Ponderosa pine first styling

I collected this ponderosa pine in ’10, and it spent the last couple years growing. It’s showing good signs of recovery, so I decided to begin shaping it today with Bjorn at our workshop. Quick plug…Bjorn is a talented artist; bright, focused, skilled, and he is a great teacher. Don’t miss an opportunity to work with him, it is a pleasure. Here is a link to his YouTube site, some fantastic videos are there…check them out.

This pine has some character, and was very representative of the pondys in the area, with nice orange bark, and the buttressed root. It has a double apex, and plenty of options. Since it was only collected a couple years ago, I wanted to leave quite a bit of the growth. This means it will take some time to get the profile I want without some goofy bends, but the overall profile is great.

Initially, we discussed choosing one apex or the other, and settled on a design that would use most of both apices. Also interesting that initially, the design was going to place the majority of the foliage over the center of the tree, moving to the right, and a much better design emerged as we allowed the design to flow left.

Some shots of the session:



After jinning the top of the right apex, and attaching a bar to put some movement in the trunk, pushing the jin forward, and moving the back apex up a bit…


After bending the trunk…


I wired the lower right branch and as we studied the movement, it was decided to remove it, and pull a back branch around into the negative space to the right of the trunk. Here is a shot before it was removed…


Now, on to the new apex. It took three strands of #4 copper wire to bend the branch nearly 120 degrees clockwise, and two guy wires…one to pull the branch down:


And another to pull it closer to the Jin:


Then, removing that right branch:


After removing the right branch, and before shaping the new apex…


After setting the apex:


The profile is great, and the new design is exciting. Over time, the goal is to increase density, and keep the profile but with a simpler branch structure.

Thanks for reading, and Bjorn, thanks for a great weekend!


Wooden boxes and collected material

In the spring of 2010, a collecting trip to South Dakota produced some trees with potential. While its important to collect the root system as completely as possible (intact is ideal), aftercare is the key to nursing a collected tree back to health. Seven of the trees collected were planted in the ground to recover, and 2 made it. 10 were planted in pots, and 9 survived.

Of the 10 trees planted in containers, most were planted in Anderson flats, and the voids were largely filled with chunks of styrofoam, so the volume of new soil added was minimal. Several trees were planted in wooden boxes as well. Those in wooden boxes seemed to be more vigorous and in the second season became pretty thirsty trees.

While the weather has been mild here, it is still too early to do root work and repotting. However, the wooden box finally gave up the ghost yesterday, and I needed to shift it to a more stable pot. The original box was the right length and width, but it was about 15″ deep, so we made a false bottom with blocks of styrofoam, and only the top half of the box actually contained soil. After 2 years in the sunshine, the wood was warping and soil was leaking out of all four corners.

Here are some photos of the repotting.







This will be its third growing season after repotting, and it will be allowed to grow freely at least this year and likely next year as well before any work is done on the top.