Decandling cork bark Japanese black pines is very similar to decandling the non-cork bark trees. The main difference is that cork bark pines are usually less vigorous. A general rule of thumb is to decandle them every other year, ideally showing them in the years after which they’ve been decandled.
I decandled this tree for the first time in 2009. It came out very strong so I’ve decandled it a second time this year. We’ll see how it comes out in fall.
Before decandling – front
Before – back
After decandling – back
I plucked a handful of needles from the strongest areas, mostly near the top of the tree, to help balance the new growth. The lower branches are weaker – I left all of the old needles in these areas.
Considering the many factors that contribute to successful decandling, I’m leaving the fertilizer in place throughout the decandling season. Normally I’d remove it all when I decandle. But because cork bark is somewhat weaker than pine, I’m giving the tree the slight advantage of getting fertilizer while it forms summer shoots. I’ll add new fertilizer according the to typical decandling calendar – little by little beginning about 4 weeks after decandling – and end up with a lot of fertilizer on the tree by fall. I’ll leave the fertilizer in place until the very end of the year – the mild winters here make the growing season long.
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