Cool Member
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun May 08, 2005 1:50 pm

Need some general advice when transplanting pine

Today when I visited my dads place, in his forrest I found a really adorable pinus sylvestris. It was about 4 dm in height and it already had a "bonsai" look to it. I decided to try and grow it at my wood deck at home, so I dug it up, placed the roots in a plastic bag.

When I got home, I placed the entire root package in a bucket of water. The I found a nice pot where I put gravel in the bottom, and the soil is mixed sand, cow fertilizer (black soil made from cow manure) and some soil for rhododendhron plants (low ph). Then I placed the pine in the pot and started bending it a little with strings I tied to it.

My question is... how do I prevent this tree from dying? Since it is a pine I reckon it should be placed in the sun? was the soil mix correct?

I will post a pic soon!!


Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 5:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Okay, according to the Bonsai Survival Manual Pines should have excellant drainage. The soild mix should have about 30% organic mantter to 70% grit.

You want a temperature range between 20 F and 90 F and yes in full sun. Though, small pots should not be allowed to overheat.

Full Member
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 3:31 pm

If it is a tree you have just dug up from the ground you should do the following:

As the previous poster suggested you should plant in free draining soil with plenty of grit. Be cautious of heavy soil mixtures that do not allow oxygen to enter and retain too much moisture - I use equal part grit and free draining potting compost PLUS a small amount of the soil retained from the roots as this often contains a benefical fungus that grows on pine roots (mycorrizha). I have used superthrive (root stimulant) with very good results on 2 Scots Pines I recently dug up.

It is highly unlikely (unless you are exceptionally lucky) that you will have enough feeder roots close enough to the trunk to enable you to plant the pine directly into a bonsai pot - use a large tub or training box / tub to re-establish the plant and ensure it is vigourous. Heavy or long roots may have to be removed over one or more seasons.

You do not say if there was a good root system with plenty of feeder roots (these are the thin hair like roots responsible for drawing up moisture and nutrients). You should prune the top growth to match the volume of feeder roots otherwise the tree will die from excess transpiration.

I disagree with the previous poster about location - keep in part / dappled shade until you are sure it is growing healthily. Full sun + stressed root system = dead tree.

This is a good article about collectring trees from the wild and their aftercare:

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