The transition from spring to summer marks the middle of decandling season, the time of year when we remove spring shoots from black pines to produce more compact summer growth. If a tree is healthy and received a lot of fertilizer in spring, it’s a good candidate for decandling. Based on this criteria, the black pine below made a good candidate this year.
Black pine before decandling – tea bags are filled with cottonseed meal
I removed all but the weakest shoots to give them a chance to catch up with the more vigorous ones.
Black pine – after decandling
My large cork bark pine is healthy but not all areas of the tree are vigorous. As a result, I decandled the strong areas and left the weaker areas alone.
Cork bark black pine – before decandling
After decandling the strong areas
Decandling select areas of a tree can yield funny results as the spring needles will be long, the summer needles, short. I don’t typically take this approach, but am curious to see how it goes. It will take at least one more year after this year to produce even growth so I expect to be living with uneven growth for a while.
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Daniel Dolan says
My question for you today is not related to decandling, rather it is about grafting of trunks. In the second photo a tree that makes a transition from a wider base to the midsection is displayed.
I do not know if this is a result of a graft, but it prompts the following question: I have several Scots and White Pines which are grafted onto other stock and done quite expertly.
I have some that are 15%-20% wider at the base than the upper grafted portion. I have been told that, over time, these contrasting trunk thicknesses will transition more gracefully. Others state that these differences will remain and still others that it will become worse.
Can you offer any guidance on this topic.
Jonas Dupuich says
Hi Daniel – good question. I’m not sure if there’s a general pattern or if it depends on the specimen. I know of some cases in which the transition has improved with time, particularly for white pine grafted on black. I don’t know of as many cases in which the transition degrades with time.
Where do you make the cuts on these candles. I have a very old established black pine with very short new candles. I know that the tree would benefit from the kind of decandling you’re showing but where do you make the cut on these short candles? At the base of the candle or leave a few millimeters. Also, do you do any needle plucking on the areas where you do the decandling? Is there a way to send you a picture? I have a question about this tree, especially about balancing the energy through needle plucking as Ryan Neil has been recommending.
Jonas Dupuich says
Good question about where to cut:
And yes, I like pulling needles when I decandle:
(you can see plenty of decandling posts at: http://bonsaitonight.com/tag/decandling/)
As for your specific tree, the best place for advice is a forum like bonsaistudygroup.com