I was happy to start working on a field-grown pine earlier this week. Long spring candles and healthy green needles suggested that the tree was strong enough to decandle, so the work started there (thanks for the help, Max!).
We also removed some branches that were too large to use in the final design. Here’s the tree before and after this work (see “Decandling” for an introduction to the topic).
Field-grown black pine
After cutback and decandling
I left two shoots at the top of the tree to maintain sap flow in case I need to graft new branches on the back side of the trunk. Although the tree is currently 27″ tall, the final bonsai will be closer to 14″.
Reducing the foliage made it easier to see the trunk so we were able to identify a candidate front.
The root base isn’t as wide from this side, but the trunk movement is better. We may revisit this decision down the road based on how the roots and branches develop, but for now we have a target to work towards.
I’ll hold off on fertilizing the tree for a month or two but will plan to fertilize heavily in fall. In the meantime, I’ll keep the tree in full sun and watch the watering carefully (recently decandled trees typically require less water than they did before decandling).
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