Thinning Japanese black pine
Here is a recent photo of a Japanese black pine I decandled last fall. The new shoots began growing in fall, paused during winter, and continued growing in the spring. Now the needles are mature and the tree is full. This is how pines decandled in spring typically look in November.
Black pine – June 2011
The goal of decandling the tree in fall was to encourage new interior buds. Now that several of these buds have appeared, I want them to get stronger. To further push the interior buds, I thinned new growth in strong areas to a single bud.
Two new shoots – this branch is strong
Branch thinned to a single shoot
I also shortened as many branches as I could to further encourage the interior shoots.
After thinning and cutback
When the interior shoots get stronger, I can shorten the branches and further reduce the tree’s silhouette. A lot of work for such a young pine? Yes! But from this work, I’ve learned a lot. And so far, I’m happy with the results.