A number of my 13 year-old pines are making the transition from trunk development to branch refinement. During this stage, I’ll often decandle branches that will be part of the final design while letting other branches continue to thicken.
Most of the branches on the tree below were decandled this year. The branches that I let grow will be used to thicken the apex and help close wounds.
Japanese black pine – before decandling
And here’s the tree after cutback, decandling and wiring.
After decandling and wiring
Once the sacrifice branches are removed, the tree will be much smaller.
Rough outline of the future silhouette
The lower sacrifice branch has been kept to help heal a wound on the back of the trunk. I’ll remove this branch in fall.
Sacrifice branch near the base of an old wound
The top sacrifice branch is helping to thicken the apex and close a wound higher up on the trunk.
Wound near the top of the tree
I expect to keep this sacrifice branch for another year or two. Once I’ve decided on the apex and it’s had some time to thicken up a bit, I’ll reduce the sacrifice branch and begin decandling the entire tree.
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