To develop new branches and
new buds on Pines is one of the difficulties with this
And it can be a bit
complicated to get an overall view of the many different
techniques acquired to succeed with the Pine.
I will try to setup some
guidelines that hopefully will help to understand this.
Balancing the vigour
between weak and stronger areas in the tree is also to be
aware of. Pinching and pruning shall be done with awareness
of balancing the weaker branches against the stronger
growing ones. The same is the case with weak and strong
Only do this on healthy trees. Week trees
should be left to grow and gain vigour.
Pines have the strongest
growth on the top, and on the tip of the branches. Lower
branches and inner shoots are the weakest.
Therefore it is necessary
to keep balance between the stronger parts and the weaker
ones, by pinching and pruning harder on the strong parts, to
make the weaker parts gain strength.
With this work the focus in on keeping
the balance between week and strong areas. This will also
influence on how many new buds will emerge i.e., but here
the focus is on the balance of growth:
Start pinching the
undesired weak buds.
2) Approximately one
week later pinch the undesired strong ones.
3) Then selectively
remove buds in the weak areas, leaving only the biggest and
4) At last, in the
strongest areas you have to leave the weak buds and remove
the biggest and strongest.
Five needle Pines are
Strong candles versus week candles
The difficulty to
understand in this part is the rule about letting the
stronger candles grows when you pinch the weakest first!
This is though to keep needles short, and it will have no
effect to the overall balance if pinching is performed
during a tree weeks period.
know your Pine
One has to have good
knowledge about the tree and its growth to fully understand
this. If you carefully observe your tree throughout the
seasons you will be well aware of the balance between strong
and week areas, and thereby be able to correct any
Always prune in order to
let the sun reach the inner branches, in order to develop
new buds from where new branches can grow. This will secure
the possibility to develop and keep your Pine in the desired
Two and five needle Pines
It is important to know
that there are some differences between Pine species.
1) There is the common two needle Pine that includes
Pinus sylvestris, P. thunbergii (Japanese Black Pine), P.
mugo i.e. All known by setting two needles from the same
2) The five needle Pines sets five needles in the same
cluster. This is Pinus parviflora (White Pine) and variants.
3) A special Pine is the three needles Pine, and
this one is treated as the two needles Pine.
It is very important to
differ between the two- and three needle Pines, and the five
needles Pine. They need to be treated differently in order
Furthermore it is necessary
to be aware of the timing of pinching new candles. The Pine
reacts differently whether the new candles are pinched
early, late or not at all. Also the time of year the tasks
are fore filled will influence on the Pines reaction and
A thumbs rule is that in
general it is best to keep the trees at the dryer side in
the period where candles are unfolding and hardens.
Japanse White Pine shohin
nursery in Angyo, Japan
that will influence on both two needles, and five needles
Wind and weather in
general, will affect the techniques used on Pines. And the
different species will react different on this outer coming
But the main thing to be
concerned about is the timing of pinching relating to the
development of the candles. This will affect how good the
effect of pinching will be, and what result will follow.
(Read more in
this in depth article…)
As a principle the
strongest candles needs to be removed, in order to develop
the weaker ones. Else the weak branches will die back over
The weaker candles
therefore only have to be pinched a third, or not all,
depending on their vigour. The strong candles have to be
pruned to thirds or are removed entirely.
Divide the process in three steps, with
approximately a weeks pause between the pinching.
When new buds later on the
season sprouts from the base of pinching or behind, the same
principle is to be used in keeping balance between strong
and weak points.