Another Ponderosa Revisit-
Last week we did a promised revisit of a Ponderosa Pine that was styled a few years ago…this week let’s do an unpromised one.
Ponderosa Pine as it came into the yard, or rather about five months later, if I remember right.
In the fall of that year, we styled the tree. I’d like to reiterate the point from the last blog post about water-retentive soils and how that can create extenuated growth. This tree was growing in peat and bark in addition to lava, which can certainly work—the tree is alive and growing—but the uptick in water and fertilizer from such a soil created long, twisted needles. Compare this with the next photo.
23″ / 58 cm. Shorter, straighter needles in a volcanic mix. It’s not that you can’t achieve this with other soils, it’s just my observation that it’s harder to get these results. For the last three years this pine has undergone a selective needle removal on the top and on strong shoots, which has strengthened the lower branches and helped even up needle length throughout the tree. Smaller end buds result from the shorter needles, and you create shorter needles by withholding fertilizer in the spring when they’re growing, and not overwatering. This tree is full of buds that haven’t pushed needles yet, so it will be denser in a few years, and even shorter needles. Right now they’re 1 1/2″ long. Please don’t cut the needles on your Ponderosas in half, that looks ugly and there are better techniques to shorten needles.
Take a look at the post that covers the styling of this pine: