We all know the basic signs that are our pines are healthy – dark green foliage and long spring shoots.
Green growth on a 12 year-old pine
Vigorous spring shoot
There’s another clear sign that pines are healthy that may not be as obvious. At first glance, the pine below looks like you would expect a healthy pine to look in early spring.
Looking closer, the emerging shoots at the ends of the branches are summer shoots – new growth that appears at the end of spring shoots that have fully elongated.
When pines are strong, they can push a second flush of growth without decandling. If you see these shoots when your trees are in development, great – the pines are growing in top gear. If, however, you see this a lot on more refined trees, less water and fertilizer might be in order to slow the trees down.
The trees below are early in their refinement. My main goal at this stage is to slow them down to the point where they can produce refined shoots that I can use to build the basic branch structure.
How will I slow the trees down? I’ll feed less and decandle the trees later. Seeing how the trees look in fall after decandling will inform next year’s water and fertilizer regimen.
12 year-old pine
Three summer shoots emerge from the end of a spring shoot
Another 12 year-old black pine
Needles emerging from summer shoots
Space Still Available for June 11 Black Pine Basics Class
This Saturday I’ll be teaching a class on spring work for Japanese black and red pines that focuses on decandling. Not sure if your trees are ready to be decandled or uncertain about how to proceed? Come Saturday for a lecture, demo and hands-on pine work.
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