This past January, I attended a workshop run by Daisaku Nomoto. As I was about to start plucking needles on a young pine, Nomoto recommended I leave some of the oldest needles in place. I asked why, and he suggested the following technique.
Many branches on the young pine below have grown vigorously. Even after decandling the tree last spring, the summer shoots grew too long for me to incorporate them into the final design. I needed a way to replace these vigorous shoots with more refined growth.
19 year-old black pine
Instead of removing the spring growth according to standard decandling techniques, I removed last year’s growth too.
Long shoots removed
Here’s where the old needles come into play. Second-year needles will keep sap flowing to the branch where I want new buds to appear.
Second year needles
Here’s a closer look at the branches I removed. The green section developed this spring – the brown section developed last summer.
12 months of new growth
Spring shoots separated from last summer’s growth
I removed as many long branches as possible, and decandled the rest. This resulted in a much smaller profile.
I’m curious to see how the tree responds – and I’ll be sure to share the results.