One of the most
important operations in order to keep Pines well trained is
the needle plucking of last yearís growth.
described here are for the two needle pines, and can not be
used on the five needles Pine (Pinus parviflora i.e.), and
the two needle Pine; the native Japanese Black Pine (Pinus
Old needles should be removed in order to give
light and air to the inner branches, in order to let new
buds develop. Old needles are the two year old needles from
previous growth. On newer collected trees, also older
needles than the two year old needles should be removed.
The timing of plucking the old
Removing old needles in autumn.
Thinning out new needles from March to November.
All other Pines:
Old needles are removed in autumn.
Black pine and Five needle
Old green needles are cut about one millimetre
above the sheet where the needles have their base. If
removed by plucking, the sleeping bud will be removed and
their will be no new growth.
Remove fewer or no needles in the weak areas,
and more in the strong growing areas to balance strength.
By plucking the last years needles in summer, new
light will reach the inner parts of the branches. Therefore
summer plucking is a good method to thin heavy growth that
prevents light and air reaching the inner branches and the
weaker growing parts.
This method will not give the same amount of new
budding back on the branches, but it is necessary to make a
base to succeed doing this the next season.
This method is also fine if it isnít necessary to
provoke new growth back on the branches.
As a principle
the needle plucking can be done in early spring, but the
winter will have a good strengthening effect on the new buds
that will be developed after the plucking. Therefore it is
better to pluck the needles during early autumn, in order to
develop stronger buds.
Relating to the
stronger autumn root growth, this will also help more buds
First pluck the
old needles from last years growth, and then thin the new
needles 6-10 needles are left at each branch.
The purpose of
the needle plucking of fold needles and some of this years
growth, are that a lot of new buds will arrive from now on
and to winter time.
of plucking. Use your
fingers to gently break and pull of the needles, one by one.
With this method the sleeping bud that is placed at the
bottom of the sheet, between the needle pair, will awake and
grow. This sleeping bud will have shorter needles and
shorter internodes that are acquired for a dense grow.
If both needles
are pulled of in one go, it is very likely that the sleeping
bud will be pulled of as well.
insecure about what is the old and the new needles, it is
possible to feel it with your fingers. The old needles are
harder and darker green, compared to the new still softer
needles of this yearís growth.
needles also sit looser, and are far easier to pull of,
where the old needles needs more force.