There is one up-side to killing your trees in pots.. You now have free pots!

When I moved into the new place, it came with a bunch of spindly little pines sticking up out of the lawn.

There’s still more! Should I chop them?

Since I had free pots, I decided to make a little forest planting in a (way over-sized) pot. I had to mow the lawn at some point, so they were going to be ripped up, chopped off, or otherwise murdered. I was saving them! Unfortunately, I didn’t take any picture of the original planting.

This was mid-July (not good), I didn’t tie them down to the pot (not good), and I barely watered them after (not good). But I was saving them! This was the only potted tree that I had for a few years, and I heavily neglected watering for 2-3 years. I did pinch/cut-back candles yearly to keep strength fairly evenly distributed, but that’s the only work that I did. Candles are the elongated buds on pines that you see in the spring. We will have a whole post (or a few) dedicated to candles in the spring.

Elongated candle
Photo by Brett Sayles on

Here’s the outcome of that work:

The other trees will be in upcoming posts.

So you wouldn’t know this, but we went from 5 trees down to 3 in this planting 😦 I’ve killed two more trees.
As you may notice, the tree on the right is a different species. I’m almost certain that one is an Eastern White Pine. It has 5 long needles per cluster vs. the two per cluster in the two other trees.

Does anyone know what the other two are? My guess is a Scots Pine or Red Pine.

This year, I made the decision to actually begin to truly practice bonsai. My first decision was to wire this tree. Here’s my end result:

I didn’t wire the secondary and tertiary branches yet as I’m just trying to set a main structure. There’s clearly some branch removal decisions to be made to open up more negative space. I’m fairly happy with the apex of the left and right trees, but the center tree looks like it has a bowl cut. I’m waiting for some elongation in the branching to fix this. Any ideas in the meantime to reduce that effect?

Should I introduce movement into the center trunk-line or should I keep it quite straight? Should I reduce the height of the left or right tree to make them compete less with the center tree? Which direction should the center tree’s apex move?

Comment below and I’ll use your input so that we can revisit this one in a later post!

One thought on “Re-Start

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