Friday, May 20, 2016

Afghan Pine, a desert star

Los angeles is at the edge of a desert. At first glance it does not seem like it is. Many neighborhoods have lush green lawns. The streets are lined up with pines, ficus, and oaks. If you have lived back east or in a place that gets consistent rain you start to notice that the places that are not manicured is the true Los Angeles. That is a dry desertlike chaparral. Enter the afghan pine. Pinus eldarica is the latin name. This pine loves heat, it loves dry places. This plant is a survivor. It prefers to not be watered to often.

I have been working with three afghan pines this year. Two of them have shape and are in pots. The Third looks like a lollipop and I am unsure what to do with it. Suggestions are welcome. The truth is that i have not read or seen too much about this pine as a bonsai. However, from what I have seen it grows needles year round. I have not seen any candles growing from any of the trees in my collection. I have to remove wire about every four months as it begins to bite the tree. I have fertilized with blood meal and a little bone meal. I have also fertilized with liquid fertilizer as an experiment. I did not see any adverse reactions from using a liquid fertilizer. I have read that young trees do grow fairly fast 12-24 inches per year.

This Afghan pine has had minimal shaping. It is my control subject. I will compare it to the other tree I have. I will be checking for growth, ramification, and trunk thickness.

Pinus eldarica

This tree was wired and as you can see given more shape. I have noticed that the branch thickness are very uniform. I will not trim the lowest branch in the hope that the branch will thicken faster. 

Afghan pine bonsai

Something else that I have noticed is that it will back bud on the trunk. I have no ramification yet. I pruned it last year to encourage new branch growth.

Another note of interest is that up to now i have mostly seen juvenile needles. There are a few adult needles but it is the exception. As you can see these trees don't look half bad. I rather like them quite a bit. I actually got them for $5 U.S. at a home improvement center ( Like always I will keep posting updates. Cheers.

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