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Kuromatsu, The King of Bonsai



Because Michael Bonsai showed this view first, we’ll call it the front, though you could just as easily choose the opposite side. You could even make an argument for a corner view (see below) if the tree had been positioned differently in the pot

Yesterday it was Japanese red pines with photos via Michael Bonsai and today it's a look at a single Japanese black pine, again with the photos via Michael
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This tree is said to be 80 years old and judging by the muscular trunk and well aged bark that seems entirely reasonable

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Japanese black pines (Pinus thunbergii) aka Kuromatsu in Japanese, is sometimes called the King of Bonsai. This has to do with the obvious power and often dynamic movement that so many express, as well the thick plated bark and lush emerald green needles. An altogether great tree for bonsai. 
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The other side. Or you might say the other front. I think the bark on this side might give it an edge as the best view

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The one drawback, or perhaps better stated 'challenge' when growing JBPs for bonsai is the tree's naturally long needles. Unless you want a tree with shaggy, out of scale needles, you need to learn and practice needle reduction.

Needle reduction is a series of step taken annually to keep the needles small and tight. We won't go into the details here, but you can find good step-by-step instructions in our Masters Series Pine Book, Growing and Styling Japanese Black and White Pines.


A peek inside to a spot where a large branch was once removed. It has healed well, almost to the point where you have to look twice to see it 


You would never call a corner view the front, but had this tree been positioned differently, this might have worked. Especially given the strong taper from this view


Someone has done a great job reducing the needles  

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