The new growth on the lower branches looks good on the tree below, but the shoots are short and the buds are small compared with the foliage on the sacrifice branch.
Container grown black pine – 15 years old from seed
New shoot on the sacrifice branch
New shoot on a lower branch
I decandled the lower branches in mid-July last year without touching the sacrifice branch. As a result, the lower branches failed to produce summer growth while the sacrifice branch grew stronger.
Now that the trunk has reached the desired thickness, I’m looking to remove the sacrifice branch over the next year. I like to do this in stages to prevent the tree from producing long shoots near the place where I cut.
Here’s the tree after reducing the sacrifice branch.
After reducing the sacrifice branch
And here’s the tree after decandling and pulling needles on the sacrifice branch.
After thinning needles and decandling the sacrifice branch – 20″ tall
The main reason I postponed decandling the lower branches until next year is that I want to be sure to get a good response. I could likely have decandled this year, but I’m not positive I’d see the growth I’m looking for to develop over summer.
The tree is currently 20″ tall to the top of the sacrifice branch, but I expect the future height of the tree to be closer to 12″.
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