The first batch of cascade black pines I started are now five years old. After decandling the trees last spring, it’s time for cutback and wiring.
Five year-old cascade black pine
There are a number of spots along the trunk where too many branches emerge. Ideally, no more than a single branch would split off from the trunk at any given point. Rather than remove all of the extra branches now, I’m thinning back to two or three branches per intersection. This will reduce the foliage by about half which is enough cutback for now. Were I to remove any more, I’d expect the tree to produce very long shoots after decandling.
Here’s the apex before and after cutback.
Upper branches after thinning
Upper branches seen from above
The work is similar for the rest of the tree. Here are the center branches seen from the side.
Center branches before cutback
After shortening the center branches
And here’s the same process on the lowest branches.
Here’s what the tree looked like after cutback and removing some of the old needles.
After cutback and thinning old needles
The trunk already has some movement in it, but I’d like for the cascading trunk to extend lower. After wiring the trunk, I’ll add bends that move up and down and from side to side.
Wired trunk from above
After wiring – 9″ top to bottom, 13″wide
I’m not sure how much farther I’d like the cascading branch to grow, but for the time being, it can go back on the bench and grow for another year.