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Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

The needle-like leaves of Japanese black pine bonsai are one of their most beautiful characteristics. It’s a pretty bonsai that grows slowly. Because of all these qualities, it makes a great ornamental bonsai.

Even though Japanese bonsai care can seem challenging, it can live for 200 years with proper care. For your black pine bonsai to thrive, let’s understand the right amount of care in detail.

Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Quick Facts

FactDescription
Scientific NamePinus thunbergii
FamilyPinaceae, or the pine family
Native toJapan and Korea
Height25 feet tall
Lifespan100-200 years
LeavesLong, needle-like
Fall foliageGreen color
FlowersSmall reddish flower
FruitSmall brown cones.
CultivationPopular as a bonsai tree
SymbolismIn Japanese culture, it represents longevity
UsesOrnamental plants for gardens and landscaping

Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Care Guide

Semi-humid conditions are perfect for Japanese black pine. Plus, it’s drough-resistant. And it needs quick-draining soil. However, there are a few more ways to keep black pine thriving. So, let’s dig into how to water, its placement, temperature tolerance, etc. in detail.

Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Watering

The general rule of thumb is to check the water twice daily during the growing season. During this period, black pine bonsai should be watered at least once per day, sometimes twice.

Moreover, Japanese black pine bonsai trees are drought-resistant, they prefer quick-draining soil that provides ample water. So, ensure that the soil is moist, but not saturated. Also, during the winter, water sparingly.

As pines prefer soil that drains very well, they should be sheltered from prolonged rainfall. Also, keep an eye on the soil daily. When the soil is dry, water it.

Learn more about Watering a bonsai tree.

Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Humidity & Temperature Tolerance

Japanese Black Pine prefers semi-humid conditions. Hence, put the tree on a humidity tray or regularly mist it. 

This tree likes temperatures between 50-70 ℉. Moreover, avoid taking this black pine bonsai tree outside in the summer as it dislikes extremely warm temperatures.

Right Placement for Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

A Japanese Black Pine tree grows best in direct sunlight. They produces denser and shorter needle growth with less internal space when given enough sunlight.

So, a window that gets direct afternoon light is ideal for Japanese black pine bonsai. However, if you want your tree somewhere without much sunlight, get grow lights.

Repotting Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

Repotting is best done early in spring before new growth begins. For black pine trees, repotting is recommended every 2-3 years. 

To repot, soak the tree for 30 minutes in water. This will soften the roots. After removing the tree, loosen the root ball. Avoid damaging the roots.

Now, fill your tree in your new pot with fresh bonsai soil. Make sure not to compact the soil mix too much as you backfill.

After watering the tree, let it drain and replace it. Also, to prevent root stress, water your tree as needed after repotting.

Best Soil for Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

Good drainage is important when selecting soil for Japanese black pine bonsai. Also, keeping the soil moist for long periods is bad for bonsai roots. Thus, it is best to have sandy or organic soils since they drain quickly.

How to Guides for Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

Next, let’s talk about pruning and wiring black pines. In the following sections, we will examine each step of pruning and wiring in detail.

How to Prune Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

How to Prune Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

During the early spring, prune and pinch your plants. The undesired weak buds should be pinched first, then the undesired strong ones a week later. 

After this first pinching, select the strongest and biggest buds and remove the weak ones. Let the weak buds grow in the strongest spots, and get rid of the biggest and strongest. 

Take off the needles growing at the top and bottom of branches, leaving only lateral needles. 

If the tree’s healthy, you can take all the new candles out every other spring. As soon as the candles are gone, buds will appear. This technique will shorten needles and increase foliage density.

Learn more about Pruning

How to Wire a Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

How to Wire a Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

There are multiple seasons for wiring Japanese black pine. Wiring can be done early in the spring before it begins to grow or in the fall during the process of selecting shoots. So, a great time to wire and refine black pine bonsai branching is in the fall.

  • Make sure the wire thickness is the right one for you.
  • Take one end of the wire and wrap it around the branch you will reposition. Make a 45-degree turn
  • Now, along the branch, wrap the wire neatly in line.
  • Bend branches slowly so that you do not damage or injure your bonsai.
  • If a branch is too high, use a guy wire to bring it down. Attach a hook to the end of the wire and wrap a protective material around the branch. Use a thick piece of wire at the end of the hook and allow it to hang from the hook.
  • Attach the guy wire to a strong root by extending it.
  • After attaching wires to your tree, make sure you remove the wires regularly.
  • Observe your pine growth after wiring. And provide daily water and place it in the sun.

Learn more about How to Wire a Bonsai Tree Branch

How to Fertilize Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

There is no need to fertilize the Japanese Black Pine regularly. When your Japanese black pine bonsai grows (spring and summer), fertilize it every two weeks. In the fall and winter, reduce fertilizer frequency. 

But if you want to feed your plants more regularly, use liquid plant food. This bonsai would benefit from Bio-Gold or something like it.

The best time to fertilize is mid-spring and early autumn. Moreover, to prevent excess fertilizer from draining away, use pots with adequate drainage.

Check this detailed guide on How to Fertilize your Bonsai Trees the Correct Way

How to Grow a Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

It’s best to grow Japanese black pine bonsai from seedlings and cuttings. They’re both easy. Here’s a look at both methods:

How to Grow Japanese Black Pine Bonsai from Seed

  • Prepare a seed planting pot by filling it with peat seed mix
  • Sprinkle Japanese Black Pine seeds over the mix. And make sure you don’t cover it because seeds need light to sprout.
  • Wet the soil thoroughly to keep it moist. Also, check the soil frequently to make sure it does not dry out. In 15 to 90 days, this seed will germinate.
  • Once the seedlings sprout their second set of leaves, you can transplant them.
  • Use a shallow bonsai pot for seedlings. At least two holes are needed in a planter pot on the sides or bottom.
  • Next, apply a coarse layer to remove excess water and fertilizer from the roots. By improving aeration, oxygen can reach the roots of plants.
  • Over the soil, apply bonsai potting soil. 
  • Place the seedling on the soil. In order for root systems to develop properly, leave enough space between seeds. To compact the soil, lightly press the top.
  • Keep the plant moist and water it regularly. When the soil has dried, water it at least once a day.

Check this detailed guide on How to grow a bonsai tree from seed?

How to Grow Japanese Black Pine Bonsai from cutting

  • Make a diagonal cut with a sharp knife. 
  • Immediately put the cutting in water to avoid air pockets entering the stems.
  • Don’t plant these cuttings until they have roots.
  • As soon as cuttings have roots, plant them. 
  • Keep the cuttings moist. Maintain moisture in the soil, especially during very warm weather.
  • Allow the cuttings to grow stronger before they are trimmed or wired. The best time to prune is 3 years after planting.

Common Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Problems and Solutions / Diseases & Pests

1. Root rot

It is possible for black pines to suffer from root rot if the soil remains too wet for a prolonged period.

Solution: In order to avoid this problem, you need to ensure that the soil is extremely free-draining and shelter the tree from prolonged rains, especially in the winter months.

2. Woolly aphids, mealy bugs, adelgids

Woolly aphids, mealy bugs, adelgids, and other pests are attracted to shoots and needles.

A mealybug’s body is pinkish purple, but when it is covered in a cotton-like wax, it appears white or light gray. 

Woolly aphids are small, pear-shaped insects covered in a white, waxy, fluffy covering about three millimeters long. 

While woolly adelgids cover themselves in a white, waxy “wool” which acts as a protective coating. At the base of the needles, you can see tiny “cotton balls” indicating an adelgid infestation.

Solution: The detergent penetrates insects’ waxy coatings by removing their waxy coatings. In water, mix a drop of detergent with an insecticide. This can help you get rid of these pests.

Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Images

Check out the beauty of a flourishing Japanese pine bonsai below

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