JBP in a blink of an eye!

Updated: Oct 8

Since it is now the Fall, we’ve all been busily wire and styling trees.  The main trees Mr. Tanaka and I have been styling are Black and White Pines. The work varies from complete refinement styling to rough work styling to get the tree started.  In this post, I’m going to share the rough styling that Mr. Tanaka did on a Japanese Black Pine and talk about some of the things he did.  He amazingly did a lot of work on the tree in such a short period of time.  Let’s get started and see what we can learn from him.


Mr. Tanaka bought this tree around March of this year and the first thing he did was repot it.  It was in a much larger pot and he reduced it down dramatically.  That was one things that surprised me about the trees that we’ve repotted here.  They were all put in pots that I originally thought were way too small, but they ended up working well and fitting just fine.  It’s also incredible to see how Mr. Tanaka will take a tree out of a large pot, do the root work, look at the tree and walk outside only to return with a pot that fits perfectly.  I’d say out of all the tree’s he’s repotted this Spring, about 90 percent of the time, he’s come back with the correct size. That goes to show the experience that he has working with Bonsai.

When Mr. Tanaka repotted this tree, he bare rooted it.  I ask him is that was a bit much and he said it was perfectly fine if you don’t cut the roots too much.  So on this tree, he cleaned out all of the soil and kept the roots long and put them back in the new pot.  I never thought about doing it that way, but as you can see from the bushy tree in the photo, the tree didn’t skip a beat and grew very well during the Spring and Summer season.  Mr. Tanaka did note thought that because of the bare rooting, the candles should not be cut this year, hence why the needles are long on this tree.

The goal at time is to bend the main branches to where he wanted it, cut off unnecessary branches and get the tree started in the right direction.


I was wiring at Black Pine of my own and before I knew it, he was finished!  Truly done in a blink of the eye.  Can you see the changes that he’s done?


Here is a the before and after together so you can get a better look.  The tree has dropped from the large category to the medium category.

Trunk size

Notice how by making the tree shorter, the trunk automatically looks bigger!  I had to put a ruler to the trunk just to make sure that the trunk was still 12 in (30.5cm) wide!  This is a great example of how we perceive things relatively.

A view of the underside




Well there you have it!  I wish I was able to get more photos while he was working on the tree but everything happend so fast that I didn’t get the chance too. If you really want to see all the little things he did to the tree, your just going to have become an apprentice here and see for yourself.  Anybody interested?

Working on Black Pine now?

Some of you readers that have worked with me before might be wondering why the tree is worked in October as opposed to November or December like I’ve said many times in the past.  The reason why is that the tree was not de-candled in June.  Since the new candles are Spring candles and not newer Summer candles, the needles have had a longer time to harden off.  If this tree had been de-candle in June, the new needles would break very easily now, pushing the work into November or December.

Please comment in the box below if you have questions or noticed something else that he did that I didn’t talk about.  That why, we call all learn more together.


Thanks for reading


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