A number of my black pines are turning eight this year. Some are starting to look like young bonsai. Others simply look young. As none have grown to the size I have in mind for them, the work at this stage is straight forward.
I’ve trained the tree below in the exposed root style. This year’s goal for the tree below is increased growth. To keep it from blowing over, I removed the uppermost shoot.
I have yet to select a trunk or main branches, but I suspect the final tree will be somewhere in this area.
Exposed root pine
Most of my young pines have small shoots near the base of the trunk that will form the future branches. Longer escape branches serve to thicken the trunk. To keep the lower branches on the tree below in check, I cut them back and wired them down.
8yr-old pine with long shoots
After cutback and wiring
I also replaced the tree’s trunk by wiring a branch upwards and tying it to the stub from the previous trunk. Changing the main trunk like this is a good way to add movement and produce taper.
Another young pine was getting floppy. I wired the trunk a few years ago with some very tight curves. The weight from the long escape branch made the tree bounce around in the wind. To keep the branch from moving around too much and snapping the trunk, I removed some of the excess foliage.
Some trees are puzzles to me. I’ve found that some of the trickiest – read: least attractive – simply require more time before the future direction becomes clear. I’m hoping light cutback and another year or three of new growth may help with this one.
Future landscape tree?
Some of the smaller trees produce no strong feelings in me. I’ll let these grow another year before making any cuts.
Plenty of small branches
I really like this stage of development because the work is simple and the effect on the tree’s future can be huge. Some of my most hopeless cases have turned into really fun trees. The rest are growing nicely – as landscape trees.
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