In early October, I began an experiment to see if fall decandling could produce new interior buds on a couple of young Japanese black pines. To date, the results have been good. The first tree I decandled was the weaker of the two. There are plenty of new buds, but not a lot of back budding.
11/24/2010 – Seven weeks after decandling
As you can see from the close up, there are plenty of small buds at the end of each shoot.
Three new buds
These buds appeared a few weeks after decandling, but have slowed down since the weather cooled in December.
The second of the two trees I decandled in October is quite vigorous. The tree wasn’t repotted last winter, it’s growing in a large pot, and the branches aren’t wired. As expected, many new buds have appeared.
11/21/2010 – Many new buds
These buds are much larger than those on the other pine – the first juvenile needles have begun to separate from each other.
Even more exciting, I’ve found several new buds. Interestingly, each appears on the underside of the branch from which they spring.
New bud growing adjacent to existing young shoot
New bud growing opposite young shoot
New bud at branch intersection
Each of these adventitious buds appeared at the intersection between two year’s growth. I’m curious to learn if more will appear next year. Several new buds is a good start, but more will be even better.
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Scott Straley says
All I can say is WOW! Obviously you have kept these trees in excellent health, but I am amazed at all those buds on the interior! Since they won’t be hardened off, I would assume they would need a little extra freeze protection; albeit that we are expecting a high of 68-70 Sunday. Great post.
Mark Johnson says
Your results are impressive. By decandling in October, I’m curious what your feeding schedule was prior to that, and are you feeding during or after the new growth appears. I do understand this based on tree health.
Hi Mark – I fed the tree moderately throughout the growing season. When it got cooler, about a month ago, I stopped feeding. I plan to feed heavily next year, starting with a little food in early spring and increasing the fertilizer incrementally.
John Romano says
Yes, I’ve seen this done in Japan also. I love your blog and recommend it to many of my students and bonsai friends. I just wanted to add that one has to take one’s horticultural zone in mind before trying this. Here in New England, it would be too late to try this. One could try in August here and then keep the tree a bit more protected in the winter.
Peace through bonsai,
Hi John – thanks for the note. You make a good point about locale – I’d recommend folks consider their zones for any bonsai instructions. Interestingly, the recommendation to decandle in October, as I understood it, was based on when the technique is applied in Japan. It could be that I decandled too early for my zone. Decandling when it’s cold out could postpone the arrival of new buds until spring – which might be the point. I may have to experiment when I get the chance next year.
John Kirby says
Jonas, we have done heavy pruning and essentially decandled JBP in Arkansas in November with good results. We tend to get down to the 0 range every winter, but not for real long time, then it bounces back up. I put the trees under plastic in late November, early December, keeps them protected from the cold winds and the humidity up. lots of back budding and reduced long running on the branch ends- but that is not New England.