May Club Meeting: Black & Red Pines

Monday Club Meeting

Guest Speaker: Scott Martin

Bonsai Matsu

Black and Red Pines are ideal for bonsai culture. More mature trees require a lot of work so be mindful of how many black and red pines you have in your collection.

Tips for growing pines

  • Avoid touching pine bark and needles as this could damage trees.

  • Start at top of tree and work down when cleaning.

  • If you don’t like wiring, don’t get pines.

  • Minimum of 6 hours of sunlight per day.

  • Keep pines fully exposed to elements.

  • Do not blindly follow maintenance program for pines.

  • Bud understand strength of tree and which stage of growth it is at.

  • Overworking a pine will lead to a weakened tree.

  • They do need to be worked thoroughly.



  • Candle breaking by fingers, feed heavily. eg. Use fertiliser bags


  • Decandling, energy balancing, styling

Autumn & Winter:

  • Bud selection, needle plucking, wiring and styling, feeding.  

  • Use fertiliser bags in Autumn. Take off during Winter.  

  • Very busy time for pine maintenance and absolutely essential.  

  • Heading into dormancy so best time to wire and style - not full of liquid as they move into dormancy so branches are more flexible.

Process of shaping

  • Remove the buds that are too strong and too weak.

  • Remove up and down growth, try to keep lateral.

  • Remove backwards growth

  • Pluck off old needles.

Balancing the strength

  • Lowest branches are weakest, apex is strongest.

  • In the strong area, near apex, remove the strong.

  • In the weak areas, in lower area, remove the weak.

Needle plucking in Autumn

  • Entire removal. Keep tweezers clean and avoid sap build up

  • Needle removal, then sheath (optional). Pull needles in direction of needle growth