Needle Plucking VS. Needle Cutting

buffrider

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How does one compare to the other and does one do something the other doesnt?
 

Vance Wood

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How does one compare to the other and does one do something the other doesnt?

It depends on the species of tree and what your intentions are. Most of the time we want back budding. On Mugo Pines it is better to cut the needles rather then pull them, because the dormant but resides between the two needles. If you pull the needles you pull the buds as well forcing the tree to resort to latent buds below the bark to achieve back budding. I understand the common practice with JBPs is to pull the needles. As I do not have a great deal of experience with this species I wont tell you to do that which I have not experimented with. White Pines should be cut---IMHO.
 

Bonsai Nut

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Generally people prefer needle cutting, for all the reasons Vance mentioned. In some cases my pines drop needles in the Fall, and I brush them off the tree. I don't consider this "plucking", per se, because the needles fall right off. If the needle is still attached firmly and I want to be rid of it (for balancing purposes) I cut it.
 

crhabq

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buffrider,

I've very little experience with this, but from what I've read it also depends upon how the bark reacts to having needles plucked. If the bark tears and then bleeds sap then it is better to cut the needles down to about 1/8 of an inch. Then the cut needles will turn brown and fall off when they're ready. Cutting the needles prevents sap from bleeding, potentially weakening the tree and maybe attracting nasty creatures, like borers, to the tree. But I am unsure if the tree physiologically reacts differently to the two procedures.

Hope this helps,

Ray
 

Vance Wood

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buffrider,

I've very little experience with this, but from what I've read it also depends upon how the bark reacts to having needles plucked. If the bark tears and then bleeds sap then it is better to cut the needles down to about 1/8 of an inch. Then the cut needles will turn brown and fall off when they're ready. Cutting the needles prevents sap from bleeding, potentially weakening the tree and maybe attracting nasty creatures, like borers, to the tree. But I am unsure if the tree physiologically reacts differently to the two procedures.

Hope this helps,

Ray

The reaction to pulling is as you have described. Generally White Pines do not do so well with having the needles pulled for the fragility of the bark. Personally I find it better to cut the needles than to pull them. Pulling is far quicker because you just yank away. Cutting involves a one at a time process that takes at least twice the time.
 

buffrider

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ok so for the type of pine im talking about is for JBP, bosnian, and pinion pines.
 

Smoke

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First I think we need to clarify what you are talking about. Cutting needles to reduce needles as in cutting them off the twig to save the sheath, or needle cutting after plucking and reducing the photo footprint to induce vigorous budding?

There is a difference. Tree on left is bushy. Needles were plucked and then the tufts that were left were cut back to balance photo foot print. This brings forth massive budding all over.
 

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Smoke

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...Or are you talking about cutting needles along the twig short rather than pulling them out like this?
 

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greerhw

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If you're taking about JBP, pluck em.

Harry
 

buffrider

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Well I'm trying to understand what the difference is from cutting them.
 

Smoke

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Define cutting them. I gave you two scenario's.

If you speak of cutting them to save the sheath like my second photo, then plucking is far superior to cutting. There is now enough evidence to support saving the sheath does nothing to improve back budding. I feel keeping even the small green in the needle sheath promotes photsynthesis there for inhibiting back budding.

Pull straight out in the direction of growth. do not pull downward like peeling a banana, you will ruin your branch and remove latent buds.
 

Smoke

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This small pine was needle plucked on Oct 9th. That was 18 days ago. This is a small segment of a branch about 1.5 inches long taken in macro. There are 12 buds on that small section, with some of them popping right out of 5 year old wood.

At the ramify stage during grow out, pluck, shorten the needles all over to balance and fetilize thru the year for vigour and your tree will burst forth with buds.
 

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