There are many techniques for developing Japanese black pine bonsai: pinching, plucking, and pruning among them. All are necessary, but none do the work of decandling. I’m surprised each year at how well decandling balances vigor, improves ramification, and reduces needle size.
I began caring for a cork bark Japanese black pine in 2004. After several years of restoring the tree’s vigor, it was time to decandle. Just a year and a half later, the tree more than doubled its ramification.
Before decandling – January 2009
18 months later – June 2010
The tree still needs plenty of work, but that’s part of the fun. As long as there is progress, the work is bearable.
You can see the tree with moss at Bay Island Bonsai’s gallery of the 2010 Exhibit.
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