As decandling season comes to a close, you might notice summer buds forming on some of the first trees you decandled this season.
Ideally we’ll see two buds at the end of every branch. Ideally. It’s common – and perfectly fine – to see anywhere between zero and five or more buds per branch.
Five summer buds on black pine branch
Four summer buds
The tendency is to pluck extra buds while they’re small and leave just two at the end of every branch – the ideal outcome of decandling.
Two summer buds
I tend to hold off and let all summer shoots mature. In general, I want as many shoots as possible on pines after decandling. In fall, I can thin crowded areas to two shoots per branch with scissors.
What about branches with just one summer bud?
One summer bud
Having a single bud is great as one bud is much better than zero. No improvements in ramification are in store for these branches this year, but at least there’s hope for next year.