I’ve been working on an old cork-bark black pine since 2004. The tree has improved a lot over the years, but it still has a ways to go. The main focus at this stage is increasing the branch density.
Cork-bark black pine – 23″
The tree is strong enough to decandle most years, but was weak for the past several following a root aphid infestation. This year I decandled the strong shoots, left the weak ones alone, and removed about half of the old needles – slow work on a pine of this size, but not bad with good help (thanks Danny and Andrea!).
Here’s the tree after this work was complete.
Cork-bark black pine after partial decandling and thining old needles
And here’s the tree fourteen years ago.
Cork-bark black pine as acquired in 2004
In reviewing the old photos, I’m struck by the difference in a few key areas. The current apex was created from three shoots. There are far more now.
The first branch on the left has also developed nicely. A small number of long, slender shoots have been replaced by a good number of much shorter branches.
Improved branch density – first branch on the left
And somehow, even the trunk has improved with time.
Here are photos of the back and sides of the tree from 2004 and from earlier this week.
Right side – 2o18
Right side – 2004
Back – 2018
Back – 2004
Left side – 2018
Left side – 2004
The tree is long overdue for wiring and styling. If it comes out well this summer, I can look forward to taking this next step in fall.