I brought some ponderosa pine cones home from Mt. Rushmore about three years ago. I got one of the seeds to produce a tree that looks like it will survive. My question is, how do I care for it? I have read that it needs to be treated like a white pine as opposed to a black pine, but I need some more specific care instructions. I live in Dallas Texas (Zone 8b).
There is an excellent little book “Ponderosa Pines as Bonsai”
By Larry Jackel. Shop around, some crazies are asking a lot of money for it. you should be able to buy it for about $12-$15.
I can tell you to begin with, they like well drained soil.
They don’t like to be wet. If your tree is in potting soil you might want to wait til spring and repot it. If it urgent, you could slip pot it into a training pot and introduce it to a good bonsai soil mix. I would fertilize it with an organic fertilizer. You can also use a chemical fertilizer with the organic. I don’t know how cold it gets where you are. They do need to go dormant. check with local bonsai club. Good luck with it.
Thanks @waldo1. Stone Lantern had it for $13.75.
I’ve grown it from seed in a calcined clay/pumice/lava rock/10%shredded pine bark mix. I knew they like life on the dry side. I was more concerned about pruning and candling issues, because I had read they need to be treated more like JWP and NOT like JBP. So it’s not an emergency. At the rate it’s growing I may not live long enough to give it its first pruning! LOL!
I get my ponderosas growing really good, and then I start playing with them. Dont pull needles, cut them instead. If you are needing more insight, I would check out golden arrow bonsai, Andy is his name… I’ve bought several nice collected pondys from him.
Thanks. I’ll look him up, but. . . so that I don’t get accused of misrepresenting the issue, here I am with my ponderosa Pine bonsai (or should I just be honest and call itt a pencil? LOL!):
They all have to start somewhere Tim. I agree with Lance. Andy is a great resource on Ponderosa.
I correspond with him often regarding mine. He primarily collects yamadori. So, his are anywhere from a few to well over a hundred years old. Yamadori presents a host of different circumstances to deal with. A whole new growing environment, altitude change. But with Andy’s and Larry’s guidance mine made it safely through the last winter and are doing well in zone 5b, So, I am happy about that. Wintering can always be a challenge. Thanks for posting the photo.
All good advice above, Andy is a great resource. One tip for developing young ponderosa is to make sure the trunk has a shape you like before you let it grow too thick. It looks like the tree can grow freely for now, but this winter would be a good time to apply wire to give the tree some shape. And if you waited another year or two to start wiring, that would likely be fine too as the tree is still young.
Thanks for the advice! Being in Texas (Zone 8b) I have shied away from Ponderosa and Japanese White Pines through the years. This tree comes from a pine cone I picked up at Mt. Rushmore three years ago. The big issue for its survival, I think, is going to be the absence of a long enough dormant season.
If all else fails, you could refrigerate it to enhance its dormancy. And old fridge or one of those little ones.
Andy has care sheets at GoldenArrow Bonsai.