Category Archives: Conifers

Pinus strobus (Eastern White Pine)

Pinus strobus (Eastern White Pine) #1

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Family: Pinaceae

Provenance: Collected from Saw Mill conservation area, Burlington, MA from a pocket of lean soil on exposed granite face. Nearly all feeder roots intact.

Date Acquired: 3/4/2016

Approx. Age at Acquisition: ~10 years



-3/16/2016, collected and planted in ground. Top leader removed. Tree in good shape with 1-2″ needles at time of collection (possibly due to water/nutrient deficiency on rock face?). Full crown and beginning to put out mature bark.

-9/2016, growing strongly.

-10/2016, Limbs pruned back to one or two nodes.

-4/15/17, Tree looking dry, some damage to branches.

To do: Foliage must be chased back using pruning and pinching. Tree must be repotted into training pot in spring.


Taxus cuspidata (Japanese Yew)

Taxus cuspidata (Japanese yew)

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Family: Taxaceae

Provenance: Volunteer tree, collected from Winchester, MA.

Date Acquired: 5/1/2016

Approx. Age at Acquisition: 4-6 years


-5/2016, Tree removed and planted in typical 45/45/10 mix. Trunk reduced to few small branches. Previous leader to be jinned.

-7/2016, New buds and foliage growing from remaining branch.

-9/2016, Tree alive but no new growth.

-10/2016, Old leader jinned and tree fertilized with low-nitrogen fertilizer to prep for winter.

-12/5/16, tree brought inside for winter storage.

-2/25/17, tree moved outsided.

-4/18/17, Tree repotted into small bonsai pot in March. Buds breaking and tree fertilized with acid-loving fertilizer.

-5/3/17, Branches pruned and wired to shape tree in windswept style.

Pinus strobus (Eastern White Pine) #2

Pinus strobus

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Family: Pinaceae

Provenance: Collected from rocky soils under power lines near Mill Pond area, Burlington MA. Major roots cut during removal but many feeder roots intact. Major branch near apex and 1/4 of total foliage removed. Trunk has interesting curve and roughish but immature bark, possibly due to previous trauma. Reduced to approx 2′ high.

Date Acquired: 4/2016

Approx. Age at Acquisition: ~5-8 years


-4/2016, Tree in excellent health. Previously removed branch stub cut back and jinned. Leader bent back with guy wire towards trunk in attempt to shape apex. Slight crack due to bending, fixed with electrical tape wrapped tightly around joint. Potted in shallow bowl with 1/2 grit, 1/2 turface mix.

-6/2016, Tree growing vigorously with many new candles.

-9/2016, Top branches removed leaving a single small sidebranch that will be developed into the apex of tree. All removed branch stubs jinned with some bark removed from trunk. Hopefully the tree survives to be repotted in the spring.

-10/30/16, Tree removed from training container and slightly root pruned. Many new roots. Minor root pruning and the tree is plated more upright in a standard mix, inoculated with old soil.

-10/2016, All but single side branch removed to become new apex. Stubs jinned and bark stripped back on upper removed branch.

-11/2016, tree repotted and slightly rootpruned, planted in training pot.

-12/5/16, tree brought inside for winter storage.

-3/17 Died due to desiccation due to root pruning.

Pinus rigida (Pitch Pine)

Pinus rigida

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Family: Pinaceae

Provenance: Collected from granite slope on Whipple Hill, Lexington, MA in grove of promising pitch pines. Most roots intact with ample mycorrhizae.

Date Acquired: 4/13/16

Approx. Age at Acquisition: ~8-10 years


-4/13/2016, Tree collected and planted in wooden training box in 1/2 grit, 1/2 turface mix. Trunk reduced from around 5′ to 2.5′ at time of collection. Many suckers from large basal burl.

-5/2016, Tree budding all over. Upper branches wired. Suckers to be gradually removed. New unwanted buds removed to balance vigor.

-7/2016, One large basal sucker removed, new buds have leafed out, new needles much larger, 3-4″.

-9/2016, All basal suckers removed and new buds removed. Wire removed after substantial trunk thickening with some scaring.

-11/15/2016, Two major limbs removed and stubs left to be jinned.

-12/5/16, tree brought inside for winter storage.

-12/15/16, tree lightly rootpruned and repotted into large ceramic bonsai pot.

-2/28/17, After frustration trying to establish a suitable design for this tree, most branches removed and single leader branch at apex left to become new branches and apex.

To do: Tree must be root-pruned in spring and planted in smaller training pot at new angle. Front must be selected. Large limbs must be wired up into literati structure and maintained by pinching. New branches must be encouraged by liberally fertilizing and allowing growth.

Larix kaempferi (Japanese Larch)

Larix kaempferi (Japanese Larch)

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Family: Pinaceae

Provenance: Volunteer tree collected from Weld Hill meadow at Arnold Arboretum, Boston MA. Around 2-3′ high, growing strongly in lean, rocky soil. Probably a seedling from nearby grove of Japanese larch.

Date Acquired: 9/2016

Approx. Age at Acquisition: ~3 years old


-9/2016, Tree collected and leader reduced. Planted root-over-rock in large training container in 45/45/10 sphagnum mix topped with sphagnum. Tree seems robust.

-10/10/2016, Fertilized with low-nitrogen fertilizer to prep for winter dormancy.

-11/15/2016, All limbs reduced and wired down. New leader selected and wired upward.

-12/5/16, tree brought inside for winter storage.

-2/28/17, Tree uprooted and secured to rock with raffia and plastic wrap. Replanted and moved outside.

-4/18/17, Tree fertilized with acid-loving fertilizer following leafout.

To do: Leader must be grown out and foliage kept compact by pinching. Roots must be dug and secured tightly around rock using electrical tape outside of existing plastic wrap.