If you haven’t already, now is the time to prepare your pine trees for their spring growth. Maintenance now sets the tree up more even candle development in spring through balancing the energy of the tree by directing the energy away from the stronger parts of the tree to the weaker. Pines are apically dominant while lower branches are weaker and this needs to be managed if the tree is to be balanced, both in energy and growth.

This tree was worked on at Edge Bonsai Studio in late May. This is what we did.

Black pine branch before work with Andrew Edge

  • To start, the branch junctions were cleaned out and any old, disfigured or damaged needles were removed. This included any third-year needles that were brown.
  • Next upward growing branches were removed. This allows more sunlight into the tree and encourages back budding.
  • To improve ramification cut back to two summer candles (or three if the area is weak). Candles of similar strength were kept choosing ones that would provide the best structure (think acute angle).
  • Needles pluck back to 10-12 pairs per shoot. If a branch or area is weak, more are left.
  • Andrew shortens needles where necessary to balance the amount of energy but leaves any weak areas untouched.
  • The tree was then wired, and the branches set.

Branch ready for spring growth