I promised to update the progress of my JBP in grow beds. This is the third full season in the grow out beds. They were placed in the growout beds as 6-8 inch seedlings . The trunk diameter is averaging 1 inch at this time.
Wow, looking great Frank - when do you plan to make the first big cuts?
Beginning in March i intend to take out each tree individually and assess its potential for best development size and style. It is time to repot them, and that is a good time to evaluate. Even though they have all received the same care. the responses vary widely. As you are aware this is a good time to note the individual characteristics such as branch and needle density. The wiring effects are also differrent as i experimented quite a bit in year one with shape. Long way of saying i am going to respond to what the tree is showing. Those that appear to best for smaller trees will have some stronger cutback after a period of root recovery. The others will primarily receive cutback of upper lateral growth to build the trunks. and minor work where needed to mange the branches.The usual check of all whorls to prevent knuckles. I should note that some trees have previously received cutback of the main candle ( year two ) in order to promote lower branching. this worked very well in most cases. This was specifically when it was apparrent that lower branching was scarce.
I have just completed another batch of grow boxes (86) to add to the previous batch ( 54) . So i am in position to place some in grow boxes and put some back in the grow beds or ground.
As always this is limited by the younger trees waiting in line and competing for space. This spring the 1 1/2 acres in the meadow below my house
My approach will be to develop the overall tree in conjunction with the trunk formation. I expect this to be slower but i am hoping for a cleaner result with fewer obvious flaws to overlook or correct. ie: Scars, oddly bent branches or vacant areas.
That sounds like an awesome approach - your garden is fast turning into the premier pine growing facility I know of!
I also have a bunch of pines in a similar age range and am finding that each has different needs so each will get different care. Almost all will be wired and some will be cut back heavily this year while others will keep growing.
Seeing your automatic system reminds me that I could benefit from the same
I can’t wait to see what the oldest trees look like in just a few years!
Thanks Jonas, working on small improvements every day.
The automatic watering system is primarily for vacation times, long weekends and hot spells. Also very useful for the first season when the plants are the most vulnerable. The zone system that allows for various timing and thus application rates. Currently i am operating six zones. Trees are located in compatible zones for application of water. Thus seedlings can be on the system and mature plants watered by hand or less frequently.
Another major benefit is the ability to water at peak times despite a busy schedule.
I would encourage people to consider a variety of zones in grow beds and bench application. Potted trees require differrent timing. And experiment with the various delivery methods to find out what works best for your situation. Every situation will vary with soil mixes and climate. Boon was very helpful and i studied mechanical aspects of his setup.
Things to consider.
Do not rely on it totally. ( power outage ) ( blockage )
Be prepared to monitor and adjust. I check the system weekly.
Great pics @Riversedgebonsai, I currently have 4 zones with 150 to 200 at each. I’ve personally lost track of count. They range between 3 to 7 years old or at least the ones on the spitters. The failed grafts then get wired up and allowed to grow because they get cut back around 2nd and third year in preparation for grafting. This as you said before promotes back budding on the lower areas. As the number of trees increase throughout the years, less and less space is available for adequate lighting. And by allowing the tree to grow too freely only weakens the lower buds and thus the slow process begins, balancing the upper growth with the lower. As for watering, the system is set up the water in the evening twice a day, first to penetrate the surface and 30 minutes later it waters again for a deeper saturation. If the power goes out I just turn the valve manually.
It becomes clock work and tiring at times, fall and winter- pull old needles, reassess, then wire, and repotting. Spring and summer- to cut or not to cut, and in the Texas summer trying to figure out when to decandle is the hard part. If future forecast is over 100 degree then I decandle early. I have to say the worst part is about 30 percent of my stock is corkback pines and if the lower branches die, I’m pretty much out of luck if anything back buds.
Sounds familiar in a lot of ways. And to think we do it for fun!
When i have a power outage that means my well is off and so is the water pressure. Not using a public system for the trees.
I understand now, wish I had a well. It would be kind of funny having one on a tiny city lot smaller than 0.17 of an acre. One day, I’ll have a larger property to transfer all my trees to. As of right now, I’m planting by the square inch.