One of the most fun stages of development is when the trunk has reached the desired size and the focus switches to improving branch density.
The black pine below was field-grown at Lone Pine Gardens in Sebastopol, California. For the past few years I’ve been slowing the tree down in an effort to develop shorter internodes and greater branch density.
Last week I pruned, decandled, and wired the tree. Here’s what it looked like before the work.
Field-grown black pine
And here’s the tree after pruning, decandling, and thinning excess needles.
Once I saw the branch structure clearly, I figured it would be a good time to lower the primary branches. I quickly realized, however, that the first branch on the right side (shown below from the back) was way too heavy to bend with wire. I only needed to bend the first two inches so I attached a piece of rebar to make sure I could bend the branch right where it emerges from the trunk.
Ready for bending
I attached a guy wire to hold the branch in place after bending and lowered it incrementally until I reached the angle I was looking for.
After lowering the branch and securing it with a guy wire
Here’s what the tree looked like after wiring the rest of the branches.
After wiring – 18″
I did similar work on another tree from the same batch. Here’s the before and after.
Before pruning and wiring
After pruning and wiring – 26″
The apex still has a ways to go so I left the main sacrifice branch and will let it grow freely for another year or two. Once the sacrifice branch comes off I can focus on creating the silhouette I want for the tree.
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