Mikawa JBP from seed in progress

They look great!
I was lucky enough to get a few seeds from this pine bonsai nursery in Takamatsu when I was in Japan in 2018. He said they where collected from this special tree with the best characteristics for bonsai, so that sounded promising. They are now the same age as yours!

Anyway, I was having this bud selection dilemma as well because I have a few older pines from seed which I did bud select (also read it on Schraders blog, which is very informative by the way) but it didn’t really pay off for me.
All I got was this very long leader with a long neck and the side branch was long as well, so not very useful as a side branch. I did got this occasional smaller side branch (when selecting the smallest bud from the whorl), but then the leader would still be too long to be used as part of the trunk.

Example of one of my 3 year olds. Not visible on the photo, but there is a tiny side branch at the base of the long neck.

Repotting and root pruning didn’t make much of a difference. I did use this high in nitrogen fertilizer which could have been the cause of the strong elongation.

So what Jonas stated above about thickening or more elongation makes a lot of sense to me now :smile: . I think thickening is more important so I’ll just leave the buds on my 1 year olds from now on.

Just one question Jonas: when would you cut the unwanted branches off to avoid swelling if you want that section to be part of the trunk?


nice looking kids you got there. yeah, i probably won’t bud select my 2yr olds in the future, either. some of the branches coming off of the whorl might not shade the tree later, and if they do, i can just chop them then. i want thickening and elongation from the leader so waiting to modify the sacrifice later is probably best.

I’d want to cut back the sacrifice branches when you’re in danger of losing all of the growth you want to keep below.

The long-neck 3yr-old looks like it doesn’t have much in the way of side branches. If there is a low side branch, you’ll be OK letting the main shoot grow another year. If not, I’d cut the sacrifice branch this coming June to stimulate new shoots from which you can select a new sacrifice branch.

couple extra buds popped after bud selecting the leader

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Wow, that’s really cool! The buds at the apex don’t change a lot but it’s great to see the lower buds. Will have to start experimenting with this!

the aftermath from a needle bud dying earlier this year.
i remember a few seedlings got knocked over and while hastily topping off the soil i covered this low bud. i just noticed the trunk splitting, so i removed the soil down to the seedling cutting sand and voila! what are we going to do?

If the upper part of the seedling appears healthy, I would leave it to heal itself and progress on its own.

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It’s also the time of year to bend the tree to give the trunk some movement.

i had planned on wiring them up when i repot them into some colanders, around February or early March. since i wanted to do root work along with the wiring, i was going to wait till right before spring. if i don’t mess with them in the fall, won’t they be a little bit stronger for the repot?

The fall is a time when pines naturally put on a lot of girth and strength to the trunk. By wiring for movement at this time the movement tends to set in place faster. If done carefully it will not affect the overall growth pattern or set back plans for repotting. Not sure of your climate zone but as long as there is six weeks before frost I would do it now rather than at the same time as repotting!
Choosing to anchor the wire at a 45 degree angle in the pot close to the trunk will not interfere with repotting and give you a good anchor for wiring the young trunk.

interesting. I’ll give it a shot.

Frank’s tips are right on, but it’s also fine to wire when you repot. If you wire now, you’ll have to protect the tree against cold weather (if you get freezes). I often wire young pines when I’m repotting as I can be sure to start the bends right where the roots are.


starting the bends right where the roots are was my main aim. the winters here in Alabama are mild, but it does go below 20°F for a few weeks sometimes. i never use winter protection, so that’s another reason for me to wait till the weather breaks.

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