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In thirty years of bonsai I have never seen a ponderosa pine bonsai forest. We have about 40 ponderosa pines in our collection and it was a hassle putting all of them away for the winter so I figured why not kill two birds with one stone. I could plant a forest and reduce the number of items in the collection. That was a good idea, but, five trees still weigh as much as five trees and one big pot isn't so light, either. These ancient ponderosas range in age from 100+ years to 300 years. We collected them between 15 and 20 years ago. They were styled as individual trees as they were collected and assembled into the forest a few years ago.
The angular movement you see is all natural. Finding five ponderosas that work so well together was serendipitous. I doubt I could ever do it again.
Due to the size and weight this forest was photographed in situ and there is no back view.
Overall height is 42", from soil surface is 36".
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$7350.00Description and photos, September 2008.
How do we know how old it is? There are two ways to measure the age. The trees we collect are growing in a pocket in the rock, they're naturally dwarfed and stunted. A few of the trees we collect don't make it. We cut them off at the base and count the rings under a microscope. We assume that trees from the same area growing under the same conditions will grow at the same rate. We've found that these trees grow at the rate of 100 years per inch in diameter. The second way is to count terminal bud scale scars. Every year the tip of a branch develops a terminal bud. That bud is protected by a hull or scale. When the bud opens the scale falls off leaving a scar. In the area we collect there are about 10 scars per inch. By measuring the distance from the base of the tree to the tip of the branch and multiplying by 10 per inch we get a good measure of age. Averaging the two methods gives us a pretty good idea of age.
Ponderosa pine bonsai
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A note about photos - the appearance of the actual tree may differ slightly from the photo because of minor changes due to normal growth. We take new pictures when there is a substantial change in appearance rather than every time we pinch or prune. The date of the most recent picture is shown in the description.