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The ancient oriental art of bonsai (literally translated from Japanese as "growing in a pot") allows you to easily get a tree of an unusual shape at home. And although you can work with any bonsai, conifers remain the most popular. Home-grown and well-formed bonsai pine will become a miniature copy of a tree that grew in natural conditions. The rules for planting, leaving and forming bonsai are discussed in detail in this article.
Features of growing pine bonsai from seeds
Growing bonsai pine from seed is quite troublesome. First, you need to collect good seed (seeds). Secondly, properly prepare them for planting. And, thirdly, pick up containers for germination and for the subsequent transplantation of seedlings to a permanent place.
To grow a pine tree from seeds, you will have to spend more time than from a seedling bought or dug out in the forest. However, this allows you to start forming the root system and crown at the early stages of tree growth, which is important for bonsai pine.
To obtain seeds, ripe cones of a coniferous plant are taken and stored in a warm, dry place until the scales disperse. Once this happens, it will be possible to extract the seeds. It is important to use the seed of the current or last year, since the seeds of some conifers do not retain their germination for long.
Types of pines for bonsai
Almost every existing pine species suitable for bonsai (and there are more than 100), you can grow a bonsai tree. However, experts in this art distinguish four most suitable types:
In our latitudes, Scots pine is perfect for growing bonsai, because it is adapted to local conditions and does not require special care.
How to plant a bonsai pine tree
Choose and plant a coniferous tree for bonsai in the fall. A seedling brought from the forest or bought in a nursery must be planted in a flower pot and placed in natural conditions for a while - that is, put it on the street or on a balcony. It is important that the tree is sheltered from drafts and wind, it is also recommended to cover the pot with a layer of mulch.
In order to grow pine from seeds, it is necessary to create favorable conditions for their germination.
Planting tank and soil preparation
The planting container for sowing seeds should be no more than 15 cm deep. A drainage layer (usually gravel) with a height of 2 - 3 cm is placed on the bottom of the container, and coarse-grained river sand is poured on top. In order to increase the survival rate of seedlings, it is recommended to ignite gravel and sand. If this procedure is neglected, there is a high risk of death for most seedlings. And the more they survive, the richer the choice of an interesting seedling for the future bonsai.
At this stage, it is also necessary to prepare fine sand, which will be filled with seeds. It needs to be ignited.
Seeds obtained from opened cones should be stratified. To do this, they are kept for 2 - 3 months in a low temperature (0 - +4 ° C) with a humidity of 65 - 75%. I do this to prepare the embryo for development and facilitate germination, since the upper shell of the seeds softens during the stratification process.
How to Plant Bonsai Pine Seeds
Seeds should be sown at the end of winter or early spring, since during this period they pass from a state of dormancy to an active life. For sowing seeds in a pot with coarse sand, it is necessary to make a furrow with a depth of 2 - 3 cm. At a distance of 3 - 4 cm, pine seeds are placed in the furrow, covered with calcined fine sand and watered. The container is covered with glass. Daily ventilation is necessary to avoid the appearance of mold. Now all that remains is to wait.
How to grow bonsai pine from seed
After sowing, approximately on the 10-14th day, the first shoots appear. After that, the glass should be removed and the containers with crops should be placed in a sunny place. If the lighting is insufficient, the seedlings will stretch upward. For the formation of bonsai, this is unacceptable, since the lower branches of such seedlings will be located too high.
How to grow bonsai from Scots pine seeds:
- A month after planting the seeds, when the seedlings reach a height of 5 - 7 cm, a root pick should be carried out. To do this, the plants are carefully removed from the ground and the roots are removed with a sharp knife in the place where the trunk loses its green color. With the help of this procedure, the formation of a radial root is achieved, since in pine it is by nature a rod type.
- After picking, the cuttings are placed in a root former for 14-16 hours (root, heteroauxin, succinic acid). Then they are planted in separate pots in a special soil mixture prepared from one part of garden soil (or peat) and one part of river sand. The pots are placed in a shaded place for one and a half to two months until the cuttings take root.
- After the cuttings have taken root, they are transplanted a second time into a permanent container, 15 cm deep. The soil mixture is taken the same as for planting cuttings. At this stage, it is important to position the already fairly well-formed root system, in a horizontal plane: this is a prerequisite for growing bonsai pine.
After the second transplant, the seedling pots are returned to a sunny place. At the age of 3-4 months, kidneys begin to appear on the trunk, at the level of the lower tier of needles. It remains to monitor their growth and form correctly.
Optimal growing conditions
Pine is not a houseplant, so it is advisable to expose the bonsai tree to fresh air in the summer: in the garden or on the balcony. In this case, the site should be selected well-lit, not blown by the winds. With a lack of sunlight, the tree grows too long needles, which is unacceptable for bonsai pine.
In winter, it is important to create natural conditions for the growth of pine. For species from the subtropical zone, it is necessary to provide a temperature of +5 - + 10 ° C and a humidity of 50%.
Caring for a bonsai pine tree at home consists in regular watering, feeding and forming the root system and crown.
Watering and feeding
Water should be very sparing, depending on the weather conditions. Usually bonsai pine is watered once a week in summer. In winter, watering is reduced to scanty in order to slow down the growth of the plant.
Important! Bonsai pine loves sprinkling, so every 3-4 days it is recommended to spray it with needles with water.
They feed it in parallel with mineral and organic fertilizers. From organic it can be compost or humus, and from mineral - nitrogen, phosphorus, potash. Top dressing begins in early spring after cutting (3-4 times) and in autumn, after the rainy season (also 3-4 times), when the bonsai pine begins a dormant period.
The formation of bonsai from pine has its own difficulties, since the period of active growth in the tree is observed once a year - in the second half of spring. In addition, pine has three growth zones, which vary greatly in annual growth. Shoots grow most actively in the zone of the apex. Shoots in the middle zone grow with medium vigor. And the lower branches have very weak growth.
It is necessary to start forming a bonsai from a pine sapling, since it is impossible to bend the stiff branches and trunk of a grown tree in the right direction: they will break. Shoot pruning is carried out in the fall - this allows you to minimize the loss of juice. However, if there is a need to remove a whole branch, this should be done in the spring so that the tree heals the wound during the summer.
Crown. In order to give the crown of a pine an interesting shape, wire is wrapped around its branches and trunk.
It is better to do this in the fall, since in the winter the pine tree is at rest. If this is done in the spring, when the pine is experiencing a growth spurt, by the end of summer, the wire can grow into the branches and leave a noticeable scar. Although, sometimes, this is exactly what the specialists achieve, it all depends on the style of the bonsai.
Kidneys. In the spring, groups of buds grow on the shoots, and to give the direction of the tree's growth, and unnecessary ones are pinched. Here you should remember about the growth zones. On the lower shoots, it is necessary to leave the most developed buds, on the upper ones - the least developed.
Candles. The preserved buds are drawn in the spring into candles, the length of which must also be adjusted taking into account the growth zones. In the upper zone, pruning is carried out more rigidly than in the lower one. Bonsai pine can react negatively if all candles are cut off at once, so this process should be extended over 15 to 20 days.
Needles. The bonsai pine needs to pluck out the needles to ensure the penetration of sunlight to all internal shoots. You can thin out the needles from the second half of summer until the arrival of autumn. In order for all branches of the tree to be evenly planted, it is necessary to pluck out the needles on the most pubescent shoots in the upper zone. Then the bonsai pine will direct the unspent forces on the growth of needles to the lower branches.
In some species, pine needles are pruned to give the bonsai tree a decorative look. The plant is allowed to grow the full needles and are cut off completely in August. The plant, of course, will grow new ones, but they will already be much shorter.
Caring for a bonsai pine tree at home requires replanting every two to three years. This is necessary in order to form a root system that matches the bonsai style. The first transplant of a young tree is carried out in the 5th year, in early spring, before the buds begin to swell. At the same time, it is categorically impossible to completely shake off the old substrate from the roots, since it contains mushrooms that are useful for plant health.
Bonsai pine can be propagated in two ways: grown from seeds or by cuttings. Seed propagation is less troublesome. Cones are harvested in late autumn and seeds are sown in early spring.
Cuttings are not the most common propagation method, since the survival rate of cuttings is very small. The stalk is cut in early spring from an adult tree, choosing one-year-old shoots that grow upward. In this case, it is necessary to cut off with the mother fragment (heel).
Home-grown bonsai pine, with proper attention and proper care, will delight its owner for many decades. It is important not to forget that bonsai cultivation is a continuous process of forming an ornamental dwarf tree from an ordinary one. Timely pruning of the crown and roots, feeding and watering pine trees, as well as creating favorable conditions in summer and winter, contribute to the early achievement of the goal.