Back Budding Black Pine?

Messages
417
Reaction score
109
Location
Piedmont NC
USDA Zone
7b
I am in the Piedmont area of North Carolina, not mountains, not coast.

I have a fairly nice black pine from nursery stock, it is in good health. I want to follow the, "cut this years growth off and supposedly new buds will form back down the branches" program.

From what I have read the proper time to do this is sometime soon. I just don't know when. I have new buds forming at the end of the branches. I have some buds that have opened in the last month or so and are making needles.

How do you identify the optimum time to make the cuts that removes this years growth in order to assure that the tree has a chance to start new buds before going into dormancy? Is the window wide, months long or is it narrow like weeks?

I have read some stuff about doing this but none describe what to look for that tells you when.
 

Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
Messages
9,213
Reaction score
16,872
Location
Charlotte area, North Carolina
USDA Zone
7B
I would also recommend the Japanese Black Pine Book by Steve Pilacik. Pines are very different from deciduous trees. You have to follow a specific regimen that involves specific actions at different times of the growth cycle. It is not that hard when you understand it, but it is not (initially) very intuitive. Also black pines (and other two needle pines) respond very differently to pruning than white pines (five needle pines) so you need to understand the difference.

At this time of the year you should not be pruning at all. Rather you should be eliminating excess buds (especially on the strongest branches) and thinning needles. In your case, because you live in North Carolina with a somewhat mild climate, and the tree has never been pruned, you might be ok with an initial prune as soon as the heat of the summer has passed. Just don't remove too much growth - remember that if you don't leave adequate growth on any part of the tree that part will die rather than bud.
 

cray13

Sapling
Messages
44
Reaction score
2
fellow TBS member here...

Mac,

I attended a demonstration with Dana Quattlebaum who runs the nursery at Brussels Bonsai
last month in Charlotte at the Bonsai Learning Center. He worked on a beautiful Mikawa JBP.
After the demo I was able to discuss with him his approach to growing JBP for bonsai. He has
worked on the Brussels JBP stock for the past 10 years and he has kept his approach pretty
simple.

To induce backbudding he said to cut this year's growth off in mid to late June.
He said NO heavy pruning after July 4th. He said if the tree is strong you can cut
off all of this year's new growth and you should see backbudding. He also said that
the idea that JBP will not backbud on old wood was a myth.

Looks like you may have missed the window for this year. Perhaps you could prune one or
two branches and observe the tree's response. Otherwise, it might be a good idea to wait until
next year to try to induce backbudding.

Hope to see you this at our next meeting (this weekend I thinK). I'll bring my notes from Quattlebaum's demo.
 

Brian Van Fleet

Pretty Fly for a Bonsai Guy
Messages
11,731
Reaction score
31,623
Location
B’ham, AL
USDA Zone
8A
Mac,
Adding to what's been posted...
1. Timing is late for cutting this year's growth off pines...if you do it now, it could weaken the tree, throw off any balance it currently has among branches by pushing new shoots at strong locations, and setting buds only at other locations.

2. Strong pines will back-bud on old wood. I go to Brussels frequently and it's interesting to see how Dana and others prune the pines growing in nursery cans. In multiple cases, branches cut back to bare stubs have issued new growth. Not a sure or recommended technique, but if you're pruning several hundred at a time, I guess it happens. I benefit from the ability to take my time walking through the rows and seeing the results!

3. I have been capturing the candle-cutting process for several years now in a PowerPoint format on a single tree. It is useful for seeing how and when to prune. In Piedmont, I'd say you could prune at the same time I do in Birmingham. 3 stages: Approximately June 15 (weak shoots), June 30 (medium shoots), and July 10 (strong shoots). Check out this link for the presentation: http://www.alabamabonsaisociety.org/sites/default/files/media/candle_cutting1of2/index.html It's a 2-parter, so you'll have to go back to http://www.alabamabonsaisociety.org to cue up the second part.

4. The good news is that if you plan to style the tree over the winter, it will have benefited from an uninterrupted season of growth this year, and you'll have plenty to work with!

Best regards!
Brian
 

Brian Van Fleet

Pretty Fly for a Bonsai Guy
Messages
11,731
Reaction score
31,623
Location
B’ham, AL
USDA Zone
8A
How do you identify the optimum time to make the cuts that removes this years growth in order to assure that the tree has a chance to start new buds before going into dormancy? Is the window wide, months long or is it narrow like weeks?

I have read some stuff about doing this but none describe what to look for that tells you when.

Read your post again, and didn't answer the questions fully...

Optimum time is this: when the current year's shoots are fully open AND, when you have just enough growing season left that the next flush of growth opens and sets buds by winter. This takes about 100 days in my climate, so you have to time it by counting backwards from the end of the growing season.

The window is pretty narrow (days/weeks) to be done correctly, and if it's not done at the right time, the results are pretty variable!

Brent's site is great for information on growing pines, www.evergreengardenworks.com/pines.htm and the article on Black Pine Training is a great dive into this topic...actually the full year's work calendar as well.

Finally...if you're trying to get your pine to back bud into old wood, I have seen it happen when you prune beyond the previous year's growth during the winter months. If your tree still has last year's needles attached, and this year's candles are open; leave everything in tact preparing for the winter pruning. Removing the shoot (and the auxins associated with apical growth) stimulates buds along the branch.

Here is how: In February, cut the branch back part way into the 2008 growth (still leaving needles on the branch) and in March/April, when the tree wakes up and there is no terminal bud, it should break new buds all along the branch.

Best,
Brian
 
Messages
417
Reaction score
109
Location
Piedmont NC
USDA Zone
7b
I thank all of you for the comments and guidance. I need it on this one.

Attached are photos I just took of the tree and close ups of what I am seeing on the branch ends. I need to work new growth back closer to the trunk on this thing.
 

Attachments

  • CIMG1070.jpg
    CIMG1070.jpg
    60.4 KB · Views: 151
  • CIMG1071.jpg
    CIMG1071.jpg
    49.6 KB · Views: 100
  • CIMG1072.jpg
    CIMG1072.jpg
    50.1 KB · Views: 85
  • CIMG1073.jpg
    CIMG1073.jpg
    74.4 KB · Views: 79
  • CIMG1074.jpg
    CIMG1074.jpg
    49.2 KB · Views: 84

Klytus

Omono
Messages
1,305
Reaction score
22
Location
Singing Pines Tyneside-England
USDA Zone
8a
When you mentioned the Nursery stock i didn't realise you meant pre-marmalised.

Maybe only buds need looking at later this year.
 

ovation22

Mame
Messages
117
Reaction score
0
Mac,

This is a Japanese Black Pine? If you're looking for a new book I would suggest the Stone Lantern Pine book over the Steve Pilacik book. Lots of good information in the Stone Lantern book.

Decandling is for finished trees in well draining soil where you can control fertilization. This one still looks to be in development, which means you'll want to direct the energy towards growth, not slow it down by removing candles. Also, as has been suggested, it may be a little late in the year anyway.

In late winter or early spring you might want to start selecting branches in areas with more than one branch. It looks like you've got a lot of choices for branches, so that's good.
 
Last edited:
Messages
417
Reaction score
109
Location
Piedmont NC
USDA Zone
7b
John, I will apologize, I used the wrong label. It is an, "Oregon Green Austrian Pine, Pinus Nigra.

Klytus, I have no idea what you mean. It came from a nursery this past spring and I put it into a grow box with some bonsai growing medium. I cut about 3' off the top. I want to develop budding closer to the trunk on the existing branches.

I have made an attempt at a couple of grafts back to it's self to see if I could get some finer growth closer to the trunk. If they don't take the scars will heal. I would rather see new buds on older areas to develop from.
 

Klytus

Omono
Messages
1,305
Reaction score
22
Location
Singing Pines Tyneside-England
USDA Zone
8a
Some guy wires perhaps,i am even experimenting with plaited string to apply a droop.

Fishing weights too,i can leave them on all the time.
 

ovation22

Mame
Messages
117
Reaction score
0
Mac,

No problem at all. JBP are extremely strong growers, so decandling techniques are fairly predictable in their outcome, once the proper timing for your area is discovered. I'm told the same techniques can be applied to Austrian Black Pine, but you'll want to make sure it's growing strongly and the timining in development is correct.
 

Ang3lfir3

Omono
Messages
1,287
Reaction score
17
Location
Bremerton, WA
USDA Zone
8b
Mac,

What I can tell you is that this month has been the month that we here in the PNW especially at Elandan Gardens (Dan Robinson's garden) remove this years growth. We remove it this late for two reasons.

1) the tree has expended most of its energy so that new buds that form will be smaller and weaker.
2) these smaller weaker buds produce smaller foliage thus reducing the scale of the foliage as well.

The trick to this working is that we don't pull needles (except spent dead needles). This allows us the ability to guarantee that the bud is undisturbed. We instead trim needles to allow the light to enter. needle trimming does cause the ends to brown but we aren't interested in showing trees that are in developement and come maturity the tree will produce tiny needles all on it's own. Some people disagree with this practice and they aren't wrong... just different.

We can do this at this time because we have such a long growing season and we only do this to trees that are in a strong growth state. Some trees we let run for a year or so at a time to get some extra vigor and then start them back up on the program again. (removing 1 or more years growth).

I think this late in July might be pushing it (i don't know your area) ... but you can certainly give it a go.
 

greerhw

Omono
Messages
1,978
Reaction score
13
I wouldn't do it ths year, it's a little late.

keep it green,
Harry
 
Last edited:

Similar threads

Top