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Bonsai Progression - Pinyon Pine - Initial Styling

Pinyon Pine Bonsai

If it's Thursday, it must be time for another bonsai progression. This week will be a little different. Instead of a tree that I've worked on for years, I'm going to share a tree I recently acquired and take you through my initial styling. In this case, a pinyon pine from the deserts of Arizona.

Before Work

I chose this piece of material for a couple of reasons.

  1. I was inspired by the pinyon pines I saw on a trip to Arizona last year. I wanted to recreate those trees in my garden.

  2. The needles are naturally short, which I like.

  3. I felt the triple trunk would be something different. I also knew it would be a challenge to style.

The first task was choosing a front. In this case, the deadwood was visible on one side only. That made finding the front easier. Also, when dealing with double or triple trunks, its best to angle the trunks so they are not all in horizontal line. The front was adjusted to highlight the deadwood and give the tree a nice 3 dimension feel.

When styling a tree, the first directional branch is very important. You will build the entire tree around this first branch. As you can see in the picture above, the first branch has been set and styled. This is a technique I see Bjorn use on pretty much every tree. Set the first branch, then work the rest of the tree.

I'd never worked with pinyon pines. Whenever you're working with a new species, it takes a bit to understand what it can and cannot do. In this case, the limbs were not as flexible as I might have thought. Also, the wire is too thick for this branch, which happens from time to time. This does mean you need to be extra careful. I was not!

Here's a better look at the wiring. I think Colin Lewis and his Bonsai Wiring Essentials video would be proud! At Eisei-en, we often wire out the entire tree, then go back and make styling choices. Consequently, limbs like these are wired, but cut off when they don't make the final design.

Pinyon Pine Bonsai

Here's the final product. I'm happy with how it turned out. As you can see, the pot for this tree is huge. This is now the heaviest tree in my garden. A repot in the spring is in order. What would you think if it was repotted onto a slab?

So, what do you think? Have you worked with pinyon pines before? I'm new to the species, so I'm open to any and all suggestions! Don't forget to subscribe to the blog for all my updates. Until next time, Peace Love Bonsai.

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