TBS Archives - Research
Introduction to the Research Project, by David Johnson
Over the years many exciting events have taken place at the Toronto Bonsai Society, and numerous useful and inspiring articles have been written by members.
In this section we are showcasing some of TBS' best and most recent research conducted by our own members. What follows is our president's (David Johnson) introduction to the "Jack Pine Project."
(Editor's Note: Club members are still able to purchase a copy of the Boon Manakitivipart dvd of his Jack Pine Styling Demonstration for the TBS in April of 2005.)
A Jack Pine Project
Bonsai clubs are in the unique position to gather the information gleaned from the experiences of serious bonsai growers working away in their backyards or balconies like the cobblers of feudal times. Our guild, the Toronto Bonsai Society, can make a valuable contribution by making available to the horticultural community and the bonsai component in particular, new work and techniques based on local plant material.
Like the drive for new research among university professors, "publish or perish", the TBS has resources to make this project happen through our newsletter, the Journal, and our website, torontobonsai.org.
It is in this spirit of sharing that the "Jack Pine Project" was contemplated. Pinus banksiana ranges throughout much of Canada's boreal forest and parts of the northern United States. For many years, TBS members have worked with this species. but little has been written and shared with others.
Perhaps we can begin to change this oversight with the lofty title of the "Jack Pine Project". TBS members are encouraged to write of their experiences growing jack pine, be they good or bad, since both are valuable.
I began my contribution with the notes from my "Dead Files", of trees I have loved and lost. Much of the information in these files is not unique to jack pines but applies to slow growing conifers in general and to the after care of all collected trees. It is my hope that these files will be helpful to newer as well as more experienced members.
Later, I wrote about my current practise with my living jack pines based on the advise of other skilled bonsai artists such as Boon Manakitivipart; I used his soil recipe as well as other tips for these trees. I have also slowed down the frequency and intensity of wiring, root, branch and foliage pruning. I have tried the odd experiment of pruning and pinching and recorded the tree's reaction. Future detailed observations of jack pine pinching and pruning techniques are needed.
All of my ramblings have added up to 9 pages, a bit too long for a Journal article. So our webmaster has created a new section to house members' contributions. So, please read them if you are interested and contribute to the file if possible. Other clubs like the "Montreal Penjing and Bonsai Society" also work with pinus banksiana or "pin gris." They will be alerted to the NEW RESEARCH section as will others who have expressed an interest in the topic.
This project seeks to emulate the spirit of Nick Lenz's book "Bonsai from the Wild", with its detailed explanation of growing and styling collected North American trees. So please read his book, contribute to our project and perhaps give this species a try using what you may find helpful from this project. And we don't need to stop with this species; there are a lot more out there.
Your comments are invited.
Dierk Neugebauer (Editor)