New JBP candles are too long

mrcasey

Mame
Messages
110
Reaction score
41
Location
WV
USDA Zone
6
Even though I've been messing around with pines for years, I'm just now getting to the refinement stage on some of them. This year was the first year I decandled
any of my pines. I decandled on June 1st. It took forever for the new buds to pop and I thought the candles would be way too small. But lo and behold, I've now got
a second flush of candles that are already 3 and 4 inches long.

1. I used miracle gro 20 20 20 soluble fertilizer from late March up until May 15. After that I stopped all fertilizer.
2. I didn't do any needle plucking to "balance vigor" because the lowest inner branches were just as strong as the others and I didn't see any reason to
weaken the tree.

Eventually, these new candles will need shortened. Do I do it now, wait until fall, or what?
 

Brian Van Fleet

Pretty Fly for a Bonsai Guy
Messages
10,563
Reaction score
24,432
Location
B’ham, AL
USDA Zone
8A
You may have decandled too early. Got any photos of the offending tree?
Long candles like this suggests a young, imbalanced tree.
 

Gdy2000

Shohin
Messages
382
Reaction score
847
Location
St Louis, MO
USDA Zone
6a
It’s possible you could cut again and get a third flush, but your growing season may not be long enough and that will really stress the tree. You are probably better off holding out, fert into the fall, then wait to de candle later in the year next year. Pictures always help.
 

parhamr

Omono
Messages
1,082
Reaction score
3,210
Location
Portland, OR
USDA Zone
9a
Candle pruning is recommended to be done around 100 days before the first frost, which ensures the needles are comfortably short. This limits how long they can grow.

If you’re really in refinement and the tree is putting on growth like this then it’s some combination of too large a pot, too much water, or the wrong fertilizer scheme.

In refinement, double-flush pines will have shorter needles if only fertilized in the late summer and fall.

A 20-20-20 fertilizer is both too strong and it sounds like you may have applied it too frequently. Liquid chemical fertilizers are extremely plant-available and cause heavy growth. A scheme of granular organic fertilizers will actually feed the soil and its beneficial fungi, which results in quality, compact pine growth.

How often do you water the tree, what size is the pot, and what sort of soil does it have? It sounds like the tree would refine better with a more coarse, free draining soil in a smaller pot and with no more water than it needs.

If you post pics we can provide slightly more specific advice.
 

Brian Van Fleet

Pretty Fly for a Bonsai Guy
Messages
10,563
Reaction score
24,432
Location
B’ham, AL
USDA Zone
8A
Looks like a young and imbalanced tree. I’d break the new candles in half now, let it grow until fall, then reduce each set of candles down to an equally-sized pair, throughout the tree, then wire them outward. You should get good growth next spring.
 

parhamr

Omono
Messages
1,082
Reaction score
3,210
Location
Portland, OR
USDA Zone
9a
Thanks for posting! Here are three observations about the tree that support my hypotheses: (this is meant as constructive feedback and I’m not digging at you for ‘mistakes’ but offering opportunities on which to improve)

  1. The candles show a lot of vigor—refined, carefully controlled growth does not show that much separation between needles. This happens with heavy watering and fertilizing.
  2. Some of the sphagnum top dressing, especially at the right, is green from algae and not green from living moss. This reflects a lot of moisture in the soil.
  3. Lastly, the pot is wider than the tree. If it’s in refinement and you want finer growth then it should have a smaller pot.
Back to the big picture, however—there’s not a lot of difference in trunk thickness between the right-moving trunk and the apex. There’s also not a ton of foliage on the tree, as I think I can count all of the candles and see around 40 in total.

I agree that you are in refinement, but I don’t think you’re yet done with development. This pot size and your vigorous watering and fertilizing are good to continue driving growth. You’ll have shorter needles and tight internode distances in another 4 years, sorry.

I’d let a hefty escape branch or two develop from the middle of the tree, and I’d also let most of the branch tips run without candle pruning to absorb some of this strong vigor you’re seeing. The interior branches and candles can still remain under your ramification routines.

In summary: you’re doing well! It’s clear you’ve learned how to develop a pine. Now you’re on the middle part of this long journey and you can’t quite slam the whole tree into the refinement stage just yet :)
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
D Pines 6
D Pines 5
sbarnhardt Pines 5
evmibo Pines 15
M Pines 1

Similar threads


Top Bottom