approximately 120 known species in this family.
The rich history of pine trees as a distinct trees started in the year 810 in Venice, Italy where it was first noticed as the tree that stands beside the clock tower at St. Mark Square. It did not have a name back then but it is in the 19th century when the name “pine” was coined. The spread of these trees all throughout the world was made possible by human trades. It was such a huge commodity back then as firewood due to its resin content that makes the fire last and was sold or traded for other merchandise.
There are a lot of pine species that you can use for bonsai. They may have their distinct characteristics but they share the same basic ways of growing and caring.
In general, Pine bonsais thrive in well-lit areas as they highly depend on the sun to grow. However, you may need to adjust the location of the plant depending on the temperature. While it enjoys the sun during summer, you may need to protect it during winter by bringing it indoors near windows.
It is important to monitor the moisture content of the soil when taking care of a pine bonsai. Soil must be replenished with water before it dries out totally. Overwatering must also be avoided to prevent rotting of the plant’s roots. A portable moisture reader can help you decide when to water your plant again. Fertilizing the soil periodically will help nourish the soil with nutrients needed by the plant. The bonsai tree must be fed by regular fertilizers with minimal nitrogen content. For better results, use foliar fertilizer applied every other month.
Trimming of new shoots is the best method of forcing back the buds of the trees. This is best done during summer when the climate is temperate and ideal for this process. This process also keep your plant miniature. Pruning dead foliage is also a common practice for Pine bonsai. When the plant is already vigorous, you can prune branches and the leaves back to two thirds of its original quantity. Spring is the best season to perform pruning.
Pines are very much flexible to adjust to wirings. You can style your pine bonsai into Formal Upright, Informal Upright, Coiled and Twin Trunk. These trees typically grow fast. Thus, it is important to carefully watch the wires while the plant grows to avoid permanent damage on the trunk of the plant.
Pines can be propagated in multiple ways. However, for greater success rate, propagation by stem cutting is the best option to go. It is important to choose a healthy source or mother plant in order to expect good results. Some bonsai growers prefer propagation through seeds. However, it takes a lot of skill, technique and care to grow pine bonsai from seeds.