My fall decandling project has been moving along slowly – as expected. After trimming spring growth last October, small buds appeared before the tree slowed down for winter. By March, the buds had begun growing again. Some of the more vigorous branches produced five or six new buds. To keep these areas in check, I removed extra buds leaving just two young shoots per branch.
Japanese black pine – March 2011
Thinning to two buds
I used tweezers instead of plucking buds with my fingers to keep from damaging the remaining buds. I tried to keep buds that were equal in vigor and positioned opposite each other.
Too many buds
Grabbing unnecessary bud with tweezers
Branch thinned to two buds.
As I worked on the tree, I noticed a few peculiarities, like the large spring candle below. Last fall this branch was too weak to decandle. After the surrounding branches were decandled, this shoot become the most vigorous of the bunch. I’ll likely decandle it in June to prevent it from growing even stronger.
Spring candle among fall buds
I was happy to see some of the adventitious buds that sprouted last fall were continuing to grow. The main purpose of decandling the tree in fall was to produce these buds that will eventually allow me to reduce long branches.
After thinning the extra buds, the pine looked just as rangy as when I began. By not wiring the tree last fall, I guaranteed that the tree would look funny for at least a year or two.
Bud thinning complete
I’m currently feeding the tree heavily in hopes of strengthening new shoots, but a cool spring has kept growth to a minimum. As soon as it warms up a bit, I expect the new shoots to develop quickly.
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