The Ultimate Guide How to Bonsai a Pine Tree

Creating bonsai from pine species requires some dedicated rules to follow. Most of the time, people face failure in this project due to making some silly mistakes. Are you interested in learning how to bonsai a pine tree successfully? Well, this article is the ultimate guide for beginners as well as everyone.

The first challenge is choosing the right pine to convert into a bonsai. If you are using seeds, you have to follow a different procedure. In addition to finding the perfect soil and accessibility to sunlight, a perfect water supply is also important.

So, it is essential to know how to make perfect soil, how to water, and other relevant steps. You will also learn about some common problems with pine tree solutions. To create a healthy pine bonsai, you need to go into detail.

Specifications of pine trees

Pine trees are easily identified with their attractive features. Let’s get to know some of them.

  • The pyramid shape is the most common shape of the pine tree. You can easily identify a pine tree by its shape.
  • Pine trees vary in their species from 10 to 260 feet tall.
  • A pine tree’s branches are positioned perpendicular to its trunk.
  • Its leaves are acicular in shape. Their needles often grow in two groups. Sometimes, they grow in groups of eight. The needles protect the pine leaves from burning.
  • The bark of the pine tree is reddish-brown. Feels rough on skin contact.
  • Pine trees cannot grow in a small space. Since they need a lot of sunlight, they prefer wide spaces. Besides, sandy and well-drained soil is very necessary for pine trees.
  • Pine trees have hanging egg-shaped cones. Some species come with woody cones that are long and straight.
  • Most trees cannot beat the lifespan of a pine tree. They live for about 400 years.

Can you make a pine tree into a bonsai?

Not all species of pine trees are suitable for conversion to bonsai trees. Depending on the method, the process of creating a bonsai can take several years. If you use seeds, it will take up to 5 years to grow a bonsai.

A healthy, young pine tree with perfect roots is also suitable for this operation. For best results it is recommended to use Japanese black pine or mountain pine. Also, preparation of a well-drained soil mixture is mandatory in this operation.

How to bonsai a pine tree – step by step

This section will detail how to bonsai a pine tree. If you follow all the steps carefully, you can make bonsai for sure.

1. Choose the right place

The right place must be created with excellent soil, plenty of sunlight and water supply. Here you will find some special tips for choosing the right place for bonsai pine trees.

Proper soil determination

You cannot use regular garden soil to make pine bonsai. Soil pH should be in the 5.5 to 6.5 range. So, it indicates that acidic or basic soil is not accepted for this purpose. Experts recommend using soil with akadama, which is a grain of soil mined in Japan. Also, the soil must contain lava rock, organic compost and fine gravel.

Think about sunlight

The place must get enough sunlight. This is an essential ingredient because needle size depends on sunlight. If there is not enough sunlight, the needle grows quickly. So, choose a place that allows the sun to provide enough light.

What about temperature?

Excessively high temperatures or low temperatures are harmful to a pine bonsai. Daytime temperatures should be between 64 and 75-degrees Fahrenheit. At night, temperatures between 57 and 61-degrees Fahrenheit are acceptable. For indoor purposes, normal room temperature should be established. If you do not choose a place with proper temperature management, your project may not be successful.

Adequate water supply

An adequate water supply helps the bonsai grow while receiving the right nutrients. But, an improper water supply can cause problems at the root. As a result, the plant may die sooner or later. Find a place that can successfully extract excess water by following a regular procedure.

Read More:How To Water a Bonsai tree indoor Ultimate Indoor Bonsai Watering Solutions

2. Choose the right type of pine tree

In addition to selecting the perfect spot, you need to find the best pine tree species. Since not all types are suitable, you should choose the right tree by following some simple steps.

Types of Pine Trees for Bonsai

People have a great interest in Japanese black pine compared to other types because they are advantageous in every aspect. This type of pine tree is also suitable for conversion to bonsai.

  • Japanese black pine
  • Japanese white pine
  • Mountain pine
  • Scots pine
  • Red pine

How to choose the right pine for Bonsai

Let us know the process of choosing the right pine for Bonsai.

Corn color

The color of corn indicates the condition of a pine. If it’s in green condition, you can go for that pine tree without a second thought.

Trunk size

The trunk should be of normal size. Also, it must be straight.

Bark color

For white pines, the bark color can be dark and furrowed. The color of the bark can be divided into rectangular plates in the case of red pines.

Branch growth

Healthy pine branches often grow in a spiral around the tree. A new spiral is added per year and is kept in excellent condition.

3. Soil preparation

Preparing the soil for Bonsai a pine is one of the most important tasks. If the soil is poorly prepared, it will lead the tree to death. You can follow a few simple steps to prepare the soil for these tasks.

Find the right Soil

  • The soil for Bonsai a pine is not like the general soil. They come with great nutritional materials and beneficial elements for the environment.
  • The first property of the soil must be a good water retention system. It is important to soak and retain a sufficient amount of water in the occupied safe.
  • There should be extra water that needs to be removed from the pot immediately. The lack of a proper drainage system can cause the soil to create bad impacts on the tree.
  • The soil for this purpose must be prepared with large particles of mixture. If there are no small gaps or air pockets, the project may not be successful. As a result, photosynthesis cannot function properly.

Mix the ingredients perfectly.

Various types of soil mixtures are allowed for the tree to grow perfectly. The soil must contain akadama, lava rock, sand, and other essential components.

For deciduous Bonsai soil, the percentage will be according to the following amount.

  • 50% Akadama
  • 25% pumice stone
  • 25% lava rock

In the case of coniferous and pine soils, the percentage will be as follows.

  • 33% Akadama
  • 33% pumice stone
  • 33% lava rock

4. Plant the pine

You need to follow a few simple steps to accurately plant a pine tree.

  • The first thing to do is dig a hole in the desired location.
  • Then put the soil and the seeds in the hole. If you are going to use plants, plant them after you fill the hole with soil.
  • The last step is to apply enough water. That’s what planting the pine is all about.

5. Pruning (How to prune)

Let us know the correct process of pruning pine trees.

Select the right time

Spring is the best time to prune pine trees. More specifically, the end of winter is the best time to perform this action.

  • You can prune the tree between the end of February and March.
  • Never think about pruning in late summer.
  • Never think about pruning in early winter.

Find the right tools

  • You can opt for pruning shears to prune small branches. The size of the branch should not exceed 4 cm.
  • The use of a reciprocating saw with a pruning blade is appreciated. It will help cut the larger branches.

Remove dead branches first

  • Dead branches or diseased branches should be cut first.
  • Branches with brown needles also require cutting first.
  • Simply apply the pruning shears and cut them off.

Cut pine suckers

  • Use pruning shears carefully to cut the pine suckers neatly.
  • Bring them down to ground level with the pruning shears.

6. Irrigation (How to water)

According to bonsai Topics Excessive watering is detrimental to a pine tree. Likewise, watering less is not a smart move. Here are some tips for properly watering pine trees.

  • Do not apply more than 10 gallons of water per day to a pine tree.
  • Apply the water in slow motion. Do not allow the water to accumulate for a long time, as it can damage the roots of the tree.
  • Take a few intervals while applying the water. It will help the earth to perfectly receive water.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Watering Your Bonsai Tree

7. Fertilizer (How to fertilize)

It is suggested to use a slow release fertilizer that comes with a low dose of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. It is very easy to apply if you follow the steps below.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide To Best Bonsai Tree Fertilizers

Determine the amount of fertilizer.

  • The first task is to measure the diameter of the tree trunk. You can use a measuring tale in this circumstance.
  • Use 1 cup of fertilizer for every inch of trunk diameter.

Sprinkle the fertilizer

  • It is time to apply the fertilizer by sprinkling them on the surface. First measure the distance from the trunk of the tree to the base of its branches.
  • Then spread the fertilizer keeping a distance of 15 feet from the trunk of the pine tree.

Don’t waste fertilizer by spreading it outside. Stay alert and fully focus unless you want to increase the cost.

Water in the area

The last movement is to water on the surface. It helps the soils to absorbs the fertilizer properly.

8.Pot and Replacement of Pots (How to Pot and Replace)

Potting and transplanting requires a level of professional dedication. However, you can do it if you follow the steps outlined.

Prepare the mixture

  • Preparing the mixture is more important than any other step. Instead of using potting soil, pine prefers regular soil compacts.
  • A sterile garden needs loam, sand and peat moss mixed together. If you don’t have coir, you can opt for coconut fiber.
  • Use your hands to form the mixture. Mix them perfectly and proceed to the next step.

Cut off unnecessary Roots

  • Roots attached to the root should be removed first. Using pruning shears, cut off any excess roots.
  • When cutting roots, do not cut live roots. This will lead to the death of the plant.

Place the plant

  • First put the mixture in the container.
  • Then plant carefully. Allow the roots to settle completely in the mixture. To do this, you can use an additional layer of mixture at the root of the pine.

Apply the water

  • Time to apply water to the desired location. Excess water must be removed from the pot.
  • When the root ball is exposed, add a little soil mix and allow the soil and water to equivalent

Read More : How to Repot a Bonsai for Beginners Complete Solutions

9. How to care for bonsai pine

Bonsai plants require special care. Below are some useful tips that can be followed.

  • Keep the plant in adequate sunlight. In this way the rate of photosynthesis will be increased on a larger scale.
  • Keep pruning regularly using the right tools. Never prune the essential parts of the plant or the essential roots.
  • When you water the plant, apply it slowly. Adding excess water makes the plant surface extremely muddy. It is not suitable for plants or soil.
  • Apply fertilizer at appropriate times for bonsai pine. They will not deliver the expected results if you do not follow their preferred duration.

Read More :How To Take Care of a bonsai tree

10. Common Pine Tree Problems and Solutions

Like other trees, pine trees come with some problems. The good news is that all problems can be solved without great expense. Therefore, you must have a clear understanding of common pine tree problems and know their appropriate solutions.

Pine root rot

The fungus forms fruiting bodies on the roots of pine trees. This disease mostly attacks white pine. When the stump is freshly cut, a type of fungus attacks the roots. It is a fatal disease as the disease can spread from the base of the plant upwards. The good news is that this disease can be cured.

So you need to know the right solution to prevent this disease.

  • Apply ordinary borax powder to the surface of the stump.
  • You should apply the powder in the form of a salt shaker. After a certain period of time, your tree and plant roots will heal.


In this disease, the needles start to turn brown, yellow or gray. Small fruiting bodies develop into needles and cones. The good news is that this disease only attacks Austrian, Scotch and Scotch pine. The fungal attack affects the parts of the pine tree and leads to its death.

The solutions are:

  • Pruning infected branches is the best solution to prevent this disease.
  • Burn contaminated materials to prevent further spread.
  • For best results, you can apply the fungicide in early spring.

Fusiform Rust

If the galls are highly developed, this is a sign of fusiform rust. Round and linear bumps are also signs of spindle rust. It is a disease caused by a fungal attack.

To fix the problem properly, here are some tips.

  • Use a pruning method to remove gall from the pine.
  • You can use fungicide to eliminate this problem completely. Although it will cost you some extra money, you can easily fix the problem.

Needle Rust

A small orange-yellow spot appears when this disease attacks the pine. Spring is the best time for this disease to appear. They use two different host plants to carry out their life cycle properly. A type of fungus is responsible for causing this disease.

You can easily solve this problem by following some simple steps.

  • Focus on increasing the health of infected plants.
  • Never add too much water unless it is dry.

Pine wilt

It is a fatal disease caused by the pine wilt nematode. The disease is transmitted by the pine saw beetle. This problem is exacerbated when trees are planted in high-temperature areas. The needles first reveal the disease by turning gray-green in color.

To solve this problem:

  • Cut down affected pine trees immediately to save the area.
  • Do not store any infected wood to avoid further infestation.

Can you shape a pine tree?

Yes, it is not difficult to precisely shape a pine tree. You should cut the side branches 4 to 6 inches shorter than the trunk. The lower branches must be longer than the upper branches. This is a regular operation to maintain the desired shape of the tree. Young pine shapes can be converted into traditional cone shapes by following this method.

If you are planning to bonsai a pine tree from seed

Pine tree seeds are perfectly fine to convert into bonsai. If you are interested in this method, you need to follow the illustrated steps.

Finding the right seed

  • Choose pine trees with lots of cones for more effective seeding.
  • After collecting the seeds, let them remain in paper boxes at 25°C.
  • For better results, you can mix the seeds with moist peat. Then, store the seeds in a transparent plastic bag for up to 7 weeks. The bag must be refrigerated.

Read More :Ultimate Guides How To Grow A Bonsai Tree from Seed?

Selection and preparation of soil

  • Maple and pine tree species do well with organic commercial potting soil. Since this soil comes with a good drainage facility, it is the best soil in this situation. However, if you don’t want to see a failed project, you shouldn’t use regular garden soil.
  • To prepare the soil, fill a bonsai pot with a few drainage holes.
  • Then, put soil inside it and water the soil. You should allow it to drain the excess water for the next half hour.

Going through the process of scarification

  • The seeds need to be soaked in water to soften their hard outer shell.
  • Now place the seeds in a soft bed.
  • It’s time to add water and put the seeds in a plastic bag. Then, store the bag in a refrigerator.

Germinate seeds

  • Sow as many seeds as possible. This helps increase the chances of lots of germinated seeds.
  • Keep the seeds under your strict observation. After finding that the seeds have germinated, you can sow them in the soil.

Post germination care

  • If the bonsai seedlings outgrow the trays, start repotting them in a larger container.
  • Do not pull them too quickly as weak stems may break.
  • Allow at least one-third of the day’s sunlight to penetrate the plant.
  • Water regularly before starting the fertilization process.


This section brings together some common questions and answers related to pine bonsai creation.

Can I cut the lower branches of pine trees?

If you cut off the lower branches of a pine tree, it will not die. If you want to bring a pyramid shape, you should cut only the upper branches. You are allowed to remove the lower third of the pine crown. But, over-pruning the lower part of the pine is not recommended at all.

Can you keep a pine tree short?

Yes, you can keep a pine tree small. You need to make regular efforts to perform this action. Pine trees grow quickly when they get the right light and nutrients. Trim the right parts of the pine tree regularly to keep it in good shape.

Which pine is best for bonsai?

Japanese black pine is considered the best pine for bonsai. They are widely known as “Pinus thunbergii” in different regions. This type of pine is easy to maintain and requires minimal cultivation conditions. Also, Japanese black pine has a higher previous success rate than other pines.

What is the easiest way to care for bonsai plants?

Since there are many different types of bonsai plants, not all types are easy to maintain. Ficus bonsai is one of the easiest species to care for both indoors and outdoors. This type of bonsai does not require regular watering and looks good. Newbies can rely on this type without any doubt.

Final Thoughts

Transforming a pine tree into a bonsai starts with finding the right species. If you are going for seeds, you need to find the best seeds. Whatever your method, you must now know how to bonsai a pine tree. If you miss even one step, you cannot succeed in the process.

A place with favorable temperature as well as sunlight is mandatory for the growth of pine bonsai. If you don’t prepare the soil properly, the project may burst the bud. Regular watering is also important.

If you are going to use the seeds, you must store them carefully. Most of the time, seeds do not produce plants because they do not receive proper post-germination care. By following all the steps to the letter, you can easily bonsai a pine tree.


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