Decandling season is a good time to do cutback on black pines. Although we can’t cut past green needles and expect buds to pop on old wood, we can cut anywhere else as long as there is healthy foliage on the branch. (See “A cutback decandling technique” for details.)
Here’s an exposed root black pine I showed at last year’s Expo before and after decandling. The tree is 19 years old from seed.
After decandling and cutback – 10″
Simply decandling the tree would have reduced its size, but to keep the tree compact, I removed all long branches and cut back into the old needles wherever there were needles to cut back to.
A small pine in the garden needed the same treatment. About 10″ tall before decandling, the tree is now 8.5″. (Thanks to Adam Toth for the work!) This tree was part of the same batch as the above pine – they were both started from seed planted in 2004.
After decandling and cutback – 8.5″
To keep the top of the trunk in check, a large portion of it was removed.
Wound from removing the top of the trunk
It’ll take considerable root work to get this tree back down to shohin size (under 8″) so I’ll get started with the work next winter and see how far I can get.
News & Updates
- Exhibit catalogs from the 2022 Pacific Bonsai Expo are available online at the Expo website.
- Soil update for bulk orders: The next soil shipment (akadama and kanuma) is scheduled to arrive in September. In the meantime, small Aoki Blend, medium akadama, and medium pumice are in stock.
- In lieu of a new episode on the Bonsai Wire Podcast, I’d like to recommend the Black Pondo Podcast this week. Hosted by Jeremiah Lee, the podcast features interviews with bonsai practitioners across the US and beyond including the following familiar names: Julian Tsai, Bob Shimon, Adam Toth, Matt Spinnaker, Eric Schrader, and Kaya Mooney. Check it out in your favorite podcast player or listen here.
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