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Different approaches to Scots pine pruning
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Author:  TomB [ 21 May 2019, 21:08 ]
Post subject:  Different approaches to Scots pine pruning

Getting your head round pines is difficult - it took me a long time to 'get' them in the same way as deciduous trees for instance. One reason for this is that different procedures have different effects, and are useful at different stages of the tree's development. You would also do different things depending on how vigorous the growth is (if it's weak, leave it alone). You would also do different things in different years. For example, if you pinch candles in one year, that weakens the tree. In the past I've weakened trees by pinching every year. So I might choose not to do it two years running, but would allow free growth in the second year instead. If you've repotted that year, you might be more conservative (though you might also see more vigorous growth if the tree is rejuvenated).

In this thread I'm going to post a number of trees that are in different stages of development, and say what I've done about pruning the shoots etc and why.

Please don't treat this as a set of instructions on what you should do. This is just an account of what seems to work in my garden, and why I'm doing specific things.

I only grow Scots pines at the moment. Other species may react in different ways, so don't use these approaches on Japanese Black or White pine for example. Even Mugo's have different behaviour in some respects

The pictures are not 'beauty shots' - the thing to focus on is the candles/shoots and why I'm treating them the way I am. Most of these are collected or long-established trees. The same principles apply to young nursery stock, though it may be a little more vigorous.

Author:  TomB [ 21 May 2019, 21:08 ]
Post subject:  Re: Different approaches to Scots pine pruning

This is a tree that is moving into the refinement stage.
It doesn't currently need any back budding for ramification, so I have pinched the candles to develop the image and regulate growth across the tree. I will not fertilise until around July, to try to keep the needles shorter. In August I will probably remove most of the old needles, and wire it. New buds will mainly develop at the cut ends over the summer. If growth is vigorous, some of them might extend a little. Candles were not pinched last year. Buds were reduced to two at each point last winter.

Image

Author:  TomB [ 21 May 2019, 21:09 ]
Post subject:  Re: Different approaches to Scots pine pruning

This tree needs to develop ramification. Buds were reduced to two at each point early this spring. I am allowing it to grow freely without pinching the candles. In August I will cut off the new growth, leaving a few pairs of needles at each point in most cases. It will develop new buds at the cut points, and some back buds on the branches that don't have 'old' bark. I have wired a couple of the candles into a horizontal position to develop as new branches. For these, I'll cut off the new growth at the point where they start to curve upwards, so I get new buds where I want the branch to bifurcate. Wiring candles is tricky, and they tend to break, so approach with care. I will fertilise well all through the summer (I started as soon as I saw signs of growth). I'll probably remove most old needles in August.

Image

Author:  TomB [ 21 May 2019, 21:09 ]
Post subject:  Re: Different approaches to Scots pine pruning

This tree also needs ramification, and has been treated much the same as the one above. Again I am not pinching the candles, but will cut off the new growth in August. The difference is that this is probably a year closer to the refinement stage. I am not going to fertilise the tree until around July, because I want to refine the image based on smaller needles next year. I'll probably remove most old needles in August.

Image

Author:  TomB [ 21 May 2019, 21:10 ]
Post subject:  Re: Different approaches to Scots pine pruning

This tree is being refined. It may be shown next year. It doesn't currently need any back budding for ramification, so I have pinched the candles quite hard to develop the image and regulate growth across the tree. I will not fertilise until around July, to try to keep the needles shorter. In August I will probably remove most of the old needles, and wire it. New buds will mainly develop at the cut ends over the summer. If growth is vigorous, some of them might extend a little. Candles were not pinched last year. Buds were reduced to two at each point early this spring.


Image

Author:  TomB [ 21 May 2019, 21:11 ]
Post subject:  Re: Different approaches to Scots pine pruning

This tree was collected a couple of years ago. It is pretty vigorous, so I'm comfortable with using techniques on it. I want to develop back budding on the bare branches, so I'm allowing it to grow freely over the summer. If it appears strong enough, then I'll cut back the new growth in August to stimulate back budding. I may cut back some of the external branches over the winter, depending on how it has developed. Plenty of fertiliser throughout the season.

Image

Author:  TomB [ 21 May 2019, 21:11 ]
Post subject:  Re: Different approaches to Scots pine pruning

This one needs back budding and ramification. Buds were reduced to two at each point early this spring. I am allowing it to grow freely without pinching the candles. In August I will cut off the new growth, leaving a few pairs of needles at each point in most cases. It will develop new buds at the cut points, and some back buds. I'll remove some old needles in August. If it grows strongly enough - and it looks like it will - I'll probably remove some of the surplus branching over the summer (to let light in and redirect growth). Plenty of fertiliser throughout the season.

Image

Author:  TomB [ 21 May 2019, 21:12 ]
Post subject:  Re: Different approaches to Scots pine pruning

This one I don't really need to worry about.

Image

Author:  paulpash [ 21 May 2019, 23:42 ]
Post subject:  Re: Different approaches to Scots pine pruning

Great post, thanks.

The bits that are hard to teach / get across to people new with pines are making judgements about what stage it is in and how to apply techniques suitable for the stage.

Author:  darreng [ 21 May 2019, 23:56 ]
Post subject:  Re: Different approaches to Scots pine pruning

Really interesting, thanks.

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