Q. What's the best way to separate several norfolk island pine trees? When is the best time to repot? How shallow of a container can it planted in?
What's the best way to separate several norfolk island pine trees? When is the best time to repot? How shallow of a container can it planted in, going bonzai? b
Repotting Araucaria is best done in spring time. Usually repotting is needed only every two to three years, but plants can be repotted when roots appear on the surface of the mixture or through the bottom of the container. Also note that the roots are rather delicate so handle the plant carefully when you separate them.
Bonsai? Norfolk Island pine as a bonsai it is not recommended. Like umbrella trees or ficus, are usually trained by wrapping wire around the branches in order to hold them in place. Eventually the branches will stay in the desired shape and wire is removed. Foliage and trunks are trimmed in order to give the tree an old and gnarled look.
Norfolk Island Pines do not particularly adhere to this type of training because of the nature of the plant. Trunks are relatively thin, often the size of a pencil or thinner, when first planted and even when they grow 200 feet the trunk only grows to 10 feet wide. The branches are very flexible and feathery and do not usually conform to wire training no matter how long the wire is maintained. Eventually the bottom branches will dry, die, need to be removed and will not grow back. This gives the tree a rather palm-like appearance or a trunk with a pom-pom on top.
Cutting the trunk or most of the foliage usually results in death. Sometimes, when the trunk is cut to encourage alternate growth, it will come back, but it takes quite a long time. It is best to let the tree grow in its natural shape and allow it to grow slowly in order to make it a bonsai. Another method is to cluster it with several other small Norfolk Island Pines to make forest-like growth in a pot.
Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information