Michael Hagedorn’s Shore Pine Design Challenge


I was going to respond to Michael Hagedorn’s shore pine design challenge by replying to his blog and describing what I would do with this shore pine in words but I ended up doing a sketch instead.  I will be joining Michael next week for his fall seasonal so I have to be careful I say the right things or I may end up in detention.   First of all there could be a number of ways of designing this tree.  If this is my tree, below is what I would do and here are my reasons:

  • Front-Photo 2. I feel that this represents the best front because it shows the most movement from the trunk. The best potential taper from roots to apex. It also shows the best congruent curves between the trunks I would keep.  Also, I want to keep the smaller tree at the base therefore, if I’m looking at this tree in the landscape, the little tree would appear that it is further back.
  • Trunk – If this is my tree, I would like to remove the middle trunk and make a jin just above the first branch. My reasoning is that it is straight and does not follow the same movement at the 2 little trunks I want to keep.  This trunk also appears to be much thicker and older to do bends . Even it does bend it may take a while to conform.  Also, this trunk appears to be the strongest, reducing this trunk can help balance the tree’s vigor and visual weight .
  • Scale and Taper – Removing the thicker and straighter middle trunk will not only make a smaller tree but will make the tree’s trunk look thinker in proportion to the whole tree.  It will also allow the eye to follow the curving trunks of the smaller trunk which appears to taper to the apex.   In the future as the thinner trunk to the right gets thicker, all of the middle trunk can be jinned or removed as another alternate design.
  • Tree’s Story and Age – The design will tell a story and illusion of old age.  It appears that the tree must have been damaged long ago and the lower branch became the new apex.  Giving it a jin adds interest and illusion of age.


Published by tony bonsaiko

My little trees are my daily reminders of our grand connection to this beautiful and mysterious universe.

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