Have you ever found yourself unsure about a young tree’s future? Me too. As young pines transition from trunk development to branch development, the main focus is on slowing the tree down and increasing branch density. I begin this process by decandling the tree and removing extraneous branches. I don’t need a final plan at this point, but the more I know about the tree’s future, the better.
10-year-old black pine – before decandling
After removing the spring growth
Next, I thinned out branches where three or more emerged from the same spot and shortened those that extended beyond the tree’s basic outline.
After removing unnecessary branches
As the foliage was still fairly dense in some areas, I removed extra needles to allow more light and air to reach the tree’s interior.
After removing needles where the foliage was dense
I left the long branch on top as I haven’t completely decided what I want to do with the trunk. I’ll revisit the decision this fall.
I followed the same process of removing spring growth and thinning unnecessary branches on a number of 10-year-old trees.
Black pine – before
After decandling and cutback
One of the more fun trees from this batch was created by letting the roots grow through course rocks for several years (See “Repotting 1 year-old black pines” for details). Here’s the tree before decandling and cutback.
10-year-old exposed root black pine
After cutback – front #1
The other side of the tree could also provide a compelling front.
I’ll select one of these fronts or the other when I repot the tree this winter.
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