What would you do next?

I got this great JBP bonsai stock and I’m not sure what to do next. It’s about 10" tall and it seems like the new growth it’s just starting to appear.
Part of me says just let it grow but I’m curious about how do I stimulate more branches growth or what exactly I should do next.
Any suggesting is welcomed.

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I would focus on fertilizer and proper watering technique. The needles appear dry and not as lush as could be. The priority will be to try and get a great response for bud back lower down on the trunk. At this point condition may prevent a good response even if the timing is correct.

Not sure when the picture was taken but the apical bud looks like it should be late winter early spring and the needle color does as well!
Perhaps a little more background on the tree, age, where are you located and is the picture reflecting its current condition.
The good news is the tree appears quite young and has retained needles in the lower portion.
Oddly enough I cannot spot any shoots below the apical bud, were they removed or are their some hidden under the needles.

Frank , thanks!
That is current picture; I actually took it tonight.
The tree was sent to me from RI. Not sure about age. I am guessing about two years, since trunk it’s about half inch. Not sure though, but as you say the it is fairly young.
It seems like the apex bud has few needles out but that’s all I see as far as new buds go.
I will check tomorrow in between the lower neddles.
Is there anything that can be done to stimulate budding in the lower section?
I am contemplating transplanting it to a bigger pot; maybe int he spring.

Thanks again!

I would focus on getting the tree into a vigorous condition first. Fertilize and water regularly paying attention to allowing it to dry out a bit between watering. I will assume you are in the states somewhere :smile:
Once the tree’s condition improves I expect some needle buds will appear and shoots in the lower portion. If not than I would consider cutting back the leader two years from now. JBP can retain needles for four years if in top condition so I don’t think it is necessary to risk cutting the top back this coming spring. It would be better if a few shoots appear first as this lowers the risk of setting the tree back too much with the reduction right away.
The issue is, that normally it is safer to have lower branches below when reducing the apical leader. Some may advise doing this sooner but the tree is very young and from my experience there is no rush.
If you wish to use a larger pot later on that would be fine but unless it is necessary to repot I would focus on improving health and wait for some shoots first.
As for timing of reduction I would consider the beginning of June or just after the apical candle has extended and the needles are standing out from the candle. The timing may vary for your location.

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That makes sense. I am in the Chicago area.
Thank you Frank!