The Japanese White Pines and Red Pines planted two weeks ago, are now ready to be made into seedling cuttings. Making them into seedling cuttings rather than letting them grow naturally, will ensure it develops finer and more radiating roots, rather than one strong tap root. I usually don’t want to wait too long before doing this task, because I feel the seedlings are most vigorous during the first few weeks, and would recover much better if the procedure is done early. I usually wait till the second flush of needles emerge, and are about 1/4 inch long, before proceeding to make cuttings out of them. I ended up making two Japanese Red Pine seedling cuttings, and three Japanese White Pine seedling cuttings.
I find growing them in these square pots are really helpful in conserving space. I lined the bottom third of the pot with some large larva rocks. The next third of the pot, I lined with bigger particle bonsai soil. The final layer, I use the smallest grain bonsai soil. In order for the seedling cutting to be held in place, I made a small hole in the middle of the pot with a chopstick, and filled it with sand. The seedling cuttings will go into the sand. The sand will hold it in place while the roots develop. Also, the sand retains more moisture, and helps the survival rate of the seedling cuttings. In fact, the sand retains so much moisture that it kept the trees too wet after the seedlings are established, so, I’ve decided to use less sand than years before.
After making them into seedling cuttings, they’ve lost their roots, and wouldn’t do well in full sun. As such, I’ve moved them into a small green house, with bottom heating. The green house helps retain moisture, while the bottom heating will help roots develop. Hoping these will develop into nice seedlings with great nebari in two years.