It’s been fun watching the branches develop on some of the older pines I’ve grown from seed.
When these trees are healthy, it only takes a few years to reduce the internode length and fill out the basic silhouette. The main challenge at this stage is managing the tree’s vigor to reliably produce two shoots per branch after decandling.
The tree below is a good example of how much the internode length can be reduced over the course of a year. Here’s the tree before decandling last summer (see “Refining a 15 year-old pine” for photos of the previous year’s work).
Japanese black pine – June, 2020
And here’s the tree after decandling.
Last summer, the new shoots that developed were much shorter than they were the previous year. They were shorter for two reasons: the tree was repotted, and the number of branches was much larger than it was the year before (in general, the more branches a tree has, the shorter the new shoots will be).
Now that the tree is producing short branches, I can focus on developing the silhouette. The first step is removing the old needles and thinning unnecessary branches.
After thinning crowded areas and removing extra needles
This gave me an opportunity to wire the primary branches.
After wiring – 13″
It’ll take a few more years for the silhouette to fill in, so I’ll look to do similar work each summer (decandling) and fall/winter (thining and wiring) going forward. Once I have a better idea about the final outline, I’ll look for a smaller pot that suits the style of the tree.
Bonsai Tonight Updates
- For the time being, I’ve switched to posting once per week (on Fridays) instead of twice a week in an effort to catch up on a variety of projects.
- As some of you have noticed, I’ve recently stopped supporting the forum, Ask Bonsai Tonight. I did this to make room for new projects like creating more video content or working on a second book. Big thanks to everyone who made the forum such a valuable resource!
- Akadama – this year’s shipment came and went quickly. More soil is on order and is expected to arrive this summer. I’ll post updates when I have more details.
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