Killing Black Pines

Forum for discussion of Pines, Junipers, Cedar etc as bonsai.
badabing888
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 136
Joined: February 9th, 2013, 4:47 pm
Favorite Species: Black Pine
Bonsai Age: 0
Bonsai Club: -
Location: Perth
Been thanked: 2 times

Killing Black Pines

Post by badabing888 »

So who here has killed a black pine......and how many? :P :yes: :yes:
TimS
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 1236
Joined: March 17th, 2017, 2:46 pm
Favorite Species: Chojubai & Ginkgo
Bonsai Age: 6
Bonsai Club: Mornington Bonsai Group
Location: Melbourne
Has thanked: 236 times
Been thanked: 277 times

Re: Killing Black Pines

Post by TimS »

I've had a few over the years, none currently, but can't say i've managed to kill any of them. I've found them pretty much bomb proof tbh.
In the blue darkening sky, the moon paints a pine tree.
User avatar
Ryceman3
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 2106
Joined: October 19th, 2014, 10:39 am
Favorite Species: Right now ... pines
Bonsai Age: 6
Location: Melbourne
Has thanked: 715 times
Been thanked: 777 times

Re: Killing Black Pines

Post by Ryceman3 »

I’ve germinated over 200 from seed... Not that many really but the first 6 months or so I would say they are most vulnerable. Probably lost about a dozen, some due to drying out, some maybe due to stem cutting, others due to who knows what? As for older stuff I’ve picked up, nothing dead as yet ... and I have worked on them. Can you kill them? Sure. Is it easy? Not particularly. If you wanna talk casualties I would say JBP are close to indestructible in comparison to many natives (which I like too). They (JBP) seem to have adapted to life in a pot, great trees for bonsai IMHO. Maybe the best. :whistle:
badabing888
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 136
Joined: February 9th, 2013, 4:47 pm
Favorite Species: Black Pine
Bonsai Age: 0
Bonsai Club: -
Location: Perth
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Killing Black Pines

Post by badabing888 »

Ryceman3 wrote: July 18th, 2020, 10:40 pm I’ve germinated over 200 from seed... Not that many really but the first 6 months or so I would say they are most vulnerable. Probably lost about a dozen, some due to drying out, some maybe due to stem cutting, others due to who knows what? As for older stuff I’ve picked up, nothing dead as yet ... and I have worked on them. Can you kill them? Sure. Is it easy? Not particularly. If you wanna talk casualties I would say JBP are close to indestructible in comparison to many natives (which I like too). They (JBP) seem to have adapted to life in a pot, great trees for bonsai IMHO. Maybe the best. :whistle:
Must just be me! It seems to be the only species i can kill on the regular.

It seems to be mostly 8-10 weeks after decandling mostly around march, they start to push new buds then essentially old needles yellow from the top and work their way down.

I'm 95% sure its a consistent root rot / general roots issue. The question is how to ensure the roots are very healthy!

I had 3 die on me this year out of about 20, but it is not the first year!

1. Was likely due to a repot and then my damn dog decided to dig it out of the pot twice so it was sitting on the floor all day till i got home. That issue has been solved.

1. I had for 5 years (But was about 20 years old), followed basically the same watering schedule etc and it never got going this year.
I was so mad i put it aside and only pulled it out the pot today and noticed the root system was very small for a pine that had been in the pot for this long.
Iikely over watering but i was super careful this year even using a moisture meter to get a gauge. I'm thinking the issue is in fact the root system was compromised and didn't have the vigor to recover. It might be a mix of too much organic matter, broken down akadama, the consistency of the soil changed over time or the pot over summer heats up so much over december / jan it just cooks the roots so its never in great health.

the others over the years always seem to be after decandling and when i've pull them from their pots its always the same issue roots not growing strongly!
So this needs to be addressed once and for all!

What mixes are people using?
Last ditch effort is to go 1:1:1 pumice, lava rock, pine bark to ensure over watering is not a problem.
With an above type mix how often are people watering come summer time, say nov - april when in full sun and are people covering their pots to keep them cool in full sun?


End rant!

LOL
SmokeyKilla
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 11
Joined: July 18th, 2020, 11:01 pm
Favorite Species: Natives
Bonsai Age: 20
Has thanked: 3 times

Re: Killing Black Pines

Post by SmokeyKilla »

Black pines must have excellent drainage, while they will tolerate lots of water, they will not do well at all if the soil is constantly wet. I think with them less is more. I always throw my seedlings in the crappiest potting mix i have left over and they seem to do really well.
terryb
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 490
Joined: April 29th, 2016, 3:44 pm
Bonsai Age: 4
Bonsai Club: SA Bonsai Society; VNBC
Location: Adelaide
Has thanked: 356 times
Been thanked: 160 times

Re: Killing Black Pines

Post by terryb »

badabing888 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 4:37 am What mixes are people using?
Last ditch effort is to go 1:1:1 pumice, lava rock, pine bark to ensure over watering is not a problem.
With an above type mix how often are people watering come summer time, say nov - april when in full sun and are people covering their pots to keep them cool in full sun?
Nothing super mature here but my colander grown trees are in 50:50 pumice:orchaiata bark. In summer these get watered once a day. Sun for most of the day except late afternoon and I'll only cover them if the temps go above 38C.
tinto
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 50
Joined: December 30th, 2008, 1:22 pm
Favorite Species: pine
Bonsai Age: 10
Bonsai Club: sydney
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Killing Black Pines

Post by tinto »

usually fairly tough tres, transplanting can be a stress for trees, needs to be done properly.
User avatar
Ryceman3
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 2106
Joined: October 19th, 2014, 10:39 am
Favorite Species: Right now ... pines
Bonsai Age: 6
Location: Melbourne
Has thanked: 715 times
Been thanked: 777 times

Re: Killing Black Pines

Post by Ryceman3 »

badabing888 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 4:37 am It seems to be mostly 8-10 weeks after decandling mostly around march, they start to push new buds then essentially old needles yellow from the top and work their way down.

I'm 95% sure its a consistent root rot / general roots issue. The question is how to ensure the roots are very healthy!

I had 3 die on me this year out of about 20, but it is not the first year!
This to me sounds like an issue with process that is causing the same result if you find it happens repeatedly. What that issue is, I have no idea but I will say a few things that pop into my head about JBP when I read your post :
  • Decandling should only be done on trees that are showing really strong signs of growth/health. I f you don't have a strong tree before you decandle, you're not going to get one after.
  • With the above in mind, you should be bumping up the fertiliser to maximise vigour in the tree prior to decandling. I'm not saying you haven't got a good fert regime going - but just that it is vital if you want the tree to give you a positive result after you decandle.
  • Pines can take a while to show visual signs they have died/are getting weak. The fact you notice this in March (I am assuming from visual clues) most likely means the tree was dead/struggling weeks before... which takes you back to mid-summer and the decandling period.
  • When it comes to watering, I find pines need less water after the decandling than they did before. Less needle volume/foliage ... less transpiration etc. If you don't alter your watering regime to "compensate" for that I would say there is a possibility you are overwatering at a critical point in the tree's season. This may lead to root issues (rot etc) that you speak of.
  • The other point that relates to the above is the mix. How coarse/fine is it and what kind of water retention do you get? I don't live in your neck of the woods so I wouldn't want to go on about what you should do in terms of mix, but in general pines like a free draining mix ... how you take that and adapt it to your environment is up to you!
badabing888 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 4:37 am 1. Was likely due to a repot and then my damn dog decided to dig it out of the pot twice so it was sitting on the floor all day till i got home. That issue has been solved.
That doesn't sound like a great way to recover from a repot ... in other news, hope the dog is OK!?! :o :shock:
badabing888 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 4:37 am 1. I had for 5 years (But was about 20 years old), followed basically the same watering schedule etc and it never got going this year.
I was so mad i put it aside and only pulled it out the pot today and noticed the root system was very small for a pine that had been in the pot for this long.
I think you are answering your own question here (and below) in terms of why your trees aren't as healthy as they could be. Looking into changing up your potting mix (if you haven't to this point) I think is a pretty reasonable course of action. If your tree doesn't have roots that are healthy/thriving, decandling will not give you a good outcome. A lot of people will forego decandling the same year they repot to give the tree a chance to recover/flourish.
badabing888 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 4:37 am Iikely over watering ...
I think this is a possibility for sure
badabing888 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 4:37 am What mixes are people using?
Last ditch effort is to go 1:1:1 pumice, lava rock, pine bark to ensure over watering is not a problem.
With an above type mix how often are people watering come summer time, say nov - april when in full sun and are people covering their pots to keep them cool in full sun?
The 1:1:1 mix you speak of sounds fine, so long as you water in a way to make sure the tree doesn't dry out/stay too wet (and so we go around in a circle again ... :roll: ) How much to water and how often depends on so many things that it really is different for everybody. In a mix like that I would water 2 (possibly 3) times a day in temps above 38deg because my trees live on a roof exposed to full sun/wind etc and they would need that. Somebody in the next suburb may have the same temps but have their bonsai more sheltered and therefore only water once ...?
Have I answered your question - I don't really think so, but I don't think I can definitively. Hopefully it gives you some stuff to think about though which might lead you down the right path.
Good luck!
:beer:
KIRKY
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 1606
Joined: May 21st, 2009, 3:42 pm
Favorite Species: Flowering
Bonsai Age: 12
Bonsai Club: BSV
Location: Melbourne
Has thanked: 624 times
Been thanked: 126 times

Re: Killing Black Pines

Post by KIRKY »

There are a couple of questions for you firstly how old are your trees? Older trees do better with a mix like 50% pumice n 50% Akadama. Younger trees need more organics in the mix. Secondly how often do you repot? Third where are your trees kept? Full sun, shade. Also you are removing candles on trees with a poor root system? Trees that are unhealthy struggling root system shouldn’t be worked at all imo. Also what is the depth of your pots? Lots to consider. Pines I find prefer to be on the dry side even in summer. Mine sit in full sun all day get watered once a day in summer even when its 40 they sit on a concrete drive way and are backed by a wall of terracotta roof tiles. So he dryer the better where Pines are concerned. Haven’t lost one yet 25 years and counting.
Cheers
Kirky
User avatar
MJL
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 2759
Joined: October 26th, 2014, 8:47 pm
Favorite Species: Maples, Elms, Cedars and Pines
Bonsai Age: 7
Bonsai Club: Waverley Bonsai Group & Yarra Valley Bonsai Society
Location: Melbourne
Has thanked: 424 times
Been thanked: 561 times

Re: Killing Black Pines

Post by MJL »

badabing888 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 4:37 am It seems to be mostly 8-10 weeks after decandling mostly around march, they start to push new buds then essentially old needles yellow from the top and work their way down.
I am no expert on pines (or any Bonsai :lol: ) but what R3 and others are saying makes sense in the context of my limited knowledge. Can I just check that I am reading the above quote correctly. You are decandling in December and the tree is showing signs of yellowing by March ... or are you decandling in March? To my understanding, if you were decandling in March this would be too late to allow the tree to throw it's second flush before going dormant in Winter.

Further - I don't do many rules but there is one re: pines (and most trees) that I tend to adhere too.... only work (root prune or decandle etc...) if a tree is healthy. If the tree is not healthy and vigorous in the first place ... you're asking for trouble.

My guess would over watering or at least the water not escaping adequately.

I am yet to kill one but I did buy one in Qld last year ... it has yellow tips and it is not happy nor healthy - could be a change in climate but I think it is water-logged. The pot feels heavy and root mass dense. I'll repot it soon and get it into a more free-flowing mix. When I do that - I won't be going hard at the roots - rather just teasing out crap soil and replacing with good stuff before Spring.... hopefully it will recover. :fc:
Tending bonsai teaches me patience.
KIRKY
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 1606
Joined: May 21st, 2009, 3:42 pm
Favorite Species: Flowering
Bonsai Age: 12
Bonsai Club: BSV
Location: Melbourne
Has thanked: 624 times
Been thanked: 126 times

Re: Killing Black Pines

Post by KIRKY »

Mark you can repot now. Once you have repotted water well with seasol and then leave it alone for a week or even two. Then start waterIng normally. Pines like to be dry.
Cheers
Kirky
badabing888
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 136
Joined: February 9th, 2013, 4:47 pm
Favorite Species: Black Pine
Bonsai Age: 0
Bonsai Club: -
Location: Perth
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Killing Black Pines

Post by badabing888 »

Thanks for the replys.
You are decandling in December and the tree is showing signs of yellowing by March ... or are you decandling in March?
Decandling in Early-mid Jan which is what i've been told suits Perth as the growing season runs till late april.
KIRKY wrote: July 19th, 2020, 2:11 pm There are a couple of questions for you firstly how old are your trees? Older trees do better with a mix like 50% pumice n 50% Akadama. Younger trees need more organics in the mix. Secondly how often do you repot? Third where are your trees kept? Full sun, shade. Also you are removing candles on trees with a poor root system? Trees that are unhealthy struggling root system shouldn’t be worked at all imo. Also what is the depth of your pots? Lots to consider.
I have a range of ages some 2-3 years old in colanders some 15-20 years old in bonsai pots some in grow bags. I've only ever lost one's in bonsai pots that were "unexplained" i.e not being destroyed by the dog after a repot.
I've tried two mixes over the years 50% akadama, 50% "bonsai mix" and 50% akadama, 25% gravel, 25% bonsai mix.
Tree's always in full sun minimum 8-10 hours a day in summer.

Previously i watered twice a day in the middle of summer this year i cut it back to once a day trying to be mindful not to over water.
2 that i lost this year had not been de-candled this year as they had weak growth in spring.
I even used a moisture meter and never watered unless it said dry! LOL

the 1 I'm focusing on here had previously had poor health about 2 years ago i had Peter Odin from bonsai emporium here say its was likely due to compacting soil in the pot and them staying too wet over winter (Not enough oxygen) , he lifted the the tree gave a very light root prune, coarse gravel in the bottom and around the sides before using a screw drivers to "air rate" from the top, it then stayed in his nursery for a few months and bounced back after a few months. At time of death the soil wasn't compact like previously doesn't mean i haven't over watered it though.
Ryceman3 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 11:25 am This to me sounds like an issue with process that is causing the same result if you find it happens repeatedly. What that issue is, I have no idea but I will say a few things that pop into my head about JBP when I read your post :
100% its something i'm doing consistently that's incorrect. This autumn i changed a few things to try make sure the tree's don't get water logged in winter as this might be setting the ball in motion.
1. Removed all weeds, removed the top 2inch's of soil without disturbing the roots and replaced with clean mix used a screw drivers to just loosen the soil to stop heavy compaction of the soil in pot.
Ryceman3 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 11:25 am
  • Decandling should only be done on trees that are showing really strong signs of growth/health. I f you don't have a strong tree before you decandle, you're not going to get one after.
Correct i don't decandle unless a tree is healthy. Nice green needles etc.
Ryceman3 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 11:25 am
  • With the above in mind, you should be bumping up the fertiliser to maximise vigour in the tree prior to decandling. I'm not saying you haven't got a good fert regime going - but just that it is vital if you want the tree to give you a positive result after you decandle.
In general i start late august 2-3 tea bags per medium sized tree. change every 8-10 weeks.
Ryceman3 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 11:25 am
  • Pines can take a while to show visual signs they have died/are getting weak. The fact you notice this in March (I am assuming from visual clues) most likely means the tree was dead/struggling weeks before... which takes you back to mid-summer and the decandling period.
Yep my thoughts that the tree's root system really isn't in great shape and the act of decandling sets the ball rolling for the decline a short time later.
Ryceman3 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 11:25 am
  • When it comes to watering, I find pines need less water after the decandling than they did before. Less needle volume/foliage ... less transpiration etc. If you don't alter your watering regime to "compensate" for that I would say there is a possibility you are overwatering at a critical point in the tree's season. This may lead to root issues (rot etc) that you speak of.
I've found the same thing and also if a tree is struggling it also requires less water as the entire cycle is compromised.
Ryceman3 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 11:25 am
  • The other point that relates to the above is the mix. How coarse/fine is it and what kind of water retention do you get? I don't live in your neck of the woods so I wouldn't want to go on about what you should do in terms of mix, but in general pines like a free draining mix ... how you take that and adapt it to your environment is up to you!
At this point i'm trying to go for as open mix as possible to avoid wet feet at all costs!

The annoying thing was i could see it slowly going backwards, i moved it to get less sun and misted which slowed the death down while i was watching trying to push buds but it simply slowed the death over a 2-3 months period.

When i pulled the tree from the pots they never look full of white feeder roots! Attached is the mix / root issues, this was obviously pulled out 4-5 months after it died in this case.

We will see how my other trees go coming into this growing season as they look better after paying more attention to the soil conditions coming into winter. I will try and slowly transition them to the pumice mix in the next few years.

This is the mixed that was in the pot
mix1.jpg
The tree in late november buds still hadn't fully opened.
november.png
dead roots few months after the tree had died
rootrot.png


badabing888 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 4:37 am 1. Was likely due to a repot and then my damn dog decided to dig it out of the pot twice so it was sitting on the floor all day till i got home. That issue has been solved.
Ryceman3 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 11:25 am That doesn't sound like a great way to recover from a repot ... in other news, hope the dog is OK!?! :o :shock:
Dog's alive! i've just moved to raised bonsai stands now.
badabing888 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 4:37 am 1. I had for 5 years (But was about 20 years old), followed basically the same watering schedule etc and it never got going this year.
I was so mad i put it aside and only pulled it out the pot today and noticed the root system was very small for a pine that had been in the pot for this long.
I think you are answering your own question here (and below) in terms of why your trees aren't as healthy as they could be. Looking into changing up your potting mix (if you haven't to this point) I think is a pretty reasonable course of action. If your tree doesn't have roots that are healthy/thriving, decandling will not give you a good outcome. A lot of people will forego decandling the same year they repot to give the tree a chance to recover/flourish.
badabing888 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 4:37 am Iikely over watering ...
I think this is a possibility for sure
badabing888 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 4:37 am What mixes are people using?
Last ditch effort is to go 1:1:1 pumice, lava rock, pine bark to ensure over watering is not a problem.
With an above type mix how often are people watering come summer time, say nov - april when in full sun and are people covering their pots to keep them cool in full sun?
The 1:1:1 mix you speak of sounds fine, so long as you water in a way to make sure the tree doesn't dry out/stay too wet (and so we go around in a circle again ... :roll: ) How much to water and how often depends on so many things that it really is different for everybody. In a mix like that I would water 2 (possibly 3) times a day in temps above 38deg because my trees live on a roof exposed to full sun/wind etc and they would need that. Somebody in the next suburb may have the same temps but have their bonsai more sheltered and therefore only water once ...?
Have I answered your question - I don't really think so, but I don't think I can definitively. Hopefully it gives you some stuff to think about though which might lead you down the right path.
Good luck!
:beer:
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
KIRKY
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 1606
Joined: May 21st, 2009, 3:42 pm
Favorite Species: Flowering
Bonsai Age: 12
Bonsai Club: BSV
Location: Melbourne
Has thanked: 624 times
Been thanked: 126 times

Re: Killing Black Pines

Post by KIRKY »

That mix looks similar to what I grow my trees in. Perhaps next winter don’t water at all unless you haven’t had rain for a few weeks. I hardly water over winter but then I’m in Melbourne. Between the fog and rain my trees are moist all winter so don’t need more water from me. Plus they are on the ground not getting as much wind the trees are more protected. Good luck with your new mix. I decandle here early to mid December allowing new candles a good start before winter sets in.
Cheers
Kirky
User avatar
Ryceman3
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 2106
Joined: October 19th, 2014, 10:39 am
Favorite Species: Right now ... pines
Bonsai Age: 6
Location: Melbourne
Has thanked: 715 times
Been thanked: 777 times

Re: Killing Black Pines

Post by Ryceman3 »

I agree with Kirky. That mix looks to be coarse enough and so I would think oxygenated sufficiently to get some good root growth. But thinking about it, I would say that is where your problem seems to lie, root growth. Without root growth, decandling is going to weaken/kill the trees and you say...
badabing888 wrote: July 20th, 2020, 2:21 am
When i pulled the tree from the pots they never look full of white feeder roots! Attached is the mix / root issues, this was obviously pulled out 4-5 months after it died in this case.

We will see how my other trees go coming into this growing season as they look better after paying more attention to the soil conditions coming into winter. I will try and slowly transition them to the pumice mix in the next few years.
This I think is the crux. Obviously you're not going to see white feeder roots under the soil on a dead tree, but the fact you say you've never seen them makes me think the roots never really take off and develop like they should?? Here's a shot of one of my 2 year old JBPs I pulled out of a pot to check this arvo. As you can see, it is FULL of roots (root pruned hard and repotted August last year). Plenty of mychorrizal fungi too, not essential but generally considered a very good sign - do you get that in your pots?
JBP roots 0720_01.jpg
The stuff you say about removing weeds and scraping back/replacing the top soil all sounds like good practise to me (I have heard of this strategy before - never done it but I can see the benefit it could have).
Basically, what I'm saying is I think your problems are related to poor/non-existent root growth ... and I feel like it stems from overwatering/too much water during colder months, possibly through spring. Your technique mentioned above coupled with repotting to a different mix (if you feel so inclined) together seem like logical steps to help address it - along with watching the water. I know you said you used a meter, but I think I remember reading somewhere that they can be fairly inaccurate in evaluating moisture levels in pot environments... so if I were you I'd rely more on what you can see and feel. Maybe if you want to get a reading on the success of your plan you could leave a few as they are as a "control" and compare with those you apply changes to.
Whatever you decide to do ... :fc:
badabing888 wrote: July 19th, 2020, 4:37 am Dog's alive! i've just moved to raised bonsai stands now.
Good news! :D
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
BirchMan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 201
Joined: June 17th, 2010, 11:36 pm
Favorite Species: JBP
Bonsai Age: 6
Bonsai Club: Bonsai Workshop WA
Location: Perth
Has thanked: 41 times
Been thanked: 7 times

Re: Killing Black Pines

Post by BirchMan »

Hi Badabing,

Must be a Perth thing. I have killed about 5 JBPs now and I'm quite sure it's soil/water/oxygen issues almost every time.

I know we have some from the same seller - 20yo grow bag JBPs. Well I repotted two last September into plastic trainer pots, removing about 1/3 to half the rootball and teasing the tips from out the field growbag soil into a pumice/pine bark mix. One made it through summer and is going along nicely now - touch wood it's through the biggest test it gets for some years. The other slowly declined and kicked the bucket around March. I can say i stupidly left it on hot pavers for a day in the middle of summer which would've been the death knell. On inspecting the roots at emergency repots while i was trying to save it looked like the difference between soil coarseness might've formed a preferential pathway for water to travel around instead of into the roots.

I think our dry summers make me hyper vigilant and prone to overwatering. I'm gradually learning how to spot and test when different species and mixes need watering. And to make my mixes more uniform to normalise that variable.

I've become aware of spider mites on my junipers recently and so will be adding that to my watch list on the good JBP that's left.
Post Reply

Return to “Pines and Junipers”