JBP pad development

Hi all. I am a newbie to pine species and have found it difficult to find local support on the species due to our climate in Johannesburg, South Africa (hot, dry summers; low humidity; relatively high altitude).

I have been growing JBP from seed for a few years and have been thinking about branch placement and development. From what I have read on pines, I understand that many pines do not back bud easily and hence my belief that I need to start placing and developing branches early on, rather than relying on buds or new growth in the future.

I have trawled the internet for information on pad development but still feel unsure. *How do I develop a good, thick-looking pad from this early stage of development? I am worried about developing lateral shoots in to a pad shape over 4 seasons or so but do I then rely on back buds to create pad density closer to the trunk?

Any resources or advice will be appreciated. Thanks.

Hi all

No responses as yet but a combination of Ryan Neil’s lectures on pines [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yn1FiRw2JBo] and a blog post by a local pine expert [https://www.bonsaitree.co.za/blogs/tree-talk/78660038-initial-styling-of-a-japanese-black-pine] suggest that combination of lateral shoot selection, steady fertilization, decandling and back-budding help to create the volume.

When i was first becoming involved in growing JBP i set out to find this information. Some of the best information was found in Jonas’s blog and archives. I found a good article by Eric Schrader and combined it with the information in Bonsai Today. master series Pines. Particularily the Pine from Seed section. Start with the process begun on page 142 through to 152.
Pad formation was best understood under the instruction of my teacher Boon, during his intensive program. However i would suggest you check out chapters 7 ( Branch Structure) and 13 ( Refinement) of " Principles of Bonsai Design" written by David De Groot.
Pick a style and approximate size desired, use your seedlings to practise and adjust what works for your climate and care routines.

Hi Steven - if you post a photo of the trees you are working on we can recommend specific techniques that will apply to your trees at their current stage of development.

Young pines typically produce small shoots that are great for forming primary branches once the trunk has reached the desired size. As for making the pads themselves, decandling and cutback-decandling are the two primary approaches to creating dense foliage.

Many thanks Frank. I started looking through your recommendations and must say thanks for the Eric Schrader referral (phutu.com).

I agree that working on my smaller pines is a good way to learn over time. I also have a couple of slightly older pines (7 year old white pine and 10 year old pinus radiata x elliottii) that I am learning a lot from. Still early days for me. Thanks again.

Many thanks Jonas. I also managed to read through one of your blog posts on a JRP where you did some hard pruning at different times of the year. Whilst my pines are not established enough for this, it was quite reassuring to see how the pines back-budded on the main stem itself.