Late spring is a great time to decandle healthy black and red pines (see “Decandling” for details). It’s also a good time to thin dense areas or remove extra needles that didn’t come off in fall.
Over the years I’ve found it relatively easy to decandle pines at the right time, but hard to do the catch-up work that would normally have been done the previous fall.
That’s been the case with most of my pines this year. I decandled them on schedule – late May through early July – but I’m still working my way through the delayed work of thinning and needle plucking.
It feels great to complete the work, even when I’m behind schedule, as it sets me up for the coming fall.
Here’s a group planting of five red pines grown from seed over the past 28 years.
And here’s the tree after decandling, pruning, and thinning old needles.
After decandling and thinning – 22″H 39″W
Based on past experience, I’ve found that the trees respond well to the thinning work even when it’s done a month or two late. The challenge is that new shoots start to develop in as little as 1-2 weeks after decandling.
Vigorous new shoots
Once the summer buds begin to form, care must be taken to avoid breaking the tender new growth.
Fortunately not all of the shoots on this pine are so far along.
Branch with small new shoots
Being behind on my pine work suggests that I either have too many trees in my collection, or too many other commitments (like planning an exciting bonsai exhibit for this fall!). Fortunately, getting caught up with the pine work increases the odds that I’ll be able wire the tree this coming winter – a long overdue task!
More Kokufu Books Available
Due to the popularity of the Kokufu book “Mystery Box,” we’ve added more to the online store.
The “Mystery Box” includes Kokufu books from four different decades spanning from 1977-2015. Each box includes one book each from Kokufu exhibit numbers 51-59, 61-69, 71-79, and 81-89 at a 25% discount.
For those looking for a bigger discount, we have a small number of books with damaged boxes available for over 50% off. (Although the boxes are beat up, the books inside are in good shape.) Volumes 54, 55, 61, 62, 63, 65, 66, 67, 68 are available for $35/each. Volume 70 (492 pages) is available for $55. Send an email (contact info at the bottom of the page) to learn more.
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