Part I: Shore Pine Design Puzzle

In the past I’ve done a series of posts about one tree’s styling, and that’s what we’ll do with this tree here. But this time I’d like you offer you some head scratching…

I used this Shore Pine, Pinus contorta subsp. contorta, as a design puzzle for several of my Fall Seasonal sessions, and had students discuss the merits of design choices: Various forks in the road, so to speak, where cutting off one branch or choosing a particular front would necessitate other decisions to retain balance. So…I’m offering 4 photos of this tree, 4 different sides of it, with a similar proposition for all of you. Come up with what you would do with it (individually that is…), and then I’ll have a follow up post in a few days with photos of what I did with the tree in the real-world, non-virtual styling here at Crataegus Bonsai.

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13 Comments

  1. Mac McAtee says:

    Looking at second photo. Don’t know the size of the tree so can’t reference inches. Remove the tiny branch at the base, leave the “daughter” branch. Remove the large first branch on right, leaving the curved area up to where the branch going straight up is and jinning the stub.

    Remove the second branch up on the right, the one that currently forms the apex. Leave a very short stub, like 2″ or so and jin it. This makes what is now the large left branch the new apex.

    Wire the main trunk for bending. Where the upper right branch was removed make the existing bend more to the left. Bend to the point that the “Y” in what is now the apex is over the point where the trunk enters the soil. Then bend the area above the bend to the left back to the right to make the apex more parallel to the planting surface.

    Wire all the details on the tree, bend the daughter tree a little more to the left so it is reaching out from under the main tree branching. Bend it to the point that it’s curves are paralleling the main trunk curves. Wire and arrange the apex branching as needed to enhance the overall look.

  2. al polito says:

    Second photo. Keep small trunk and accentuate/exaggerate movement. First main fork: Retain branch and wire heavily, shortening to second branch, which is vertical and forms a natural apex for that branch. Maybe wire that branch down and around to add drama. For next big fork on main leader, remove the straight right side. Wire down and accentuate movement to complement small trunk.

  3. Kevin Stoeveken says:

    It doesnt look like we can upload an image under comments…

    I am a 5 year novice here in Milwaukee Wisconsin (I believe you even know a friend of mine Steve Carini ?)

    My virtual skills can not really be called “skills” 😉 But, at any rate, attached is what i see…

    take care, Kevin

    On Fri, Nov 4, 2016 at 10:32 AM, Michael Hagedorn wrote:

    > crataegus posted: “In the past I’ve done a series of posts about one > tree’s styling, and that’s what we’ll do with this tree here. But this time > I’d like you offer you some head scratching… I used this Shore Pine, > Pinus contorta subsp. contorta, as a design puzzle for ” >

  4. Ray Norris says:

    second photo, has the best root flair, the first branch on the right shorten and the right straight branch at the top shorten and jin. the foliage on the right side shorten as the flow of this tree is to the left. wire little sister trunk to go with the flow. i have not made my mind up about the left side rear small lower branch whether or not to keep it..

  5. ndbcreek2014 says:

    I do a lot of this variety and while many of the pines challenge us with spoke wheel growth..these sometimes grow sort of hap-hazard
    Making it perfect for Bonsai or it kind of is what is (without a ton of wire etc.) I would pick your second picture
    Roughly as front -it holds many cronwns that already have begun..
    For an informal upright or possable twin trunk bunjin..so with as few cuts and wire as possible for now I would shorten or remove the longest branch-possibly Jin or Shari that(you will need something there so maybe Jin for now till new branch starts)
    Then shorten the next on down on the trunk..to the little crown started.
    This is a very simplistic styling of this tree and keeps it close to the two styles above.(without re-creating the whole thing)

  6. Rory says:

    Using the second picture I would wrap the first branch on right side and bend this branch downward and create a pad. Further up the tree I would either create a jin of the straight branch or completely remove. Rework the top left branch as the apex. Wire towards the right to help with movement left to right. Best feature is the little small daughter branch at the bottom. Thin out and wire small branch. Next small branch up the trunk needs to be wired to the back to help create depth.

  7. Carol Novak says:

    On Fri, Nov 4, 2016 at 10:32 AM, Michael Hagedorn wrote:

    > crataegus posted: “In the past I’ve done a series of posts about one > tree’s styling, and that’s what we’ll do with this tree here. But this time > I’d like you offer you some head scratching… I used this Shore Pine, > Pinus contorta subsp. contorta, as a design puzzle for ” >

  8. cenovak says:

    (Never mind–I was trying to post a photo!)

  9. Graham says:

    An intriguing post Michael,
    I’d try ………but photos can be such a disadvantage…yes?…..compared to your students design choices….as they were able to see and observe the tree up close.
    My initial thoughts from what you’ve offered ………I prefer the 2nd and 4th photos from a structural basis and find that all stems could be used but I would try to empathize the mother daughter theme…..as with most pines (conifers) the 2 main apex’s need to be reduced in overall vigor (shape) and although the upper middle stem is somewhat straight I think that it could be transformed into a similar contour to reflect a consistent overall shape. With the longer first stem coming off the main stem….I’d try and separate it with a greater gap than it has currently. The overall feel of the tree to me is healthy, vibrant somewhat youthful in character so I wouldn’t try to enhance it into something ancient as it doesn’t hold that vision of age and a harsh environmental upbringing (at least at this point in its journey).
    I Look forward to seeing what was the final choice.
    Cheers

  10. Janice says:

    I like seeing the little guy, so I prefer the 2nd or 4th. Something about the 4th is more appealing to me, maybe a greater sense of motion. Although it looks like the bigger tree is moving away from the little one, the small tree seems close and secure.

  11. Michael, I like #4 the best “Great movement”, I like the Mother-Daughter and the Small one on right being a Step Child. The longest branch in the center seems uninteresting to me, could be shortened or removed or jin. I’ve never worked on a shore pine and I’m interested in purchasing one. I see a lot of opportunities in working with material like this.This is a Great exercise for expanding a person mind. Thanks Ron

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