I’m working on a number of five and six-year-old pines. Several look like the tree below, with vigorous growth on the top half of the tree and smaller shoots below.
Five-year-old red pine – 27″
I’d like to slow down the top half of the tree to encourage the bottom half to become more vigorous. I can do this by reducing the number of branches emerging from a single point along the trunk.
Here’s the tree after removing about half of these branches.
After removing four of the nine branches at the whorl
I want to ensure the the lower branches receive even more light so I removed some of last year’s needles and thinned a few of this year’s new shoots.
After reducing last year’s needles
After thinning some of the new shoots
That’s all of the work I need to do for now. I could have done this work in fall or winter, but I often thin my young pines in spring and summer as I typically have more time this time of year.
Providing the lower branches with more light will help them grow stronger. In a year or (more likely) two, I plan to remove the current sacrifice branch close to the point indicated by the tweezers in the photo below.
The sacrifice branch will be removed at this point
One of the small shoots below will become the new leader, but it needs to grow stronger before I remove the top half of the trunk.
Candidate new leader
Were I to make this cut today, all of the lower shoots would become strong, making it difficult to use the current shoots for primary branches (they’d become too strong). Over the next two years, I’ll select the future primary branches and the new leader so when I remove the current sacrifice branch, I’ll have another branch ready to take its place.
Sei Boku Bonsai Kai’s 35th Annual Show this Weekend
The Sei Boku Bonsai Kai is hosting their 35th annual show from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday at the San Mateo Garden Center. I’ll be demonstrating Saturday at noon and leading an open view workshop on Sunday, also at noon. The demo will feature work on a shohin black pine that will be raffled at the conclusion of the event.
Club sales of trees and pots, door prizes and raffles both days. I’ll also be vending tools and trees. Learn more at the Sei Boku website.
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