I don’t recommend asking your bonsai for help with your calculus homework, but if you treat them right, your pine branches sure can multiply!
I have only been decandling this unimpressive Japanese Black Pine, Pinus thunbergii, for three years. We are not here to talk about the design. We are here to talk about ramification and needle reduction.
In 2016, the first time decandling this tree, I removed 30 candles. One year later, in 2017, there were 57. And today there were 113. That’s just one candle shy of a perfect doubling!
The candle size is further proof of concept. The first year, the candles ranged in size dramatically.
The candles this year are much smaller, and very consistent in size.
So what am I doing?
- Feed for the whole growing season.
- Remove all candles at the same time. (I do this in the last week of June or first days of July in Northern Virginia. The right timing will vary by location and climate.)
- To balance growth, pluck needles behind each growing tip to the same number of needles per tip. (Growth will be stronger with more needles and weaker with fewer remaining.)
- As the second flush emerges, reduce to two new buds/candles per growing tip.
- In the winter reduce to one bud per tip.
All of this is based on my best understanding of decandling from a variety of sources. If you are just getting started understanding decandling of black pines. Check out Bonsai Tonight. There is a wealth of information there!