JBP Spring Candle Work...???

tmjudd1

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I have a couple of healthy JBP's that are now 6 years old and growing in pots. Would it be a bad thing to pinch/cut all of my candles, 'NOW', to approximately the same length as my shortest candles, on the lower branches, in order to balance things out for the rest of this years growing season... then do my usual late summer candle cutting on the second flush before fall? I'm trying to keep the trees somewhat compact and don't want a lot of long branches. I also don't want to damage my trees. Would this be a good idea, bad idea, or 'what'?
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Equalizing the candle length in the spring is a way to balance strength in a pine. It is done as the candle is elongating, but before any needle tips are visible.

Should you do it is a different question, and is fully dependent on what stage of development your pine is in.

And yes, it is possible to perform both candle pinching in the spring and still perform candle cutting in the summer.
 

Adam D

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I recall Bjorn mentioning in a podcast or video or something about not breaking the candles in half in the spring on JBP because the thought is that you let the candle elongate to allow the auxin in the growing bud to transport down the the roots and interact with cytokinins to stimulate root growth. I’ll have to go back and see if I can find where he says it but he says that you’re going to cut it off in the summer anyways so you might as well get benefit from it by just letting them extend or something along those lines.

@Brian Van Fleet I understand you are a student of Bjorns and you are well versed in JBP. I would be interested to hear the approach you take depending on the situation of the tree. For example would you break the candles on highly refined trees in spring to further balance energy but not medium stage of development trees?
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I actually don’t break off candles in the spring unless one oddball is really stretching out on a refined tree, or on one I’m still building branches on, and the top is getting strong at the expense of the bottom. In both cases it’s just to balance the overall strength.
 

Adair M

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I actually don’t break off candles in the spring unless one oddball is really stretching out on a refined tree, or on one I’m still building branches on, and the top is getting strong at the expense of the bottom. In both cases it’s just to balance the overall strength.
In other words:

“It depends”.
 

Dav4

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In my experience, JBP in development that are finally needing to have energy balancing techniques like de-candling will generally need candle breaking as well. Once they've had a few seasons of energy balancing pruning correctly applied at the right time, most candles are similar in size and won't need it.
 

butlern

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I recommend Julian Adams’ new book.

very clear amd concise. Anyone can digest and apply these standard approaches. Best parts are the detailed descriptions and photos of the visual cues of what to do and when (both single and double flush)
 

butlern

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Here
 

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MrWunderful

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If I have a really aggressive sacrifice branch and want to send some vigor back to the lower branches I will snap an obviously dominant candle off (especially if there are 3-6 more around it)
 
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I recommend Julian Adams’ new book.

very clear amd concise. Anyone can digest and apply these standard approaches. Best parts are the detailed descriptions and photos of the visual cues of what to do and when (both single and double flush)

where did you find it?
 
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You can order it directly from Julian’s website adamsbonsai.com or you can get it from international bonsai. I ordered it from international bonsai as I saw it was posted there before Julian posted on his website

thank you, I’ve ordered a copy
 

tmjudd1

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Thanks everyone! From what I'm reading... I'm thinking that I'll just let things run their natural course, and wait until July/August before doing any candle work. The view that you are seeing is actually what I'm thinking the front/display side of the tree will someday become. It's quite cluttered, I know. Not very pretty right now. There are a lot of unwanted branches and candles hanging low on this tree. I'm currently keeping them as sacrificial branches, for trunk and lower branch thickening. I'll eventually lop them off and expose the trunk line, at a later date, once the trunk and lower branches have progressed a bit more. That being said... I also now have 'two choices' for new leaders. Each choice has two candles to choose from. When I decide upon my leader, should I eliminate one of the two candles, on that leader, or let them both grow for a while and 'then' cut one?
 

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Adam D

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Thanks everyone! From what I'm reading... I'm thinking that I'll just let things run their natural course, and wait until July/August before doing any candle work. The view that you are seeing is actually what I'm thinking the front/display side of the tree will someday become. It's quite cluttered, I know. Not very pretty right now. There are a lot of unwanted branches and candles hanging low on this tree. I'm currently keeping them as sacrificial branches, for trunk and lower branch thickening. I'll eventually lop them off and expose the trunk line, at a later date, once the trunk and lower branches have progressed a bit more. That being said... I also now have 'two choices' for new leaders. Each choice has two candles to choose from. When I decide upon my leader, should I eliminate one of the two candles, on that leader, or let them both grow for a while and 'then' cut one?
Dang those are some monster candles. What style tree are you going to try to create?
 

Shibui

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As you say, hard to make out the trunk under the growth which is usual for evergreen.
Looks like the trunk is still pretty small. I would not usually consider a tree at this stage ready for candle cutting. During development stages I prefer to allow shoots to grow for a year or 2 to add bulk then cut back to appropriate needles for new shoots or to side branches for trunk replacement.
You musty be looking after that one pretty well. Candles look strong.

It is really hard to give specific advice on exact pruning without being able to see exactly what is happening on the tree or knowing what shape/size you are planning. Looks like some of last year's growth is pretty long. If you are planning to use that in a small tree you may need to cut back further than just candles but, as mentioned, that can be done any time in the coming year or even next year.

Candles can be allowed to grow provided they don't thicken the shoot below unduly. 2 candles is usually OK to grow for a while to add some bulk and cut later. Try to avoid clusters of branches (whorls) that really thicken and develop reverse taper.

You have a weed growing in the pot. I recognize it as a very invasive weed of pots. Spreads by runners and exploding seed pods and can take over if not controlled. Best to do everything you can to get on top of it ASAP.
 

Thomas J.

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You have a weed growing in the pot. I recognize it as a very invasive weed of pots. Spreads by runners and exploding seed pods and can take over if not controlled. Best to do everything you can to get on top of it ASAP.
I'm in the Dallas area also and yes that weed is very invasive and will take over your root system if not dealt with now, I found that out myself. I hate that thing because it's hard to just pull it up and out, I have to use tweezers to grab it and you usually don't get all of it so that means you'll be spending a few times more getting after it. :-(
 

tmjudd1

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Hmm... about that 'weed'. That weed never showed up until I received a Ponderosa Pine, from Golden Arrow Bonsai. That was two years ago. I've actually been liking that weed thinking that it offers moisture retainment when it's 2,000 degrees during the summer. Actually, during the summer it browns up and just leaves a parched looking layer of ground cover over my bonsai soil. It doesn't green up until this time of year. The Ponderosa pine has been doing well, with this weed, for two years now. As for the JBP? That weed didn't start growing in its pot until this spring. Here's a close-up of that weed. It only seems to grow in my pots that have a true Bonsai soil mixture. It does not show up in any of my pots with typical potting soil mixes. Is this truly a dangerous growth that I need to get rid of?
 

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Dav4

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Hmm... about that 'weed'. That weed never showed up until I received a Ponderosa Pine, from Golden Arrow Bonsai. That was two years ago. I've actually been liking that weed thinking that it offers moisture retainment when it's 2,000 degrees during the summer. Actually, during the summer it browns up and just leaves a parched looking layer of ground cover over my bonsai soil. It doesn't green up until this time of year. The Ponderosa pine has been doing well, with this weed, for two years now. As for the JBP? That weed didn't start growing in its pot until this spring. Here's a close-up of that weed. It only seems to grow in my pots that have a true Bonsai soil mixture. It does not show up in any of my pots with typical potting soil mixes. Is this truly a dangerous growth that I need to get rid of?
That mat of vegetation looks very thick and aggressive... and it's apparently moving from one pot to another... I'd approach it's encroachment on my bonsai with extreme prejudice!
 

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