Ashley brought a large, old black pine to work on last month. Thirty years in the ground and three in the pot, the tree had some flaws but also had good movement, lovely bark and a beautiful nebari. It was a good time to work this tree as it was still flexible and slowing down for winter.

Just as well Ashley likes big trees.

Ashley started by removing the lowest branches (three) as they would be too low when he brought the higher branches down to give the impression of age. He left long stubs to be jinned. Next he did the heavy wiring using aluminium wire which he prefers; it will stay on for 8-9 months. Ashley tries to be careful not to damage any needles as they are the future of the tree.

The next step was to place the branches. Ashley lowered the first branch easily with the wire, and raised the bar branch (not ideal but he will deal with later by hollowing some out if necessary) as there would otherwise not have enough material. He removed barred branches where ever possible.

Heavy bending

Ashley is always looking to fill the space and create levels in a tree. With this in mind, a new apex was made by bringing a barred branch (near the top of the tree) up and and using the original apex as a back branch. He then lowered the other barred branch at that point using guy wires. It took plenty of strength and two guy wires tho get it nearly into place before a small crack appeared. This was quickly sealed and will be allowed to heal for about nine months.

Finally, Ashley reduced the foliage at the top of the tree keeping the weaker and smaller branching so the leader was more obvious. No more work will be done on this tree until December to allow it to recover.

The end result

The end result

Thanks Ashley for a very entertaining and interesting demo.