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Mr. Orange
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First Bonsai, pine from cutting

Hello everyone, I have long had an interest in creating a bonsai, and recently came across a little book from a gift package and decided to finally give it a whirl. So, in turn, I took a cutting off a small pine tree in my backyard and put in some compost (after applying root hormone). It is getting near fall, and I live in upstate NY, would this type of tree be okay inside for the winter? I have a few light fixtures i was planning on setting up for this purpose. Any and all comments, concerns or questions are welcome! I will post a few pictures tomorrow or tonight

TomM
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I'll be the first 'responder'. though I expect that others with deeper experience will follow.

Cuttings are best taken in early Spring for a number of reasons. When the seasonal energy surge begins and days are warming and lengthening the cutting will develop roots more readily. These tender new roots will grow nicely into the Spring/Summer months well ahead of the colder weather of Fall/Winter and will be hardened off allowing planting the new tree and get established. Those roots should not be exposed to freezing weather while still tender.

I would not attempt this off-season and risk failure from the coming frost/freezing temps. I doubt the cutting will produce roots now anyway. Short days, cooler temps (soon). I know Upstate weather.

Indoors? No experience there. But I am a firm believer in cold dormancy for temperate trees. Why not wait til the proper season? Spend the coming months reading and studying some good bonsai literature. Maybe join a local club.

Tom - near Utica.

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Mr. Orange
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Update: I just took a few pictures, i hope this will identify whether this cutting is suitable for indoor growth. Im not even exactly sure what type of pine this is.. i think it is a white pine, as the needles are in groups of 5.

[img]https://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff483/bent3n/2011-09-05000607.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff483/bent3n/2011-09-04231506.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff483/bent3n/2011-09-04231449.jpg[/img]

and yes, that is a crayola chalk bucket, i am currently strapped for a container or pot

TomM
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Question - are you going to grow roots and provide 'winter dormancy' at the same time? In the Fall?

Good luck.

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Gnome
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Mr. Orange,

Hello and welcome to the forum. It's good that you are seeking some advice before you get too far involved in bonsai. I agree with all the concerns/issues that Tom has mentioned. Here are a few more things to consider.

Bonsai from cuttings, or seed, is very long process that, while most definitely possible, is not the best approach for a beginner. It will take years of growth until you have something that resembles the trees you are seeing on-line or in books.

Whenever I start with such young material (usually seeds in my case) I always start as many as I can. The path from young plant to mature bonsai is fraught with many perils and by starting with only one there is a good chance that that particular individual will not make it to maturity.

Pines, in general, are difficult, they require a specific strategy that would not necessary if you were using deciduous material. Many deciduous species can be grown out, chopped back to the trunk and be expected to push new growth. Pines cannot be grown this way, therefore the grower must simultaneously develop the trunk while keeping a pathway open to later branch development.

White Pines, Pinus strobus, would not be very high on most growers list of suitable material. There are much better choices among Pines, Japanese Black Pines for instance. Seeds for this species are readily available on line and could be ordered in time to get a good start next spring as Tom suggests.

If you must try Pines, seedlings are probably easier than cuttings. Although I have never tried Pine cuttings Dirr & Heuser state that:
"Pines as a group are very difficult to root from cuttings..."
Take a little time, step back and reevaluate your goals for bonsai. If you are intent upon growing temperate species, then this fall is not the correct season to do much other than perhaps acquire some stock. Often nurseries will offer material at a discount this time of year in order to be rid of it.

If you want something for the house you have more flexibility *. With some forethought, and probably a modest cash outlay, you can start with one of the species that is more suited to indoor culture. Ficus is the most obvious choice here but there are many others.

Sorry if all of this sounds like we are discouraging you, that is not our intention. It is probably better that you get some of these missteps out the way early. On the plus side, you have not invested any cash or much time in this project so you have not really lost anything. Consider joining a local club where you will find a wealth of knowledge and people who will be willing to offer you their time and perhaps even some starter material.

Norm

*EDIT
Let me clarify that thought. I meant that at this time of year you will have more options indoors. This is because the season for outdoor work is winding down. Indoors, the season is much less of an issue.
Last edited by Gnome on Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mr. Orange
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Location: Upstate NY

I appreciate all or the hastey responses! I am nott too upset or disciuraged that i will not be likely to have much chance at success with this tree, i was just hoping that i could get involved without having to buy a tre. I have no idea how much a semi matured tree might cost. I took a look on amazon last night and saw a few under 20-30 dollars, i will post a few links, and make sure they are of indoor species. I am on a very tight budget, so anything more than this will not be an option for a while. Tell me what you gus know about purchasin trees online or how much certain trees should sell for

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Gnome
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Mr. Orange,

Since this thread began to take a turn toward indoor bonsai I split off all of the posts past this point. The balance of the discussion can now be found here.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=39533

Norm

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