In 2014 I had the pleasure of meeting Andy Smith for the first time. It was at his house in Deadwood, SD. I picked up a nice Ponderosa Pine bonsai from him to use in a workshop the following spring. This was the first year that I dabbled with pines and the third one I picked up that year. Below is the tree after I got home with it. The following events are not recommended, encouraged, or promoted. Do not do this to your Ponderosa Pine.

August 2014

This is the tree after I got home from vacation with it.


Well, the tree survived the winter with me. Here are two images. One is how the tree looked before the workshop and the other is after the workshop.

May 2015

June 2015

I was reading everything, Ponderosa Pine. Trying to learn as much as possible. I learned about the infamous “Fall Technique” for Ponderosa Pines. The “Fall Technique” is where you cut the big buds and pull needles in the fall and the result is supposed to be more back budding and shorter needles.

The following images were the result of my understanding of the “Fall Technique”.

August 2015

August 2015

I know right? Made sense when I read the technique, but now that I have a little more grasp on horticulture I see how wrong this technique is. Don’t do that to your Ponderosa Pines.

I bet 2016 will be a better year because according to my reading of the Fall Technique I am going to have more back buds and shorter needles. This tree will look amazing I am sure of it.


June 2016

In the spring of 2016 I repotted this Ponderosa Pine into a new pot. This image is a month or more after the repot.

August 2016

To be honest, the tree really did not grow in 2016. The buds that were there opened and the needles grew that were going to grow, but that is it. The tree never got any back budding and is lucky to be alive.


This particular Ponderosa Pine was not strong by any means in 2017 either. Still looked nice though. Needles were still small but the budding was just not happening. Here is how the tree looked in June and July of 2017.


In the fall of 2017, I pulled the extending trunk line in closer and here is the tree in April and August of 2018.

April 2018

August 2018


The tree is growing fine this year (2019) and think it has finally turned the corner and has built up its strength to finally grow. I feel that I set this tree back 3-5 years by using the “Fall Technique”.

April 2019

July 2019

I finally was able to thin this tree out and put some new wire on it. Here it is as of September 2019.

September 2019

September 2019


In April of 2020 I acquired a slightly smaller pot from Sara Rayner for this tree. I repotted this tree into it’s new bonsai pot and will let it grow for the rest of the year. I am just happy that this tree is as healthy as it is at the moment. I did not want to remove to much last fall so I will remove a couple branches to open this tree up a bit now that it is healthy.

April 2020

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