I have a bit of 'leggy' growth present from last years candles. Would it be safe to 'Prune' those candles/soft branches back to the remaining needles of last years' growth... and expect buds to form before winter?
Many thanks. I've read that this is a good practice, but needed to ask a real person. The tree on the left got soooo leggy that there are limited opportunities for pruning, so I needle plucked in hopes of creating back-budding that I can cut back to next season.You can prevent this leggy growth or long candle necks by completely removing this year's candle/shoots. For your climate it may not be too late as I think you've got more than 100 days until the normal first hard freeze. If it is a touch late, you'll either get buds or very short shoots with very short needles. Nevertheless, as I recall this is about the standard JBP decandling time in the Dallas area.
But to your specific questions, yes, it is safe to prune those candles/soft branches now and certainly expect buds before winter (maybe even some new growth).