Black Pine Grafted Ponderosa: STYLED
This small pine goes way back to when I was a potter, trying to sell them at my first convention in the mid 90’s in Harrisburg, PA. I met Andy Smith there, and we traded a pot for a tree. He collected the yamadori pine in South Dakota.
For years I grew it as a cascading ponderosa, and grew increasingly disappointed with the look of it. About 8 years ago I put 10 black pine grafts on it. This was when I lived in Arizona. 9 took, 1 died the second year, so I ended up with 8 grafts. Definitely overkill. Then I left for Japan. When I came back I had a strong little tree that my friend Gary Wood had kept for me in Alabama. I ended up keeping only two of the grafts, so all the foliage it now has is from just two scions.
This winter I began looking at it again and thinking it was time for a rather major review. This is what I came up with. I don’t think it is in any way a ‘special’ tree of importance, but I’ve been casting about for things to do with small ponderosa that give us more latitude and creativity, and grafting seems one option. This has been my experimental tree… and I’m grafting more these days as a result of the fun I had with it.
The original pine ‘as a ponderosa’ back in about 1999.
All black pine now, growing with wild abandon on styling day.
After styling in February 2011, with new inclination but before potting (which happened two months later.)
Repotted, 12″ high. I did not cut the candles last year, but will this year. I have found that candle cutting is the same on grafted black/ponderosa trees as black pine on its own roots. Cutting the candles will shorten the needles by about half. Incidentally, this pine has a rather serious pigeon breast from this front… it just did not have that many options. I think a pigeon breast is simply a different feeling than a definite ‘Don’t!’ Those with dissenting opinions please comment…