Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => Evergreen Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: yamins on June 16, 2012, 09:53 AM

Title: Black Pine Candling question
Post by: yamins on June 16, 2012, 09:53 AM
Hi all --

I just purchased a new black pine which is ready for some refinement, and have a question about candling.

For a few years, I've been working fairly intensely to get the hang of secondary/tertiary branch development, backbudding, and foliage reduction on black pines.   In that time, I've sort of "entrained" the various black pines in my collection into a virtuous cycle that seems effective for my climate.   This cycle prescribes that I begin cutting candles around now, using the "all at once" candling method: leaving somewhat larger stubs on larger stronger candles; smaller stubs on medium candles; no stubs on small candles; and no candling at all on weak candles or weak trees.    As a result, I've had pretty good success (by my standards) developing JBPs and keeping them healthy.

However, with the new tree, I'm a little out of my comfort zone.   The tree is very healthy, and from a reputable dealer.  However, it has been acclimatized to a warmer climate than mine for a few years.  Some of the candles on the tree look like they were cut earlier in the season, and seem look they weren't touched.   As a result, those developed further than they do on my usual trees.  

As you can see in the pictures, the first one has brown woodier shoots.   This is the new tree.   I THINK, though am not sure, that this is actually this years' growth.    (Or is that last years' growth?  I can't even tell.   Sorry!)   The second picture shows the candles on a tree that I've had for a while, e.g. what I will start cutting in the next few days.    

Given that I would prefer to not "screw up" my new tree, what should I be doing with it now?   How should be handling foliage and branch refinement now?    I should add:  I own and have watched Boon's black pine videos a number of times.   That's how I've learned my current practices.   (I've also benefitted tremendously from Brian Van Fleet's wonderful pdf presentation on black pine development.)

However, the new tree seems to be "out of practice", e.g. not treated this way for a while, so therefore maybe not quite ready for the exact cycle of actions I'm used to; what is the right way to get it into shape?   With the trees I've had so far, the process of getting them from big bushes to being in Boon's cycle always had a few bumps, e.g. things I shouldn't have cut but did, and vice versa.  Given the quality of the new tree, I'd like to avoid this as much as possible.  
Title: Re: Black Pine Candling question
Post by: cbobgo on June 16, 2012, 12:57 PM
your first pic does look like last years growth to me, except for the fact that there are no buds or new candles at the tip, which we would expect from year old growth.  So it may just be growth from this year that started earlier because of the warmer climate it came from.

Without seeing a pic of the whole tree, it's hard to give good advice.  but I wouldn't worry too much about "screwing up." At most, you may lose a little bit of time in it's development, but I doubt that any decisions on how or when to candle this year will cause any major problems.

If the tree is growing strong, and it has trunk and primary branches developed to the point where the focus is now on ramification, then I would say go ahead and candle as you  normally have been.  If the tree seems weak, or if you need to get more strength/development in the trunk or branches then don't candle - give it a year off to gain some strength.

- bob
Title: Re: Black Pine Candling question
Post by: Tim Gardner on June 16, 2012, 02:12 PM
How you should approach it depends on the stage of development the tree is in. Please do post a pic of the tree, front and back. I think that if you follow what Boon says in the DVDs you will be fine, and remember not to cut back to buds that are to small. If you should need to do some cut back as well as candleing.
Title: Re: Black Pine Candling question
Post by: yamins on June 16, 2012, 02:14 PM
cbobgo, thanks so much for your response.

The tree is definitely very strong.   I'd like to take your advice and "go ahead and candle" as I normally do.  The problem I'm having with that is:  I'm not sure how to connect the growth pattern on the tree currently with the state of the candles the way they are before I normally candle them.  

The biggest problem I'm having is that I can't tell the difference between last year's growth with a mysterious lack of buds and early growth from this year that wasn't candled and now is kind of woody due to the tree having lived in a warm climate.   In the case that it's last year's growth, I probably don't want to cut it off? And if it IS this year's growth that went untended, is it safe/desirable for me to cut it off now that it's woody-ish?  
Title: Re: Black Pine Candling question
Post by: cbobgo on June 16, 2012, 05:46 PM
I don't think it matters either way - I think you need to remove those candles whether they are this year's or last year's - unless you want that extended growth in that location - which I suspect you don't.

- bob
Title: Re: Black Pine Candling question
Post by: John Kirby on June 16, 2012, 07:28 PM
They need to be removed. The tree lived in a greenhouse near Memphis. I would bet that Bob is exactly right, second set of candles. I have a few on trees here in Connecticut as well. It is a very nice tree (I got to see it last weekend) and there was nothing unusual about it. John.
Title: Re: Black Pine Candling question
Post by: Adair M on June 16, 2012, 07:34 PM
Another alternative to "decandling" the tan/woody shoots would be to trim them back to 4 sets of needles when you decandle the others.  You will likely induce needle buds to develop there.  

Can you speak to the person who sold you the tree to ask how it was managed?

As an aside, I aquired a tree last winter that stayed dormant thoughout the spring.  While my other JBPs were extending their candles and then growing needles, it just sat there.  Didn't turn brown.  Just sat.  Until last week.  Now it appears to be pushing candles, popping adventitious buds, and needle buds.  I suspect it was cold damage.

I'm just going to let it be this year, and try to get it stong enough to work next year.
Title: Re: Black Pine Candling question
Post by: John Kirby on June 16, 2012, 09:38 PM
The tree came from a big bonsai nursery in Olive Branch Mississippi. Came out of quarantine and travelled to the National Show in Rochester.
Title: Re: Black Pine Candling question
Post by: yamins on June 17, 2012, 09:45 AM
Thanks John, Bob and Adair -- this was exactly the information I was looking for, extremely on target.  

I'm going to candle these shoots as if they were the green, slightly less developed candles I'm used to, assuming that in fact they were the second candles from this year.  

Is it usually the case that JBPs grown in the zone where Brussel's is need to be candled twice every year?  Theoretically they're 7b, but I think to get so much growth it must be much warmer on average than zone 7a on Long Island in NY, for instance, where trees definitely only get candled once (at least, in my very limited experience!).
Title: Re: Black Pine Candling question
Post by: cbobgo on June 17, 2012, 11:26 AM
I don't think the darker ones are second candles - if there was a second candeling, they would have been the first candles and the green ones the second.  But I don't think that is the case - it is way too early in the year for 2 sets of candles.

My guess is the darker ones were weaker candles from last year that were left on, and for some reason they did not bud out this year.

Again, it would be helpful to see pics of the whole tree to get a better feel for how it is growing.

- bob

Title: Re: Black Pine Candling question
Post by: Adair M on June 17, 2012, 05:04 PM
Memphis, TN is extremely hot and humid.   That's where Brussel's is.
Title: Re: Black Pine Candling question
Post by: yamins on June 23, 2012, 10:29 AM
This picture from Jonas Dupuich's blog looks almost identical to the case in my situation:!i=1047230007&k=o8BQH (!i=1047230007&k=o8BQH)

For some candles on my tree there are no buds since it appears as if the candle itself was broken in half a few months ago (probably to prevent it from getting too long).    

I'm doing the removal last weekend and next and will report back how it goes.

Thanks for the help,