Zuisho Japanese White Pine Progression pt. 2

After growing out a 2-year old graft for the last 15 years, it was time to start thinking about training, and make some decisions on direction.

It was tricky to finally jump in. The lowest whorl consists of 3 branches. Eventually one would need to go. My original plan was to go with the Zuisho’s tendency to produce a long low branch. Some of the old bonsai magazines show this, and it was always intriguing.

I took it to Bjorn’s in November 2021 and we decided to keep all 3 branches for now. The right branch would become that long character branch, the left branch would become almost a second trunk, and the back branch stays for now, to add depth.

The chop made a few years earlier needs to be carved out a little to improve the transition.

While the trunk isn’t as fat as I want it to ultimately end up, it is clearly thickening in a pot, so our work won’t stop that progress. Additionally, the branches are beginning to fatten up, so we decided it was time to begin setting some branches while it was still relatively easy.

A shot mid-way up wiring out the tree. Here the right branch is wired out and the left branch is set to become a second trunk.

Work finished for the year.

January ‘22
Spring ‘22, candles showing extension at the strongest areas of the tree.
Early fall, strong candles trimmed back to begin establishing balance.
Early fall ‘22. Wires are digging in, so they need to be removed.
Late September ‘22
Moss needs to be removed. Notice the lens cap for scale…the trunk is starting to fatten up nicely, and noticeably each year.
Moss removed, exposing the nicely spreading root structure. The graft is perfectly executed to transition from roots to first branches.
Unwired, and soji complete. Next up, some light pruning and rewiring.

Zuisho Japanese White Pine Progression

I bought this Zuisho JWP from Evergreen Gardenworks in 2006 as a 2-year old graft. Here is the earliest shot I have, 2006:








2015 (after 2 years in the ground):


2016, first prune:

In 2017, it went back in the ground.


It was left alone in 2019.

It was dug up in 2020:

Late summer 2020, before and after trimming back.

In November 2021, the styling began…

New Bonsai Intermediate Course 2 by Bonsai Empire

Bonsai Empire has done it again, Oscar has produced another very educational instructional series called Bonsai Intermediate Course 2, featuring lectures and demonstrations by masters Bjorn Bjorholm and Michael Hagedorn. Check it out here:


Below is the official press release, and my review of the content follows. Oscar was kind enough to provide advanced access to review and promote the new course.

Bonsai Intermediate Course 2
With Bjorn Bjorholm and Michael Hagedorn

In this course we take a deep dive in the topic of Pruning – breaking it down by tree species as well as by the developmental stages of the tree. Plus, we investigate Flowering Bonsai, Bunjin, and Winter care.

Course introduction
In this course, we present you the most comprehensive curriculum available on Pruning your Bonsai. We focus on the nuances that each tree species presents, and break down the pruning techniques based on the developmental stages of your trees.

The expert teachers, Bjorn Bjorholm and Michael Hagedorn, also provide interesting tutorials on the Bunjin style (Literati), show how to create a root over rock Bonsai, and investigate various Fruiting and flowering tree species.

Understand and apply the essential Pruning techniques
Expert teachers show you how to do it yourself
Expand your knowledge of advanced Bonsai techniques and styles

Price: $59.99
Level: Intermediate
Total time: 6 hour, 22 lectures
Lifetime access

Course index

My review of the course

Great production value, music and transitions. Filmed in a way that work is easy to observe, with appropriate close-ups, and time-lapse filming.

Having worked with Bjorn for a long time, this course is very consistent with his lectures. While nothing quite compares to hands-on work, his teaching is straight-forward and the demos are on accessible material, as well as advanced specimens.

Bjorn’s demo with the chuhin dwarf JWP shows exactly how he gets the results that he is famous for. Want your trees to look like his? This is what to do.

Their use of sped-up camera work cuts to the chase and still allows viewer to see it all happen. This motivates me to get back on my trees that have been neglected this year.

Trimming strong shoots on shimpaku is a controversial topic to the untrained, and Bjorn explains the correct way well, but then his hand conceals the close-up. This is the only criticism I can find to offer.

I have not had the pleasure of meeting or working with Michael Hagedorn, but he is easy to understand, relaxed in his approach, and quite endearing…almost like Bob Ross; which is intended as a compliment. “Last video we talked about getting fruits and flowers, in this video we’re going to ignore all that”. Sterilizing wounds is a new concept. Great lectures on Chojubai quince, with which he is synonymous. The demo is fantastic and the results are very nice.

When I estimated where Michael was going to cut, he was invariable less aggressive than I would be. Maybe something to consider, as his results are tasteful and proven.

These videos offer great depth of detail on what to do with multiple species and in wildly different phases of training…from a 3-year old shimpaku whip to a well-trained white pine. Good species discussion with emerging favorites here in the US too, like stewartia, JM, young cork bark JBP, and refined JWP. Something for everyone to be sure.

Additionally, the courses offer better and more deliberate descriptions of the “why” to the “what” they are each doing. And while it may seem tricky to offer a course with two very different teachers, neither man in the video contradicts the other. Bravo, all!

Check it out now at: