It’s common to divide a tree’s shoots into three zones based on strength during decandling season. A long-term project of mine had me dividing a tree into three zones for very different reasons.
Japanese black pine – after decandling
The lowest third of this sixteen year-old Japanese black pine is beginning to develop branches that will be used in the final design of the tree – these I decandled. The top third of the tree – two vigorous sacrifice branches – are not decandled. These branches are facilitating future grafts by providing scions and keeping sap flowing past the spots where I need to graft.
The branches growing from the middle of the trunk will comprise the apical branches. I’m keeping the spring shoots here to facilitate approach grafts next season. I’ve never tried approach grafts with black pine and am curious to give it a try.
After decandling – first branch on the left
Spring shoots retained for approach grafting next year
What I’m most looking forward to is removing the top half of the trunk. I’ll do this a year or two after I can get grafts to take near the top of the tree. Then, another five years of decandling or so and the tree may be ready for exhibit at a young 20-25 years old.
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