Bonsai tree: Decandling before and after – red pine forest

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bonsai tree: Decandling before and after – red pine forest

Source: Bonsai Tonight
Decandling before and after – red pine forest

Decandling is a great technique for improving ramification or for maintaining it. What little ramification my red pine forest has can be attributed to a few years of decandling. I don’t currently have any plans to further develop the trunks in this forest, so the branches are getting all of my attention. Here is the group planting before decandling.

Red pine forest - before decandling

Red pine forest – June, 2011

1/3 done

Top 1/3 decandled

2/3 done

2/3 decandled

Decandling complete

Completely decandled

In addition to removing the spring shoots, I removed some extra vigorous branches to better balance the tree. The shoot below is quite vigorous – more than I want for this bonsai.

Branch with great vigor - it is out of balance with the other branches

Vigorous branch

The branches below are better suited for development into branch pads.

Appropriate vigor

Desirable growth

Where extra-vigorous shoots were crowding out more refined growth, I removed the vigorous shoots.

What to do with an extra-vigorous shoot?

One of these shoots is not like the others

Vigorous shoot removed

Extra-vigorous shoot removed

As I worked, I found a few anomalous shoots like those below. They weren’t spring shoots, but they weren’t exactly summer shoots either. Where did they come from?

Accelerated growth

Mystery shoots

About two months ago, I thinned these trees and shortened some of the candles – see “Thinning a red pine forest” for details. On one or two occasions, I accidentally broke the candles before they had time to develop. It was as if I “de-candled” these branches on the early side. The result of these mistakes are the strong shoots you see pictured above. As these shoots would continue to develop ahead of the properly decandled branches, I removed them to maintain balance.

Strong shoot removed

Mystery shoots removed

After removing all extra-vigorous shoots and plucking needles from some of the more dense areas, I wrapped up my work for this season.

Decandling and needle pulling complete

Decandling complete

This forest is another good candidate for wiring this fall. Once the branches are in place, I plan to repot the group in a slightly smaller pot.


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