I wrapped up my decandling for the year by removing the new shoots from a small black pine last weekend. I waited fairly late to decandle the tree as there’s a chance I’ll show it in the upcoming Bay Island Bonsai exhibit and I didn’t want the new needles to be too long.
Shohin black pine – 19 years old
The tree tends to come out fairly evenly so I don’t do much to balance the vigor beyond pulling extra needles from the top branches. As you can see from the photo below, many of the interior shoots are weak – these I didn’t decandle.
Less vigorous interior shoots
The contrast between the long spring needles and short summer needles from the previous year always cracks me up.
Apex and front branches decandled
As the decandling work went quickly, I had time to rewire the tree. Here are the branches before and after wiring.
Decandling complete – before wiring
After wiring – 6″
Although the tree has the basic silhouette I’m looking for, there are plenty of branches I’d like to reduce or remove – subtle adjustments that will improve the tree and help keep it small – but because an exhibit looms ahead, I erred on the side of leaving the tree full and will wait to do more significant cutback next February.
Curious what it looks like to decandle a small pine? For those who haven’t seen it, here’s a video from when I decandled the tree last year.
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