I mentioned last week that an important aspect of making the decandling cut is leaving some new tissue. Having decandled a number of pines this past week, I thought I’d illustrate the point with a few photos.
One thing that can make it difficult to see how far one can cut is that the base of spring shoots aren’t always green, particularly on more vigorous shoots which sometimes appear tan or whitish in color.
Tan base of a vigorous spring candle
Whitish spring candle
Green spring candle
Whatever the color, it’s important to leave some of this tissue when decandling as adventitious buds emerge from it. Removing all of this tissue forces the tree to produce needle buds. Needle buds are great, but they don’t emerge as predictably as adventitious buds do and young needle buds are particularly susceptible to breaking until they’ve grown for a year or two.
Here’s an example of an appropriate and an inappropriate cut.
Spring shoot removed – about 1/8″ of new tissue remains
Below is the same branch after making an additional cut to show how much is too much. Note that the base of the needles actually stick out above the level of the cut.
Cutting too much – all new tissue removed
While this is technically not decandling – no adventitious buds will develop – cutting into last year’s growth can be a useful technique for redirecting vigor to interior shoots.
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