Now that our deciduous bonsai are mostly transplanted and trimmed, its time to begin with the evergreen species. Many of the pines have been pinched, at least once and I have learned that this is the prime time to root prune and transplant established pine bonsai.
This bonsai is a RAF Dwarf Scots pine, Pinus sylvestris ‘RAF,’ which has been completely container grown for over 30 years. One of my students has been training the tree until I purchased it in 2011. The second trunk is quite vigorous and was not trimmed to maintain the thin trunk. So, we are working with the way the tree developed.
At one time the crown had a pointed appearance that suggests an immature tree. I thinned it out, wired and transplanted it. A few years ago the bonsai was again transplanted into a shallower rectangular container.
My Senior Assistant Alan Adair helped me transplant the pine today, May 23, 2018, just before I leave to teach in England. Note that the buds have already been pinched once and will also be pinched again as necessary.
The root system was excellent, filled with mycorrhiza, the white beneficial fungus which forms a symbiotic relationship with the growing roots. We harvested much of the mycorrhiza and cut it up for inoculation to other evergreen bonsai in the future.
Next a power sprayer was used to clean the base of the trunk and some of the lower bark of the bonsai. Note how Alan is carefully lifting and lowering the bonsai into the container using the upper branches, NOT handling the trunk with beautiful flaky bark. Since we were in a hurry, only finely cut long-fibered sphagnum moss was applied to the soil surface. Later when we have more time (?) green exhibition moss will be planted.
The newly transplanted RAF Dwarf Scots pine was growing in a full sun exposure in my display garden. After transplanting, Alan carried it back to the same location and I thoroughly watered the bonsai in the full sun.
I have been using this technique for several decades with excellent results.
By the way, with Alan’s assistance, we were able to transplant another large RAF Dwarf Scots pine before boarding the plane to England.