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 Bonsai Pine Tree

 By Erik A. Olsen

While there are many different species of trees that make excellent bonsai, one of the favorites for many is the Pine tree. For this particular tree to succeed in growing, it does require certain attention. First, the bonsai pine tree needs full sun. What happens is that if the tree is not getting adequate light, the needles will start to extend. Instead, you want the needles to remain short, which is where sunlight helps. Another concern specific to the bonsai pine tree is that they are actually very tolerant of temperatures. In fact, this tree can handle cold down to 68 degrees although they will also do quite will up to 86 degrees. Therefore, if the tree is growing outdoors and not covered with snow, just make sure that the tree is not in a place to receive too much wind or it will dry out.

The bonsai pine tree also needs to be watered just right. With this species of tree, you never want it to become too wet. Instead, allow the pines to dry out slightly in between watering times. When the needles on the tree are beginning to develop, you will do best by keeping it a little more on the dry side, again to help the tree develop shorter needles. Now, if you are growing the Japanese Black Pine, a beautiful species, this tree is highly sensitive to wet soil, developing root rot easily. Therefore, always make sure the soil is well drained so the tree is never sitting in overly moist soil.

For fertilizers when it comes to the bonsai pine tree, during the spring you want to use a mix of 0-10-10. Although you could go with an inorganic product, we highly recommend you stick with organic. As the buds on the tree start to swell, you want to stop using any fertilizer at all immediately. In addition, do not feed the tree fertilizer until you see the new needles are fully developed and hardened. At this time, the needles will be a dark green color and have a hard texture. By going through this non-fertilizing time, the needles will remain short. Keep in mind that if the tree needs some extended growth period, you can bypass this step. Then as the needles develop, begin fertilizing again until fall to help strengthen the roots for winter.

The bonsai pine tree must again be well drained. The best option is to use a coarse soil that is designed with grit in it along with Pine bark. These two additions will help the formation of Mykhorriza, a fungus needed to give the bonsai pine tree water and nutrients. In return, the Pine tree produces a hormone that the fungi need. For most climates, an excellent soil would consist of 25% sphagnum, 25% Pine bark, and 50% grit. If you happen to live in warmer areas where humidity levels are high, then you might consider Akadama, which is hard-burned clay.

As the bonsai pine tree grows and develops, its root system will become stronger and to a point where the tree must be repotted. Just remember that Pine trees not only prefer but also need a deep pot. When you repot a bonsai Pine tree, you want to wait two to four years in between although younger trees will handle being repotted every two years. In addition, the roots in the first year of repotting will develop very, slowly. During the second year, the roots will pick up speed and by the third year, they are extremely strong. With proper care and a little extra TLC, you cannot go wrong with a bonsai Pine tree.
 

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