Pine seedling cuttings - 2nd Cut Timing


(Daniel Camilleri) #1

I’ve gathered some local pine seeds, Aleppo Pine, it’s more akin to a Red pine rather than a black one. Will be sowing next winter and cutting the seedlings next summer. Mark Comstock has shared some photos of seedlings being cut twice as opposed to once, and the difference in the flare at the base is quite noticable. The timing of the first cutting, from the research I’ve made in forums and from Jonas’ well written articles should be once the first real needles emerge. Would anyone know or assume when would be the ideal time for the second cutting?


(Jonas Dupuich) #2

The timing for the first cutting is before the first mature needles appear. I try to cut around the time the apical bud starts elongating beyond the first set of juvenile needles.

The second cut can happen when the cuttings have rooted and are growing well. This may be 4-8 weeks later or more depending on the speed with which the new roots emerge. Using bottom heat can speed up the process.

Mark also recommends Zerotol treatments when making the cuttings to reduce fungal problems. The planting medium is 2 parts finely sifted perlite and 1 part coir.

Am looking forward to seeing how the process works with Aleppo pine!


(Frank Corrigan) #3

I agree the articles by Jonas are a great resource for Pine development and have used them extensively.
I do think it is important to realize that the “second cutting” can give the same results or poorer than the first. There is no guarantee that the new roots will be better spaced or of greater volume.
Sometimes the second or even third cutting is reccomended because the initial results were very poor.
I personally do not recut seedlings that have formed good radial roots the first time.
I have also found the best timing for the first cut to be a little later than most advise. I do not rely on the color change in the stem but rather wait for the first set of real needles and the beginning of a push for the second set. I should mention that i have a very long growing season and great climate for Pine.
There are a couple of additional techniques for improved flare rather than a complete removal of the first set of roots. They involve shortening the initial radial roots and or small vertical cuts to the stem at the root level. This can increase the flare as well.
It is great that you are willing to experiment with growing techniques. It is very rewarding to share and see the results of different approaches.
Good Luck


(Daniel Camilleri) #4

Hi Jonas,

Thanks for the reply. You’re right about Mark’s extensive anti fungal treatments and his results when the said procedures are used as opposed to not being used.


(Daniel Camilleri) #5

Hi Frank.

You’re right to be honest, never thought about that point of view. Will probably alter my plans and do the second cutting on those seedlings that after the first cutting produce a poor spread of the new roots. Seems counterproductive to cut those seedlings with an already good root base. You seem to leave your cut rather later than others do. How are your results? I too have a very long growing season so your opinions are of an added importance. :wink: Your alternate flaring techniques are intriguing and if i’ll have a good return on my 600+ seeds, i’ll be leaving a batch for both approaches.


(Frank Corrigan) #6

Thanks, actually it is not that much later, seedlings grow very fast in the right conditions. I would say approximately 10 days to 2 weeks longer. As for the results, the survival rate increased and the recovery time shortened. I feel this was due to the bit more foliage to fuel the root formation. I also shortened the stem cut to help with water intake after cutting. I try to keep it approx 3/4 inch length.
One key is your desired outcome. JBP can form amazing nebari without stem cutting. And some stem cutting results are downright ugly for pine in my opinion. At the risk of offending those who live and die by one approach, i think it is more important to work with the roots consistently over the first three or four year then to try and hit a home run out of the box so to speak.
In short, i think the very best results are based on minor improvements each time the tree is repotted with the major corrections in the first three or four years after germination. I am not a fan of large plate like nebari in the extreme. Looks unnatural to me.


(Sely) #7

I do have to agree with @Riversedgebonsai on his approach. After reading @bonsaitonight blogs, I’ve decided that I will be producing small bonsai material and seedling cuttings would be counterproductive for myself. Don’t get me wrong, both appoaches are corret. I’ve once asked my teacher, when and where you cut on a young pine. He said “Depends on what your growing. What size are you trying to accomplish?”
After years have past and my materials are starting to come to shape, I’ve realized what he meant by that. I too do not like the pancake root flare but prefer gradual transition from flare to taper then trunk.