How To Bonsai A Pine Tree- The Ultimate Guide

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

The first challenge is to pick the right pine for transforming it into Bonsai. If you’re using seeds, you need to follow a separate method. Along with finding the perfect soil and sunlight accessibility, making a perfect water supply is also important. 

So, it’s essential to know how to make the perfect soil, how to water, and other relevant steps. You’ll also learn about some common problems along with the solutions of the pine trees. To create a healthy Pine Bonsai, you need to go through it in detail. 

How To Bonsai A Pine Tree

Specification of pine tree

Pine trees are easily traceable with their attractive specifications. Let’s get introduced to some of them. 

  • The pyramid shape is the most common shape of a pine tree. You can easily identify a pine tree by determining its shape.
  • Pine trees range from 10 to 260 feet tall varying on their species. 
  • The position of the branch of a pine tree stays perpendicularly from its trunk. 
  • Its leaves are acicular-shaped. Their needles grow in groups of two most often. Sometimes, they also grow with the group of eight. The needles keep pine leaves from being burnt. 
  • The bark of the pine tree is reddish-brown. It feels rough when touched with the skin. 
  • Pine trees can’t grow in a tiny space. As they require huge sunlight, they prefer wide spaces. Besides, pine trees need sandy and well-drained soil. 
  • Pine trees have egg-shaped cones in the hanging position. Some of the species come with woody cones which are long and straight. 
  • Most of the trees can’t beat the lifespan of a pine tree. They live around 400 years. 

Can you make a pine tree into a Bonsai?

Not all the species of pine trees are suitable to convert them into the Bonsai tree. Depending on the method, the Bonsai making process may take several years. If you use the seeds, it’ll take up to 5 years to create a Bonsai. 

A healthy, young pine tree that comes with perfect roots is also suitable for this operation. It’s recommended to use Japanese black pine or mountain pine for better results. Besides, preparing a well-drained soil mixture is mandatory in this operation.

How to Bonsai a pine tree – step by step

This section will elaborate on how to Bonsai a pine tree with every detail. If you follow all the steps carefully, you can generate the Bonsai for sure. 

1. Select the right place

The right place must be constructed with great soil, plenty of sunlight, and a water supply system. Here you get some special tips to select the right place to Bonsai a pine tree.

Determining the right soil

You can’t use the regular garden soil to create Pine Bonsai. The pH of the soil must remain between the 5.5 to 6.5 range. Hence, it indicates neither acidic nor basic soil is accepted for this purpose. Experts recommend using the soil with akadama which is a clay granulate mined in Japan. Besides, the soil must contain lava rock, organic compost, and fine gravel. 

Think about sunlight

The place must receive a sufficient amount of sunlight. It’s an essential element because the needle size depends on the sunlight. If there isn’t enough sunlight, the needle grows rapidly. So, select a place that allows the sun to provide sufficient light. 

What about the temperature?

Either excessive high temperature or low temperature is injurious to Bonsai a pine. The temperature should range between 64 to 75-degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime. During the night period, it’s appreciable if the temperature is between 57 to 61-degrees Fahrenheit. For indoor purposes, normal room temperature should be established. If you don’t pick a place with proper temperature management, your project may not succeed.

Expedient water supply 

An expedient water supply helps to grow the Bonsai while receiving proper nutrients. But, an improper water supply can create trouble at its root. As a result, the tree may die sooner or later. Find a place that can extract additional water successfully by following a regular manner. 

2. Pick the right pine tree type

Along with selecting the perfect place, you need to find the best pine tree type. As all the types aren’t suitable, you should pick the right tree by following some easy steps. 

Types of pine tree for Bonsai

People have a wider interest in Japanese black pine than other types as they’re convenient in every aspect. These types of pine trees are also suitable for converting into Bonsai. 

  • Japanese back pine
  • Japanese white pine
  • Mountain pine
  • Scots pine
  • Red pine

How to pick the right pine tree for Bonsai

Let’s know the process of picking the right pine tree for Bonsai. 

Corn-bearing color 

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

Trunk size 

The trunk should be sized in normal shape. Besides, it must be straight.

Bark color 

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

Branch growth

Usually, healthy pine branches grow in whorls around the tree. A new whorl is added per year and remains in great condition. 

3. Soil preparation

Preparing soil for Bonsai a pine is one of the most significant tasks. If the soil is imperfectly prepared, it’ll lead the tree to death. You can go through some straightforward steps to prepare the soil for these tasks. 

Find the right soil

The soil for Bonsai a pine isn’t like general soil. They come with huge nutrient materials as well as beneficial items for the environment. 

  • The first property of the soil should be a good water-retention system. It’s important to soak and retain a sufficient quantity of water in the occupied safe. 
  • There must be extra water which must be extracted immediately from the pot. The lack of a proper drainage system can lead the soil to create bad impacts on the tree.
  • The soil for this purpose must be prepared with large mixing particles. If there are no tiny gaps or air pockets, the project may not succeed. As a result, photosynthesis can’t perform appropriately. 

Mixing the ingredients perfectly

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

For deciduous Bonsai soil, the percentage will be as per the following amount. 

  • 50% akadama
  • 25% pumice
  • 25% lava rock

In the case of coniferous and pine soil, the percentage will be as per the following amount. 

  • 33% akadama
  • 33% pumice
  • 33% lava rock

4. Planting the pine tree

You should follow some easy steps to plant a pine tree precisely. 

  • The first thing to do is dig a hole in the desired place.
  • Then, put the soil as well as seeds inside the hole. If you’re using plants, plant them after filling the hole with soil. 
  • The last step is applying sufficient water. That’s all about planting the pine tree. 

5. Pruning (How to prune) 

Let’s know the right process of pruning pine trees. 

Select the right time

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

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

Find the proper tools

  • You can go for loppers to trim tiny branches. The size of the branch shouldn’t be more than 4 cm. 
  • Using a reciprocating saw is appreciable with a pruning blade. It’ll help to cut the larger branches. 

Remove dead branches first

  • The dead branches or diseased branches should be cut first.
  • The branches with brown needles also require cutting first. 
  • Just apply the pruning shears and cut them off.

Cut off pine tree suckers

  • Use pruning shears carefully to cut pine suckers perfectly.
  • Bring them to the soil level using the pruning shears. 

6. Watering(How to water)

Excessive watering is injurious to a pine tree. Similarly, watering in a smaller amount isn’t a wise move. Here are some tips for watering pine trees properly. 

  • Don’t apply more than 10 gallons of water per day to a pine tree.
  • Apply the water in slow motion. Don’t let the water gather for a long time as it can damage the tree’s roots.
  • Take some intervals while applying the water. It’ll help the soil to receive the water perfectly. 

Read More: The Ultimate Guide To Watering Your Bonsai Tree

7. Fertilizer(How to fertilize)

Using a slow-release fertilizer that comes with a low dose of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus is suggested. It’s very easy to apply if you follow the following steps. 

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 in each inch of the trunk’s diameter. 

Sprinkle the fertilizer

  • It’s time to apply the fertilizer by sprinkling them on the surface. Measure the distance from the tree trunk to the bottom of its branches first.
  • Then, spread the fertilizer keeping 15 feet distance from the pine’s trunk.
  • Don’t waste the fertilizer by spreading it outside. Stay alert and pay full concentration unless you want to increase the cost. 

Water on the area

  • The last move is to water on the surface of the fertilizer. It’ll help the soil to absorb the fertilizer perfectly. 

8. Potting and repotting(How to pot and repot)

Potting and repotting require a professional level of dedication. However, you can perform it if you follow the depicted steps. 

Prepare the mixture

  • Preparing the mixture is more important than any other step. Instead of using potting soil, pine trees prefer standard soil compacts.
  • Add sterile garden loam, sand, and peat moss together. You can go for the coconut coir if you don’t have the peat moss. 
  • Use your hands to make the mixture. Perfectly mix them and move to the next step. 

Cut the unnecessary roots

  • Root-bound roots should be eliminated first. Using a pruning shear, cut all the additional roots off. 
  • While cutting the roots, don’t cut the lively roots. It’ll lead the tree to death. 

Place the plant

  • The first thing to do is put the mixture inside the pot.
  • Then, put the plant carefully. Let the roots be placed perfectly inside the mixture. To do this, you can use an extra layer of the mixture on the pine tree’s root. 

Apply water

  • It’s time to apply water to the desired place. The extra water must be eradicated from the pot. 
  • If the root ball is exposed, add some soil mixture and let the soil and water balance. 

9. How to take care of Bonsai pine tree 

Bonsai pine trees require special care. Some useful tips are depicted below which can be followed. 

  • Place the tree under the proper sunlight. The photosynthesis rate will be increased in this way on a larger scale.
  • Keep regular pruning using appropriate tools. Never prune the necessary parts of the tree or any essential root. 
  • While watering the tree, apply it in slow motion. Adding extra water makes the surface of the tree extremely muddy. This isn’t helpful for the tree as well as the soil.
  • Apply fertilizer at the best time for Bonsai pine trees. If you don’t follow their preferable period, they won’t provide the expected output. 

10. Common problems and solutions for pine trees

Like other trees, pine trees come with some problems. The matter of joy is that all the problems can be resolved without any major spending. Hence, you should keep a clear conception of the common problems of a pine tree along with knowing their proper solutions. 

The rot of pine tree’s root

The fungus generates fruiting bodies on the roots of the pine tree. This disease attacks white pines most of the time. When the stumps are freshly cut, a kind of fungus attacks the roots. This is a serious disease as the disease can spread from the root to the top of the tree. The good news is this disease can be recovered. 

Therefore, you should know about the exact solution for preventing this disease. 

  • Apply common borax powder to the surface of the stumps.
  • You should apply the powder in a salt shaker manner. After a certain time, your tree’s root as well as the tree will be cured. 


In this disease, the needles start to become brown, yellow, or gray. Small fruiting bodies develop on the needles and cones. The good news is this disease only attacks the Austrian, red, and scotch pine trees. The fungus attack affects the parts of the pine tree and leads the pine tree to death. 

The solutions are:

  • Pruning the infected branches is the best solution to prevent this disease. 
  • Burn the contaminated materials so that further spreads can’t take place. 
  • For better results, you can apply fungicides at the time of early spring. 

Fusiform rust

If the galls are extremely developed, then it’s a sign of fusiform rust. The spherical and linear swellings are also signing of fusiform rust. It’s a disease caused by a fungal attack. 

To eliminate the problem properly, here are some tips. 

  • Use a pruning method to remove the galls of the pine tree. 
  • You can use fungicides to eliminate this problem perfectly. Though it’ll cost some extra money, you can get relief from the problem easily. 

Needle rust

A small yellow-orange spot is found when this disease attacks the pine tree. The spring is the best time to reveal this disease. They use two different host plants so that they can lead their life cycle properly. A kind of fungus is responsible for creating this disease.

You can easily eliminate this problem by following some easy steps.

  • Concentrate on increasing the health of the infected trees. 
  • Never add too much water unless it’s in dry condition. 

Pine wilt

This is a lethal disease that is caused by the pine wilt nematode. The disease is spread by the pine sawyer beetle.  If the tree is planted in a high-temperature area, this problem becomes huge. The needles express this disease first by turning its color into grayish-green.

To resolve this problem:

  • Cut the affected pine trees immediately to save the area. 
  • Don’t save any infested timber for facing further attacks. 

Can you shape a pine tree? 

Yes, it’s nothing difficult to shape a pine tree precisely. You need to cut its side branches 4 to 6 inches shorter than its trunk. The lower branches must remain longer than the upper branches. It’s a regular operation to hold the desired shape of the tree. The young pine shape can be transformed into the traditional cone shape by following this method. 

If you are planning to Bonsai a pine tree from seed

Pine tree seeds are completely okay to transform into a Bonsai. You need to follow the depicted steps in case you’re interested in this method. 

Finding the right seeds

  • Pick the pine trees with plenty of cones for getting more viable seeds. 
  • After collecting the seeds, let them stay in a paper-made box at 25-degree celsius temperature. 
  • For better results, you can mix the seeds with moist peat. Then, preserve the seeds in a transparent plastic bag for up to 7 weeks. You must keep the bag in a refrigerator. 

Choosing and preparing the soil

  • Maple and pine tree species are good with organic commercial potting soil. As this soil comes with a well-draining facility, this is the best soil in this circumstance. However, you shouldn’t use regular garden soil unless you want to see a failed project.
  • To prepare the soil, fill a Bonsai pot with a few drainage holes. 
  • Then, put the soil inside it and water the soil. You should allow it to drain the additional water for the next half an hour. 

Going through the scarification process

  • The seeds are required to soak in water so that their harder outer shell becomes softer.
  • Now, put the seeds in soft bedding. 
  • It’s time to add water and put the seeds in the plastic bag. Then, preserve the bag in a refrigerator. 

Germinating the seeds

  • Plant as much seed as you can. It helps to increase the possibility of a lot of germinated seeds. 
  • Keep the seeds in your strict observation. After finding that the seeds are germinated, you can sow them in the soil. 

Post-germination care

  • If the Bonsai outgrow the seedling trays, start potting them in a large container. 
  • Don’t pull them quickly as the weak stems can be broken. 
  • Let the sunlight access the tree at least one-third of the day. 
  • Put water regularly before starting the fertilization process. 


This section comes with some common questions and the answers related to creating Pine Bonsai. 

Can I cut the lower branches of a pine tree?

If you cut the lower branches of a pine tree, it won’t die. In case you want to bring the pyramid shape, you should cut only the upper branches. You’re allowed to remove the lower third of the crown of a pine. But, over-trimming the bottom of pine isn’t appreciable at all. 

Can you keep a pine tree small?

Yes, you can keep a pine tree small. You need to put regular effort into performing this action. Pine trees grow rapidly if they get proper light and nutrients. Trim the exact parts of the pine tree regularly to bring it into 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” among various regions. This type of pine is easy to maintain and requires minimum cultivation conditions. Besides, the previous success rate of Japanese black pine is higher than other pines. 

What is the easiest Bonsai tree to take care of?

As there are several types of Bonsai trees, all types aren’t easy to maintain. Ficus Bonsai is the easiest species to take care of both indoors and outdoors. This type of Bonsai doesn’t require regular watering and looks good. Beginners can rely on this type without any doubt. 


Converting a pine tree into Bonsai starts with finding the right species. In case you’re going for the seeds, you need to find the best seeds. Whatever your method is, you must now know how to Bonsai a pine tree properly. If you even miss one step, you can’t make the process successful. 

A place with convenient temperature as well as sunlight is mandatory for the growth of Pine Bonsai. Unless you prepare the soil appropriately, the project may rip in the bud. It’s also important to apply water regularly. 

In case you’re going to use the seeds, you must preserve them carefully. Most of the time, seeds can’t generate plants as they don’t get proper post-germination care. By following all the steps to the letter, you can Bonsai a pine tree easily.

Related Post: